On life, activism, and TV writers getting it right.

Recently I heard or read or absorbed through the collective consciousness the idea that you should live your life as if it were twenty years from now, and you were looking back on this year and thinking, “If only I had done [or not done] X . . . ” This, it seems to me, is a Good Plan. Think about what you’ll eventually regret having done or not done, and fix the mistake before it’s made.

In that regard, I think I’m going to find some canvassing or other activism opportunities for Obama’s campaign. Twenty years from now, when my kids ask me what I did during this historic election period, I want to be able to say more than, “I complained a lot and then I voted.” Sure, I have six month old twins. Sure, I have a full time job. Yeah, I’m pretty busy. But have you seen the state of the world lately? It ain’t good. And if there’s one small thing I can do to improve it, I want to do that thing.
From Maureen Dowd’s NYT column, in which she asked Aaron Sorkin to write a conversation between Barack Obama and fictional President Jed Bartlet.

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well … let me think. …We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know … I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mom said,

    Hear, hear. And good for you. The buisiness about elitism goes back to the No-Nothing Party, and more recently, I well remember Spiro Agnew asking what was wrong with mediocrity. But it’s also about the idea that only Whites can represent America.

  2. 2

    liz said,

    You’re in CA, so phone banking into Purple States is totally needed. Go onto BarackObama.com to look for volunteering opportunities that you can do from home (or around your work/twin schedule).

  3. 3

    uccellina said,

    Liz – Done! Thank you!

  4. 4

    Charissa said,

    Just a quick note to let you know that you inspired another very tired mom of twins to get out there and do her part in this election!! As sleep deprived as I am (Kiss and Cookie are just 7months and NOT sleeping very well) I used the precious kid free Saturday morning to go out and block walk in pivotal neighborhoods. Thanks for being inspiring!!

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