THE BLOG
11/19/2006 10:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Change, Victory and Discourse

Hearty congratulations to everyone who voted, who got out the vote, who educated themselves and others on the issues and candidates, who gave money, who worked to protect the vote. That last step was a crucial one this time around. And it worked. Election Defense Alliance statisticians, based on their exit polling, have found much evidence of e-voting manipulation. Many theorize that the logarithms generated by "The Math" (Karl Rove's NPR quote), of "complex equations" at the precinct level, were underestimates implemented, of necessity, several weeks before the election. ( For full story, see www.electiondefensealliance.org.) Election protectors, statisticians and computer scientists had concluded, by studying past e-voting "glitches" and shifting, that only a landslide could overcome suspected "fixes." With adamance, they won the argument the argument between Democrats who feared that discussing the reality of machine fraud would discourage Democratic vote and those who knew that only the truth would energize the required landslide that was needed to overwhelm "The Math."

Democrats will have many more arguments. And they will bear fruit. Looking back, I suppose it was helpful that the media largely ignored the early portion of the machie-fraud discussion; it allowed the discourse to be frank and factual, not based on spin or ideological loyalty. But they are not ignoring our post-victory party arguments and in fact, they're gleefully generating some that would otherwise not exist.

This week, Nancy Pelosi's daughter Christine circulated a push-poll from CapitolNews.org to the Democratic base. The question Do you think it harms the Democrats that Nancy Pelosi backed John Murtha for majority leader? was showing an early response (who responds to CapitolNews polls, generally?) of a big majority "Yes." After grassroots circulation, the poll showed 90% No, 10% Yes.

Change is terrifying for people who feel immune to it by virtue of status, divine appointment, or imagined irreplaceability. For them, change is what they're used to directing for others to endure. But all humans change. Development is our life. Transition, in labor, is the most painful time. Without change there's no growth.

When things have been as terrible, for as many people, as they've been under this Administration that never attracted a majority vote in the first place, change is a welcome relief. On Election Day Americans summoned changed --demanded it. How much change is a reasonable question that is being distorted by a habitual left-right conflict narrative that our media developed during the reign of the war profiteers whose ad revenues support them and who, in some cases, own their outlets. The question "Will the Democrats be harmed?" betrays, linguistically, an expectation - maybe a wish - that harm will be the Democrats' punishment for an undeserved, unexpected, unsustainable victory. The left-right conflict narrative always includes vengeance (punishment) in its cycle of entertainment; this has damaged the nation in far more ways than a rise in incivility, which is the damage the pundits who generate it pretend to rue. This narrative has bankrupted us through fraud, confusion and distraction. We the people agree with each other far more than the media reflect. So do Democrats agree far more; they'll do just fine. Yes, there will be conflict. Progressive Democrats of America, of which I'm chair, pushes the envelope, on purpose, for progress. Friction is necessary for motion, labor necessary for birth. But violence and the wallowing in vengeful conflict that has characterized our national discourse and international policy of Endless (and Fruitless) War is not the only mode of expression and resolution available. In fact, violence begets violence - as we have seen - and leaves no room or time for peace and other expressions of conflict and growth.

Television has few authentic progressive voices. On radio, there is the wonderful Air America, a fledgling media entity being met with a corporate, right-wing strategy based on Grover Norquist's approach to big government: starve it until it's small enough to drown in the bathtub. There is a corporate boycott on sponsorship - no-one seems to notice that racketeering suppression of free speech in America -- and local advertisers are discouraged by local community power structures not to be heard on its broadcasts, resulting in cancellation in markets where it was gaining popularity, like Chattanooga, TN. Meanwhile, I called Air America advertiser COIT to clean my drapes and my air ducts last week, and they told me they'd gotten a huge response to the ads, which promise a 40% discount and have resulted in a huge spike in business for them.

Get a clue, marketplace America! Progressives make money and spend money on businesses that meet needs instead of kill people! The future is in meeting needs - unto the bourgeois business of cleaning the drapes! -- not spewing death and destruction with kickbacks.

Let's resist the residual, frightened status quo. Call out the media and the anchorpeople and reporters and producers and editors who mischaracterize us, their fellow citizens, and particularly those of us from many spheres of influence who helped the resurgent victory of the Democratic party. To center our thoughts, I'm recommending Gene Sharp's Waging Nonviolent Struggle; 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (available on Amazon used, and list price $14.95 in paperback on extendinghorizons.com). The title really sounds like a tome gathering dust from college days, one you'd never actually READ - but in fact it's an encyclopedia of helpfulness from the pre-eminent secular theorist of nonviolence. From our neighborhoods and communities to Capitol Hill, to the U.N. to the Middle East, to Central Africa, we newly-empowered American citizens are now engaged in shaping a future of hope for our country and our world. To quote Gene Sharp from his Author's Preface: "It is hoped that Waging Nonviolent Struggle will be useful to diverse individuals and groups that seek more knowledge and understanding of this alternative to both passivity and violence...This is especially true of the role of strategic planning in increasing its effectiveness." Strategic planning is politics - and I would submit that progressive politics is strategic planning for nonviolent conflict. Have at it!