Wednesday, November 05, 2008

DC Larson: You are how you vote

DC Larson: You are how you vote

You must read this, and now. It is an encapsulation of how I feel, and why I felt let down in myself when I voted for Obama yesterday.

My sister, and others, tell me that you can't live in Fantasy-Land, you have to live in reality. And my belief in the unreality of the change Obama brings is interpreted as cynicism -- when I view it is optimism of a rather different sort. As Larson points out, by the standards of political realism, those who wished to stop slavery had no hope, and for a long time, no candidate. Larson says
...if in your heart you feel your true beliefs are at great variance with Obama's record and apparent sympathies, then I would submit that you have a moral duty to express yourself honestly, by voting for an alternative candidate who better reflects your opinions.

In that way, political cultures change. Causes like ending slavery, womens's suffrage, the trade unionist movement, and racial civil rights all began in the streets and with political outsiders. Who today would argue that persons advocating those interests should have ignored principle and accepted contrary conventional political realities?

During a 1924 debate on the death penalty, opponent Clarence Darrow noted the many torturous forms of punishment once common. "Gradually, the world has been lopping off these punishments," he said. "...[T]he only way we got rid of these laws was because juries were too humane to obey the courts."

Just so, electoral progress in the public interest begins with appropriately-voting citizens.


Now, I don't expect my friends to agree with me. But as I see their point, I wish they would see mine as something other than "fantasy land" or wistful thinking or waiting for perfection or engaging in an absolutism of progressive politics. If indeed was must be audacious, as Obama says, should I not be audacious enough to hope that a candidate in line with my beliefs should have a chance some day? That someone like Nader or Kucinich, with whom I have disagreements but of a radically lesser extent than with the people who actually lead us would have a chance? Is that naive? Or is it hopeful? Who gets to decide when I'm following Obama's message of hope and when I am being too silly, too demanding, too audacious for change?

I can be happy for what today represents, but I guess it's hard for me because I feel lonely in my feeling of what was also lost for me personally in my vote. I believe in what Larson is saying, and I can be happy for symbolism if others would take the time to accept and respond to Larson's and other's point other than dismissing it is, essentially, hogwash or extremism. I go out of my way not to dismiss the legitimate reasons for voting for Obama, maybe I don't succeed and I sound too dismissive. But simply being called cynical or starry-eyed is not a very satisfying or encouraging response. When I say what I say about Obama, people don't talk to me about (with one exception -- Go D!) going forward together to get to changes I see, they talk about accepting what is today. They talk about how much worse McCain would be. That's all well and good, but you know what? I will be inspired and hopeful despite my feelings on the somewhat futility of symbolism if people who disagree with me, rather than expressing bewildering bemusement, tell me how we can work with and on Obama to not simply slow down things going wrong, or have a moderate agenda, but rather when they tell me they will work with me to accomplish our wildest dreams, to push for a world where our "progressive" candidate is not menacing Pakistan and backing free trade rather than fair trade. When we say we will work together to make hunger a bigger issue than terrorism, while millions of children die each year from hunger in a world with surplus food while thousands of people die from the no less, but no more tragic incidences of terrorism.

I thank D for that, for being pumped about it, and trying to keep me pumped about it -- for, essentially, making the positive case on meeting our ideals. But as far as I can tell, she's the only one so far, the only one who doesn't say "But look who we have now!" or "Be real!" or "You can't achieve perfection!" or simply ignore or shrug off the history even our most "liberal" presidents have of ending up unindicted war criminals (like Carter helping Indonesia wipe out a bunch of its indigenous population).

I, myself, am going to have the audacity to hope for perfection. And as my many accomplished friends know, you don't get to "good" or "very good" by shooting for them; you get to be great by shooting for awesome, and get to awesome by shooting for the stars. I believe that, "Yes, we can!" reach the stars. If I can believe you're with me, then I can believe in the triumph of today.

5 comments:

Daktari said...

I feel your pain. Honestly, I do. Maybe not as severely this time (because I was all about the Obama from start to finish), but certainly in the past, and I know how it feels to have to pick the lesser of two evils and not feeling good about it at all.

