Putting the Heart into Heartland

Janet Sullivanmakes a strong case for the real “heartland”: “To me, the heartland of this country is anywhere that people work their asses off to make their lives better for their families. They stay true to their better angels no matter how miserable things get or how much easier it would be to succumb to hate and irrational fear. They read, and listen, and look for the truth and stay informed about what’s really going on, no matter how grim the news. They don’t live in Fox News cocoons, they don’t blast Rush Limbaugh from their pickups, and they don’t vote blindly for the guys whose prejudices most neatly line up with their own. Their concerns are genuine, their values are consistent, their principles are rock-solid, and their hearts are true. ”

With all this talk of Jesusland, it’s worth considering that the Dems who are currently beating a steadfast retreat (you know who you are) instead of rebounding as their hearts are recovering from a bad relationship are no better off from the unilateralists who go out of their way to avoid an opposing viewpoint. It is our duty to fight and to march on, even when the chips are down. That’s what this nation is all about. The next four years are going to be tough, but we can begin putting a plan into play to get the two houses in our hands in 2006. If the Dems control the two houses (and, in particular, the Senate), this should at least bungle up the White House’s unilateralism (or at least slow it down) and open up some bipartisan solutions.

The questions that the Left must answer are:

(a) Does it have the courage to broaden its base and build up the antiwar and anti-Bush coalition?
(b) Can it find a hep way to bring in the 18-24 vote? Even if we can spike this up from 10% to 40% turnout, that’s 8.1 million extra voters who can make a difference (enough to handily give a Democratic candidate 52% of the popular vote in 2008).
(c) How do we mobilize a fearless “true heartland” bloc to stand against the fundie herd?

And with the idea of moving forward just to spite the bastards in mind, please allow me to apologize to my readers for the recent political fulminations. I pledge to get back to literary news and the like, but not without a vigilant eye on other topics.

[UPDATE: Dan Green rightly rallies lit bloggers against the gloom.]