Can The Left Get It Right?
How The Democrats Can Lose Again in
After the 2004 elections, I vowed (with a little
help from my friend Terry,
here at echopraxia) to move forward in a positive way. I knew the
reason the Neo-Cons (there it is, right there in their nickname:
Cons) were enjoying so much success was because they had a clear
agenda, a simple message, and they stuck to it. They also didn't
define themselves by their opponents' message, which is the strategy
that made Pepsi the "other" cola, which it remains to
Within a week of the elections, my progressive-minded
friends (as soon as they were done crying and having nervous breakdowns)
began the divisive intellectualizing that keeps important issues
like jobs and the environment stalled, while people freak out about
abortion and gay marriage. Don't get me wrong, I care as much as
any feminist I know about a woman's right to make decisions about
her body, and many of my best friends are gay; I'd love for them
to be able to have their relationships acknowledged in exactly the
same manner as my straight friends if they wanted to (which many
don't). Regardless of all the various thoughts and feelings one
may have on topics like this, if one actually cares about making
changes, one will have to pick one's battles.
These are ALL important issues, but we're not going
to see change through protest in this country any time soon, unless
of course the government bans the private ownership of televisions
or something. There isn't a single liberal/progressive issue that
will bring people out in the numbers to make a difference. The anti-war
movement has probably made the biggest splash recently, and in spite
people turning out, the media barely batted a lash, and the Bush
administration seemed to take it as reassurance that they were on
the right track. The Neo-Cons have ingeniously used the pet issues
amongst many liberals - gay rights and abortion - as the most powerful
conservative tool for winning elections.
So what's a poor bleeding heart liberal to do? I
for one, am doing my best to avoid "complaint-based" activism.
I firmly believe that our government and the very spirit of our
country - poisoned by lobby dollars and special interests - can
only be changed from within, by playing the game to some degree,
and by having vision, not spouting intellectual critiques.
In my opinion, the last democratic leader in this
country with a vision (with the exception of Jimmy Carter, who apparently
didn't have the necessary bloodthirst to operate in D.C.) was assassinated
over forty years ago. We need a dream, not a band-aid. We need leadership
- not the centrist, arrogant groaning of a John Kerry. I'm not sure
whether I'll vote for a Democrat in 2008; I winced "punching
the chad" reluctantly for Kerry, and won't vote simply in protest
again. I WILL, however, do every thing I am able to do to support
change in the election process, and gather with any other disenfranchised
citizens that share the view that we'll do whatever is necessary
to steer this country in a more inspired, hopeful, and human direction.
Next: If You See A Problem, Fix It
has some great
tips for getting organized if you
want to take action on something you care
Alliance is a well-organized, well-funded
organization whose focus is on "Good
Jobs and Clean Energy".
In The Next Piece: "If You See
A Problem, Fix It"