That said, I want to talk about your sense of personal failure at having voted something other than your clear conscience. Keep in mind a couple of things. First, no candidate will ever embody all your ideals, unless of course you are willing to run for office yourself. Don't laugh. Less likely candidates have been elected *cough* GWB *cough*. Second, you did get to elect a candidate that represents THE FIRST STEP toward the change you want. (You can't get 2nd and 3rd and 15th non-white, non-male presidents without electing the first one). The only way for America to get comfortable with diversity in our leadership is to elect enough of them and to let them do a good job, or a bad job, or a mediocre job, but some sort of job so you can see that performance is NOT tied to superficial things like race or gender.

When someone stands in front of us and tells us he or she represents radical change, you get high hopes. And then you realize that their idea of radical change and your idea of radical change are quite different. Yes there is an element of reality to this, so your friends aren't entirely wrong here. As Obama said himself, this isn't going to be easy, and it's not going to be done in 1 year or even one term. But we are going to work TOWARD this common vision for the future. Don't fault him for actually trying to take the first step. It is too easy to say (even before he has stood one day in power) that he can't do it, won't do it, and won't try. He's not going to do it on the timetable you have in mind. He's probably not going to be able to do everything he said. Sometimes the world intervenes with our best laid plans. Even you can see this. But here's the thing, J. I honestly believe he will try to do something. He will move the ball forward. Maybe only by inches. But he's willing to fight for those inches. He's not going to sit on the ball and let the clock run out. Neither is he going to throw a hail Mary and pray for a miracle. Hail Mary's are spectacular when they work, but when they don't...... You don't get to take an end run around to the front of the line that many times in your life.

I mean, think about it. The Civil Rights movement began really in the mid-40s. And here we are 70 years later. Yes, we've come a long way. We have elected a black President. But I would hazard a guess that you have been called epithets and been stereotyped. So it is probably hard for you to say, as many white people DO say, that we are living in a post-racial world. But change has happened. It's slow. Progresses by fits and starts. Suffers setbacks. Goes into stasis at times. And then creeps forward at a staggeringly frustrating snail's pace. But ask your mother about her childhood and compare notes with yours. I bet you've benefited from the progress made.

And it isn't that I'm not equally as impatient for change. But I have watched this parade enough to know that it takes time and lots of it sometimes to get to the promised land. And I am not belittling your youth. Shit, I wish I had 15 years back. You'd be seeing nothing but my dust. (Of course, you ain't see nothing compared to what I have planned.)

Back to Obama. He has a lot to advance for me to put him in the "great presidents" category. FISA. Gay marriage. Clean energy. Changing our collective approach to use of military force. If he wants to represent change, he's going to hear from me what change I want. I figure the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

One of the reasons that I asked you what issue you intended to put in your bag is this. You can't tackle everything at once. You have to prioritize and then get to work. And, generally speaking, change is effected through a series of small advancements, side-steps and, with any luck, very few colossal setbacks. IMHO, effecting change is akin to getting a PhD. It takes a small amount of talent, a moderate amount of intelligence, and a wicked amount of persistence.

You are young and you are headstrong. Neither one of these is a bad thing if you want change. It means you have time and vision and persistence. But I do worry about your attitude. Sitting around pissed because your ideal candidate isn't in the game yet isn't the way to go (IMO). Baby steps to 3rd parties, J. Plot a course. Never veer. Don't lose faith in YOURSELF. Embody the change you want. That is where success comes from.

You are not a bad person because you voted for O. We did something yesterday. You and me and a 63 million Americans. Don't underestimate the power of one man, and never doubt that you have that same power in you.

J said...

but certainly in the past, and I know how it feels to have to pick the lesser of two evils and not feeling good about it at all. That said, I want to talk about your sense of personal failure at having voted something other than your clear conscience.

Actually, it's not so much my conscience as my being tired of hearing about how this is really going to change things. Is there any evidence, from O's time in Chicago or the US Senate, that he's anything but a normal centrist? He's proposing wonderful things, but so did Clinton. Did you read the article I linked to written by a Hyde Park resident who knows Obama somewhat in passing? Did you see the blog post recounting how Obama asked my cousin "Why the fuck are you working for her?" in reference to her working on Hilary's campaign?

No, it's not so much my conscience as people insisting, to my mind without evidence, that Obama represents real change. Who likes being told the same thing again and again when one disagrees?

First, no candidate will ever embody all your ideals, unless of course you are willing to run for office yourself.

