Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Plea for Progressives To Understand the Juggling on Primaries and Impeachment

Disagreements among progressives about impeachment and how Michigan should be involved in selecting our next president are counterproductive. They are beginning to get nasty and divisive at a time when we are about to enjoy the fruits of our labors -- a solid Democratic victory next election.

It is clear from watching the arguments bounce off the walls of the blogosphere here in Michigan that Mark Brewer is dealing with issues at a level of complexity that even some of the most intelligent progressives don't understand.

In Washington our beloved John Conyers faces similar, if not more complex, issues dealing with impeaching an incompetent, deceitful president.

"Why don't they just..." Those are the words that often precede some comments and now because nothing seems to be happening the comments are turning more harsh.

As a young journalist several decades ago, I often turned to analogies to explain complex issues like planning and zoning to my readers. In wider venues like state and national politics the issues are more complex. If the analogies are appropriate they reduce complex matters to something familiar that would raise awareness levels and grant my readers a glimpse at matters they didn't quite understand.

I have never used analogies in explaining what is happening in Michigan and Washington before so this might not work, but I am fearless and will give it a try.

Let's try the juggling analogy. Most Americans, even those who live in Mount Pleasant, know what juggling is. It is either an idle past time or a skill that can get you a job in a circus. Some people can juggle and some can't. Some people take it seriously and some don't. But it does take skill and patience and some level of intelligence to do well.

Both Mark Brewer and John Conyers are master jugglers, but balls and bowling pins and torches are not what they are juggling. They are juggling a complex set of facts in order to effectively make decisions on what is the optimum outcome of their endeavors.

If you have ever tried to master juggling yourself you know it can be done at some level. If you are an average juggler you can readily master, after some practice to juggle maybe 3 to 5 balls with some ease. Beyond that, you are getting into a very small percentage of doing 7 to 9 balls. If you can do more than that you are indeed a master juggler capable of a job at Ringlings, Barnum and Bailey or its modern equivalent, the Cirque Du Soleil.

In Brewers case one area of juggling, what to do about a Michigan primary/caucus, has so many variables involved that even Mark may get mighty tired of juggling at the end of the day. I can see perhaps 26 balls that Brewer is juggling and some of his progressive critics can't even juggle 9.

But they don't get it. Oh, sure they can juggle 20 in another area of expertise, but they are not competent jugglers in Mark's area of expertise and most of us know that Harvard-educated attorney is a 15 ball juggler in a half dozen areas and doesn't often drop a ball.

In Conyers case, Saint John has been juggling balls for so long for the progressive cause that he can out juggle most members of Congress. Conyers knows our President doesn't juggle, but he has surrounded himself with some highly competent jugglers, none of whom are public figures and a few who are like Karl Rove. Of course, being a master at dissembling is not a highly regarded skill in some circles, but one that is admired by many non-jugglers.

Maybe I am pushing this analogy a little too far.

But the point is my progressive friends, unless you are aware just how complex the issues are that Brewer and Conyers are dealing with, I ask you to give them a break. They really are better jugglers in their area of expertise than you are.

Here in the Michigan's geographic center we have some extremely competent jugglers in some fascinating areas of expertise and most of them teach at CMU. Internet voting is an issue where we have some 30 ball jugglers who are talking with 85 ball jugglers about that issue.

One of Mark's failings, in fact, most people's shortcomings, are that we don't have a clue what other folks are juggling. Sometimes it is simply easier to use shorthand which is also another effective way to communicate.

Let's try that.

Give Mark and John a break. They know more than you think.

And Internet voting may or may not be an issue in Michigan. But if it is we will be bringing out some interesting jugglers to explain why Mark needs to make sure he doesn't drop that ball.

We love you Mark and John. Keep juggling. You are fun to watch.

If you haven't seen Amy Goodman's interview with John Conyers this morning, you missed something that might expand your awareness of just how many balls Conyers is juggling.

Brewer's strategy is to keep his juggling skills quiet. At this time. For the most part.


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