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    • Groups and Coalitions: Politics Chapter V
      Previous: Identity (Introduction and Table of Contents) Politically active groups form because of ideology and identity: they have beliefs about how the world should be; those beliefs are emotional and create both identification with other people who have the beliefs and shared desire to change the world or keep the world in line with how the ideologies pres […]
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Sunday: Revolution Roll Call

Cold feet.

The reality of the election is creeping up on us.  Creep is a perfect word because I am starting to see some of our number starting to have second thoughts.  Some of you feel you MUST make a decision.  It has to be final.  Convert or die.  Tell me, PUMAs, who is forcing you to commit to one candidate or another?  And what is wrong with ambiguity?  Rest assured, there *will* be a winner on November 4.  It will be decisive.  But there is no reason why either side should feel comfortable right now.  And there is certainly no reason for the Obamaphiles to threaten to put you to the sword.  You don’t owe them anything, not even a conversation if you don’t want one.

But there is still a decision to be made.  Let me tell you where I am right now.  In my mind, I am trying to reduce each campaign to a single descriptive word.  I’m still working on McCain’s, which I see as treading a very fine line, carefully avoiding mine fields that would upset the fragile coalition it is trying to assemble.  It is very cautious and yet there is an element of adventurousness in Sarah Palin that says “risk taker”.  Getting the right balance is very tricky.  On the Democratic side, there is one word that comes to mind and it’s very strong:
pernicious.

per·ni·cious (pr-nshs)
adj.
1.
a. Tending to cause death or serious injury; deadly: a pernicious virus.
b. Causing great harm; destructive: pernicious rumors.
2. Archaic Evil; wicked.

The election of Obama will be the death of the Democratic party. His campaign has been nothing short of astonishing in its destructive power. We thought the party was the party that supported equality for women. Not so. Obama’s campaign has pandered to the worst impulses in testosterone fueled young and middle aged guys and the women who want to be loved by them. By first unleashing a vicious attack on Hillary and now Sarah Palin, Obama supporters have set women in the public sphere back by decades. Will we see a return to the Mad Men era of diminishing women to sub-adult status? If we let Obama win, we might.

His campaign has also used racism as a weapon.  Racism is a serious problem but unlike sexism, our culture is much less tolerant to public displays of racism.  But this campaign season, we are witnessing a redefinition of racism to mean whatever Obama says it means.  Any criticism of him is filtered through a black and white filter.  Obamaphiles have hurled the racism label at us since before January with great success.  They have offended the political junkies and voting population.  I predict a backlash.  But what is even more astonishing is that now even among ourselves, “the shrieking hordes of paranoid holdouts”, we are starting to attack each other with the label when there is absolutely no racism or intent to discriminate. We are even alienating ourselves.  That is destruction I couldn’t have predicted a few months ago.

It doesn’t stop there.  The Obama campaign has purged the party of the elderly, the GLBT community and working people.  For years, the party was once the champion of these groups.  It was its distinguishing characteristic.  Now, the Obama campaign taps into the resentment of its new coalition towards the old coalition.  “Those people” are not worthy of protection or courtesy or even enfranchisement.  The Obama campaign makes it OK to treat them as less than human.

“Those people” are us.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of us discussed how we could involve more people into the movement to reform the Democratic party.  We were wary of using the PUMA name because some groups felt squeamish about it and didn’t want to coexist under that umbrella, even though they were indistinguishable from us in every way.  Some of those people were rationalizing why they were different from us, as if there was a reason for why they needed to distance themselves.  The PUMA name, it seems, has become associated with all of the out groups of the old coalition.  We are the lunchtable where the stupid and the ugly people sit.  Well, I *know* we’re not stupid.

What’s wrong with getting old?  As my mother says, “it sure beats the alternative”.  It is an inescapable fact of life.  It will happen to Obamaphiles too.  Ooo, here’s an idea.  Next time you meet a young Obama campaign person, tell them they’re going to be 60 someday, if they’re lucky.  See what happens.

And what’s wrong with being a woman?  How about uneducated?  How many women my mother’s age were perfectly capable of excelling in college but never got the opportunity to go?  What’s wrong with being working class?  Most of the people in this country are working class.  I have one of those creative class jobs and I consider myself working class.  The working class has moved from the factories into the cube farm.  We still work with our hands, it’s just that now those hands touch keyboards instead of widgets.

But if we allow Obama to win, our power will be diminished, perhaps for generations.  And when I say “our” power, I mean most Americans.  If we allow Obama to win, we give our consent to stealing nominations by party manipulation.  We say that it is OK to conduct fraudulent elections, misleading voters about their self-determination.  We say it is OK to take taxpayer’s money to conduct sham primaries.  We give our permission to hooligans to be bussed in from other states to bully and intimidate voters during elections.  We capitulate to the diminishment of women, the elderly, working class people, gay people.  We participate in our own demise.

A few months ago, Dr. Violet Socks wrote one of the most insightful pieces of the whole election season.  In Archimedes Lever, she describes the situation we presently face.  We PUMAs and like minded people have a huge lever in front of us.  If we choose to throw that lever, we can change history.  We can bring this pernicious version of the Democratic party to its knees.  It is in the interests of the party to make us believe that we are helpless, that we can’t or shouldn’t pull the lever, hence the renewal of the haka against us.  The polls are going in Obama’s favor, they say.  We are racists, they shout.  We women are standing in the way of Obama’s victory.

Oh, really? How about this one: Obama is standing in the way of our personhood.  Obama stands in the way of our self-determination.  Obama stands in the way of our dignity and worth.  Friends, it is time we recognized our power, our amazing strength.  WE have the votes to swing this country in OUR election.  We have the ability to send this pernicious party apparatus to the level of Hell where it belongs.  We can give a new Democratic party four years to rebuild and put the remaining Democrats on notice that we expect them to represent US. We can start our own Revolution.

Are you with me, PUMAs?  Sound off.  Tell us which Great State you are voting from and what the power of your vote is going to do this November.