Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 343- Tax cuts, bandwagons and war drums

Dear Mr. President,

OK, I get it already. Lots of prominent leaders across the political spectrum have come out in support of your tax cut compromise with the Republicans. I mean lots. And releasing their endorsements one at a time in separate press releases was pretty funny. Gail Collins pointed out that liberal Democrats have been asking you to get mad for a while, and now we're complaining that you finally got mad- at us. And you have every right to be mad, I suppose, as none of us were mad enough to show up on election day and give you a congress that might have your back (though, to be entirely fair, you might have found better ways to spend the primary season than propping up every tired blue-dog with a pulse.) For all of my suggestions that you either refuse tax cuts for the rich or refuse tax cuts for all of us, I wasn't the one responsible for negotiating the compromise (and I won't be the one responsible for negotiating the next 2 years worth of legislation through congress.) You made a call and now you're standing by it.

Collins, in her opinion piece, laments those on the left still landing hard from their fall off of the Obama bandwagon, while smugly declaring her own fall is off of the "line in the sand bandwagon". I suppose I might also be accused of letting my loyalty to you as a person & my membership in the cult of personality surrounding you conflict with my true bleeding-heart liberalism. As many who supported you in 2008 walk away, disappointed, decrying the whole bandwagon mentality, I wish I could join them. Maybe it's a mark of an inferior mind to need a higher authority to place my faith in, but I haven't still haven't heard a better alternative. Should the anti-bandwagon crowd offer me another leader, or convince me that we don't need one, maybe that will change. For now, while I often think that you're wrong, but I'd never trust myself to do your job better.

In all of the outrage about tax rates and the inexplicable failing of the cloture motion to repeal DADT, I was getting more fed up with congress than with you. To add to all of this, the House has passed legislation preventing any Guantanamo Bay detainees from being brought to domestic prisons. Today has not done much for my rapidly dwindling faith in the American people and those we elect to represent us.

My own time has been selfishly consumed with a struggle to finish my final papers for class, study for my exams, and maintain something that resembles sanity closely enough to keep my boss from worrying about me. I can't fix the economy, I can't get basic equality for gay and lesbian Americans and I can't close down Guantanamo bay. I jumped on your bandwagon in the first place because you said that you could. And while my frustration might be more deserved by several members of congress and those who didn't find the time to vote in the midterm elections, unfortunately you're the one I picked for a pen pal. We can't possibly be losing the fight on this many fronts at once.

Respectfully yours,



The only thing that's bolstered my spirits today is the news that Suheir Hammad, one of my favorite poets, will be speaking at a TED conference soon. They published the text of her poem "What I will" and I thought I'd send it along to you.

What I Will
by Suheir Hammad

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain’t
louder than this breath.

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