From Digby comes this story:

Even though the automatic recount had cut Bush’s lead dramatically in the previous three days, Christopher and Daley offered little hope that the margin could be eliminated completely. “Look you got screwed,” said Daley, “but people get screwed every day. They don’t have a remedy. Black people get screwed all the time. They don’t have a remedy. Sometimes there’s no remedy. There’s nothing you can do about it…

Which is a Thing for me, a little bit, the giving up, because I feel like in the last 20 years or so we’ve really made an art of it, as a country. How often do we see this in politics? How often do we hear this? “We can’t do that.” “We can’t afford that.” “We can’t win on that.” “We can’t make that happen.” “We can’t do that anymore.”

All of this acting like the inevitable just happens, like none of these things are choices. We can’t afford Social Security and Medicare … because we’d rather have two unwinnable wars and a bunch of people paying their yacht club dues. We can’t get single payer health care through Congress … because we elected people who call themselves Democrats through a mouthful of corporate junk. We can’t rebuild our roads and schools … because we’re too busy worrying about the latest missing white lady.

None of these inevitabilities, none of these political realities, is a naturally occurring phenomenon. We didn’t wake up one day to a world in which this is the case. It’s not some kind of Politics Pandemic where people touch each other and get infected, and therefore talking about it requires something more than a Daley-esque shrug about getting screwed and oh well gosh darn life sucks. It requires being willing to say okay, but there has to be something that can be DONE about it. There’s always something to be done. There’s always a way out.

It’s frustrating, because sometimes it seems like we have tried everything. Republicans were in charge? Fine, we’ll elect a Democratic president and Democratic legislature. Our media suck? Fine, we’ll build our own alternative networks and ways of communicating. The right’s outspending us? Fine, we’ll just work harder. And the fact that none of this is enough to turn the country around, I mean, I don’t know about you but my second-worst fear is that people like Bill Daley are right and we’re all crazy for thinking we can be better than this and we should be using our limited time on this planet to watch TV and sleep.

My worst fear, though? That we’re right. That we are better than this. That we can do more. That we can give more. That political reality is what we make it, that inevitability is nothing but the limit of our sight, and that we are allowing ourselves to be talked out of all our glorious possibilities by people whose interests lie in convincing us that this is the best we can do.


x-posted to First Draft, where we’re having a little fundraiser this week to take care of frivolous things like keeping the lights on and stockpiling flour and canned goods for the coming zombie apocalypse. Don’t worry, you’ll all be invited to the compound should shit get really real.

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.