Saturday, June 11, 2005

Calling 'em like I see 'em

I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, and thought to myself "Em, why exactly do you like this guy so much? He does nothing but trash on this city that you love so much!"

The answer, as always is with me, is multi-part and can be considered in either bullet point or essay form. We shall pursue the former.

  1. Much of his anger comes from the incompetence of people in charge, something I happen to agree with. I love this city for its vistas, views, actual seasons and constant influx of new people. I do not love the jackasses who milk the system for their own benefit, leaving a trail of desperate, undereducated, impoverished people in their wake. I also hate Congress for treating DC as a petulant stepchild who must be punished when it asks for pesky things like informing the mayor's office when there's a suspected terrorist attack on the city.
  2. He created the phrase "personalized novelty legislation" in reference to Terri Schiavo. Not one Democratic media consultant in the entire town could have come up with something that devastating if you locked them in a room for a week.
  3. He lives in Virginia, and so I can see where a great deal of his anger stems from. I did a morning commute from Oakton to the Hill, and this 19 mile drive took me eighty fucking minutes. It's a wonder more people don't have websites dedicated to their hatred of DC. If I had to do that drive every morning, I'd probably snap and start picking off commuters with a sniper rifle from atop the Lincoln Memorial.

(And for a little of why I hate DC too, sometimes: that last sentence probably got me flagged by some government agency)

Mostly though, I love this guy because he figures out a way to be angry, to show you why he's angry and to get you to agree with him. Sounds simple, I know, but Democrats in this town are so scared of even the first step. Anger, it seems, can no longer be identified with companion words like "righteous." This just makes me even more angry, because there's so much to be angry about. I'm angry that media outlets allow pundits to say outrageous and idiotic things just for the sake of bringing up alternative viewpoints. I'm angry that no one in the mainstream media has the balls to call a spade a spade, and refuse to dignify lies, partisan slander and malicious intentions with the gift of airtime and space. I'm angry that there's no cantankerous old guard around to put the lazy, yes-men whippersnappers in their place.

I'm infuriated that the media clearly knows that they're in trouble, that they are increasingly not worthy of the public trust, and yet make no effort to fix themselves. They instead attack the sources of information that do editorialize, that point out the absurdity and crap that mainstream media dignifies as newsworthy. They slam The Daily Show and the blogosphere (and yes, I hate myself for using that word, but get over it) for being too opinionated, too subjective, for not presenting news in a respectful way. I say, however, that the real flaw is that not much out there is worthy of our respect. New media at least has the stones to call them on it.

While I'm at it, I'm also infuriated with Democrats. I'm infuriated with a party that is directionless and yet insists it knows exactly where its going, like a stubborn husband who obstinately refuses to stop at a gas station for orientation. It infuriates me that Democrats have at their disposal a cadre of young people who are willing to sacrifice material comforts and silly, frivolous things like health benefits or a year-long contract for the sake of working for the causes we believe in. As a reward for our sacrifices and idealism, we are underpaid, taken for granted and denied even the most basic respect from our supervisors. I can't tell you how many hardworking, devoted, highly educated liberals I know that have been unceremoniously dumped or abused by their so-called "progressive" employers.

I had drinks a few weeks ago with two close Democrat friends who also survived the election. Of the three of us, one had been chucked despite helping fundraise her way to an enormous upset victory. A second still had her job, but had not been paid in over a month because her bold-named boss was completely unaware that her organization's finances were in the crapper and was insisting on staying in big name hotels on various business trips (again, a Democrat). The third, me, had been so burnt out by a campaign job that she found two months being homeless in Europe to be hugely relaxing and was more than happy to leave politics behind for academia.

Politics and public service requires sacrifices of those who pursue it, make no mistake. I feel much the same way about politics as I do about the theater career I once considered and ultimately rejected: if you can see yourself being happy doing anything else, do it. You have to need it in your soul, crave the lifestyle and the high of devoting your career and life to doing good and working for causes you believe in, in order to deal with the lifestyle that accompanies your job (assuming you're lucky enough to havce a job).

I don't know the intricacies of finance and campaign management well enough to suggest specific ways of funding the young staffers that make up the bulk of the liberal workforce. However, I know that it does not have to be this way. Republican staff know how to keep their worker bees happily droning away. They keep humane hours, pay them a living wage and maintain functional offices that encourage as much order and respect as is possible in a political campaign. For more on this, check out what DC Media Girl has to say. She's far more concise than I could hope to be on this issue.

Sorry, didn't mean to lecture for so long. It's just beyond frustrating to watch talent and devotion be underutilized when it's needed now more than ever.

1 comment:

James F said...

Thank you so much. This is a great post.