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Disclaimer: This post isn't directed towards any specific person.  Trust me, I've been hearing this from just about everybody.

A year ago liberal activists were in high spirits.  We had just taken back the US Congress from 12 years of Republicon rule and were looking forward to a new period of peace, prosperity, and opposition to the Bush administration.  In Michigan, we helped reelected Governor Granholm, took back the State House, and made gains in the State Senate.  The Republicons were hurting so bad that Michigan Liberal taunted Saul Anuzis with an endorsement for reelection to chair of the MIGOP.  We were filled with hope, and life was good.

But since then we've seen a whole lot of things happen that have dampened our spirits.  Not just on the blogosphere, but throughout the entire liberal activist community.

We found out that even with the so-called lobbying reform being done in DC, the politicians were still selling legislative votes to the highest bidder.  Iraq is still waging with no end in sight.  Bin Laden is still laughing at us from a cave somewhere.  The economy still sucks and is bound to get worse.  Bush has gotten just about everything he's wanted from the new Congress, and there's no real oversight being done to stop him.  Our elected Democrats are actually fighting against Bush impeachment.

We also have the primary season, in which our fellow rank-and-file Democrats are using right-wing talking points to bash the Democratic candidates who they don't want for the nomination for the Presidency.  And God forbid you pick the guy they're not backing.

And we have people we once called friends turning on us for no good reason.

Some of us have even had our lives threatened.

On top of all that, we have personal issues that get in the way of our desire to fight.

All of this has led to a massive burnout on the part of liberal activists.  What was once a coalition of bright-eyed true believers has now become a group of cynics who wonder why they're even bothering to fight.  And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in this group of new cynics.

I don't know what advice to give you to bring back the desire to fight.  If I did, I'd be doing it.  But I will tell you this:  You're needed.

The cavalry isn't coming.  You are the cavalry.  You are the last best hope America has from turning into a conservative shithole ruled by corporate greed and legalized slavery.  Without you, any hopes of undoing the clusterfuck brought about by GWB will not only be lost, but we'll see the end of the New Deal, a privatized government that answers to nobody, sickness caused by pollutants in our air and water, and sales taxes up that drive everyone to the poorhouse.  The rich will continue to get richer.  You, however, will continue to be broke.

We have a long fight ahead of us, and it's not going to be easy.  If it were easy everyone would be doing it.  Apathy is easy, and it's why so many people have it.  

We're going to be fighting for years. not just against Repugs, but against DINOs as well.  We'll have to work tirelessly to get them kicked out of office.  We have to be bugging our elected officials to do the right thing until they finally cave to us (for a change).

If it helps, think of all the things that had to happen for you to be apart of the freedom that America has today.  Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't the first black civil rights leader.  Before him years passed of civil rights activists fighting and dying to make sure that their fellow black citizens would be treated the same as white citizens.  Alice Paul had to be force-fed after starting a hunger strike in prison before women would be allowed to vote.  Abbey Hoffman was targeted by the FBI for protesting the Vietnam War.  Gay people rioted in New York before people would even treat them as human beings.  There are countless others, and almost all of them were labelled by the right as communists.  But they all fought when it seemed that all of America was against them, and our country is better for it.  Democracy is stronger for it.

So keep fighting.  We need you.  America needs you.

Crossposted at every blog that has me as a member

Originally posted to djtyg on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:17 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  For years I"ve supported the notion of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kidspeak, penguins4peace, djtyg

    term limits on Congress.  A higher turnover rate might actually get people to accomplish the things they were elected for instead.  If you know you only have 12 years as Senator, you might be a lot more likely to try real hard to accomplish something during those 12 years.

    Flowers Bloom for my Ex - though Honeybees are pretty cool too.

    by Yoshi En Son on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:28:00 AM PST

  •  "I Can't Believe We Still Have to Protest (4+ / 0-)

    This Crap"


    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:34:51 AM PST

  •  You're right, DJ. This is a long fight. (4+ / 0-)

    It's a nine-inning game against the D.C. Insiders, and we're in the top of the second.

    John McCain's Straight Talk Express runs on fossil fuels.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:37:35 AM PST

  •  Grasshopper... (5+ / 0-)

    You do not have to burn out to enjoy life and be productive.

    You do need to challenge yourself but it should be your choice!

    You can achieve more than even you dreamed of, but you will have to freely change your paradigm, constantly.  You must learn, you must humbly accept each day's challenge.  This is the traditional allure of Jesus, but the true source is deeper even than that.

    I will tell you something.  I am not burned out.  But, as a consequence, there is a good chance that I would appear as a rube to you, who may be more politically savvy than others, such as me.

    But, in the universe of possibilities, you are one.  What lesson will you teach us?  What lesson can I teach you?

