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Waugh: Back to Talking

December 10, 2012

The Beast is back again. For awhile now it’s slept peacefully, covered since mid 2009 in a blanket of cynicism and alcohol, but the blood scent has finally broken through the hooch haze. It has only ever left the cave once in a blue moon to wander down to the village and spend a night chugging pitchers of rum and snarling in a maudlin melancholic atmosphere, and like a natural disaster people have adjusted to this sad sight. Now he is awake, running wild and free on the mountain top with the stamina of a young werewolf and the gentleness of a hungry vampire bat and the village is not ready for it. Nevertheless the Beast is awakened, and with that I am a Writer again. Though I tried to quit politics innumerable times and still make the threat to, like herpes once you’ve got it you’re stuck with it.

So you can imagine that the last four years have not been happy ones for me, a blood hungry hippie with a gun liberal, to watch. I can remember the night of the ’08 election clearly despite having had my way with a fifth of añejo rum, and more importantly I remember the optimism I felt as the states rolled in for Obama. Bush was on the way his out, his legacy to always be one of shame and scandalous criminality devoid of any kind of human feeling and deserving of nothing but contempt, his successor candidate with the neocon vice president to be were doomed, and all around the good guys seemed to be winning. “Fantastic.” I remember thinking. “If Big O plays his cards right and lives up to the hype he’ll barely have to campaign in ’12 and his hand picked successor will barely have to do anything in ’16.”

Better writers than me have documented the many failures, mistakes and disappointments of the Obama administration. From his squandering of a Democratic Congressional Majority and the debacle that was healthcare reform to his expansion of wartime powers, the kill list, the prison at Guantanamo Bay remaining open and Obama insistently clinging to the naïve delusion that he can somehow get the Republicans on his side, for every small step forward progressives were forced to swallow two steps backwards. To make it worse, in the two weeks and a half weeks since Obama won reelection I have seen nothing to make me think anything about Obama’s second term will be different from his first. Not even Obama changing his mind on gay marriage is enough to get him out of the red with progressives, given that once Biden came out and said his piece Obama had to say something as well or risk total alienation of a key Democratic voting bloc.

And yet many progressives are starting to feel a sense of hope. Not for Obama, but for the direction the country is drifting in. With three states legalizing gay marriage and one rejecting a ballot measure that would’ve defined marriage as one man and one woman in it’s constitution, as well as two states legalizing weed for recreational use, it seems like a slow rejection of social conservatism is happening before our eyes. Perhaps not in the way many of us expected, but at this point I’m sure most of us will take the change in whatever form we can. Obama has made it clear that the only way he’ll take up genuine progressive stances is by being dragged kicking and screaming into them by the honest bumbling of Joe Biden, so what the hell. Let’s take what we can get.

After eight years of Bush and four of Obama acting little better (Or worse when it comes to things like the kill list) one would think that progressives would have flocked to someone else, but the selection of Mitt Romney and Obama’s low numbers making the race a dead heat in many places made the choice for many. Bad as Obama is, the halting progress we have under him was a better choice than the social regressiveness a Romney Administration would’ve presented us. Now was not the time to split the vote most felt. Not me. I already compromised by political principles once before, in the ’12 Bahamian Election, and I wasn’t going to do it again. I voted for Jill Stein and would do it again without a second thought.

So where exactly am I going with this? Like with Obama, I’m not entirely sure. The Beast’s claws are a little rusty so it might take an article or two for it to get back up to par, but make no mistake it shall. This election did more than put Obama into office again, it showed just how weak and vulnerable and out of touch the Republican party is at this present time. The changing demographics and evolving social beliefs are trimming away at it’s power, and the fear of losing that power is leading them to kick out and disavow moderates in an attempt to purify their ideology. This is where progressives must attack. Either by changing Obama’s mind vis-a-vis Biden or by state level initiatives, the further right the Republicans are pushed the more the will bleed. And the more they bleed, the more The Beast will roam and rage and roar from the mountain top.

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