What should we wish for in 2006? Courage. Courage for each and every one of us to stand up and take our country back, either with or without the Democratic leaders whose appeasement of Republican Evil has led our country to the precipice where we stand today. In fact, our country's current sad state of affairs can be laid squarely not at the feet of the Republicans who have led us down this path, but at the feet of the Democrats who have not stood up and stopped the destruction of our country.
Allow me to explain.
Our country's descent to a level where we are even discussing issues like "intelligent design" and whether or not it's okay to spy on our citizens hasn't occurred because the current Republicans have lost their moral compass, it's because the Democrats have - at the same time they have suffered from a near fatal lack of courage.
Over the past five years, the Republican Party has moved from a party different from ours, but one that at its center held many of the core American beliefs that Democrats do to the pary of neo-conservative and religious extremists. This shift is most clearly shown in the difference between the two President Bush's. With the elder, there was a middle ground that we could agree on. Now there simply is no middle to move to. A fact the Clintons have yet to grasp.
Witness Senator Clinton's support of the Flag Burning bill. She moved to what she perceived as being the middle to polish her credentials as a moderate but in fact, where she triangulated to was a place that opposes the core right to freedom of speech. There's nothing moderate about giving away basic American values.
Even more alarming is that the current Republican Party has brought what once were extreme right wing policies, like the complete and public elimination of the separation of church and state to the mainstream of their party and, consequently, shifting what once would have been dismissed as lunatic theories, like the thought that we should assassinate foreign heads of state who disagree with us, to the acceptable fringe of their party.
As this has taken place, the vast majority of Democrats elected in Washington have continued to try and work within the proverbial system, held back by their outdated views of the opposition, hindered by their own beliefs in equality, and hamstrung by their sense of fair play. What they have failed to realize and unfortunately, precious few Americans overall don't yet fully understand, is that the Medusa of Republican Evil unleashed by the election of the Puppet King, George W. Bush, has no such sense of good or conscience and will continue to grow and destroy and pursue its frighteningly radical agenda in the face of good intentions.
Decent rational human beings have a tendency to falter in front of pure evil, and falter we have - as a party and as country. From appeasement to Hitler to inaction in Rwanda, moral people often will at first blush lack the ability to recognize evil in its most base form. Those who themselves have no capacity for evil within, respectable decent men like Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid, lack the fundamental capacity to recognize and fight evil in others. We do not need to become evil to defeat it - but we need to recognize its presence to slaughter it.
We can not work with the current Republican leadership on this. We can not mediate our way to success and a better country. We can not hope that they see the light or if we just let people know the truth, they will join our side. We need to fight every day and become warriors to win even the middle ground back.
Because, we show any sign of resistance, the Medusa will become increasingly horrific in its actions like a wounded cornered wild animal. Some aspects will crumble, like George Bush did in the first debate with John Kerry, because they are just pawns or front pieces of the Medusa. But the core of the evil, the men of the current Republican Party who know they can never lose another Presidential election or their dreams of their utopian world are finished, they will fight with all the weapons they possibly can without any sense of decency or conscience.
Why? It's very simple actually. Ninety nine percent of the American people stand to lose if the true agenda of the core current Republican Party is ever fully enacted. Notice I said true agenda. I'm not speaking of the Big Lie propaganda techniques that are so effectively used today, showcasing the war in Iraq as a defense of America and the such, I'm taking about the core true agenda.
What would the United States look like if the current Republican Party's true agenda was enacted?
Imagine living in a country with no safeguards for the environment. Where citizens have not protections against the actions of corporations. Where, in fact, corporations run the government, absolve themselves of taxes and any responsibility at all.
Imagine living in a world where the sole purpose of the US military is to attack countries and spread democracy through war. Imagine the military growing and growing with the re-introduction of the draft.
Imagine no Social Security for our elders or disabled. No protection for women's rights. Imagine a time here evolution is science but the life-saving cures of stem cells are forever forbidden on the basis of religious preference.