Clearly so -- which is why I mentioned Kucinich & Nader. They embody practically all my ideals, yet I am told that voting for change is voting for someone who embodies rather somewhat fewer of them.

*cough*. Second, you did get to elect a candidate that represents THE FIRST STEP toward the change you want.

See, I still don't believe this, nor do I see any evidence of it, like I said. I can't imagine why people think Obama is different than, say, Tony Blair, who came in with such promise as well. I guess I'm not so much, or at least not just aggravated that I voted for O -- it's that I'm incredibly aggravated that whatever it takes to see O as the beginning of real change, I don't have it. I really don't think he's necessarily any more the beginning of real change than Carter was -- and Carter wasn't. O may or may not create change, but it has, in my opinion, less to do with him than us. Like everyone's always tired of me doing, let me point out that Ford & Nixon, horrible fuck the latter may have been, did more to advance Civil Rights than JFK, who in turn got us into Vietnam and almost WWIII via the Bay of Pigs.

I think I think of it this way: I sse Obama as potentially a JFK, who got the chance to do something symbolic (meeting with MLK) that was important, but did less substantively than people who get little credit for it. Nixon and Ford were forced into it, no doubt, by conditions in society - but that fuels my analysis that with rare exception, it matters less who the president is and more how many people join together to pressure him/her towards something. I don't know if you agree with my analysis of JFK -- I don't like having it, it's like my presumption from the evidence that Jesus wasn't even a real historical figure -- but though he is best-loved, he was a horrible, horrible, horrible president from the perspective of imperialism, and arguably quite a bit better on domestic issues, but still not as good as those who get less credit for it.

(You can't get 2nd and 3rd and 15th non-white, non-male presidents without electing the first one).

Oh, true, but as I said before, in that way the 1st matters less than the 2nd and 3rd, as the 1st in many instances end up being the only indefinitely, regardless of the quality of their intellectual descendants.

The only way for America to get comfortable with diversity in our leadership is to elect enough of them and to let them do a good job, or a bad job, or a mediocre job, but some sort of job so you can see that performance is NOT tied to superficial things like race or gender.

That certainly helps, though I think it's hard to argue that there isn't already ample evidence for those with open eyes to see. You're right of course, but I'm just less excited about the symbol than the change. And the change will be slower to come. I'm not unhappy with the symbol, I'm just tired of being told I should be ecstatic at the symbol. I have high standards =]

When someone stands in front of us and tells us he or she represents radical change, you get high hopes... And then you realize that their idea of radical change and your idea of radical change are quite different... ...Don't fault him for actually trying to take the first step. It is too easy to say (even before he has stood one day in power) that he can't do it, won't do it, and won't try."

Ok, frankly, this is the part that makes me kind of want to barf. If you look at his record, there is simply no evidence to make one think he represents any kind of radical change. None. He's not radical. And he doesn't even voice radical change in most of the areas he's talking about. The examples I give again and again -- the examples YOU give (" FISA. Gay marriage. Clean energy. Changing our collective approach to use of military force. ") There is, as far as I can tell, zero zero zero reason to think he'll be good on any of these issues. FISA? Voted for it. Gay marriage? Against it, even when the political cost was potentially lower. Clean energy? He's voiced some support for "clean" coal and nuclear power. Approach to military force? Has already made belligerent sounds to Russia re: Georgia, Pakistan, screw its sovereignty if necessary; Afghanistan, intensify troops, less talk about a vision like I linked to this morning; Iran? rather than talk about how a) even a nuclear Iran is not so much an existential threat since no country thus far but us has used the big bombs, including India and Pakistan with what people see as their incredible hatred for ech other -- no, even if you establish Iran is looking for a nuclear weapon, what taht would most likely mean is that we'd lose leverage over them -- after all, we've started dealing with NK since we thought they might have one, if they really were an existential threat, we should consider going to war to take out such a threat, no? if they're goign to nuke us either way? and b) what a bad idea it is for ANYONE to have nukes and propose a plan for disarmament... he's done nothing of the sort, what he proposes is more of the same, just a much nicer more of the same.

He's not going to do it on the timetable you have in mind. He's probably not going to be able to do everything he said. Sometimes the world intervenes with our best laid plans. Even you can see this. But here's the thing, J. I honestly believe he will try to do something.
I don't. And I guess my main issue is this: can someone please present me with some evidence he may, other than that he says so? Please?

