Lessons of Power(lessness)

Empowerment rule #1:

The power of your vision leads. 

From Digby this past Thursday:

The Legacy
by digby

Loosheadprop over at FDL highlights this comment from Paul Kane yesterday in the Wapo, that made me want to hold my head in my hands and moan:

Very interestingly, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein told myself and Jonathan Weisman in separate interviews Monday that if Bush picks a consensus AG, that the spirit and drive of the Dem investigations into the US attorney firings would likely dissipate.

So, the Dems are throwing in the towel on the US Attorney scandal for nothing in return but the thrilling fact that Fred Fielding and the White House finally listened to them. (They like us they really like us!)

This on the heels of the FISA fiasco, where Congress traded away yet more of our civil rights — not even for a mess of pottage — but for the measley hope that the Bush Administration wouldn’t call them names if something bad happened on their recess.

Now it’s tried and true that given a choice, the public prefers to choose for leadership the one most resembling a vertebrate. Yet Congress oozes along. What’s up?

Art Levine has a fascinating, if distressing, article in The American Propect online, entitled  Behind the FISA Flop.  His ultimate point is that “the key factions in today’s progressive movement won’t succeed until they learn to work together to create enough pressure on Congress to vote on behalf of those who voted the Democrats into power.” To demonstrate, he points out:

A total of 41 Democrats in the House and Senate approved the administration’s “shameful” eavesdropping program. After the vote, according to The Washington Post‘s E. J. Dionne, Congress was deluged with about 200,000 angry e-mails and phone calls, fueled in part by a Moveon.org e-mail alert bemoaning the passage of the legislation. The 200,000 complaints may sound like a lot, but they came too late to halt a major assault on civil liberties. In contrast, earlier this year when fans of Web radio faced the loss of their favorite programming because of a threatened rise in royalty rates, they deluged Congress with over a million e-mails and phone calls. The effort, ably organized by SaveNetRadio.org, came before the higher royalty rates were scheduled to be imposed. So why didn’t progressive groups and the highly-touted blogosphere mobilize in a similar manner to stop a measure that could potentially destroy the privacy of Americans?

So sure, we’ve got to get together. Or more precisely, successful public pressure comes from creating a stampede, and we’ve got to get ourselves herded together. And to create a stampede, it helps to have the tripwire set and ready, well in advance.

It also helps if Congress would remember — we need to help them remember — the words of Vito Corleone: “I worked my whole life—I don’t apologize—to take care of my family… and I refused to be a fool, dancing on a string held by all those big shots.”

It’s simple empowerment. Set your vision and live by it. Yeah, simplistic. Yeah, motivational-speaker talk. Yeah, but better than some fools dancing on strings held by all those big shots.

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