The Democratic National Committee called tonight. After all the sterling work the party has done since the 2006 election, helped of course by my hefty donations (five figures if you go to the right of the decimal point), a very cheerful and polite and hopeful-sounding young woman wanted to ask me for another couple hundred bucks.
You know, I was on the verge earlier today of writing down the litany of the woes I read about and hear about and witness and the sense I have that we'll be good and tangled up in these things for a good long while: The people blown to pieces day after day after day in Iraq and Afghanistan, the people losing their homes or walking away from them, the four-buck-a-gallon gasoline, and the president who says everything will be fine if we just do things his way. Then there's the stuff we apparently just accept as part of the landscape now--our shambles of an education system (tell me, when's the last time you heard the candidates slug it out over that?), our excellent but increasingly unaffordable system of health care, and the fact we've apparently decided that as a country we can't or prefer not to pay our own way anymore.
Did I mention that domestic ferry passengers in Washington State are being accosted by border agents demanding proof of citizenship? Or the sudden and calamitous decline of the last big salmon runs in California over the last year? Declining dollar, anyone? The estimate of my state's budget deficit for the next year increased from $8 billion to $10 billion to $20 billion in just the last four days (or maybe it didn't).
And then I look at the parties and the trio from whom we'll select our next president. While all of the above is transpiring, one of the Democrats has been reduced to talking about his minister's loony views and apologizing for speaking frankly about the fear and frustration that drives the electorate. His principal opponent is capitalizing on the fear and frustration to sabotage him (and probably herself, too, in the fullness of time). The guy from the other party appears to be promising more of his predecessor's worst policies along with a few gems of his own.
Plenty of tunnel. No light. I know this is not the glass-half-full view. I know I am not being "part of the solution." I am not being the change I've been waiting for or that you've been waiting for either.
You know, tonight's not a good night to ask for that two hundred bucks.