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.
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.
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.