So the Hammer finally nailed himself.
I am so disappointed. It would have been much more fun to defeat Tom DeLay fair and square at the ballot box in November.
I was prepared to walk door-to-door in the district (my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons who deserve better representation live there). A stunning election defeat for Tom DeLay would show other zealous right-wing politicians that the majority of Americans--when you can get their attention away from trying to make a living and taking care of their families--really are in favor of basic democratic principles and--dare I say--ethical government. They really do believe in liberty and justice for all, in freedom of religion and speech, and in respecting the fundamental rights of others. They want to live and let live, not by the hammer but by common decency and fairness. Many of them were outraged when he violated the medical privacy of Terry Schiavo’s family who were faced with heartrending decisions. Others were shocked by his probable brush with corruption in his dealings with lobbyists. Everyone should be furious about how his long arm reached from Congress into the state redistricting process and defeated those with whom he disagreed, not at the ballot box but in the backrooms.
DeLay fell prey to his own arrogant quest for power over others when he should have been focusing on how he could use his position of public trust to improve the lives of the people he supposedly served. You have to admire and learn from his vision and tenaciousness, while reviling his raw use of power in the service of avarice, personal aggrandizement, and fundamentalist screed.
So another corrupt politician bites the dust. But now, while we do have the voters' attention, let's all take all this little civics lesson to heart. Politics is only a crooked and cynical game when we let the crooks and cynics hold the keys to the halls of government.
Go to your next precinct meeting, people. Practice democracy 101. Get registered to vote if you're not already. Vote every time and take your friends and family with you. Go to town halls to meet candidates and elected officials in person. Scour politician's websites and ask them questions. Check their voting records. Organize voters who share your values to get a meeting with candidates prior to elections when they are most likely to spend the time with you and keep in touch after their elections so they know they are accountable. And yes, write a check now and then to candidates you support. It does take money and lots of it to run a campaign. In today’s media-saturated world, candidates have to be able to get their message out to voters. We want to make it possible for people who aren’t rich or simply power mad to run for office. And hold the media accountable too, for representing the candidates and the issues accurately.
When we as citizens fail to do these things, we're the ones who get hammered. That's just the way it is in a democracy, like it or not.
© Gloria Feldt 2006