Being born and raised in Wisconsin, I had that Midwestern civic-mindedness drilled into me from a pretty early age. But now our sad, sorry political system has brought me to the point where I am ready to throw in the towel and become a permanent non-voter.
When I first learned about Peak Oil and Gas more than a decade ago, I held out hope that the Democratic Party could be vehicle for mitigating the worst vicissitudes of the coming decline and eventual collapse of industrial civilization. Looking back, that seems terribly naive, but sometimes one must try to work with what one has. After Prez Obama-sama turned out to be about anything but "hope and change", I had pretty much arrived at that point by 2010, so I sat out that election. Then came Scott Walker and his campaign to strip the state-worker unions of most of their collective bargaining ability. It was truly shocking to see how fiercely proud the right had become of being so completely full of ignorance and hate. The resulting demonstrations in Madison in early 2011 breathed new life into my support for the Democratic Party. But the party squandered all that energy and enthusiasm that came its way by putting up the guy who lost the original election in the recall race against Walker. Don't get me wrong. Barrett is a good man and he was a way better choice than that popinjay Kathleen Falk, and I would have liked to have seen him win. But by the start of February of 2012, I had a feeling that he wouldn't, and that feeling was correct. But I knew my home state, and I was pretty sure that old-fashioned, straight-laced Wisconsin didn't want to recall an official who wasn't guilty of any high crimes or misdemeanors that had been substantively proven.
In the time that has passed between election 2010 and now, I really have to say that the co-dependent hanging on and self-delusion of the Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers has been bringing me steadily closer rather than further away from throwing in the towel for good. Now I'm at the point where I mostly detest Scott Walker for getting people so riled up that I decided to go back to the fountain a few more times for more helpings of that Kool-Aid. If holding on to false hope (which is a sign of courage and integrity exactly how?) is what gets them through the night, then fine, since whatever is likely to happen will happen regardless of what anybody does. But straw-man-ing the holy crap out of realists who call see things as they see them on their own blogs, is truly the behavior of desperate people who see their carefully-constructed fantasy-world crumbling all around them and consequently have to lash out at those who tell them "This is what I said would happen." It's really quite pathetic and does nothing to make me want to take up the Kool-Aid pitcher yet again.
I remember how eloquent these Democratic bloggers were in heaping well-deserved scorn upon the Bush Administration for its war and civic crimes. But I also remember that when the Obama Administration perpetuated and extended those errors, we camp followers who questioned this found ourselves excoriated as if we were those same war criminals and accused of somehow being in league with them by whom we were forced to realize were mere shills and co-dependent Kool-Aid drinkers. It appeared that ideals were only useful to some people when they served partisan goals. And couching it all in American gunpoint-optimism certainly didn't make it anything other than cynical tribalism. But such is what comes of what Archdruid John Michael Greer calls "knowing only one story", or believing in a single mythic narrative that supposedly explains everything about the world, particularly when this single story prominently involves one kind of demonology or another.
And so in 2014 with Governor Walker up for re-election, our complacent, craven, ignorant, and politically incompetent Wisconsin Democratic Party is putting up a political hack named Mary Burke up against Walker. She is an establishment Democrat not well-suited to win against Walker, and this is the choice the chief politicos of the Wisconsin Democratic Party is imposing on their voters, forget about any primary. Her political experience consists solely of being an appointee of Governor Doyle's administration who was in the post for a very short time, and this position was clearly a reward for a big campaign donation. (This is a standard practice in state-level politics.) Oh yeah, I guess she also had a seat on the Madison school-board that she essentially bought. Don't get me wrong, I made a decision three years ago that I was going to be "in for a penny, in for a pound" against Scott Walker, so I will vote in one more election. But if Mary Burke loses, that will be it for me because I have had it with playing Charlie Brown to the Democratic Party's Lucy with the football.
Another beef I have with the Democratic Party is Obamacare. While the roll-out is less of a clusterfuck than it was six months ago, it's not really making health insurance affordable for working-class people. The only thing Obamacare is going to mean for a lot of working people is a four-hundred dollar hit on their 2014 taxes that will make their situation worse, not better. Of course, since I am voting in the upcoming election regardless, Obamacare will have a total of almost three years to prove me wrong. But somehow, I don't think it will, because these days, I usually end up being right about these things. And the righter you are, the more shit you get for it.
And if the Democrats are doing such a bang-up job in nominating hacks such as Mary Burke and with Obamacare, then why are millenials planning on mostly staying away from the polls this November, huh? Keep in mind that the twenty-somethings was the only group that Barrett won in the recall election that he lost, so this is the group upon which Democratic victories largely depend now. But for some reason, they are not impressed with what they see. I would remind the reader of economist Thomas Pikkety's exhaustive academic study that reveals that the average person has almost no say, short of shouting into the wind (as I am doing with this very blog), in what is ultimately decided in the centers of power in the USA.
Those disillusioned millenials are certainly aware of that without any help from Mr. Pikkety. But rather than allow myself to be trapped in a false dichotomy of false hope or despair, I would submit that there is a third option. This option is calm acceptance of the way things are and what is likely to happen, and the cultivation of spiritual growth in change in the face of a society that has almost entirely forgotten what those things even are. If I can do it, anybody can do it. :-)