    LOL, I am in pretty heady spirits tonight!  But it feels right.  To me.  We shall see where this event ends.  Bon mot.

  •  Just so we don't get into any more ... (12+ / 0-)

    ...discussions about candidates as the Messiah, you might want to edit your spelling: It's cavalry, not calvary. (I'll give you a pass on the feelings that metaphor stirs among us Indians.)

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:41:50 AM PST

  •  Cynicism is the killer of hope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, Immigrant Punk

    Avoiding it is the key to not being too afflicted by burnout.

    The other part is feeling that your efforts are useless (I have often felt like that where I live; where the Dems hold power, but are corrupt).  

    You must try to find a fight that does give you hope. Maybe not presidential, but at a different point in the foodchain.

    And take a break for a little while if you need to.

  •  You're not getting any where because you are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikePhoenix, One Brave Kossack

    fighting the wrong fight.

    Sending supposed liberals to Kongress won't accomplish anything until the Constitution is changed so that K Street cannot co-opt them as soon as they get there.

    That is what happened to your last Kongress and it is what will happen this time around as well.

    The fight that needs to be fought is the fight to force Kongress to call an Article V Convention so that the people themselves can propose changes to the Constitution, that will negate the effects of K Street, negate the insidious effects of a hand picked Supreme Court, and make it possible for the people themselves - instead of a corrupt Kongress - to recall their elected officials when they stop doing the job they were hired to do.

    Go here to learn more about Article V

  •  That's part of why.... (3+ / 0-)

    the "take it all back" strategy can't be politics-only. This is where the "leaders" types need the "activists" types, they bring the energy necessary to sustain the long and burnout-prone process of systemic political change.

    Please remember that next time, those of you so inclined, before you start hating on, oh I dunno, impatient anti-war grannies and whatnot.

    Kisses! --IP

    "the people have the power to redeem the work of fools" --Patti Smith

    by Immigrant Punk on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:45:00 AM PST

  •  I hope for hope, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, djtyg, Wild Starchild

    but I've become a cynic/clear-eyed realist. I remember the sixties when we thought we could transform the world.

    The culture freed up a lot, there were improvements in civil rights--but as for politics and politicians--the more things change, the more they stay the same. The triangulating of the Clinton years didn't help.

    The politicians will throw us a few crumbs during primary and election season and then go back to doing what they always do--feathering their own nests. All we can do is vote for whatever candidate is the least corrupt and hope for the best.

    It's not the tragedies that kill us; it's the messes--Dorothy Parker

    by Libertaria on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 12:59:08 AM PST

  •  Keep fighing (4+ / 0-)

    We are in this together - quite literally - since we live in the same sad congressional district.

    I'm proud to know you as a friend.

    Keep swinging dj... We have to.

    "The truth is rarely pure and never simple." The Importance of Being Earnest, Act I, Oscar Wilde, 1895

    by Cordelia Lear on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 01:02:16 AM PST

  •  The "cavalry" is now on foot... (3+ / 0-)

    ...we've had our horses shot-out from under us by our own troops! I don't know where to begin. The beginning would be a good place to start.

    Why did we activists break our backs for so long in order to win back a majority(I'm not laughing), when it is THE REPUBS THAT APPEAR THE VICTORS IN 2006 AND STRONGER THAN EVER, so our leaders(and I use that term in the loosest possible definition as in reference to position of authority only--not in definitive results or legislative accomplishments--which is the MAIN reason why they refused to put impeachment on the table, NO?), could not only not carry-out the anti-war and progressive agenda, but instead choose to aid and abett Bush, crawling over themselves for the privilege of holding the coats of Mister Bush and his legions of neocons, while he continues to march unstoppable through our lines?

    And I wouldn't call the plum (or consolation prize) of the wrapping inside our greatest smack down, the capitulation over the timelines last year, of the often publicly lauded by Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, and Emanuel, the long over-due raising of the FMW, anything to write home about--28 states already having passed it while waiting for them to do what they should have done for 10 years, while they gave themselves THREE consecutive pay raises instead, and had to practically be threatened with a national strike before they acted! The working class meant little to them then, and it means little to them now!

    I feel devalued, used and betrayed, and I'm not the type of person who takes being devalued, used and betrayed very well.

    If they didn't want to keep their promises to us to end the war, restore the rule of law, or defend the Constitution, all they had to do was not show up for their swearing-in ceremony on January 4, 2007.

    I can only think of a handfull of those on our side who showed they were worthy of any of our continuing trust. I hate being used, as much as I hate being deceived and lied to!

