Please, Do Allow Yourself Some Hope

Longtime readers of this blog know that I think the Chron’s Jon Carroll is the finest newspaper columnist in the land. So I was bummed this morning to read Carroll’s latest, in which he returns from vacation only to pour cold water all over those of us who feel uplifted by the results of this week’s election. “Nothing has changed,” he writes: “Same president, same policies, same corruption, same continuing embarrassments.”

Well, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Sorry. “First, a lot of those losing Republican incumbents will immediately move down K Street and become lobbyists,” Carroll says. “They will make substantially more money, and they will get to do essentially the same job: they will write the laws that govern our nation.” I tell you, they may try, but they’re going to be fighting a hard uphill battle. Nancy Pelosi has the destruction of the Republicans’ K Street Machine very much in mind. Carroll also suggests global warming will still be treated as “alarmist nonsense.” I don’t think so, not since Barbara Boxer now gets to define Congress’s agenda in this matter.

Only toward the end of his column does Carroll note that the new Democratic majority might do some good, in the form of hearings. On this point, he’s right. If you think that the confirmation hearings for the new Secretary of Defense aren’t going to be a wide-open, frank, public discussion about the nature of this horrible war we’re mired in, I think you’re in for a shock. See, Truth is on the Democrats’ side, and they seem to have finally woken up and noticed. The American people seem to have noticed, too. Truth, it turns out, is still a very, very powerful thing.

I can understand cynicism. I even understand the argument that the two political parties we have in this country really aren’t all that different. You can quit preaching that; I’ve heard it all before, and I even voted for fucking Ralph Nader. (Twice.) The fact of the matter is, that viewpoint is a gross oversimplification that people use to resign themselves to feelings of powerlessness. The lesson of this past week is that while our political system may not be perfect, while it may be slow-moving, it does still work: it does still allow the people of this country to take the reins and pull up, sharply.

If you still think that nothing has changed this week, I have two suggestions. First, go read what Mark Morford has to say about all this—he’s found at least eleven concrete reasons to rejoice. And if that doesn’t convince you, well, I suggest one thing: patience. I firmly believe it’s only a matter of time (and less time than you think) before it’s patently obvious that change is in the air.