Friday, January 11, 2008

No Sale.

By Saje Williams

You can't sell peace to war profiteers. Can't do it. They won't buy. You can't sell the truth to habitual liars. They're not interested. You can't sell election reform to those who get what they want with the system in place as it is now. It's just not possible.

You can't sell fair play to a cheater. If they can't guarantee a win, they won't play.

You can't sell equal rights and equal access to a bigot. All the sincerity and all the honesty in the world doesn't matter.

You can't sell reproductive choice and freedom to people who think they have a "God-Given" right to dictate their conscience to other people. It's just not happening.

You can't sell equal justice to those who exist and thrive by pushing injustice.

You can't sell alternative energy to the oil companies, or universal healthcare to the insurance companies. They have no reason to buy it and every reason to oppose it.

You can't sell liberalism to those who've sworn to destroy us. There's no common ground between those who believe in serving all of us and those who have dedicated themselves to serving only a small group of the powerful elite.

It's just not possible. How can we hope to gain ground when they believe EVERYTHING we stand for is simply wrong? When people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and a host of others spend every waking moment trying to think of new ways of marginalizing our message? When powerful and wealthy religious leaders call us evil and those we support "demon-possessed?"

I'm trying to figure out precisely how we're supposed to make peace, how to attain "bi-partisanship" without giving up everything for which we stand.

I know there are those who believe that, somehow, against all evidence to the contrary, there is common ground to be found. We already know we don't see things the same way, that the mechanics of our brains are totally different. So many of them are trapped in an either/or, black/white, right/wrong dichotomy that our perspective might as well be that of a completely alien species to them.

There might actually BE common ground, but I'm not sure how we can find it. We believe peace is possible, they believe it's not. We believe that there's value in a world where everyone can prosper, they believe that prospering is a "God-Given" boon and any failure to do so is proof of God's disfavor or, at best, evidence of a lack of moral character.

What common ground we may have is buried under six inches of swamp water infested with venomous snakes. How long can we afford to stand there waiting for them to meet us there without risking a multitude of snake bites in the meantime?

Yes, there IS the possibility of reaching out to those who have been misguided into thinking that the Republican Party has their interests at heart. But how do we do so when they control nearly every avenue for making that reach?

"Blind taste tests" reveal that a vast majority of Americans actually support progressive goals. Yet somehow in the midst of the so-called "culture war" we can't seem to make the connection between what they say they want and how we can bring it into being.

It's not the middle-of-the-road, triangulated, corporate-friendly centrism that speaks to them. It's far more progressive than that. Yet when we come to do battle with the other side, we don't seem to be able to speak to the attitudes we share. We hide it away, and allow the Republicans, and the complicit corporate media, to define who we are and what we want America to be. We don't strive to define ourselves, and marginalize those with the courage to do so.

And wonder why the collective response of all too many Americans turns out to be "No Sale."

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

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