Damn Dems

Part whatever in an ongoing series.

Greg at The Talent Show takes a lookat the 5 ½ Democrats up for reelection who voted for the torture bill. I’ll just give you a taste:

Graduating from the ranks of "Who's the hell is that guy?" is Thomas Carper of Delaware, who's in a tough reelection battle against Republican Jan Ting. How tough? Well, with little more than a month before election day, he's only got a 40-point lead over his challenger. That must explain why he was so quick to jump on the anti-habeas corpus bandwagon. Those wedge issues can be a bitch.
Uh huh. Who couldn’t forgive someone for saving his ass by selling out America in such a tight race, eh? Cripes.

Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald argues (and Maha agrees) that we still need to support the Damn Dems, because taking over at least one House of Congress is really our only conceivable option to “restore the rule of law to our country and to put an immediate end to the unlimited reign of the increasingly sociopathic Bush movement.”

I found his argument regarding the Supreme Court most compelling: “One of the five pro-Constitution Justices, John Paul Stevens, is 86 years old. If George Bush has free reign to replace Stevens, it will mean that the Supreme Court will be composed of a very young five-Justice majority of absolute worshippers of Executive Power—Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and New Justice—which will control the Court and endorse unlimited executive abuses for decades to come.”

That said, I must frankly admit that, in the wake of the stunning bipartisan passage of this historical and devastating legislation, I am feeling very torn between the dispassionate reasonableness such pragmatism demands and the passion of my own beliefs, which has left me reeling at the betrayal by the Dems who voted for this legislation and at the entire party who managed only to unite in their decision to stretch out and wait during the run-up to this vote—united in utter silence, until the very last moment, once the charade of Republican dissent had yielded nothing (again). Beautifully unanimous in their decision to do precisely nothing before the vote, and fractured during it, they should be truly, deeply ashamed of themselves, and there’s a part of me (a big part) that feels I would betray my own principles, that I would be ashamed of myself, to support them in the future, no matter how practical, how logical, how reasonable it may be.

There are plenty of people who use the excuse that no party really represents their interests to justify a lack of political participation, but many of these people just don’t care about politics, anyway. I do. I desperately want to vote for people I admire, people I respect. I want my vote to be for someone specific, rather than against an agenda. I want to proud of my vote. I want to vote my principles.

All I know today is that it is not the day to make my decision. I need distance and time from this moment to reflect on what it means to me to support or not support the Democrats—which, in my state, means not supporting anyone at all this election. I need to consider whether stubbornly holding onto my principles necessitates not supporting the Democrats, and, if it does, whether doing so is really worth it. Or whether a country that forces a choice between its salvation and my integrity even has a place for me in it anymore.

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