Oh, I Do So Love Rebecca Solnit…

Sharon September 28th, 2012

ay it, sister!

O rancid sector of the far left, please stop your grousing! Compared to you, Eeyore sounds like a Teletubby. If I gave you a pony, you would not only be furious that not everyone has a pony, but you would pick on the pony for not being radical enough until it wept big, sad, hot pony tears. Because what we’re talking about here is not an analysis, a strategy, or a cosmology, but an attitude, and one that is poisoning us. Not just me, but you, us, and our possibilities.

Read the whole thing, and read it now. Then go back and read it a couple of more time.  More:

I don’t love electoral politics, particularly the national variety. I generally find such elections depressing and look for real hope to the people-powered movements around the globe and subtler social and imaginative shifts toward more compassion and more creativity. Still, every four years we are asked if we want to have our foot trod upon or sawed off at the ankle without anesthetic. The usual reply on the left is that there’s no difference between the two experiences and they prefer that Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure. Now, the Che pedicure is not actually one of the available options, though surely in heaven we will all have our toenails painted camo green by El Jefe.

I don’t mean to be rude, or anything, but I’m with her here.  Am I disappointed in President Obama?  Umm…of course.  Would I have been disappointed in anyone that actually got elected?  Umm…of course.  Does that mean he’s not a hell of a lot better than George W. Bush by my lights?  Yes.  It amazes me how fast people forget that the lesser of two evils is actually usefully LESSER.

Ultimately, I don’t hold out a ton of hope for national politics, but I will say this – I think that there are a lot of things that national politics could do to make the quality of people’s life in an era of decline a lot better.  Taking care of people is better than not taking care of people.  Making sure they have food is better than not.  And when we have better, it is worth saying so – while we still keep our eyes on the ball of what sucks.

Say it, Rebecca!


10 Responses to “Oh, I Do So Love Rebecca Solnit…”

  1. Chris says:

    Ah…The old “I refuse to Vote for the lesser of two evils” cop out.

    My answer is usually something like
    “Yes, I’m going to vote for less evil. Given the choice between more evil and less evil, I choose less.”

  2. Nathan Claus says:

    Equating people who will not vote for Obama again with crybaby losers is also a divisive tactic. Everyone can hurl insults at one another (“You are like a battered wife!” vs. “No, you are just being Eeyore”) which definitely feels good during an election year, but I think their is legitimate debate to be had and no one has the moral high ground. It’s a complicated decision, and I have respect for people doing their best to make decisions consonant with good judgement.

    At a time when Dwight Eisenhower would be considered a revolutionary socialist, I think the whole idea of national politics is a little scary.

  3. Stephen B. says:

    I have to agree with you and Rebecca, but living with a government and president that oversees people flying robotic aircraft from a comfy office building 7000 miles away from the killing, and then going home to their families, after they’ve killed another family, all because possibly, the neighbor of that family had the nerve to stand up to the most militaristic, imperialistic country the world has ever known, that is trying to pry open the murdered folk’s country for oil or live with a president that is as happy to undo Constitutional protections against indefinite detainment (last winter’s NDAA signing) as his opposition is supposed to be guilty of, is pretty damn hard.

  4. JRB says:

    I have to agree with Stephen B. here. That a former Con Law professor should sign the NDAA — that’s when he lost my vote. I think I could possibly convinced back to the fold, but it’s unlikely. Of all the things the president actually has control over, NDAA was one, and he was wrong. And not wrong by only a little bit.

  5. Sharon Astyk says:

    Stephen, I agree with you entirely about NDAA, on the other hand I’ve never had a president that wasn’t a war criminal and I don’t think I ever will. That’s the definition of the job in the US. I don’t consider my vote an affirmation of the essential goodness of the person in question, merely a vote for the war criminal I think will commit fewer and less appalling war crimes.


  6. Somewhere in Aharon Astyk’s voluminous weblog archive is a splendid response to using “not being good at” some sustainable practical work as an excuse to not do it. She points out that lots of people have to make their living doing things they might not be particularly good at, due to their class position. I’d like to read this again and refer other people to it. Can anyone guide me to it?

  7. Bill, here ya go:


    Sharon, I wonder what your take on voting for third parties is. I’ve been doing it for some time and am still not sure what my own take on it amounts to. I hate the charade we go through every four years in this country and would much prefer to ignore the whole shebang. But I cannot bring myself *not* to exercise a political right that was so hard won, for me as a woman, in particular. I’m leaning towards voting for the Green party candidate this time around, since my beliefs and values line up with hers better than with either of the men who have a chance at winning. Would value hearing your comments if you’re so inclined.

  8. Amy says:

    I guess that I’m pragmatic by nature, because I never expect that I’m going to like everything “my” candidate does. I just hope that s/he will make – in aggregate – better choices than the other candidate.

    To those of you who feel that you’re taking the moral high ground by not voting for Obama: When the Executive, both branches of the Legislative, and – for all intents and purposes – the Judicial arms of our government are all in the hands of far right extremists, what precisely do you think will happen? Is feeling morally “pure” really more important to you than your rights as a citizen? Will you truely feel no responsibility as you watch our country be gutted and your civil liberties vanish before your eyes?

    You know, I doubt that the little boy with his finger in the dyke was a perfect angel. He was probably pretty naughty sometimes. He may have even been a right little bastard. But would you really demand that he take his finger out and step aside because he wasn’t a good enough boy?

  9. Denise Roth says:

    My gosh…I am not understanding even 1/2 of this conversation, but I get the drift it comes down to choosing Obama or Romney; left or right. Anyone willing to support partial birth abortion during the 9th month of pregnancy is more, or at least equally, criminallly indicted than a “war criminal” as former & present president(s) have been referred to in this dialogue. Have any of those participating in this conversation who support our current president’s human social policies ever witnessed or watched a film of this procedure. I love this column, and agree with 99% of Sharon’s writing. However, I consider killing & dismemberment of the innocent equally agregious to the title of war criminal. If we are worried about the casualities of war (and we are), the planet earth, etc., should we not also be worried about society’s support of such an abomination.

  10. Dorothy says:

    I have to agree with Sharon and Amy (well said, btw)… I certainly am not thrilled with some of Obama’s actions, and throwing Single Payer under the bus, and the NDAA certainly do top the list of disappointments, but the choice now is so stark that I too have voted for Obama. If nothing else, we might gain a little time and space for de-volution…

    Denise – third trimester terminations are ENTIRELY severe medical necessity and a horror for those who must deal with them. WHY would ANYone further demonize and terrorize women who have to deal with that? THAT, to me, is appallingly inhumane and cruel.

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