Oh, Settle Down, Hippies

So I’m losing patience with the left. Or, as it is more normally typed on the internet,


Here’s the thing: I’m quite far left. However, having worked for long enough in serious-minded activism (meaning not just mindlessly chanting outside buildings, or joining angry-sounding Facebook groups…the stuff I do now), I know certain realities of society and the way it has to work in order to affect change. Here is the lesson I learned:

Politics. Is. Compromise.

In other words, there is no politics without a coalition. And there is no coalition without compromise.

I spent this morning watching the MSNBC pundits and civil libertarians of the web getting all frothy at the mouth about Obama’s speech. I subsequently spent the day depressed, the references to the movie “Minority Report” dancing in my head just the way sugarplums wouldn’t. And then I took a breath (meaning, a glass of wine), sat down, and read the more mainstream liberal media, which reminded me that my initial suspicions had indeed been correct:

The speech last night wasn’t perfect, for us hippies, but it was perfect for a politician.

Yes, “indefinite detention” is…well, troublesome. Verrrry troublesome. However, the beauty of this President is that, not only does he know that, but he tries to address the concerns of the very people in whose clubhouse he used to play (Constitutional Law geeks, many of whom attended an off-the-record meeting at the White House the day before the speech). Better yet, he’s man enough to take the Bush comparisons from them directly, then not give ground.

Lest I be accused of being a shallow idealogue, let’s imagine for a second that Obama didn’t even entertain the idea of overriding Habeus Corpus for any reason, ‘kay? What would that mean? It would mean that Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be out of prison tomorrow (all evidence against them being tainted by the torture they experienced. As Law and Order has taught me for 63 years now, fruit of a poisoned tree is always just that). I, personally, have little problem with that release, as a strict admirer of our civil liberties, and would even see it as a harbinger of a new dawn.


Anyone remember Willie Horton? Of course you do. He was the death knell of Dukakis’ career. And he was NOTHING, scandal-wise, compared to these two high-ranking Al Qaeda officials.

Do any members of the ACLU realistically think anyone (no matter how sparkly or miraculously beloved) who effectively pardons the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks for that crime will ever get elected to office ever?

And what if that weren’t the problem? What if society accepted that we are bound by the current legal system and therefore have to let these guys go? Would it then be a huge surprise to see a populist uprising occur against said existing legal system? Maybe a reversal of our current policies, which favor the rights of one wrongly-accused man over those of many guilty ones, towards the Napoleonic approach?

So, yes, I’m sad about the compromising Obama’s having to do. But it’s necessary, and it’s something that all people have to do in order to get along with other people (Ever have to put in a lunch order for a group at an office? Try finding a restaurant everyone likes/can afford if you’re ordering for millions.). And I’ll continue to commiserate in spirit with my beloved civil libertarian blogger friends, all of whom are necessary and consequential in their dissent, their rage, and their articulation of both (cause, hey, the president reads!). I’ll drink cheap wine, curse reality, and toast the death of my Unicorn King POTUS.

But I will get to call him POTUS for 8 years. And so will you.


1 Response to “Oh, Settle Down, Hippies”

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