It's fitting that Halloween and Election Day are only a few days apart. Both days use the iconography of fear to help gain treats and both leave a sort of sickening aftertaste.
The Republicans definitely don't deserve to win this election season but it's clear that the Democrats absolutely deserve to lose. The fact that the GOP is poised to win the House and will clean the Democrats clock in the Governor's races should be a big, fat warning to the Democrats that they have screwed up badly and should try to stand for something that people actually want to vote for. Instead, Democratic leaders want to blame the base for apathy.
Not voting can be apathetic and cynical but so can voting. For many of us, the best option seems to be to not play in the rigged game. Yes, yes, I've heard the clichés -- if you don't vote you can't complain and all that other nonsense. Truth is, voting is just one form of political action. Writing and speaking against a corrupt system is another one. Running for office is another. Protests are another.
The Democrats and the Republicans want to point fingers at each other and hope you don't see the real systemic problems that neither party actually wants to fix.
When Barack Obama was elected there was a moment there were it seemed like the Democrats might actually stand for something and buld long term political success. Obama won because he was different and not part of the same tired political machine that people like McCain and Hillary Clinton both represented. He vowed reform of the lobbying system that has kept real change from happening.
As soon as the election was over, however, it became clear that we might as well have elected another corporate friendly Clinton. Obama packed the White House with some of the worst remnants of the Clinton administration and has fought to preserve the Clinton legacy on things like the Defense of Marriage act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The corporations and big banks could breathe a sigh of relief...and start bankrolling Republicans for the next election cycle.
Now all the Democrats have left to sell themselves is fear. They can't or won't run on their record of accomplishments. They know they Obama hasn't lived up to his promise and that's largely the fault of Democrats. So, they pull out the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt - scare tactics. The fund raising emails popping into my email inbox multiple times a day are almost 100% fear.
Forget whether it's right or wrong - fear is bad choice of tactics for the Democratic party. Yes, fear is the Republican's primary tactic have but there's a reason that Democratic voters aren't Republicans voters.
Take common sense issues like gay rights or marijuana legalization and look at the nature of the arguments against them; all fear. Tha's no accident -- it's the way it HAS to be. When you're arguing against things that are natural, that's the only real rhetorical tactic.
"Whoa! That dude loves another dude and wants to spend his life with him? Ummm, that will cause a moral slide and destroy military cohesion!"
"Hey! An adult wants to chill out and smoke that plant that nobody has ever overdosed on? Errr, that will lead to a moral slide and harm our children!"
And sadly - those ARE the Democratic positions on those two issues.
Sure, the Democrats don't have quite the same moralistic oomph behind their stupid because they generally haven't been able to completely blot out the thinking part of their brains, but their weak tea inability to just tell the damn truth on these fake 'issues' doesn't win elections. People aren't impressed by Democratic lameness. It's just contradictory, embarrassing and infuriating to people that know better -like that pesky, supposedly apathetic Democratic base.
When it comes to the kitchen table economic and military issues, the Democrats don't fare any better. They suck at the same corporate teat as their supposed political rivals and we all know it. Both parties want to prolong an unwindable war and we all know that, too. Even the people defending voting for the Democrats on this turn of the wheel defend it as' pragmatic', as though choosing to be stabbed in the gut is the pragmatic alternative to choosing to be shot in the head.
By adopting fear as their only tactic, the Democratic Party is helping to dumb down the electorate from the left. It's a pathetic, short term strategy that doesn't even work and ultimately helps the GOP because the system that we have benefits big business and that's the natural ally of the big government conservatives that run the Republican party.
Don't want Republicans to win the White House in 2012? Me, neither.
But if fear is all we've got to keep the Grand Old Party and the brand new Tea Party at bay, then Obama is going down as a one term President. If you're really happy with the Democrats, then by all means vote for them. If you are decidedly NOT happy with them, then don't reward them.
If you want something better from the Democrats, demand it and withhold both your vote and your contributions until you get it. That's the only language politicians speak and until we learn to see beyond their 'get out the vote' marketing spin and tell them why we're staying home, we'll keep getting the same crappy political system we have.