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Myths and Heroes

November 11, 2004
By Aden Nak

I found Democratic Underground in June of 2004, through a series of random links off of AlterNet.org. Roughly four days later, my first article appeared on the front page, and I was busy ranting away in the forums. After a few months, I began to truly zero in on the audience I wanted to reach with my writing - those pesky undecided voters. My essays began to look at things from their point of view, and to question the conventional wisdom about the 2004 election.

I thought, perhaps, that by approaching things from a familiar standpoint, I could convince them to look at things differently. I believed that my words, if framed correctly, could pierce through the ignorance of a nation. Clearly, they failed. So perhaps my seething vitriol will have more success.

When history looks back on George W. Bush's Presidency, I doubt it will be very kind to him. He is a failure of a human being, a nepotistic brat, a warmongering sociopath, an unremarkable figurehead for PNAC, and by far the worst President that the United States of America has ever suffered. I have no doubt of that. But it doesn't bring me much comfort right now. Not staring down the barrel of a second term for the Bush Regime. There is a sinking pit where my stomach normally resides, a knotted bundle of stress in my throat, and a rage in my hands so dangerous that it's all I can do not to hammer the keys right through my desk as I type.

We defeated George W. Bush in 2000, only to have that victory stolen from us. We may have defeated him again in 2004, but it seems now that we'll never know. Everyone here knows that what the Bush Regime has planned for the next four "blissfully unaccountable" years will make the previous four look like a dress rehearsal at best. We have to accept the ugly realities of our situation, because as Democrats, that's one of our strengths. We can see beyond our own bullshit. However, if we do not capitalize on that situation, all we do by examining it is perpetuate our own downward spiral.

Personally, I've had it. I'm sick of the rhetoric about "healing the nation" because Bush will have none of that. I'm sick of hearing about doing what is "right for America" because turning our democracy over to the hands of PNAC is anything but. Yes, we lost the presidential race in 2004 (by hook or by crook). And even a victory would have been by the narrowest of margins in both the electoral and popular vote. We need to start addressing the reasons. We need to start following our own advice. We chide George W. Bush for refusing to wake up and change course in Iraq, and yet we are doing the exact same thing at home politically.

Soft-spoken, cut-and-dry, "electable" candidates don't sell. They can achieve, at best, a marginal victory, one that will be contested and reconsidered by the pundits and the politicos until their sliver-esque victory is negligible or worse, reversed. That's not to say that we need a complete Yahoo running for office. Clearly, that's the Bush Regime's methodology, though numerically it doesn't really yield a substantially better result.

What this nation is ready for, hungry for, and perhaps even desperate for is a candidate that is both intelligent and inspired, perhaps even emotionally enraged at the sorry state of the Union. They want a candidate that is able to think and, simultaneously, seems poised for action. They want the Al Gore from six months ago, not the Al Gore from four years ago.

And maybe what they want is a bit of a fantasy. A super-human figure, even a mythic hero of sorts. That's certainly what the NeoConservatives presented them with George W. Bush, and those that voted Bush will tell you, almost to a person, that they trusted Bush's character and conviction. Of course, I believe his character to be reprehensible and his convictions to have more to do with his daddy's purse-strings than the good of the American people, but what I think clearly means jack in a presidential election.

They want to be sold a myth. They want to be sold a legend, and yes, perhaps even a firebrand. The landscape of American fiction is populated by two basic characters. The infallible hero and the "everyman." George W. Bush cast himself in a bit of both of those roles, and droves of people that didn't know a damn thing about him besides what they'd been spoon fed by the media nation cheered fanatically. Personally, it made me sick to my stomach, not just to watch their ignorance but to know that they were directing the course of my own life. It was the same disgusted fury I feel whenever I watch George W. Bush smirk at the camera, as if admitting to an unnamed audience that he knows what an infinitely cruel lie his entire life has become.

Legends are born of mortal flesh, and heroes are the unlikely combination of extraordinarily gifted souls placed in impossibly desperate situations. The Democratic party needs legends and heroes now more than ever. They need to convince the Red States that they are fierce and determined without alienating the Blue States in the process. They need to appeal to both the imagination and the emotions of the electorate, and it might be time for us to admit that, with a few exceptions, our current crop of almost-rans simply isn't up to the task.

We need heroes more now than we ever have. More than under Reagan. More than under Nixon. More than ever. And we need to make it very clear to the Democratic party that we will accept nothing less. We need to make it clear to the rest of the registered Democrats in this nation that a "safe" candidate is anathema, and that a close loss is still no victory. And we need the rest of the party to either grow some backbone or else let some new blood in. We need Democrats that won't bow down to the GOP whenever political opinion swings in their favor. We need Democrats that don't turn into a pride of paper tigers whenever they think their numbers may be in jeopardy. And we need those Democrats who are unable to act as our heroes and champions to shuffle off and die.

Aden Nak is an easily-agitated computer technician and a woefully underemployed freelance writer. More of his personal vitriol can be found at adennak.com.

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