Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Interview With a Democrat

You might remember about My Friend Pam™ The History Lady, my former co-worker friend I mentioned a couple of weeks ago--smart, quick-witted, well-read, bleedin’ heart liberal yaller dog Democrat, great conversationalist, and an all-around good egg--well, we finally had lunch last week (didn’t blog about it due to getting preoccupied with something else) and it was great fun. We hadn’t had a good talk in forever, so we shared kid stories and caught up on all the shenanigans that swirl around here.

One thing we didn’t get to discuss that we usually do was politics--she was one of the few folks around here, of ANY political stripe, I could actually have a sane conversation with. I suppose it’s because of her strong background in American history (she teaches the subject at a couple of local universities), but she has a lot better grasp of the way American government is supposed to work and seemingly a better memory for what has transpired before, oh, say, last week. In other words, even though she heartily dislikes George Bush, she KNOWS he is not Hitler, and thinks people who think so are just as idiotic as I do. One other thing she seems blessed with is the ability to admit when something is right, or wrong, without regard to whose party came up with it. So, with her, political discussions are not the teeth-grindingly inane interactions you get with the Plastic Turkey Meme crowd, but lively and informative and civil and interesting.

Anyway, she was up here yesterday for a meeting and popped in to say hey and I figured I would yank her chain a bit--“Oh, hey, I meant to ask you last week, but what are you going to do now that Howard Dean has dropped out?” (She is NOT a Deaniac.) She said she was going to vote for whomever the Democrat was--“Even if it is Sharpton or Kucinich?!” Yep. “I just don’t like George Bush.”

“WHY,” I said with mock indignation, “YOU are nothing but a reflexive anti-Bushite!!” “Yep.” Hee. Well, you know, I can understand that. As I said to her, she’s no different than all of us who were reflexively anti-Clinton--“Pam, you realize that makes you no better than ME!?” “Yeahhhh, I know.” And I guess that’s why I don’t get too wound up about it, in that she is one of the few folks I know who will admit to being blindly partisan for no good reason other than personal animus. There’s none of the artifice of being noble or altruistic or rational or that crap--it’s just honest dislike, freely admitted.

But, here’s the one thing in this little ramble that struck me. I mentioned the two Democrats I thought would have been better, more centrist choices--Lieberman and Gephardt. She agreed, and allowed that despite the fact she was going to vote for the Democratic candidate--presumably Kerry--she sure wished he would find a position and stick to it. “There’s one thing you can say about Bush,” she said, “and that is no matter how much you may disagree with him, he will take a stand on what he believes, and he’ll stay there until he drops, no matter if it hurts him politically.”

Well, obviously Bush does change positions--he is a politician, after all. But if people, even liberal sorts like my friend, have the perception that Bush is willing to take a stand based on principle, in spite of the personal cost, it may be very hard to unseat him.

Uncertain times call for a sure hand--in a way, it’s sort of like the old bit of wisdom from back in my drafting room days. When a deadline loomed, when a job had to get done, we were reminded that, “you don’t get paid to erase, you get paid to draw.” Meaning that when a task must be completed, decisive action, even though it might turn out to be imperfect, is sometimes preferable to dithering about trying to perfect matters of lesser consequence.

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