Kirsten G., Nancy P., Charlie R.
We attended a very small party today on the Upper East Side populated by a fair number of people I really like: Geraldine Ferraro, Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel and our own ray of hope from New York, the lovely and brilliant Kirsten Gillibrand. Seeing Ms. Ferraro was a real treat because she was a hero of mine back in grade school – my parents wasted no words telling me how miraculous it was to have a woman this close to the White House. She looked great, and was charmingly deferential to the task at hand.
Nancy Pelosi has had her detractors, even by those on the left who feel like she hasn’t attacked BushCo. nearly enough, but her articulation of the Six for ’06, the Democrats’ new contract with Americans, had this old broken heart beating a little faster. She and Gillibrand talked about alternative fuels, but never mentioned the environment: to them, it’s a matter of national security, and more specifically, it’s a matter of jobs in New York’s 20th District. We have tons of farms that could create ethanol and biodiesel, and Albany boasts one of the country’s best fuel-cell manufacturers.
Pelosi also said something I hadn’t realized: as of last week, we have now officially been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II. That’s a stunning bit of trivia. Unbelievably tragic, too. And there’s no end in sight, not as long as certain people are in charge.
Kirsten was funny, concise, smart and so personable that I swear all readers of this blog – even those of you of the rightish persuasion – would be voting for her once you left the building. And of you who care should donate to her campaign, not just because Kirsten is a beacon of light in these dark political times, but also because her opponent Sweeney is a big-time JERK who called Kirsten “just another pretty face.”
Sweeney doesn’t just get drunk with fratboys on the weekend even though he’s in his fifties, he also finds time to screw veterans out of their benefits, bilk senior citizens out of affordable medications, continue a deep friendship with Jack Abramoff and convicted felon Tony Rudy (which puts him in the unique position of supporting sweatshop companies in the Far East that perform forced abortions), take money from Walmart, and receive almost $50,000 in donations from war profiteers like Lockheed Martin and BAE (the second largest contractor in Iraq).
He has one of the worst environmental records in the history of New England, scoring a hard-to-get ZERO PERCENT with both the American Wilderness Coalition and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, while taking thousands of dollars from electric utility interests like ConEd and Entergy. Seriously, his voting record on the environment makes him look like a Who’s Who of the Apocalypse.
Remember those Republican thugs pounding the doors of the city hall rooms during the Florida vote recount of 2000? Sweeney was one of the main ringleaders, leading Bush to call him “Congressman Kick-Ass.” Remember “push polls,” where a “pollster” calls you up and asks questions that degenerate into personal attacks on a political opponent? Sweeney is doing that right now. THIS GUY IS MY CONGRESSMAN! HE HAS TO GO!!!
Anyway, I’ve come to look at the 2006 election differently. I will never allow myself to get heartbroken like 2004 ever again. I will never overestimate the American electorate as long as I live. I have zero faith that progressives will be able to turn the tide, and no matter what the poll numbers, I remain convinced that the Republicans will pull something in October that will solidify another win.
It is because I’ve come to this conclusion that I can help in this race with an open heart. With no expectations, I find I’m more excited to do it. It’s a total Sisyphean task, but like Albert Camus, I must imagine futility with a smile. I will go door to door for an awesome woman who remembered Tessa from three years ago and gave her a huge hug – not because I have faith in the outcome, but because it feels undeniably right.