Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Spleen-free zone

Over the course of the last week, your blogstress has received all manner of angry, amusing and rueful missives and graphics from her faithful readers. Bai Lon, our beloved White Dragon, was the first to send the now-famous "Jesusland" map (admittedly funny); Beltway Breaker sent some witty screeds from the London Daily Mirror, the fabulous Frankie G. (your blogstress's partner in musical crimes) passed on a vast array of visual gags and expressions. Others sent evidence of rage and frustration, as well.

Though the impulse to post on these was strong, and your Webwench went so far as to request links to much of the amusing material, in the end she refrained, momentarily obeying the Victoria's Secret angel on her shoulder who whispered, "What does this do for us?"

There being no shortage of cyberspace available, indeed designed, for the venting of spleen, your cybertrix has declared, for the time being, her breakaway republic to be a spleen-free zone, so that she and her readers might turn their focus to this question: What do we do now?

While our rage fills us with an instantaneous sense of power when expressed, it is a self-depleting sort of power that is not terribly productive. True empowerment will come from imagining new ways of moving in the world, new ways of marketing our values and new ways of expressing the democratic impulse.

Now, don't mistake your blogstress for some blissfully serene creature. She is plenty pissed off. But in listening to all of the brilliant, pissed-off people she loves--such as the inimitable Maureen Dowd--growling in the upper reaches of the media about ill-educated religious nuts having delivered the presidency to George Bush, she can't help but think that such expressions only play into the opponents' hands. (Look at those godless media elites!)

Karl Rove's declaration of the religious right as having delivered the victory serves three purposes: it pays back the right by playing to its leaders' vanity, it attests to Rove's own "brilliance" as a strategist for having focused on that base since 2000 and, most importantly, it drives liberals to frothing distraction at the thought of creationists owning the White House.

None of this is to say that the GOP's focus on the religious right as the source of its margin of victory is a fable; your Webwench has been warning of just such a prospect for more than a decade. (See the December 1995 Mother Jones, "Power Preying," your Ă©crivaine's primer on the right's plan for dominion.) But it's not the whole story of this election. There's the polling place shenanigans, Democratic ineptitude in expressing moral values (what is liberalism if not a set of moral values?) and timidity in owning up to liberal values, and poor strategy in responding to scurrilous attacks.

Today, in a thinly veiled but welcome power-grab, Andrew Stein of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a page on the SEIU Web site called Unite to Win, asking unionists to examine the state of the labor movement and suggest improvements. While your net-tĂȘte entertains some anxiety over the upheaval already begun within liberal establishments, indeed a change is needed, and it's a-gonna come.

So let the soul-searching begin. And let the artists, the writers, the musicians, the thinkers show the world how imagination can fuel the revolution.

Send in your ideas.

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