But he's willing to fight for those inches. He's not going to sit on the ball and let the clock run out.

When? Where? Not over Palestine. Not over Iran. Not over FISA, already been there. Not over capital punishment, already establish he's for expanding it. Not over militarism, he's threatened Pakistan and Iran. Not over gay marriage -- though perhaps on civil unions -- though there's no reason to think he'll be better than Clinton. And you know what? I"d be satisfied with slow progress on gay marriage if he would be intellectually honest, and then say reality dictates we move slowly. I get that -- we can't make gay marriage happen tomorrow, not in a democratic way. But he says he doesn't believe in it as a right -- when the only possible logical reasons for denying it is a) you believe it is wrong and b) you believe the government has the right to tell us it is wrong. And how is it wrong if civil unions aren't, and some religious figures are willing to do it? If we have freedom of religion, people must therefore be free to marry two consenting adults of the same sex; if we think gays are wrong and horrible, they shouldn't even have civil unions. I'm content to MOVE slowly on the issue, but I can't see how he's doing anything other than being political here. And you can't win the argument for gay marriage without at least talking about it as a positive end goal, or goal at all -- which he doesn't, and I believe won't.

as impatient for change. But I have watched this parade enough to know that it takes time and lots of it sometimes to get to the promised land. And I am not belittling your youth.

Look, see again, here's my problem. I full on believe in change. I full on believe in the need of small steps. And I full on believe Obama's a small step. If we can agree that Obama's only a small step, and mainly because of his symbolism, than we can agree. Because honestly, please please please please please present me with evidence that he is an agent of change other than the fact he says he is. Look at his record, look at his actual speeches on controversial issues, and send me the material to read. I will DO it. I WILL. Look, this isn't about the perfect candidate for me. This is about, as much as anything, 2004. Kerry, when I started watching his house parties in 2003, said NEARLY EVERYTHING right. But damn C-SPAN, I got to see him before he was on the national stage, before he was pressured to be more moderate and less change oriented. And I saw him go from voicing ~80% of what I believed to ~25%. I cannot, do not see how Obama is substantively different than that, other than he says he is. Show me in his record. Show me. And I will abide.

Otherwise, I'm quite hopeful for the future. My hope just isn't in Obama -- just as it wasn't in the 2006 Congress, which people also told me I was being cynical about, that it was real change, and that I'd see -- and very few people point to 2006-2008 as banner years for liberal legislative successes, or even attempts. I just don't see how, other than the symbol, this is materially different than the 2006 Congress. But how 'bout this: I will give him a chance, and keep doing what I'm doing anyway -- which is the same thing I would've done under McCain. I'll be excited about change *I* can believe in, and will push for more of it, and reserve judgment on O.

But seriously. I've studied the man for months, years. I'm pretty confident of my analysis. Let me be wrong. Vamos ver -- there's nothing like having evidence, so let's come back to this convo (in re: Obama) in, say, 2 years? =] I'll be less stressed then. In the meantime, let's plan all the changes we want and the things we will do for them. It's all we can do, outside of doing all we can do, and Obama will in that sense tend to himself -- he will be great, or not, and I will do the same activism things that I thought were necessary before. I'm not discouraged. I'm just couraged. And O doesn't change that in either direction -- well, ok, a small positive one =] Can't I abide with that for now? Do I have to be ecstatic, or convinced right now?

Daktari said...

Can't I abide with that for now? Do I have to be ecstatic, or convinced right now?

NO, you don't have to be ecstatic. I get the feeling that's not much of your nature anyway. Be yourself.

My point is that even the greatest journey begins with some small step. You seem to be saying that you don't believe Obama can even walk. Fine. His resume is a little thin and he has compromised on some stuff that has made us both wince. You say he's a product of Chicago machine politics. I won't argue with you. Could turn out that he's nothing more than an exceptional orator and a world-class con man.

Furthermore, I am with you that the Obama as the great symbol of hope is a little over the top. I mean, the fact that the we've gone up in global estimation simply by electing him has more to do with his name, the color of his skin, and the prejudices and misconceptions of the rest of the world rather than any great movement in the American public. GWB embodied a mavricky, kick-assy, cowboy, America bent on world domination. So if by virtue of his name and what he looks like, we get a pass on even a little bit of that I'm okay with it.

