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Erica Jong

Erica Jong

Posted: March 22, 2008 08:59 AM

Why Am I So Afraid


Why am I so afraid that the Democratic Party is shooting itself in the foot?

The Dems are far from perfect--in any time--but here we are in what has to be a Democratic year and it looks again like we are self-destructing.

We have two great candidates--one a hard working, never give up eager beaver, and one an inspiring, heart-leapingly brilliant stallion. Both have their merits. Both care for what Democrats are best at caring for--working people, children's and women's rights, financial realism.

Both acknowledge the health care crisis, the environmental depredations of the GOP, the huge lurking menace of a war that costs 12 billion dollars a day and gives us nothing--unless we are war profiteers or blow-yourself-up fundamentalists. Both are poised to take back the country from the plutocrats and their endless tax cuts for each other.

And yet we have had great candidates before--think Al Gore--and lost to the low-level conniving, smearing and swift boating of the GOP (Grandiose Old Plutocrats).

The GOP stands for nothing today but looting the national treasury for the rich. George Dubya Bush once addressed them as the "haves and have mores"--clearly he is one of them--but maybe he will have less now that the Carlyle Group is running out of money. Maybe he'll have a little rachmones for the have-less and have-nots, though I doubt it.

If anyone in Washington read history, they'd understand that any empire that spends more in war than on its people eventually goes down in flames. The Persians, Greeks and Romans proved it--see Herodotus--and the British, French, Belgians, Dutch and Germans proved it all over again in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But does anyone care?

Apparently not. It's a rule of history that when an empire gorges on guns and forgets butter, that empire winds up on the scrap heap of history.

Dubya could have learned this at Yale had he not been drunk or stoned all the time and figuring out ways to avoid going to 'Nam.

But he doesn't know and doesn't care. He thinks, "The surge is working." Dick Cheney and Condi Rice tell him so. And now McCain echoes them. And our idiot corporate press--which has no time to read or think or dig for information (too busy getting pix of Kristen-Alexandra's tattoos) doesn't give a shit either. Leave that to the book-writers. That's safe enough since Americans don't read--especially not big thick books about history.

Meanwhile our two clever candidates have been sucked into the rigors of campaigning. They're tired. Dog-tired. The stallion makes heart-stopping speeches. And the beaver just beavers along. remembering how she won over upstate New York when everyone called that impossible. And called her a carpetbagger. And the stallion is drunk on his own rhetoric. Why not? It's great rhetoric.

We need beavers and we need stallions. Beavers get the work done. Stallions inspire us. And they both have limitations. Stallions have fragile legs (think Barbaro). And beavers are nothing without their teeth.

It's not a matter of choosing between inspiration and hard work. We need both. We need to be inspired and then we need those who will never give up till they execute the inspiration.

Any fool knows that. The Democratic Party ought to know it too. And the sooner they bring the beaver and the stallion together, the better off we'll all be. There is no choice here. There ought to be no ego, no genderizing and no racializing.

Americans are neither black nor white. We are all as mixed as Brazilians. We are a honey-colored race--with Africans, Europeans, Asians and Native Americans intermingled in our DNA. That's the glory of America. If Dick Cheney is genetically related to Barack Obama, what more do we need to know? DNA only goes so far politically.

So let's stop talking about race and gender and let the beaver and the stallion both serve our country--in their own inimitable ways.