Never more true in our time. Republicans and their fringe in 2010 may not be the brightest, willing to self-destruct rather than credit a black man with rescuing the country, but like Kamikaze fighters of World War II and Al-Qaeda's henchmen and other fundamentalists who have hijacked growing portions of Islam and Christianity in our day, they are showing some evidence of character. It takes guts and real stick-to-it-iveness to continue to spout blatant lies over and over. It takes"audacity! Wow. Audacity. The audacity of wanting us to fail so badly, so desperately, that self-preservation is not an issue. The baby? the bath? -- both down the drain. Guts, I tell you. Now if they could just get the brain thing going, and the heart.
Dems have the brains, several thousand pages worth at minimum, and there is some evidence of heart, but they are decidedly spongy in the gut. "Forget that the house is on fire. I'm contemplating my naval. Besides, if I don't put it out perfectly, I will be blamed."
Surely we are living in the Land of Oz. You remember: There was the tin man with his refrain, "if I only had a heart." There was the lion. He could bellow ferociously, except if one said "Boo!" he cowered, his knees gave way, and all was irrevocably lost. The scarecrow, of course, was without a brain.
So what is to become of us? Will the American Right get a heart? Can they, will they, locate and dust off their brain?
What about some courage for the American Left? Electoral success appears to be damned unmanageable without it. Will they step up, shine through, before it is too late?
If I had to choose two of the three, I'd opt for a heart and a brain. Courage can often be mustered. Ordinary people become heroes in times of crisis. A hardened, shriveled heart, on the other hand, is a tough thing to resuscitate. When your entire way of thinking is predicated on privilege for the few, when at your core you only care about your own well-being and that of those in your elite circle, the only thing that might fill the conspicuous void in your chest eventually is a fall from grace -- a long, hard fall.
But what is at the root of this hardness of heart? It is not difficult to trace. If the layers were peeled away and the essence exposed, we would find the same fundamental belief system that allowed for the enslavement of millions of Africans in our young country. It is the idea that "I should live like a king," and the reality that in order for that to happen, thousands must live like paupers. It is, "You lose so that I can win, because I am entitled."
What then explains the missing brain? It's clear that the Right is so distraught, so outraged at the prospect of having to cede power to Barack Obama, that they simply cannot think straight. The thought of him actually being president of the United States is more than they can process or bear. They've gone quite mad.
Republicans can see it coming. They are being exposed. Surely there are flitting moments of gut-sinking self-recognition wherein the mirror into their souls reveals that what they are clinging to is passe, that what they are trying to sell the American people is a flipped upside-down faÃ§ade, that they have nothing to offer but the policies that got us into the current morass. They are relying on their hard-earned mastery of spin and smokescreen tactics, but eventually smoke clears, eventually spin grinds to a halt, and what's left is revealing.
None of this changes the fact that our President is truly a win-win kind of guy. "Strictly the facts, ma'am. If we've got the facts wrong, let's reassess. Let's get it right. You've got a better idea? Let's see it. Does it hold water on independent evaluation? No? We won't be doing that then, but what else have you got? Sure we can compromise if you've got something new and substantive and workable to bring to the table. Regurgitating failed policies? Mm, I'm not thinkin' so."
President Obama possesses the ingredients, all of them, that are needed at this time. Heart? He's got it covered. Brain? Is there any doubt? Courage? He answered that lingering question when he traveled to the lion's den, the Republican retreat, and soundly slapped the lion down nicely, thoughtfully, of course. It's his style.
What say, then, we summon up our own intelligence and intestinal fortitude, position ourselves squarely behind our president -- clearly a man of good will, intelligence, insight, and compassion, not to mention a quick study, though never quick enough for instant-gratification Americans -- and get on with the business of digging ourselves out of the septic pit we are in, all the while keeping a crisp vision of a healthy, energy-independent, prosperous yet compassionate future firmly in our collective mind's eye.
Barack Obama continues to be our best hope going forward. As hard as we worked, as much as we gave, we must work harder and smarter and give more than we did in 2008. Had we been able to hand him as little as two additional senators who were truly forward-thinking, we would be seeing outcomes much more to our liking as we speak. Now, at this moment and going forward, we would be wise to engage brains, muster courage, and dig in for the long haul, the 2010 elections. All hands on deck. Don't lose heart. And you go, Prez.