But if this man is a con man, he's conned millions. Millions of nobodies like me bought into his campaign. Millions of nobodies like me put their feet on the street for this guy. He owes us. And I am not going to look at him as some sort of great black hope and say "my President right or wrong". He isn't beholden to the corporations. He's beholden to ME. He wrote me about 69 times asking me for more money. Sometimes I gave it to him. And I believe, silly me, that the little guys that put him there got just cocky enough to think that they might be owed some return on their investment. I don't think Obama gets a free pass. Time will tell. I can't speak for anyone but me.

The change that Obama represents to me is the change in us. In that paradigm shift I talked about the other day. For crying out loud, J, we pulled off a fucking miracle yesterday. He's right. He couldn't have done it without all of us. This is why people waiting in line to vote where crying. This is why half the city of DC was ready to swarm the White House and drag W from his bed and chuck him into the street. This is why people spilled into the streets in C-dale and you could hear a roar outside last night. The change wasn't in Grant Park. In DC and C-dale and everywhere else people celebrated, they celebrated the change in us.

I don't know. Maybe we're not disagreeing at all. Maybe I'm just rambling.

I'll be excited about change *I* can believe in...

Promise?

Becky T said...

I think I've made clear that I understand and agree with how you see things. But...when 40% of Californians don't want chickens and pigs to be able to turn around in their cages and a majority of Californians think "marriage" should only be between a man and a woman, it's hard to imagine that a truly progressive agenda could win a Presidential election. Not to say that we shouldn't try, just that I'm too exhausted right now to think beyond what I hope the next four years will look like (healthcare, getting out of Iraq, dealing with the crisis that is our economy, some actual movement on our spewing of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, etc). The fact is that the public is SO much more conservative than you or I that we cannot expect a true progressive to get mainstream support. But, I also think that your concerns and priorities are different from mine (and those people who argue with you) and that is why you are less satisfied that some of us with yesterday's outcome.

J said...

You see, this is what gets me down, B -- it's manifestly untrue that the public is more conservative than we think. It's two things: a) a huge amount of the public don't vote, but if they did, would skew liberal. Michigan, for example, had 60% turnout -- and most of the other 40 skew democrat. They just don't vote, for various reasons, including some that agree with mine. I mean, if you count me and them and the 3rd party voters together, we're a plurality at 40% plus, at least in Michigan, though we aren't a majority.
b) many of those who are conservative are not conservative so much as misinformed with the complicity of our education system and our news system. For crying out loud, poll after poll shows that people are more progressive than Washington, but when swamped with misinformation, guess what happens? I read that the Prop. 2 people in California had a strong push into conservative heartlands of Cal, and they implied that institutions would be required to marry gay couples if Prop. 2 didn't pass. I would be against that too. And I don't think they're necessarily dumb to believe such a line, because politicians have screwed people enough, it's hard to have faith in them. See my post on the appeal of voting for "that guy" about this (just cuz I'm too tired to sum it up or look it up).

I mean, it didn't stick, but McCain threw around baseless shit for months. Thank goodness it didn't stick -- like it did with Max Cleland, double amputee war vet who lost his re-election in the Bush years because people were convinced by the bull that he wasn't patriotic. Is this because people are dumb? Maybe -- but I think not. It's because we've been encouraged to vote out of fear, and even more because the news media and our other institutions allow outright lies to go by without much challenge, unless they're lies that threaten business, usually. People who voted against Max Cleland bought the bullshit. People who weren't misinformed were more likely to see him as the hero of the American mold that he is. I don't think people are dumb -- but even if they are, they are more dumb than conservative, which may be disheartening, but it's also not the same thing.

THIS is what aggravates me. I'm not exhausted; I'm ready for the real fucking fight. This is nothing. I'm ready to take them all on. And you're right, D, you can't take them all on at once, but like I say, I'm a quasi-political scientist -- a political ecologist (it's a real term), and I've just spent the past 2 weeks hard-core focusing on how change happens. And it doesn't happen because of a leader -- it happens when an established problem of great immediacy or recently-occuring disaster with previously developed policy solutions hits together with a national mood or election supporting it, AND THEN if the right person is around, in charge or in the trenches, things get done. (Well, that's one popular way it happens.)

