09 November 2010

Some comments on where we progressives go from here

I am a regular listener to the very best public affairs radio program there is, which is Ian Masters' Background Briefing (Sun. 11 AM)/Daily Briefing (M-Thu 5 PM) on KPFK here in Los Angeles (streaming or archived at kpfk.org, free). 

Several of the moderate-left economists and political thinkers Ian Masters has had on recently think that the wild swing in this election is actually a positive sign, but only in a long term sense, and not in the sense of a guarantee of progress. But what they mean is that, although the electorate isn't acting rational, people do realize that they're getting screwed, and when the Republicans don't deliver (which of course they won't), they will be ripe for something else. And if at least a plurality of the Democrats aren't smart enough to give it to them, there might even be an opening for a Third Party. They compare it to the McKinley era, when the plutonomy was finally starting to piss off a majority... the Progressive era took 15 years or so to achieve any real reforms, but it did eventually lead to some positive changes. 

But we have to resist the temptation to just tune out. We must keep plugging away. Politics is a turn off to a lot of people, but even a few well placed comments in conversation can help to change peoples' minds. People are so frustrated, they lash out at whoever is in power. There are several dynamics in play: (1) polarized political system. You can only out the ins and in the outs; there's no middle ground. (2) Tremendously effective means for propaganda exist and the Right is better at using them than the left;  3) Democrats are by and large too cozy with the same corporate interests as Republicans.

We progressives, as the rank and file of the Democratic Party, and its true core, have to make clear that this just won't do anymore. Democrats in Congress (especially the Senate) are often "Republicans for a day," e.g., Schumer and the 15% giveaway tax on derivative trading that he supports.  Republicans are (almost) never "Democrats for a day." That's why they win and we lose, in a nutshell, even though it's still true that if you sample peoples' opinions on talking points, Democratic ideas are much more popular than Republican ones.

We need to regularly write to and e-mail specific Dems and tell them to drop Republican ideas, or else, and be specific.

I'm going to keep blogging, and try to reduce the essential progressive message to simple points, which I will broadcast far and wide. It's all I can really do.

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