Friday, November 05, 2004

It's Too Cold, So Must Get to Work

Canada still looks quite tempting. But these "10 Reasons Not to Move to Canada" are rather convincing, especially the last two;

9. Americans are Not All Yahoos. Although I wouldn't attempt to convince a Frenchman of it right now, many surveys indicate that Americans are more internationalist than the election results suggest. In a September poll by the University of Maryland, majorities of Bush supporters expressed support for multilateral approaches to security, including the United States being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (68%), the International Criminal Court (75%), the treaty banning land mines (66%), and the Kyoto Treaty on climate change (54%). The problem is that most of these Bush supporters weren't aware that Bush opposed these positions. Stay and help turn progressive instincts into political power.

10. Winter. Average January temperature in Ottawa: 12.2°F.
I lived in Wisconsin for a few years. Sorry, but I'll pass on an average of 12 degrees. Who knows, maybe if I stick around the feds will provide me free accomodations in an even warmer setting than New Jersey; I hear Gitmo is pretty balmy.

There's one other item from that list worth noting; #6, Barack Obama. Look at this article; Audacious and Hopeful. Notice the terms the author uses to describe this new Senator from Illinois;

...Obama demonstrates how a progressive politician can redefine mainstream political symbols to expand support for liberal policies and politicians rather than engage in creeping capitulation to the right...

...he has only modestly tempered his progressive record—including early opposition to the war in Iraq—in a bid for the center. Instead, he has crafted a political message that articulates progressive goals in ways that connect with a wider audience. It is a muted, oblique populism, wrapped in red, white and blue bunting...

...Obama also succeeds because he places his progressive goals within a context that expands support, not just rallies true believers. His unlikely candidacy, he told the Danville audience, is rooted in his belief that “there’s a fundamental decency to the American people that can’t be denied. If I could tap into that, my election couldn’t be denied.” But he also taps into the deep-seated American belief, despite widespread ideological conservativism, that even limited government can and should solve social problems...

...Conventional wisdom says that voters want to look forward to better days. But few politicians have as effectively evoked the “audacity of hope,” as Obama felicitously expressed it...Hope should be the essence of a progressive politics, but too often the message of the left is mainly about how awful things are—jobs lost, inequality growing, casualties mounting from a fraudulent war...
Am I being too much of an optimist to say that this kind of message is our hope for the future?

In the meantime, life goes on. When the George Lakoff books arrive, I'll say a bit about them. We do have work to do, but I suspect that much of that work isn't really about the big ideas or national campaigns. Card recently left a comment that needs to be liberated from haloscan's little box;

I have a feeling that unification happens not when we articulate our expectations of others (and judge them hence), but when we articulate expectations for ourselves. It happens when I hold the door open for the person behind me, and when I smile at someone who looks like they're having a bad day, and when I let someone go in front of me in a line or on the road. It happens when I choose to see the goodness and possibility in others, instead of calling them stupid or ignorant or evil. We're all made of both anyway. Can't it be enough that, at the end of the day, I can bask in knowing I helped someone smile? Do I have to change the whole political system?

When I look at it that way, as starting with me, it all becomes so easy, and so possible.
Those are good words that I needed to hear today. Thanks, Card.


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