Imagine a crippling national debt - solely created for the purpose of funding vast and enormous wealth for a few who use their considerable wealth to fund and feed the Medusa in a cruel cycle which continually concentrates the wealth of the nation.
Student loans? Gone. Global warming? Accelerated because the fuels that create it drive the economic engine. Torture? Slithering from the prisons of Iraq to a jail near you. Torturing Americans in the name of the War on Terror? It's a matter of time sadly, unless, of course it's already happening.
This is the core of the true agenda. Do you think you anyone would vote for it? Of course not. And there lies the fear of the Republican Medusa. As it has grown more powerful, it likes what it sees. It likes the power and the money and wants more and more.
It so wants more that it becomes reckless. The lies have become bolder (Cheney repeating the 9/11 and Saddam myth) and the actions more desperate (Spying on peace activists and fellow Americans.) Millions of dollars funneled to and fro. The attacks become more and more terrible. In fact, two election cycles from now, we will look back and what the infant Medusa did to Max Cleland and John Kerry with a sense of nostalgia at the innocence compared to what future attacks will look like. But the Swift Boat Veterans was the Medusa at its core.
Destroy a man because of his honorable service, absolutely.
Lie? Cheat? Break campaign laws? Not a problem. In fact, they relished in it.
And what happened? Many on the campaign hesitated - they really couldn't believe that this could or would be done. But it was. The Medusa, when cornered and threatened, will lash out with increasing ferocity and terror before it is destroyed. John Kerry was a real threat to them, and when this was recognized, the true evil surfaced.
Always remember that what's truly important to realize is that we are not yet engaged in a fight to the death with them - but they are fully engaged in a fight to the death with us.
The problem is that every delay, like the Kerry Campaign's delay in responding to the Swift Boat Veterans, leaves the Republican Medusa emboldened and gives it the oxygen it needs to grow and become more powerful.
Evil feeds upon weakness. Evil lives for the chance to destroy those who hesitate. Evil grows bolder when an opponent or something standing in its way falters. And over the past five years, we as a country and as a party have done more than our fair share of hesitating. As we've hesitated, the extreme has become the norm and we now only stand up when the extreme of the extreme becomes an issue. For example?
The separation of church and state. This is not some idle chatter of the intelligentsia. It is perhaps the core concept on which our country was founded - it is at the heart of what we are as a people, a nation of immigrants. From the Puritans to the Jews, America has been the land where religion is a private matter - where it can never stand in the way of your success or pursuit of happiness. We fought the American Revolution for many reasons but no reason was more important than the belief that each and every American has the right to practice their own religion and not in any way be challenged or harmed for their religious beliefs.
This wall of separation is not being questioned by the Republicans, it's under absolute assault. In fact, the assault is so strong that Democrats mistakenly believe that they have to cave into the movement to turn the clocks back a century or more in order to be relevant in the today's political climate. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the Democrats need to do exactly the opposite and stand up for the religious rights of all Americans. And members of all other religions need to fully understand exactly what is at stake here. In the 2004 campaign, the Republicans targeted Jewish voters, especially in Florida with an all-out attack on John Kerry's record on Israel. They used the Internet to constantly and consistently lie about John's statements and even lie about the work of foundations which Teresa Kerry has supported. The question for every non-fundamentalist Christian voter is why would you support the Republicans at this point in time? The core goal of their party is to eliminate your religion and way of life.
When Governor of Texas, George Bush spearheaded a change to that state's constitution so that it starts, "Texas is a Christian state." If you are Jewish, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or any other religion other than Christian, you are a second-class citizen in the state of Texas. You may not want to believe this, or you may believe that you have other protections, but the fundamental fact remains: Texas is a Christian state and you're not Christian.
Where was the outrage when this assault happened? There wasn't any - it happened quietly and the Medusa grew stronger. Just as the Medusa was emboldened when John Ashcroft started prayer breakfasts at the Department of Justice. Ponder the extremity of that for a moment. At the heart of our justice system, there exists the fundamental right of people's right to their own religious views. Yet, the department of our government in charge of protecting those rights is conducting Christian prayer meetings on a daily basis?
