Back in 2002 Jon Stewart was pretty darn funny. Heck, if it was a choice between laughing or crying -- I'd rather laugh. And Stewart was mad as hell -- and willing to poke his finger in the eye of the administration. Slowly, I found that he was the only voice I could manage to include in my daily news diet.
I'm beginning to wonder if this Is this really a Democracy any longer?
I've taken to listening to people on the Subway. Around me, as I ride to work, people talk about their children, about their jobs, about their love lives. The chit-chat about the day and the weather and life... mostly mundane things that make up daily life.
No one talks about the war. There's no talk about the economy, or the national debt, or the environment, or the number of soldiers who are dying around the world.
If a tree falls in the forest...
Now Jon Stewart seems exhausted. It's like he knows its no longer a laughing matter. Heck, for all his hard work to lampoon, expose, and humiliate the Bush Administration, it seems to make them stronger. The bigger the lie, the harder it is to truly believe its a lie. Bush wouldn't actually be trying to bankrupt the country... could he? Bush isn't actually trying to make the war so big, so inevitable that the Democrats won't have a way to wind it down. Could he really be that fatalistic in his vision of the future. Clearly, its not funny.
We're not talking about what's happening.
Today Frank Rich reminded me of what has been eating at me most. That in some way I've given up. I've stopped going to protest marches (do they have those any more?). I've stopped calling my congressman. I've stopped thinking that supporting a political candidate can make real change. I've resigned myself to the fact that I don't have the ability to make a difference, or change political tides, or have my voice heard.
I wasn't always this way.
At first, I thought that the Bush administration was engaging in a political coup. That the neo-con's would be seen for what they are, that the war profiteers and oil barons would be arrested, jailed, convicted. Stopped. But then 2004 happened. The passion, drive, anger and hope that fueled the election resulted in a strange ratification of the Bush Administration. You can accept any theory you want, that Kerry was a bad candidate, that there was voter fraud, that the media didn't do it's job as a watchdog, but -- as Jim Loftus, Kerry's Head Press wrangler, said in the gloom of the post election fallout -- "The Universe Hardly Cares."
Ugh. Right he was.
Now, 2006 arrives to set things right. And with great joy and feeling of accomplishment the Democrats win back both the House and the Senate. With great anticipation, i look forward to the righting of our democracy. The prosecution of those who knowingly lied to congress, who mis-led the UN, who pocketed billions of dollars in war proceeds as young men and woman died.
And so Frank Rich.
Wow. He called me a Nazi. Or a Nazi sympathizer. Or at least a Good German who shrugs his shoulders as if to say: "heck, i didn't vote for the guy."
I'm stung by the accusation. As a Jewish American the charge is deeply painful. Does that make Jon Stewart the court Jester? And what about the democrats?
With an election on the horizon (ok, its more than a year away -- but in my current political state of mind, I'm willing to believe that's right around the corner).
My deep sense of foreboding about the health of our Democracy reached a new low two weeks ago as I watched the Democratic Debate at Dartmouth from a hotel room in San Diego. One by one the Democrats acknowledged that the war had no end, that even in the abstract they couldn't imagine a timeline to end our misadventures in Iraq. Sure, not every Democrat said that. But the leaders of the pack, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton all did. We're staying. That's for sure.
So -- on November 5th, when I've gone to the polls and voted for Hillary (probably) and she announces a blue ribbon panel to begin to consider how we can begin to draw down troops over the next 6 years... and at the same time continue to pay blood money to mercenaries (oh, sorry -- 'contractors') who have some strange 077 license to kill... how will I look myself in the mirror.
My party will have the House, the Senate, and the White House. We'll have the political trifecta. And we won't be getting any further out of Iraq than we are now.
What will I say to Frank then?
And -- perhaps worst of all -- what will Jon Stewart have to laugh about?