After 2000 and 2004, I made a conscious effort this year to try and not get excited about any sorts of possibilities for Democratic gains in mid-term elections. I’d been burnt too many times, and while there were candidates that I was really excited about, I did my best to contain any real excitement that they in fact could possibly win, while talking to everyone who would listen about how great they were.

Now, election day has come and gone and the Dems have managed to gain control in both the Senate and the House. They picked up 6 seats in the former and what is currently a minimum of 29 in the latter (with several still being contested). They picked up several governor spots and didn’t lose an incumbent seat in either the Senate or the House. All in all, it was a rather amazing night of events.

A couple local candidates (Scott Kleeb and Jim Esch) that I was really impressed with didn’t win their races, but they’re both young and I have a feeling that each one of them will be back again in the near future. In addition, a crazy proposed amendment that I think really would have hurt our state (especially our educational institutions) went down in flames and our very own Ben Nelson (who’s not my favorite Senator, but anyway…) wiped the floor with a wingnutter opponent. I guess there were a few bright spots in the state.

On a national level, the Dems have now been put into an interesting spot. They’ve been given a majority, which I hope that they actually use to get some important issues tackled. The vultures will be waiting with knives drawn for any mis-steps, and I’m hoping for the good of the country that some party differences can be swallowed for the greater good at some point. Given the political climate of the past couple years, that’s a hell of an order, but for now my glass is half full (after seeming near empty for so, so long).

Paul Wellstone 1944-2002We lost a great one four years ago today.

At the time it happened, I didn’t know a whole lot about Paul Wellstone, as I had just gone through a re-awakening on more of a national and local level just before the turn of the century.

After his death, I read a lot more about his work, including his speeches and his ideas and policies and came to the conclusion that our country would certainly be a much better place if there were a lot more people like Paul Wellstone working in politics.

GW - Bring It On I don’t remember if I saw the announcement on live television or whether it was some sort of a rebroadcast later on, but I vividly remember watching President George W. Bush sitting behind his desk in the oval office and announcing that we were going to war with Iraq three years ago.

Looking back through my old blog entries, March of 2003 was a busy time in my life. I was just getting ready to move into a new house and we in Marianas had just gotten our album back from the pressing plant and were preparing to play some shows. The actual night of March 19th, TG and I (and some friends) actually saw Godspeed You Black Emperor! in concert, which seems oddly fitting now that I think about it.

Today, Thinkprogress released a timeline of the last three years, and it’s interesting and sad to look back and see all the statements made that ring so falsely today. Of course, the big one that sticks out is this one:

[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.
President George W. Bush (May 1, 2003)

I was one of those people who was really frustrated by the 2000 election, but I was also someone who after 9/11 really tried my best to believe in the administration and hoped that they would do the right thing. Sadly, I’ve learned that I cannot trust them at all anymore. There have been so many lies upon coverups upon scandals upon lies that I simply can’t believe anything they say. Judging by current approval ratings, it seems that a majority of Americans actually think the same thing.

2317 Americans dead, 30,000 Iraqies dead, 250 billion dollars spent. I have no words…

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will.” – President George W. Bush on Good Morning America, Thursday Sep 1, three days after Katrina made landfall

Like just about anyone who follows politics and doesn’t get their news from a propaganda network, I realize that I shouldn’t put anything past this current administration. They’ve lied so many times in the past and I have a feeling that they’re just going to keep on pushing the lies until finally people wake up and realize that they’ve had enough.

The beautiful thing about the quote above and the linked video is that yet once again the president is completely caught in his lie. Unless he wants to argue that the video is edited, there is no getting out of this one and I for one hope that it plays (alongside his quote) on every single major news outlet for the next couple days.

It’s just one example, of course, and there are some people who still say that he’s doing the best he can and he’s a good Christian man so we should stand behind him because he’s our president that was elected by the majority of people, but this is a guy who on the above video heard dire warnings from a whole room of people (including the much-maligned Mike Brown) and then seemingly ignored them and went on literally three days of campaign stops (including this gem).

So yeah, I took a break from posting about politics on here, but this is something I read and think about too much to not write about. I want the Dems to collectively grow a backbone, I want GW’s approval ratings at sub 20%, and I want people to finally see what a complete debacle this administration has been. If I can help in that even a little bit, I’ll be happy man.

For a good part of the morning and the beginning of my afternoon, I listened to the hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. As the questioning wore on, I heard lots of talking around the issue and outright lies, and after awhile it simply wore me down and I had to tune it out and put on some music.

It’s only early in the year, but I’m starting to feel the same sort of post-2004 election burnout that I had after Bush was re-elected. In the months following, I tried to stay engaged by reading a slew of political books (from which I actually learned a great deal), but finally reached a breaking point at some undetermined time and had to escape to other pursuits almost completely.

I think I’m back to that level of disgust again now, and in order to stay sane I’m going to have to voluntarily attempt to sever some ties with my usual daily intake. Some have already coined the phrase “outrage fatigue,” and I would say that’s a definition that fits my situation pretty well. Granted, I’m not going to be able to simply stop and go cold turkey (you can pry my thinkprogress.org from my cold, dead hands), but I am going to have to chill out a bit in the next couple months if I don’t want to have a meltdown before the elections this November.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus a bit on other things and try not to let myself get so wrapped up in all the sordid details and specifics of every single committee and investigation. I just end up getting my hopes up and nothing seems to every change or come to fruition anyway. I haven’t given up the fight, I’m just going to stop being such an absorber of micro-details. If something big happens, I’m still going to hear about it, but a little buffer isn’t going to hurt at all.