In some ways, it feels like the left in America has been here before.
Shortly before the 2004 election, previously inactive liberals were being energized into the electoral process to prevent George W Bush’s re-election, which they believed would fundamentally undermine American democratic norms.
Derry - New - Hampshire - Pam - Patrick
In Derry, New Hampshire, I met Pam and Patrick Devaney, a shy couple who felt compelled to canvass for Democratic nominee John Kerry. “I’m not comfortable doing this but it has to be done,” said Pam. “Our democracy is at stake. This is the most important election in my lifetime.”
Patrick added: “I always thought someone else was out there doing the job for us. Now I wonder what we’re doing.”
Situation - Year - Miles - Kerry - Home
This was essentially defensive. Working to make sure a bad situation did not get worse. That year I drove over 2,000 miles from Kerry’s home in Boston to Bush’s former home in Midland, Texas, and met a lot of people like Pam and Patrick, who were drawn into the process for the first time. But I never met a single person who was enthusiastic about John Kerry. They just wanted to get rid of Bush.
Four years later I saw people inspired to work for Obama. There was a delirium, bordering on the messianic, among many liberals at that time, that could be challenged but rarely penetrated. The transformative nature of his candidacy, while clear symbolically, was often mistaken for substance. When Obama won in South Carolina, where the Confederate flag still flew on the statehouse, the crowd chanted: “Race doesn’t matter!”
Moment - Momentum - Left - Combination - Sentiments
What is different about this moment is that the momentum on the left seems to be propelled by a potentially combustible combination of both sentiments: an urgent need to prevent the rapid and deep degradation in national politics that has escalated since the election; but also an inspiration that...
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"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift