[digg-reddit-me]Sometimes, it’s hard to have faith in democracy, in people. The same people who, in their wisdom, elected George W. Bush to a second term.
At the time though, I felt there was even a wisdom in that decision, even as it may have been unintentional; because a John Kerry presidency would not be able to fully repudiate the legacy of Bush, both because Kerry had campaigned as a hawk and because the public had not come around to see the disaster that was the Bush administration. As the fallout from the Bush administration’s incredible arrogance and ineptitude shook the country during Bush’s second term, I could only imagine a President Kerry, were he elected, and the values he stood for, getting some portion of the blame for the foreign policy setbacks, for the civil war in Iraq, for the economic crises, for the falling dollar – none of which would have been reversed by anything less than a radical overhaul of America’s domestic and foreign policies. A President Kerry would not have been in a position accomplish anything except make Bush’s disasters hurt us a little less.
It was better that the blame was placed on the right shoulders, on the right ideology – especially as a liberal president would not have been able to fully take on Bush’s legacy without the overwhelming support of the American people. Today, there is that overwhelming support to root out the Bush legacy. And with the support for Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and even to some extent Mike Huckabee and John McCain, there is obviously support for stepping away from the Clinton legacy of triangulation as well.
It is hard to have faith that on February 5th, voters (who actions will account for over 40% of the delegates to the Democratic convention) will make a wise choice. Democracy is clearly a flawed method of choosing a president, even if may be the best. Fraud is always possible; the media coverage is generally less than exemplary; many people seem to make up their minds on a whim. It will be a struggle to redirect this election and this primary back where it belongs – on making a fundamental choice about the direction America is headed. The choice we face is not about policies or style, but about who we are as a nation – about restoring the processes and balance that allow Americans to be free; about bringing the country together to face the long-term challenges to our way of life; about restoring America’s voice in the world community, and creating a more sensible foreign policy based on our shared values. It will not be easy – either to win or to accomplish these changes.
But worthwhile change should be hard. In a democracy, there should be no coronation, no inevitable victories. The silver lining on yesterday’s loss is that the Democratic nominee has to fight to get much of the country behind him or her before he or she is declared the nominee. No longer are we relying on New Hampshire and Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina to decide our options. Now the fight moves on to California and New York; to Connecticut, Kansas, Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah. Now we need to prove that we can mobilize to bring real change across America, instead of in a few rural states.
It won’t be easy. But it shouldn’t be. Change is hard.