Friday, May 29, 2009

Courage and Cowardice

Courage is a rare commodity in the halls of leadership today. I see faces on my TV box that are supposed to be in my corner giving aid and comfort to the enemy, namely the GOP.

Senator Harry Reid...grow a fucking spine. Jesus H. Christ, Senator, you fold more than an old lawn chair. He covers his yellow streaked ass by making it out that he's a crafty strategist. How can it be good strategy to cave in to your opponents at every turn? What, win the battle by losing the war? I think the reason he's so scrawny is from all the lunch money he had to fork over as a kid. I hear he was a boxer. Well, how many boxers lose a fight with their own shadow?

When I speak of courage, understand the distinctions I make when using a well-trod upon term. Courage is listed in the dictionary as: "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery."

There are aspects of courage that are more observable, more apparent by action rather than attitude, than just a 'quality of mind'. Any one can talk a good game of 'courage' but what happens when they face that insular moment when the talk has to be substantiated? Courage isn't a soundbite, it doesn't exist only in novels and history books. It exists in the actions taken by those who need it - now.

One problem is that we are a visually based society. If we don't see it, it does not exist. We claim the reverse to be true as well; if we do see it, we believe it. Just seeing something gives many of us all the proof we need that a certain condition exists. Conversely, if someone tells us that something doesn't exist because he can't see it, we tend to believe him because he seems to have gone to the trouble of looking for it so it must be true. Seeking out verification for what we claim and what we believe is hard. Too hard for talking heads who make their living on the people's ignorance and the politicians who service them.

I consider most right wing talkers and bloggers to be abject cowards. I say most because recently I witnessed Chicago talk show host 'Mancow' Muller subject himself to water boarding to show that it's nothing but getting wet. He got schooled and schooled hard. He lasted six seconds without interrogation. Afterward, he related an epiphany - "yes, this is torture and I have to admit that"

That took courage. Not only to be subjected to the pain of the water board, but to go on to admit that he (and the rest of his cohorts on the AM dial) were wrong about this form of torture. So, give him props for doing something Hannity, Limbaugh, Fox Nuz, and Newt Gingrich would never do.

I look for courage in my leaders. Sounds sappy and trite but I expect the people elected to high office to have a modicum of courage to accomplish the task of running the country. I see it in the President but it's Deja vu' all over again when he starts backing off issues near and dear to progressives. We saw it during the Clinton years. Lots of speeches, lots of promises, then the aides and advisors come in and pour cold water over the whole agenda. Obama needs real leadership in both the Senate and the House. Instead he got cowards. Reid has to go. For the sake of the nation and the progressive movement in general, Harry Reid must be sent to the Old Washington Home for Cowards, Capitulators, and Compromisers.

The issues that mean the most to the American people are coming to the forefront now. Health care, education, economic assistence, global climate change, energy, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need, no - beg for a radical shift from the status quo solutions. We've done the ol' 'tried and true' and found them to be wholly inadequate for the task. The Repugs want the ship to stay the course. They're on the Titanic and still feasting from the buffet line. Why give up a good thing if it feeds the greed?

Courage. My dad has it in spades. He worked the woods for 50 years as a logger and helped raise 8 kids with near poverty wages. Our troops have it too. They serve with honor and distinction and still get the shitty end of the stick in pay, rotation, and respect. I've seen courage come from little kids, feeble old folks, and young people of all colors and creeds. But we are losing our center by not focusing on making a courageous life the only life we should be striving for. We teach our kids how to get around the rules, how to shirk the responsiblities inherent in life. They enter adulthood with the education to be a con artist, not a responsible human being.

I'm tired of watching my leaders cower under their desks in Congress. Sick and tired of seeing Repug wingnuts give wedgies and noogies to the people I have to rely on to run this country. The Democratic Party better take a long hard look at their leadership and start making some definitive changes while we still have control of Congress. Most of the Dems I see on my TV Box haven't the backbone of a marshmallow Peep.

So Mote it Be,
David A.