2016? Whenever I have to face something I don't enjoy ( major dental or medical treatment for example) I send my mind well ahead to when it'll all be over, and concentrate on that. Perhaps concentrating on future possibilities now would serve to lighten our darkening skies a little.
I read a decent piece by Sean McElwee in this vein yesterday at Salon, with some interesting comments attached:
"To defeat the Tea Party, the left needs bolder leader than Hillary
The right's tactics won't change. Democrats need a 2016 candidate who fights differently than Clinton and Obama."
Whether Hillary Clinton will run for the presidency in 2016 isn't clear, but let's say she will. Would she be the best way forward for the "left"? I use the word "left" with caution, because really and truly there is no representative of the true left in the USA - such a person is not allowed to rise. If one were to appear on the scene he/she would be put down rapidly, either by ridicule or something more destructive. I shall have to curb my enthusiasm for true leftists and third parties in 2016, while still scanning the horizon anxiously for the rise of one of them. Bearing all that in mind then, would Hillary be the best we could hope for as next President? I must not forget that the president is only one piece of the picture. More truly left-leaning and outspoken congress people would be an even more important step to take at election time - but where are such people? Perhaps a few more of them will appear in 2014 and 2016, emboldened by the currently wretched job incumbents are doing.
One commenter to the linked piece pointed out that progress towards the left, however much many of us wish for it, has to be very, very gradual, in order to avoid dangerous backlash from the extreme rightist and/or dominionist factions. I agree, reluctantly. Hillary does fill that requirement. From what I've read about her early years, she did seem, then, to be of the true left. Her experiences with "the guys behind the curtain" must have dampened her leftist ardour in maturity. She does know how to play the game, must have learned many lessons from Bill. How to play the game is a valuable skill to have, in the circumstances. The skill: an ability to please "the guys behind the curtain" while still helping the rest of us, and the nation, as much as possible. Maybe this would be further lesser evilism, but if, for the time being, it's all we can have....what else is there, other than to keep scanning the horizon for signs of change?
The argument I see often, that "the US isn't really a leftist country at heart", doesn't ring true. Look what happened when candidate Barack Obama presented his original promises of hope and change, leftist proposals all the way from him - then: fighting Wall Street, making government more open and transparent, healthcare legislation with a public option, closing Gitmo, and more. You remember all those good promises? The people ate them up, ravenously, and voted him in. Then what happened? His devoted followers still insist that he has been thwarted at every turn by an intransigent congress. Others consider he was a centrist or mild conservative from the start, someone wily enough to know how to play the base sufficiently well to get into the White House. History will decide which was the true face of Barack Obama. What his original triumphant win did prove is that the USA truly wants to be the more left-leaning nation it is not presently allowed to be.
Names such as Elizabeth Warren, are being thrown around as an alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democrats in 2016. I think Ms Warren is too new to the game, but in time she could prove to be the nation's saviour. 2020? 2024? I'd like to see Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders in positions of some power, if not president, with considerably more national influence - and Dennis Kucinich of course. It's not likely to happen in my lifetime though, maybe not even in theirs.
Well....that didn't turn out to be a particularly sky-lightening exercise after all. Hmmmm. I shall have to take the following to heart:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
~ Bruce Lee