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 01:07:22 AM PST

  •  I have not become cynical (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, Horsefeathers, Wild Starchild

    I have always BEEN cynical. It used to be a lot worse, years ago. I've just learned how to keep it in check, and harness it for what I think is some good. And part of that is using it to protect myself emotionally from the ups and downs that we were and are bound to go through as we try to take our country back. Sorry, this was never going to be quick and easy, and anyone who thought that it would be was naive and quite new to all this. They are they newly made cynics. But many of them will eventually come around to realizing that life has always had and always will have its cynical side, and that smart people accept this and find a way to live with and use it. In addition to using it to brace myself against the downs, I also use it as a sort of BS detector. If the cynic in me thinks that it's BS, it's probably BS. That way I know that it's a dead end, and to steer clear (e.g. the idea that Mukasey might be an improvement on Gonzo). Cynicism is inevitable. They key is what to do with it. If you allow it to take over you, it will destroy you. If you instead use it properly, it can be a powerful asset.

    I choose the latter. We're going to get through this. My optimistic side tells me that. But it won't be easy, quick or linear. My cynical side tells me that. See, I'm an optimistic cynic.

    I just changed my sig line again because some other bozo asked me to.

    by kovie on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 01:10:41 AM PST

  •  Your not burned out (4+ / 0-)

    or you wouldn't have posted this diary. Most likely you have made up you mind for whom you will vote or you have already voted. So, take a break and smell the roses.
    Mochi stops to smell the roses...

    "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" Wm. Shakespeare, "Macbeth"

    by TheMomCat on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 01:32:27 AM PST

  •  Liberalism is dead. Long live Progressivists! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I take issue with the use of the word liberal when applied to the sorts of things I do. I'm a small 'p' progressive and I'd very much like to be a large 'P' Progressive - a member of a new, more honest party.

    I'm not at all impressed with the Democrats. They are no better than the Republicans for the most part, and I believe we have their current squeaky clean image due to the differential prosecution from the politicized Bush Justice Department. We see complaints here about how this illegally took out party leaders, but never thanks for the removal of those who were just as sleazy as any Abramhoff Republican.

    Liberalism, at least to me, is fine ideals very often seriously disconnected from reality. When I'm not undercover as a homeless health care commando I've got another name here and another area of expertise. I'm forever faced with people who've got some fine theory of how to do this or that within my area of expertise, theories that simply aren't implementable, and they're all sorts of snippy when I point out the inevitable failure modes of their schemes.

    So, while I have some goals and values that are consistent those sorts of folks, I have to deal with bankers, lawyers, and policy makers to get my stuff done, and I do this more or less successfully. (Or at least I did until this health stuff snuck up on me eight months ago and pretty much wiped me out)

    The Republican party is dead, so dead we can begin making funeral arrangements even though there is a still a pulse. Its rank and file are religious fanatics who are going to do everything in their power to alienate any of the other traditional voters who made up that block. I'm one of those - fiscal conservative, foreign policy hawk, and I've had a belly full of the Christian end of days myth and this foolish "American Exceptionalism" canard being the basis of our diplomacy.

     So we can work to elect Progressive Democrats and maybe we provide the leadership to transform the party with the impetus that'll come from the peak oil and mortgage shenanigans driven Greater Depression which we've just entered, but lets keep in mind the enemy isn't Republicanism, its Religious Fanaticism and Corporatism, two parasites formerly united under the Republican party banner, one of which has decided to migrate to the Democratic side of the aisle and is busily purchasing influence there even as certain liberals here express lofty ideals.

  •  I mention Deval Patrick (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, MichiganGirl

    And his gubernatorial race kind of a lot here (relatively speaking - I just started posting here again after a hiatus). But the parallels are numerous.

    His campaign was in many ways a prototype of Obama's - Grassroots, People-Powered, much talk of Change, Hope, and "Yes We Can" - he handily overpowered a cynical, fearmongering GOP opponent running on a tired, old, tried-and-failed platform.

    But, he hasn't managed to get much of anything done. He's run into a brick wall trying to change Business as Usual on Beacon Hill, because he's up against the same old legislature that's been there for years and years, and is accustomed to calling the shots.

    I'm not saying that the same will happen to Obama - The US Congress isn't entirely comparable to the MA legislature - but if elected, his battle will be an uphill one nonetheless, and I expect to see some disillusionment when Obama's first year as Prez fails to produce candycanes and lollipops from the sky and sunshine flying out of everyone's ass. He'll have the entirety of the GOP caucus against him, and plenty of the Dems will be resisting change too.

    I still think it's important to get him elected, and I do support him over Hillary Clinton for more reasons than the symbolic gesture of "change", but he's not going to manage anything overnight. Let's just hope that he and the Dem caucus will get a few things done by midterm so that we can hold onto congressional majorities for 2010.

    So yeah, I've seen Obamamania before in the form of Deval-o-Mania - it's not a bad thing, but I'd just like to remind anyone who might need reminding that change can be an excruciatingly slow, frustrating and pragmatic process.

