Thursday, November 06, 2003

Heart's Peace

I find my peace by the sea. Sometimes I sit at the very edge, where the waves can wash around me, and I close my eyes and listen for the sound of the opening between worlds. Slowly, the water whispers of far shores and deep treasure bear your soul away. If you release it willingly and wait, playing like a child, pouring sand over your toes and looking for pretty shells, your soul is returned by-and-by, rested and clean.

Sometimes, as here, I walk the sand after a storm, watching the gray shimmer of the spent rage. The air tingles; the breeze gusts. Small birds peek out between the branches, asking each other if it is safe to come out. There's an uncertain edge to the calm, an energy that rips your melancholia to shreds and sets you to dancing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Same Old, Same Old
It seems a million years ago that I wrote two essays on winning presidential elections. Unfortunately, our Grand Old Circular Firing Squad seems to have cranked up for yet another round of select a loser.

In painful honesty, after watching the performance of the Democratic candidates over the past few weeks, I think we're headed for the crapper one more time. Double that if we take into consideration the idiot heads at the DNC.

Maybe it's just that they grow so dependent on their weekly dose of fame; maybe they cannot think of themselves as anything but "public servants"; maybe they delude themselves into thinking that once they are safely ensconced they can do some good; maybe it's just the selfishness of those who have grown to feel entitled. For whatever reason, even the best seem to separate themselves from their principles--not to mention their common sense--rather quickly once they taste political victory. Winning themselves the top seat is all.

Listen up, guys. One more time.

1. Every time you stomp on each other you are giving ammunition to your enemies. If you chase Dean with accusations of racism, don't be surprised if that comes back to haunt him when he's elected: Dr. Dean, people in your own party think you're a racist. How do you respond to that? You think the talking rotweilers won't be slavering to bury whichever one of you ends up heading the ticket under all the garbage you've been shoveling?

2. Don't let the press frame the questions. Don't lose your temper, but challenge your interrogator directly, if necessary. Chris Matthews is not your friend; he should not be treated with kid gloves. If you think being nice to the jerk will get you a nice mention on his show, think again. Matthews and his ilk know which side of their bread is buttered. They may go up in front of college crowds and tell the truth, but they'll be damned if they lose their cushy network jobs for showing "bias".

3. Bypass the microphone crowd. Hit the county fairs, if necessary, but you need to talk to people directly, ABOUT THE STUFF THAT MATTERS TO THEM. Don't talk about "the top 1%" for Christ's sake. American like to think that either they are part of the top percent or have a chance of getting there. Say: if your salary is _______, this is what's going to happen to you; if your (daughter/son/nephew/niece) is in the military, this is what's happening to them; if you live on social security, this is what will happen to you. People relate to their family and their livelihoods. Talk about that, instead of tossing around numbers that the other side can counter with numbers.

4. Find people who can at least put words in your mouth that sound like they're coming from a human being. Bill Clinton was liked by so many because he sounded like one of them. Don't sound like a professor or Anthony delivering Caesar's funeral oration. People are not impressed; they're more likely to think you're talking down to them.

5. Realize that your principles are the only thing that distinguishes you from the pack. If you don't stick to them, don't be surprised if the defection comes back to haunt you. Better to maintain your own, however unpopular, than try to either make points or win over the unwinnable.

As SKB would say, OK, then.