Forget 2009. Remember the Alamo. Remember the Maine. Remember the lessons of September 11th. But whatever you do, remember, also, 2006.
Without resorting to tragic speculation, it seems the only thing that can keep Obama from becoming the next president is the great granddaddy of all Bradley Effects. With Obama projected to win roughly half the popular vote and over 300 electoral votes, even Diebold's and ESS's sleaziest tricks would be such an obvious theft that even the somnolent electorate would have to take notice.
However, before we start getting giddy at the prospect of a historic Obama presidency representing vigorous but a still-vague change, let's not forget that we were in very much the same mindset exactly two years ago on the eve of the 2006 midterm elections.
We weren't, of course, voting for change in the executive but the legislative branch. We were spiritually intoxicated at the idea of even a mini Democratic revolution, an analogue to Gingrich's Republican revolution of 1994, that would kick to the curb dozens of Republican incumbents standing in the way of change, a majority that would oppose Bush through sheer strength in numbers.
But, ignoring the bromide, we didn't stop to think of the downside of an entire progressive electorate getting what it wished for. Even when Nancy Pelosi, sensing a power shift in the House and already picking out in her mind what drapes would go in the Speaker's office, said months before the election that "impeachment (was) off the table", we ignored that more than ominous warning sign.
So what right did we have to be so surprised when the Democrat-led Congress time and again stabbed us in the back, pausing only to twist the knife? Especially after Pelosi renewed her call for mercy and forgiveness for the most notorious war criminals since Hitler and Himmler? Why were we so shocked when a former Republican named Nancy Boyda said on national TV before she was even sworn in that Congress should give Bush the money for his surge and that Congress hadn't the right to stand in his way?
Why did we feel we were entitled to shock and outrage when Dennis Kucinich's HR 333 moved, at best, at a glacial pace and why did it take us so long to realize that Pelosi and Co. were skillfully keeping Kucinich's impeachment bill in deep freeze just long enough until the end of the general elections this year?
Considering the stakes, I won't permit myself a smug "I told you so" but I said as much in a typically ignored series of pieces starting just days after the election that the Democrats will not prove to be our saviors, saving my special venom for Pelosi. And, after that raft of progressive legislation passed by Democrats in the House that froze out the Republicans to teach them a lesson, what has the 110th Congress done for us?
A partial laundry list:
Giving Bush all the money he ever needed to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even going as far as to strike from the vetoed version of the bill a nonbinding resolution that called for a timetable for withdrawal (one that the Iraqi Congress seems better suited to bring about than our own and in much better time than Obama's own 16 month timetable).
A FISA extension that essentially gave the NSA and the Bush administration sweeping new broad powers to spy on US citizens while essentially bypassing the FISA laws (voted for by Obama), including retroactive immunity for the telecoms who have been spying on us at the behest of the government.
Standing idly by while Bush signed into law NSPD 51 which would essentially let George W. Bush, a man who cannot even eat a pretzel without adult supervision, have complete control over the entire government.
The recent $700 billion bailout bill (also voted on by Obama), opposed by most taxpayers.
This is just a partial list of some of the most egregious lapses in judgment of just the latest edition of Congress, led by the people you helped to install to great fanfare and alacrity.
(Point in fact: my own Congressman, Marty Meehan (MA-5), was retiring soon so I didn't vote for him, nor did I vote for his successor, Niki Tsongas, in the runoff election.)
People, we are guaranteed of making history no matter who gets elected tomorrow. Either we'll have our first African American president or the first three term president since FDR.
But before we get giddy at the idea of the first black president getting elected within our lifetimes, let's keep in mind that making civil rights and political history isn't worth the paper that'll be sacrificed in our fulminations unless we remember that what's even more important is reclaiming the history that once made us great as a nation, which begins not with merely civil rights but the rights of all Americans who'd yearned to be free from the yoke of a dictatorship that forced us into declaring our independence.
While I'd never advocate voting for a man who plainly represents a third Bush term, I also advise even as you cast your vote for Barack Obama tomorrow to not get too wrapped in the hype and the intoxicant of change, especially when this man last June snuck off with Hillary Clinton to attend the Bilderberg Group's latest meeting, opposes gay marriage, thinks that Iran is a serious nuclear threat, shamelessly sucks up to AIPAC and believes Social Security is in a state of crisis. These are all right wing talking points that went stale long before Bush sank into the comfortable, unaccountable mire of a lame duck administration.
Let's not get too hopeful and excited, also, about the Democrats widening their lead in Congress. A veto-proof majority will no longer be an issue if Obama is installed as the next president and however progressive his agenda will prove to be, I foresee a Congress newly empowered, emboldened and declaring their independence from the yoke of diktats balefully handed down to them by Bush, Cheney and Rove.