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Thursday, 29 July 2004

What Ever Happened to Liberal Democrats?

Is center-right the best the party has to offer?

Plenty of Democrats are liberals. And when I say "Democrats," I mean folks registered Democrat. I mean the people in front of the Grand Lake Theatre with the voting registration table. I mean people running for city counsils and school boards and small local offices. I mean the people lining up to vote at my local polling place. I mean bloggers. I mean you and I might mean me.

Third Parties

A while back, there were independant ideologically driven parties on the right. They were fed up with the Republicans looking identical to the Deomcrats on all the issues they cared about. George Bush Sr. was giving money to Planned Parenthood. Nobody cared about prayer in schools. Reagan appointed a woman to the Supreme Court. None of their issues were addressed by this absolutely corrupt, beholden ot corporate profits party. the right felt their party had abandonded them, and so they abandoned their party.

They started magazines and organizations to spread their views. They got commentators. They got on the radio. they got their message out. And then, the dfeining issue of the Republican party, anti-communism, wasn't so compelling anymore. People in the party started to take notice. Here was this huge, angry, untapped base on the right. They grabbed the right populists and got them on board. They changed their platform. the party became a vehicle for the kind of social change that the right once dispaired of ever seeing the Republicans address.

Organized, vocal right wingers motivated people and got control of the Republican party and pulled it in the direction that they wanted it to go.

Liberals

We are fed up with the right-wingness of Democratic leadership. Our party has abandoned us. We've got our commentators and bloggers. We've got our organizations, like MoveOn. We can and must pull the Democrats in the direction we want to go. We are populists. the majority of Americans want single-payer health insurance. The majority of americans want nuclear disarmnament. The majority of Americans want us out of Iraq. Informed Americans do not support the war on terror. Informed Americans do not support the Patriot Act. Informed Americans are not in favor of extra-constitution detentions or torture or no bid contracts or any of the vile misdeeds of the Bush administration. Do I say "informed" to be elitist? No, I say "informed" because news organizations are not doing their job. And they are not because we are not. Right wing people write letters when they don't like what they see on the news. They write letters to the broadcasters. They write letters to the advertisers. They write letters to the FCC.

We must learn from the tactics of the right. Not the dirty tricks or the smear campaigns, but the grass root mobilization. We won't need to lie or to smear because progressiveism means people voting for their own best interests, where right-ism means voting for corporate interests. Right wing lies require a media machine to prop up mythology and to spread disinformation. All of this is disarmed with truth.

The way to change the Democratic party is to stand up and demand the change. No, Kerry will not pull out of Iraq unless we demand it. If we are in the streets. If we are writing letters. If we are blogging it, the troops will come home. The Democrats are the party of Joe Lieberman, but they are also the party of Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama and Barbara Lee. If we want tehir to be a progressive voice in the Democratic Party, we have to be that progressive voice. We have to support our progressive leaders already in the party. We have to organize and demand that our ideas find their way into the platform. We have to take action on a local level. Run for office, organize protests, volunteer for organizations trying to enact political change. We must rebuild the insitutions whihc make the Democratic party strong. We don't just need strongs PACs, we need strong unions.

We need to be a "big tent." There needs to be room in the democratic party for the left-wing version of Ann Coulter. We need to broaden our ideas of what it means to be a Democrat. We need to reach out to leftists by giving them something worth grabbing on to. Any poltical party is made up of people. We need to be the party we want.

I'm switching my registration.

5 comments:

Crinis said...

What are switching to, American Independent? Maybe Reform? How about The Constitution party? Actually, switch to undeclared. Make ANY PARTY fight for your vote. Shit, the elections are decided on the thinnest of margins. Maybe if more marginal people didn't declare a party, the major parties would be forced to court our vote.

yesyouam said...

i've never registered as a democrat. it makes sense to me why they are so damn conservative. they know that the truly liberal whack-jobs like you and i are gonna help them out when it comes down to bipartisan crap. they take it for granted, so it's not worth any effort to court us. doing so would be a great way to lose a lot of votes. we're easy. it's that empty slate of middle 'merka that interests the democrats, not us.

Crinis said...

That all said, I'm a registered democrat. I'm doing what I can to pull the party left. Big John last night had to at least give lip service to the peaceniks, the poor and downtrodden, and the unemployed. He'd better keep it up, too. It almost makes him repectable.

Anonymous said...

Hey

I am actually doing research to discover when the idea of liberal became witchy politically in the US. I can't figure it out, JFK would be labeled it, as would LBJ. Neither could get elected now, nor Roosevelt either! I think it might have been that criminal Nixon who did it, with his "silent majority" thing and his ruining McGovern, making him out to be a wimp. So liberal became to mean wimp. Even though McGovern wasn't that "liberal" even. Nixon really screwed up a lot of things. I almost didn't realize how much until I started to research him.

But anyways, back to liberal, I am still looking for more info about when it became bad. See after Nixon everyone freaked and elected Carter and Carter did blow it domestically, really let a lot of people down (I mean obviously he has more than made up for it now, but he kind of had to) but then it was downhill from there, Reagan, Bush and then finally Clinton got pushed to the center by Rush Limbaugh's influence in the midterm elections in 94.

I would guess the real final culprit was the recessions of the 70's. They were really bad, and then everyone was afraid and fear ruled and no one wanted to help their neighbor as much cause they were afraid for themselves. Thus we swept in Reagan (Mr. Cowboy who made us feel good about ourselves) then Bush, then Clinton had to move center cause of Rush's fear mongering. Those recessions probably were the root cause.

Anonymous said...

Oh that was Carol who posted the last comment...or ramble I should say.