The Observer, being a longstanding hardcore lefty, was — to say the least — disappointed by the results of the election. Lots of hangdog faces in the office come the morn on Nov. 5. Lots of folks talking about the idea that there’d been a sea change in Arkansas politics, one that won’t be reversed until we go over the cliff into Kochhead Feudalism, if even then. What do you expect from Arkansas voters, a friend told us, when you’ve got the Democratic senator from Arkansas waving around a Bible in campaign ads, trying to out-Right the Republican? We, being a wounded wiseass, then quoted a bit of scripture: Book of Mark, 11:4: “Be not as the Dempublicans who flee from great and righteous deeds, for they shall fall into the abyss of unemployment.” But we digress.
The Observer, a tenacious fool of some renown, has a tendency to buckle down our chinstrap, get mad and go on the offensive at times like these — a hereditary disposition of the good people of Arkansas, where much of the soil is rocky and the nights were once full of bears. So we wrote something and sent it to a few people in the office. Wasn’t supposed to go further than that, but it wound up being posted on the Arkansas Blog and shared all over by people who found something hopeful in it. That made The Observer feel, for the first time since the results started coming in on Election Night, that we hadn’t somehow been rendered a stranger in our own land.
Boss Millar suggested we reprint it here, and we can’t say no to that. So, here’s hoping it brings you some comfort, too, Dear Lefties, wherever you are. Keep the faith, and keep fighting. Arkansas and her people are worth it:
Like a lot of people I know, I was messed up about the election results last night. Went to bed sad, got up sad, made dire predictions of the future to my kid (at which point he said: “It’s Arkansas, Dad. How much worse can it get?” At 14, he does have a knack for cutting through the bullshit.)
Driving to work through the rain, frowning, I started thinking about all this, trying to get some perspective on where we’re all headed. Then I started thinking about where the Arkansas Times stands now. Here’s what I thought: Do you honestly think that Rush Limbaugh, in private, was moping around the day after Election Day 2012 because Obama won a second term? Hell no, he wasn’t. He was smiling and smoking fat cigars, because he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He knows that to this country’s crop of Right Wing nutcases, he is the voice of the Resistance.
Arkansas Times is now back to where it all started: the voice of the Resistance. We’re the voice — the main voice, if not the sole voice — of the 40 percent of this state that voted against Regressivism yesterday. We’re a major voice for the LGBT community. We’re the voice of the environment, of the Left, of a woman’s right to choose, of the little guy, of the Latino community, of minorities in general. We’re the voice of people who want fair wages for fair work, and the voice of anti-corporatism and anti-greed. We’re the voice of those who want a reasonable social safety net, and of people rotting in jail for crimes they did not commit, or crimes that didn’t warrant the sentence that was given. We’re the voice of those pushing back against Theocracy, Plutocracy and Idiocracy. We’re the voice of the homeless, the forgotten and the underfed. We’re the voice of the people who believe Arkansas’s brightest future is in moving forward, not backward to The Good Ol’ Days that never really existed in the first place.
So, I thought to myself: You’re one of the few people who woke up this morning with the power to do something about all this. You get PAID to fight back against the forces that put Two-Gun Tommy and Asa! and Leslie “Dat Po Chile Done Not Be De Daddy” Rutledge in office. So, I said to myself, stop your moping and BE the Resistance, even if our chances are grim and slim. Stand with those who are working for tomorrow, not 1955. Now that the Republican dog has finally caught the car, hold them accountable for what they do with it. Let the people who voted for a better Arkansas know that we are still here, and still ready to fight, and if they’ll stand behind us and with us (and help us keep the lights on), we will.