And what the Democrats do? Nothing. Sure, there might have been some press release sent out somewhere saying how this might be some violation or some crap, but when we needed to fight a war, we brought out our spitballs. Our leaders in DC needed to refuse to even discuss or vote on any budget or issue relating to the Department of Justice until this practice, in clear violation of the Constitution, was stopped. Instead, we did nothing. And the Medusa smiled. And grew stronger. Now, the whole issue is up for discussion and we've lost so much traction, it will be incredibly difficult to get back to where we were on this core fundamental principal even two or three years ago.
Another one of the core most central beliefs of the current Republican Party is that the concept of the government assisting its citizens in any way or manner needs to end. This is not to say that programs like Welfare shouldn't be reformed and they have been. This means the end of Social Security. And Medicare and Medicaid or help for anyone who needs it. It even means cutbacks to Student Loan programs. Why on earth would a government, any government, cut back on programs that let people pay for their education? The government gets paid back - with interest?
Because the current Republican Party's goal is to eliminate any form of help whatsoever. Any money spent on people is money that is not spent on programs its supporters want.
From the end of Social Security, carefully packaged in the illusion of privatization (a windfall profit to Wall Street firms) to the cutbacks in student loan programs (which have been used by literally tens of millions of Americans including myself to pay for college) the current Republican leadership is waging an absolute war on another core building block of the United States - that the government has the responsibility to aid and assist its citizens.
Tort reform, nothing more than a free pass for corporations to ignore their basic social responsibilities. Firearm manufacturers are no longer responsible for deeds committed with their products. The businesses that feed the Medusa must in turn be feed and feed them we are.
We are slowly turning the government over to business in a manner that lets business greed rule the day. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
While there was a great deal of work done by outside groups on Social Security, especially by Moveon.org and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, the Democratic leadership response was pretty pathetic. Google Senator Hillary Clinton and Social Security and you won't find a single quote on this year's debate. Same with John Kerry and many others.
What we should have done is take the assault on Social Security, broadened it and make sure every American knows that the core policy of the Republican Party is to make sure the government never helps another citizen.
I don't know about you - but I don't believe in that.
I believe that we have to honor and help our most disadvantaged.
I believe that our elderly deserve dignity and assistance. That our youngest deserve a chance and opportunity. I believe in all that is good about our country, much of which used to be good about the Republican Party as well to be perfectly honest. Would Nelson Rockefeller have stood by and let the wives of men serving in Iraq live off of food stamps with their children? Of course not.
I think that our fellow Americans deserve a hand when hurt, not a kick in the face. But the Republicans make a show of caring right? That's right, a show. Because at its heart, the Medusa doesn't care but its handlers understand that it needs to create the illusion of caring. The Big Lie that gets people to vote against their self interests must be protected.
So George Bush ignored the Katrina disaster because helping Americans isn't even on the current Republican's Party radar screen. But then, the Medusa panicked and poured lavish attention on the region, but when the country's attention turned away, the need for the pretense of caring went away too and now, New Orleans flounders on its own.
So what do we do? We hope that this is the year we all support each other and give ourselves and our leaders the courage to do what needs to be done.
You don't kill a Medusa by triangulating.
You kill a Medusa by cutting off its head. You need to be a warrior and get blood on your hands and guts on your shoes.
We need to hold our Democratic leaders accountable for their inactions. We need to fiercely support those that support our country fiercely.
The online community has the proven ability to fight and defend candidates. We need to defend them.
The online community has the proven ability to raise money and support candidates. We need to support them.
We need to spread the word one person at a time, and one million people online at a time.
Since my days on the Kerry Campaign, a million people have asked me how Bush won. It's simple really. The Medusa has become so powerful that it had the ability to place a puppet in The White House. Twice. That's the power we're facing.