by Kellen Squire
Some of you know I am no longer running for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The reasons for that are pretty simple, but ones I’m not going to share in detail here. The closest I’ll get is that we had a family crisis, and experienced something I see day in and day out in my professional setting. And, as much as you might think that you know what something is like, you’re never, ever prepared to see it hit home.
There are serious systemic issues we need to work to fix, now, both here in the Commonwealth, and across our great nation. Not later – now. But, luckily, I’m not the guard dog for those issues. We have other talented and dedicated folks who can take up that mantle. And since I’ve been relegated back to being just a regular old opinionated asshole again – something I absolutely excel at being – I thought I would discuss the orange-haired elephant in the room, one we’re going to need to address if we’re to save the Republic.
This is an all-hands election; we have to leave it all on the field, can’t hold anything back, etc, etc. Use whatever cliched saying you prefer, because it doesn’t matter – they’re all true.
It’s not going to be easy, with as much energy as we spend on fighting one another. I’m sick and ****ing tired of fighting primary wars; I’ve had to deal with it for four years. I got roasted for being a Bernie supporter in ’16. I got roasted and called a traitor when I came to the blogosphere in early ’16 and begged for unity, for everyone to step up for Secretary Clinton, because I was an ER nurse and knew what the consequences of not doing so would be. I got ignored and belittled by the Clinton folks when a group of knuckle-crackers and asymmetric political warfare operatives I worked with pointed out deficiencies in their ’16 plan. “Pfft, it’s DONALD TRUMP,” they said. “We GOT this. We don’t need your help.”
It got so bad I watched people – ostensibly on our side – spend time and energy trying to sabotage elections, our own candidates winning, because they’d rather lose the way they were used to then win at all. But that’s a story for another time, because all that stuff? It doesn’t matter. Because we’ve all got skin in this game.
Even the people who think their privilege, their money, or their Galtian talent will make them immune from what’s coming down the road; the people who can’t stop playing the political games everyone hates, who still demand people “wait their turn” and have no problem with favoritism winning out over merit. They will think they are exempt from the same consequences as the rest of us until the whole thing crashed down onto them. It might be nice to smugly smile as those kinds of folks look around frantically, wondering how things got so bad, completely oblivious to their role in engineering it.
But the cost for that schadenfreude is just too damn high.
So I want to talk about how to ignore the way the game has been played in the past – and focus on how it’s being played now. What we can do over the next few months to move things in the right direction. Because we’re fighting people who have no intention of playing fairly:
People who have made a conscious effort to move to a political ideology built entirely on situational ethics and moral relativism in the pursuit of winning at all costs. People who are willing to make whatever deal they need with the devil to remain relevant and to stave off the consequences of what they have wrought until it is too late for anyone to do anything about it. People who are in such unerring lockstep that the President could go into the Rose Garden this afternoon and declare that we need to nationalize the means of production to protect the proletariat from the bourgeoisie, and immediately be feted without end (Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell would be on Fox News five minutes later telling us that had always been the Republican position). People who are arguing seriously- and let’s not kid ourselves, they are dead serious- that anything they do to win is justified. Which is a warning to all of us that they will do whatever they have to do to win.
This is the dying gasp of a failed ideology.
We cannot let them take us down with them.
It may seem like it is impossible to go up against those forces, like trying to stop a freight train by standing in front of it. But I promise you… I promise you: it’s not. It’s not impossible. Not even close. And we don’t have to go down the Trumpism path to win, either. In fact, doing so would be folly; we cannot win against experts at racing to the bottom by engaging them in their own game.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be here with a series of posts talking about what you can do to make a difference. But not the “normal” stuff- knocking doors, donating, phone banking, post cards, so forth and so on – that are always important. No, I’m talking about non-traditional ways to make a difference; to reach voters and influence hearts and minds in an environment where partisanship rules all and hope is nowhere to be found.
There are many who will not be moved; this is nothing new (the scope is new, perhaps, but there have always been unbreaking partisans). We’re not going to concentrate on them. We’re going for the non-voters who we need to get engaged. The independents who don’t stay up to date with politics, because, let’s be honest here, if you have a full grounding in what’s going on in the political system of the United States, you are pretty unusual. Most folks don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with that.
We will engage them. We will win them over. We will bring them to the polls with us this November.
And we will win.