Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

As Real as It Gets

This final week has dwindled down to a precious few days for Democrats to offset Republican enthusiasm and Tea Party mania by bringing out their "base."

Ages ago, Elaine May and Mike Nichols, a comedy team for people with a pulse and an IQ, had an exchange mocking their overeducated audiences' tendency to talk about social problems rather than act:

"Actually, it's a moral question."

"Yes, and moral questions are so much more interesting than real questions."

Next Tuesday is as real as it gets--for dispirited Democrats and Independents to stop talking and blogging wittily about "nut jobs" heading for Congress and join in the scut work of getting out the votes of people who make their choices on something more than primal fears.

"Sometimes it can wear you down," the President tells a rally, referring to "big, messy democracy." Yes, but isn't messy far better than the orderly vision of naysaying ideologues on the Right who would take America back to a world free of government--and devoid of justice, compassion and human decency?

It's crunch time for liberals, progressives, elitists, humanists--whatever they choose to call themselves--to stop bloviating and help turn out crucial votes that could mitigate a disaster.

In an e-mail to supporters, Barack Obama puts it more plainly than he can on the stump.

"The journey we began together," he says, "was not about putting a president in the White House. It was about building a movement for change that endures. It's about realizing that in America, anything is possible--if we're willing to work for it, if we're willing to fight for it.

"That's what I believe. And if that's what you believe, I need you to knock on doors, and make phone calls, and talk to your friends, and talk to your neighbors. And I need you to dig deep and give what you can."

In the next seven days, we will see if the old Nichols-May joke is an artifact of the past--or an accurate description of where we are now.

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