Thursday, June 08, 2006

Post Primary Depression

I was greatly disappointed in the results of the primary election. Partly I think that it was a reaction to the very low turn out. Any effort to try and anticipate what this means for the future will probably fail.

The following comment in an email to helpful volunteers from Helen McCloskey gives you the candidate's sense of what happened.
The real loser in these elections is the sense of commitment to voting among the electorate. Daily, we faced apathy, weariness and a sense of not making a difference among average citizens a mile deep and a mile wide. Truth and challenges to the status quo made few gains into this abyss of the psyche.


If we are to succeed, we need to find a way to return some sense of passion for the future into our message. Maybe I grew up in a time when Lawrence Ferlinghetti was at City Lights writing of the Dog that walked freely in the streets, when college students hung out in coffee houses where Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were the fresh new voices of truth. I even watched Glenn Ford and Sydney Poitier in the first run of Blackboard Jungle. How little has changed.

Somehow, all of our passion these days seems to be more manufactured as part of a smart media campaign. Where the enthusiasm is real, as at the South Central Farms in LA right now, it is a struggle to become a part of the media story when every day they could be featuring some protest somewhere and after all, what does it mean Bush and Rumsfeld can claim we killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That, and the fact that the story sounds like something we have heard before.

So, we have to become more innovative in ways to carry forward our message. I like the idea that David Silva will be making a proposal for innovation in Green agriculture a part of his Assembly Campaign. I like most of what Bill Paparian is doing with his Congressional Campaign, and agree with all of his "No More" points. But I would ask what else he brings to the table other than opposition.

Newt Gingrich arrived on the Reublican Scene at a crucial time. The Democratic Leadership, especially in the House of Representatives, was collapsing under a series of scandals: postal violations by Speaker Rostenkowski, a banking scandal that caught many members of both parties, but mostly Democrats, and a long time, too cosy relationship between Democratic Committees and the lobby industry. He attacked all of that, but along with it, offered a new vision for America. In fact, he called it a Contract with America. Whatever you may think about the intent of that contract, its very truthfulness, it was a powerful tool for Gingrich and his followers. Not only was he pointing out the abuses of those currently in power, he offered an innovative alternative vision of a Great American Future.

I believe that we need a great symbolic alternative to what is going on in American Politics now. We have a Republican Party that has lost it's moral compss and a Democratic Party that has lost its rudder. It is not a wonder that this ship of state is floundering, losing the moral high ground in world opinion.

It is my fervent hope that or candidates find a way to articulate a vision for a future to go along with our exposing of the problems with the present. Give the electorate a real reason to vote FOR us and not just to vote AGAINST the current power. To do only the latter is to motivate us by fear. To do both is to give us hope.

1 comment:

Tian said...

I had a feeling like that for a few days after the election. But then I thought about how glad I was that I spent my time on the campaign trail saying "we need to stop voting for oil companies at the gas pump." I still can't think of a more transparent idea I could have shared.

This evening I went to the KFOG concert in San Jose's St. James Park. So many people recognized me, and I spent a lot of time dancing with beautiful women. It was great. It's a treat to have your name remembered that much.