And you know what -- I've seen, and worked on real change. Lula may have been a disappointment in Brazil, but the localized PT program I'm studying cut hunger in half in a city of 2.5 million in 10 years and brought the infant mortality rate in the poorest area down to the overall declining city average. And you know what, this program makes me ecstat-fucking-ic. Completely and totally. It's not perfect but I love it all the same, with little reservation (though of course no little caution). That's high standards perhaps, but I was thinking about it, and it's not that I'm a cynic. I have high standards. I'm fine with high standards. My standards are higher than this election of O -- because I've seen the other side. Perhaps I'm impatient to get there, but it seems like those impatient to get there are the ones that help set us up to make it, right? But people -- not you two -- who claim I'm *only* a cynic or will never be happy by anything in the real world, wrong-o. I'm very happy about some stuff. Just cuz it takes a lot, and a lot of it happens abroad, doesn't mean we can't, or won't, make it happen here, and I'm ready for that. I'm sick of the Liberal version of, "Pfft! Other countries."

I've seen universal health care, functioning and not. I've seen programs supporting local farmers and foods. I've seen efficient national elections with near-universal turnout. I've seen politicians given equal on TV, and the farthest left party come into power (and then disappointing millions). I've seen a countryside where every single person I talked to believed that the rainforest on their land should and must be preserved, even though it meant they couldn't develop there, and believed that there should be a right to food and the government should help guarantee it, even if they didn't think it would. I've seen colleges where women outnumbered men and they were considering affirmative action for men to get them back to parity.

So yes, I'm demanding. And I say to Obama peeps: deal with it. (It was a horse. Deal with it.) I know it's possible. I won't be satisfied until it happens. I'll make sure to be HAPPY in the interim, because as my mom sagely said, you can't make your happiness dependent on societal change, because then you'll rarely be happy. But there are things more important to me than this. There were before the election, there are now, and that's not just cuz I'm writing my thesis right now. If had to trade Obama for McCain to get a deep abiding and lasting movement, I would, and I suspect you all would too. Of course, that IS fantasy world, you can't trade one thing for another, they all must be worked for.

I've got my goals and others have theirs. Show me a city or a region with hunger cut in half and I'll show you a happy, happy Jahi.

But I've also seen Lula, who was quite certainly farther left than Obama, he was sort of the Nader of Brazil, and he ended up being almost Clintonesque. No one would've thunk it. If I'd been there in 2002 when he was elected, I'd've been out on the streets, too. But I wasn't, and he's ended up not being the change many Brazilians thought they needed, despite some positive things, and despite being likely better than the primary alternative.

And Becky, perhaps my agenda is different than others. I continually fail to see how someone could view American imperialism and the irresponsible preventable deaths of thousands, if not millions of people in other countries each year due to our actions could be called, for example, being a "single issue voter" as my sister expressed it. To me, *life* weighs almost above all else, and I really don't care where that life is -- hence my similar concern with Palestine. When 3X as many civilians die on one side as the other, I'm 3X as likely to sympathesize with that side (though of course not automatically).

And D: I guess you're right about my nature, because I'm going to say: I don't believe in miracles. It may be fortunate that "we" won, but it's not, to me, a miracle -- maybe, again, just because I'm so damned optimistic, it takes a really big miracle to surprise me out of my optimism! =] But it's plainly possibly for one person to con millions. Even millions of very, very, very smart people. Hell, I'm probably conned on at least 18 different beliefs I share with millions and I don't know it yet. Maybe string theory IS correct. Maybe the Hadron Collider DID destroy everything and we've just branched off into a parallel universe. Maybe there's a God. (I'm serious. I don't think there is, but maybe, sure.)

It's great that millions believe. I'm just ready for the millions to believe and mobilize beyond this a la the movement I'm studying that brought about so much change in hunger in Brazil, or the landless people's movement, or Via Campesina. (And I'm ready for people to notice that even though O raised the most individual donations ever, he also I think raised the most big-donor cash ever, such that his money is still 3/4 from big donors. Doesn't that affect anyone at all, or is Obama so different than all who came before that 3/4 of his budget from big-ticket donors and lobbyists will, unlike most other human beings that have existed, affect him profoundly?)

But I'm harping. Harp harp. Pluck the strings. Let me be wrong. Let us all be right a little and wrong a little. Let's get a drink. Let's get to work. Let's get it started in here. Let's just move on to another topic perhaps?