Running Away

Phone banking to Get Out the Vote for Dave Hanson last Tuesday, I wound up talking to an older lady who said something along the lines of, “I’ve always liked Dave, and I don’t like those other guys, but I just can’t support him running away from his job.”

Here’s the thing – the Fab didn’t run away from their jobs.  They did their jobs, rather surprisingly and spectacularly.  I don’t elect my representatives so they can go get steamrolled while other people ignore correct processes, break the rules, and twist the system in order to do irresponsible things.  I elect them to protect my interests and ensure the government fulfills its part of the social contract.  Sometimes, that means mucking up the gears and bringing the machine to a halt, so it can’t continue to lumber forward and wreaking havoc.

Dave Hanson won fairly handily, but I worry about this perception of “running away.”  It’s the only time in my life I can recall respecting the Democrats, as a group, for actions they’ve taken.  Democrats often forget that their job isn’t to sit around and hold the high ground, it’s not to be the good guy, it’s to represent the interests of their constituents while ensuring the government fulfills the social contract.  If that means fighting fire with fire, lockstep idealism with robust organization, and corporately organized legislative machines with day light and script kiddies, then go do that.  Thwarting quorum wasn’t running away, it was fighting back the only way possible.  It was also brilliant.

I went into this with her, but she’s an older lady from rural Wisconsin.  They don’t talk politics much, and she wasn’t interested in debating the finer points of parliamentary procedure and social contracts with me.  I honestly don’t think I accomplished much of anything by way of turning out votes – there are too many organizations calling the same people too often – but it was good for me, and I think it’s good for the people running the efforts to realize this: If the average voter can’t see the difference between a retreat and a poke in the eye, we have some voter education to do.  And when they write the history books, they’d better get this one right.

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