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
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
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.