I went to Representative Susan Davis’ (CA-53) Town Hall event Wednesday night (May 18). It was the worst experience I have ever had at a political event.
I had a table with Progressive Democrats of America signs; “Heath Care not Warfare”, and “Corporations Are Not People”. Close to the 6 PM start time, a young man in his mid 20’s, with messy hair and a beard (the same messy hair and beard I wore when I could grow hair. I am 47 now) came walking by with his girlfriend. I was the first person he passed on the way. I asked him if he would like a sign. He told me that he had a problem with the sign because it had the word “Democrat” on it, and that the Democratic Party was a lost cause.
I did not disagree, but tried to explain that PDA works within the party to elect Progressives, who can turn the Party around, finding their way back toward Progressive legislation. He cut me short and said that Political Parties did not bring social change, but rather people movement did. (Like as if I didn’t know).
I asked him if he was aware of the people movement in Wisconsin. I brought it to his attention, that this ground swell was toward putting Democrats back in charge in their state, and not toward electing Independent or 3rd Party Candidates.
I asked him “What SHOULD I be doing, if not lobbying my Representative for Universal Health Care, and ending the Wars”? He told me that I should be starting a social network, of like-minded people, who will work towards effective change. (That’s funny; I thought that PDA (DFA, MoveON and the like) WERE a social network of like-minded people who wanted to work toward effective change.) He said more specifically that I should join a “Socialist” movement.
I asked, “A movement like World Can’t Wait?” He had no idea who they were. I wanted to tell him that they are a true Socialist Party movement, for whom I worked with, organizing War Protests 9 years ago. (You know, like when he was only 15 years old). Forget about me Protesting President Reagan in the 80’s because he was not born yet, so therefore it does not count. Forget about Civil Disobedience actions at the Congresswoman’s office in 2004, where I sat in protest until 1 AM, risking arrest. (My fellow activists WERE arrested, but I did not have the finances to post bail, and did not allow myself to be arrested).
I asked him if he had a socialist movement that he was starting, or was part of. But he said that since I had the resources (I am not exactly sure what resources he thinks I have other than a stack of signs), that I should start one. And that I WAS the problem. People like me, not having enough sense to vote alternatively. (Perhaps he doesn’t realize that we do not have instant run-off elections. And that a vote for a 3rd Party is, unfortunately, a vote for Republicans).
I wanted to tell him that PDA helped to elect a majority of Progressive CA State Delegates to the State Party. That is, if he even knows what a State Party Delegate is. And how this type of action helps things like CA State to enact a single-payer (“socialist”) health care system.
But I never got to those comments, because this is when he decided to turn all of his anger on me. Personally criticizing me as an individual, on my character, and my actions. Blaming me for all Democratic, liberal, and progressive voters, for voting for Democrats. With a roll of the eyes, and a shit-stink grin on his face, he said… and I quote; “I just feel bad, that an ambitious guy like you, for whom we have so much in common, is WASTING HIS TIME with the Democratic Party.”
I was wasting my time!? You mean everything I’ve done for 9 years was a waste of time!? Helping to turn over Congress in 2006 was a waste of time, because the Republicans were doing such a great job governing. Getting Barack Obama elected was a waste of time, because we really should have let McCain and Palin win that election. Maybe we shouldn’t have helped Barbara Boxer keep her seat because she is only just Liberal, and not fully Socialist. Because, you know, letting Carly and Meg buy their elections would have allowed us to keep our Socialist ideological integrity.
Most profound of all; If lobbying my Representative for redress of grievance was such a waste of time, then what the hell was HE doing there!? I guess his sign “Tax the Rich” was a far more overwhelming message that will bring everyone together in a massive Socialist movement.
For some odd reason he felt as though it was okay, without knowing me, or anything that I have done for the past 9 years, to walk up out of nowhere, and JUDGE and CONDEMN me as a person, for what I was doing. It was a personal attack on me, and not the “movement”.
So of course I just lost it. I shouted to the people outside (which were few because by now the meeting was starting and most everyone was inside) “Hey everyone, we can all just go home, because trying to sway our Democratic Representative is a waste of time. This guy said so”. I ran toward the front door, and mockingly shouted inside “We can all go home now! It’s a waste of time!”
All the while he was saying; “I was just trying to tell you something” (but not listening). And, just like a Tea-Partier, when asked for his solution, he didn’t really have one, other than some ideological fantasy about a complete socialist reform of our government. But somehow, me tabling for “Socialized” health care, was the problem. I was why this country is in the state we are in. And what I was doing was pointless.
I was planning on going into the meeting. I was going to make a comment to the Congresswoman, about how we agree on 99% of the issues. But the 1% we disagree on, was costing half of all our tax dollars. But I was too pissed off to go inside. I packed up my posters and folded my table and left.
I have just one comment for the snot-faced, naive, and ignorant “Activist”… I’ll be checking the Huffington Post for the day I see that article about how a Socialist movement overthrew our Jeffersonian Democracy.
Oh, and a big FUCK YOU too.
In closing, I hope all my Progressive Activist friends understand when I say, that I will no longer participate in any Political Action, ever again. If all I am going to get from the next generation is that I didn’t try hard enough, and wasted my time, then I will leave it up to them to change the world. I have better things to do than attend meetings.