Natural disasters and economic crises are not what plagues humanity; humanity is what plagues humanity. Humanity plagues humanity in the obvious ways, in acts of terrorism, in rogue-state escalations of tension and threats of military violence, in genocides and riots and acts of mayhem large and small. Humanity plagues humanity in contested but fairly apparent ways, by clinging to platitudes and engaging in the politics of ignorance and belligerence, of xenophobia and homophobia and a general fear of the “other”. But humanity also plagues humanity by indifference, by a lack of will, a lack of perseverance, a lack of commitment to confront the enemy within and defeat it each and every day, each and every week, each and every month, year, decade, century, and millennium. Humanity plagues humanity by failing to step up and contribute to the solution, even if never having contributed directly to the problem. Humanity plagues humanity by sitting on the sidelines and surrendering the field to the most ruthless, or the most enraged, or the best mobilized by the best funded but least altruistic. 

Not only is the Tea Party the incarnation of our own worst enemy, but so too are the vast numbers of reasonable people of goodwill who can’t be bothered to stand up to them. The Denver Post reported today on “the enthusiasm gap,” assuring us that it is real, and tht it may be decisive ( And when the Republicans take the House, and maybe the Senate; when they undermine through an assault of defunding and riders and amendments which chip away at the modest Health Care Act we fought tooth and nail to pass, and complained bitterly about it not being enough; when they turn the clock back a few years to the days when W made most of us ashamed; all of us who weren’t excited enough to keep it from happening will be to blame.

It’s not just those who do violence to the public interest that are responsible for the damage done, but also those who sit by and let them do it. We’ve got somewhere between zero seconds and  15 days to avert a political disaster. I suggest that each and every one of us spend just about every waking moment for the next two weeks doing every last thing we can to avert it. Don’t wait for the clarity of hindsight to recognize how urgent it is. Don’t forsake hope just because it didn’t serve you breakfast in bed the day after the honeymoon; you’ll miss it desparately when it’s gone.

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