Where’s Mine?

One of the things that prepared me for life as a liberal Democrat was growing up with my crazy grandmother Etta around.  Though she was crazy and everyone knew it, for some reason we were taught to put up with it, and whenever possible give her her way, since even though her ideas were always bonkers and her attitude worse, the scenes she could make made it distinctly unproductive to argue with her.  Basically, Etta was to our family what the Republicans are to America; a shrill and harping authoritarian, dumb, racist, and selfish to the core, that makes everyone else’s life a living hell through the undeserved and always-abused deference one gains by being a little frightening.

However, when the Democrats clobbered the Republicans in two elections, I found myself having an Etta Moment, a disturbing reminder that blood is, unfortunately, thicker than water.  Growing up, whenever we got takeout food, we four children sat patiently in our places waiting for our mother to serve us, while Etta leapt up and started rummaging through the bag, yelling, “Where’s mine?”  Since she always paid her share to the penny, even if sometimes arguing about her percentage of side dishes, etc., and since we kids were, well, freeloaders, we all sat there quietly and let her be served first.  Now though, our new national Ettas, the Republicans, did not pay; they lost big two times, and I did harbor some hope that newly empowered Democrats would react to this changed reality like Etta did to a bag of takeout food.  I paid my share, “Where’s mine?”

After two dubious victories, Bush certainly dove in like Etta and ate everyone’s egg rolls and/or onion rings with his radically ideological policies and appointments, and Democrats, ever believers in the prerogatives of losing, meekly waved him on in almost all of it.  Elections have consequences, you know.  Along the way, the federal budget was set up for deliberate catastrophe, two interminable wars begun, cronyism and incompetence further eroded trust in government, and most of the bill of rights were declared “quaint” and subject to drastic revision.  Given that these so recently unthinkable and so plainly disastrous ideas were allowed to play out in real time by the weak-kneed opposition, and given that these abuses were harshly criticized by candidate Obama in 2008, you’d think that Democrats would have seen a valuable political opening and dug into the bag like Etta, but it was not to be.

Impeachment, though richly deserved, had already been declared “off the table” back in 2006, so it didn’t seem like too big of a deal when the first few impeachable offenses, like warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention, among others, suddenly acquired the bipartisan legitimacy they never had under Bush by Obama’s quiet embrace of them.  But then, the Obama Justice Department started going to town, eagerly diving in to nearly every constitutional usurpation of the Bush era, on the same side.  Where’s mine, indeed.  Unfortunately, this has played out in court appointments, too, as bland moderates are repeatedly chosen by Obama to supposedly  ”balance” the many life-tenured right-wing nutcases Bush railroaded into place, and the selection of Elena Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Steven is no exception to this rule.

Like Clinton before him, Obama is dedicated, for lack of a less paradoxical word, to only slowing the advance of the right’s takeover of the machinery of government to favor the wealthy and well-connected, never to reversing it.  Like my family, they choose to just sit around and wait for their Etta to die, rather than crossing her and enduring the scene, which is kind of a dumb choice since Etta was an old lady and the right is a lavishly financed, endlessly replicating organization.  The administration even leaked that because they knew the right would freak out at whomever they appointed, they felt “free” to pick the candidate of their choosing, and they chose Kagan.

There’s a little Etta in all of us, and if Democrats suffer anything like the losses the media is emphatically portending in the fall, it will be because, unlike the Republicans, their base can never say, “Where’s mine?”

25 Comments

  1. rmp says:

    Here’s another current example of Dems caving instead of standing up to Repug tactics:

    House Dems Give Up On Governing “For the first time in more than 30 years, House Democrats are considering not making a budget resolution. They’ve decided to give up completely on governing despite having an overwhelming majority. Why should we care about this non-binding budget resolution? Because you need a budget resolution to use reconciliation, which remains the main option to pass progressive legislation against Senate Republican and conservative Democratic obstructionism.”
    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/05/10/house-dems-give-up-on-governing/

  2. cocktailhag says:

    I read that post; Jim White had recommended it, and it got the fury going that went into this post. WHERE’S MINE? The political ineptitude, let alone morality, of such decisions is utterly beyond me.

  3. nailheadtom says:

    Let’s see, according to you saps, the Republicans are 24 carat evil and the Democrats are inept schleps who, despite owning the presidency and both houses of congress, are just unable to get your agenda implemented. Wanna know why? Because their priority is to remain in office. Sure, San Fran Nan is safe in her miniature district on Boy Toy Bay, but if the Kennedy legacy has failed with the voters, who else is guaranteed? Even the proles you denigrate so much realize that not reading a 2500 page bill before it’s voted on is a pathetic joke on them. And voting aye for TARP and the medical overhaul means those same dummies might find a different spot on the ballot to make their X in the next election. By ignoring their constituents and listening to the likes of you crypto-Bolsheviks, the house and senate Dems have jettisoned the support that got them elected in the first place. Not much they can do about it now except for hunt around for lobbyist jobs. Tom Daschle can give them some pointers on how the whole thing works.

  4. The Heel says:

    I guess deep down, those undeserving of power Dems “know their place”. It is much easier to point fingers from some opposition back rows than to get things done yourself.
    On a pure satire level, America is always capable of trumping the last idiot clown that made it into the oval office. Like Las Vegas will always trump the biggest hotel with an even bigger hotel currently under construction, Washington will bring forward something even more disgustingly ridiculous than Reagan, Bush or Palin. It stretches my imagination how they will eventually trump president Palin, but that could have been said about the preceding imbeciles back in the days, too….
    Suggestion: let’s join the other side and campaign for president Palin. Then, when she is our bitch in chief, we’ll get jobs overseeing the oil companies. I hear they have the best orgies.

  5. dirigo says:

    Hey! I found this old, varnished plaque under the pool table in the special events room.

    Jeez, it’s dusty. Let me wipe it.

    Hmmm … there’s a bit of verse. Let’s see:

    ~~~

    “Our little systems have their day;

    They have their day and cease to be;

    They are but broken lights of thee,

    And thou, O Lord, are more than they.

    We have but faith: we cannot know;

    For knowledge is of things we see;

    And yet we trust it comes from thee,

    A beam in darkness: let it grow.

    – … from: IN MEMORIAM
    – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    ~~~

    Kinda quaint I suppose; but I like it.

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