    It took the Conservatives 40 years to get their festering corpse lily to fully bloom, so try to look at the struggle ahead on a similar timeline.

    (-6.88, -6.36) Who would Jesus waterboard?

    by Tiny Wurlitzer on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 02:02:06 AM PST

  •  Record crowds, record turnouts, volunteers on the (0+ / 0-)

    ground.  Doesn't look like burnout to me.

    •  Just observing what I see on the ground. (4+ / 0-)

      Lots of discontent amongst the ranks here in Southeast Michigan.

      Blogging For Michigan-A blog so good Republicons had us censored!

      by djtyg on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 02:51:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Northwestern Michigan too. n/t. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cordelia Lear, djtyg

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 07:08:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  thanks, MDP (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cordelia Lear, djtyg

        I really think they have hurt our grassroots.

        Perhaps many people don't realize how there has been NO campaigning here, no campaign visits, no local offices or GOTV efforts, no local organizing for the national race whatsoever. Granted, the local Democratic parties are still a bit organized, but this time four years ago, there were THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people mobilized and volunteering weekly for the party. It starts at the top - when you have a Presidential election, and you have fired-up people, you will get a lot of volunteers, and those activists will volunteer for all down-ticket races. Right now, we have zilch going on.

        It will get better, once the primary race is decided. It's just a shame that we'll be 6 months behind, at least, in helping the national party and all of our downticket contests.

        It's not just the MDPs gamble regarding our primary. It's also how they organize and manage races. I've been a volunteer for several years, and I've been perplexed at how they handle things - no more perplexed and turned off than I was at the last election (Governor and Congressional races). I'd get different marching orders from different campaigns, often conflicting priorities. I, and many other volunteers, felt a bit used & abused. The MDP needs to review how they make decisions and how they run races, IMO. This primary debacle is a perfect example of how the decisions they often make turn OFF voters who are motivated to be politically involved.

        I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

        by land of the free on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 08:15:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well in my case... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cordelia Lear, land of the free

          It's more of the US Congress that's gotten me burned out.  Sigh....

          Blogging For Michigan-A blog so good Republicons had us censored!

          by djtyg on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:47:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Especially today, after reading the FISA (0+ / 0-)

            voting results. I notice that neither of our Democratic party Senators (Stabenow and Levin) stood with Dodd.

            I wrote Stabenow last week on the issue (via email), and I haven't heard back from her. I figured that was a good sign that she was going to hedge, bob & weave on this issue.

            I'm thoroughly disgusted at how they have betrayed the Constitution.

            I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

            by land of the free on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 05:19:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Levin did the right thing. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              land of the free

              Stabenow sold us down the river.

              Blogging For Michigan-A blog so good Republicons had us censored!

              by djtyg on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 06:34:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm confused (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                When I saw the vote tally on dKos earlier, I thought I didnt' see his name on the list of Senators who stuck with Dodd and voted against. I must have misread it.

                Then, I noticed the post on michiganliberal saying Levin was with the constitution and laws of the land, Stabenow was instead for protecting big business and Bush's cronies.

                Interesting that Stabenow decided to break with Levin on this. She often follows his lead.

                I really would love to see a good progressive challenge her. Her judgement has proven time and again to be contradictory to the best interest of the citizens.

                I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

                by land of the free on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 07:00:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I was born into a Nixonian world (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, Wild Starchild

    And the fight is between the enlightened and the ones who wish to hold us back.

    It's probably an age old fight.

    We are coming to a serious showdown I believe.

    Despite my cynical nature, I am buying into the hope that Obama offers.

    And I sure hope that he will push to restore the values this country espouses but rarely displays.

    I feel we are on the verge of something with huge potential to move us forward a few steps on the evolutionary scale.

    I am so very proud of my fellow Americans and their enthusiasm to rise to the challenge.

    Miles to go before we...

    "I've been learning how to squirm without any perceptible movement." --- Terry Douglas

    by zorp on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 02:10:30 AM PST

  •  Never give up, never surrender! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, MichiganGirl, AikoAdam

    Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

    by Dood Abides on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 02:17:30 AM PST

  •  And that is why (0+ / 0-)

    this JRE supporter switched to Obama. He is like (excuse the cliche) a fresh breeze sweeping the nation. I'm cynical enough to wonder about genuineness and staying power of this agent for change, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I NEED to give it a shot. And that probably was incoherent - no coffee yet...

  •  Burn out comes with the territory. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You know, I've heard the statistic many times, only 16% of our nation wanted to fight England for our independence. I think that % doesn't change all that much, generation to gen..
    Thanks for the beautiful piece.Very inspiring.
    Keep working for justice,you are not alone!!!

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