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Is It Me, or Has the Spirit in America Been on Hold Lately

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<strong>I have my moods, my ups and downs, my times of being more
alive and less. Lately, I've felt somewhat dispirited,
unspirited. OK, but also kind of stagnant where my visionary and
creative energies are concerned, which is to say with respect to the

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's just one of my moods.

But maybe I'm picking up on something about this moment in America. Maybe it's like THIS:

The central battle in America in our times is the battle of good
against evil, for evil has gained an unprecedented foothold in America
in recent times through what's happened through the right wing of the
American polity. That's the main event: a battle for the
soul of the country. That's not America's most essential business
most of the time, but that is what's at center stage in the American
drama since George W. Bush became president.

The arena of that battle used to be the Bush administration, and its
unprecedented lawlessness and lying. We got rid of that evil
gang, got Obama, and discovered that even without Bush and Cheney the
Republican Party is a lying and amorally destructive force: all
the Republican Party wants to do is make Obama fail, whatever the
injury to the country, so they can get power back for themselves.

For better or for worse --and that's what now remains to be seen--
Obama is our champion in that war. That is the battlefield
now: whether the Republicans will be able to continue to gain
advantage by acting in the most irresponsible and unconstructive way
imaginable, in a completely dishonest and hypocritical way. Or
whether Obama will now be able to fight against them in a way that a)
makes them pay for serving evil, and b) gets accomplished for America
the incredibly many things we need to do to repair the damage lately
done the country, and create the foundation for the country to wisely
and competently choose its future and make itself into what it wants to

The ugly process of getting health care reform passed was one
unsatisfying stage in the course of the battle between Obama and the
Republicans; but it DID look like it was achieving something in
the end.

Obama was disappointing as the general of our forces, largely making a
mess of his potential through the way he led --or didn't lead-- the
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THen the election in Massachusetts (which occurred in the context of
that health care process mess) somehow threw everything up in the air
--though in reality not all that much had changed-- and it led to a
time when the forces of both good and evil scurried to adjust to this
political earthquake that Teddy Kennedy's seat had been one by a

The Democrats eventually seemed to regroup. Obama hit a triple,
if not a home run in the State of the Union Address and followed that
up by an astonishing encounter where Obama realled schooled the House
Republicans, leading finally to the issuing of the invitation to
tomorrow's televised meeting for Democrats and Republicans to talk
about health care, and "seek bi-partisanship" while the American people
--who supposedly WANT bipartisanship-- watch on.

This was what? Two-plus weeks ago. At that point, the
respective camps mostly retired from the field, making no major moves
on the battlefield, knowing that this health-care meeting will be the
showdown to launch us into the next stage of the war.

We know that the result will not be any truly bipartisan, truly
legitimate working together in good faith to achieve results that are
good for the nation. The Republicans just don't have that in
them. And they know it, and we know it, and I think that we can
assume Obama knows it.

And so we come into tomorrow's battle, in which the explicit text will
be that both sides are seeking appropriate cooperation between the
parties for the good of the nation but in which <em>neither side
really has any such aspirtations at this point.</em>
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The Republicans are not interested in bipartisanship because they are
an expression of an evil force these days, and that force has no desire
for the good of the nation to be achieved. That's what makes it
evil: it dislikes the good, and even if it had nothing to lose by
making things good would choose not to do so.

And the Democrats don't aspire to real bi-partisanship out of this
meeting because they have to know that the Republicans are committed to
making the Democrats FAIL, while have the government actually achieve
things would make the Democrats look good. This Republican Party
is not willing to be a minority party, which means a political faction
that is content to work for the good in a way that accepts the
legitimacy of the power reality that it is the other side, for now,
that is the dominant partner, that aspires to get power back while not
making that the driving force in everything.

So Obama knows, me must assume, that his purpose in this meeting is for
him and the Democrats come out looking good in the eyes of the American
people and the Republicans are exposed as the liars and hypocrites that
they are.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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