My problem is that I was born about 50 years too late. And if you consider yourself a progressive like moi,-not a dumbocrat- you probably feel the same way. The A-merry-ca we live in today will never be the A-merry-ca we hoped that it would be. Poll after poll tells us that A-merry-cans are more conservative than progressive, and that most A-merry-cans, when it comes to their politics, like to play it safe. Anything that seems to lurch away from their sense of normalcy sends them into a panic.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after reading Harold Meyerson's excellent article in the Washington Post and after reading some of the comments on this very blog. ( I think it was La-Coincidental.)
Part of my disappointment with Barack Obama is that he seems to be just more of the same. Just another politician -albeit one who looks like me-playing the Washington political game.
I wanted something more extreme. I wanted change. Real change. I was hoping that O and his O-Aid drinkers would start a real movement for change in this country. They have not. The Obamaholics have been sitting on the sidelines and hoping for the best. They seem to be glad that their boy is in power, and they sit around and twiddle their thumbs while they wait for the other shoe to drop.
But where is the activism? Where are the folks who licked stamps and handed out flyers for his O ness? Where is the grass roots movement? It certainly isn't on the left. No folks, unfortunately, it's coming from the right. We rip the tea-baggers and Glen Beck's 9/12 wingnuts, but they are loading up buses and heading to Washington. They are sending their money and devoting their time to taking down Obama and his agenda. As much as I hate to say it; the wingnuts are the real activist in A-merry-can politics these days.
"... The reasons for the stillbirth of the new progressive era are many and much discussed. There's the death of liberal and moderate Republicanism, the reluctance of some administration officials and congressional Democrats to challenge the banks, the ever-larger role of money in politics (see reluctance to challenge banks, above), the weakness of labor, the dysfunctionality of the Senate -- the list is long and familiar. But if there's a common feature to the political landscapes in which Carter, Clinton and now Obama were compelled to work, it's the absence of a vibrant left movement. .."
"Absence of a vibrant left movement"? Nope, there is an absence of a movement, period. Back in the day, as Meyerson points out, there were viable progressive movements in this country advocating on behalf of the poor, and disenfranchised. No more. Now these same people have been hoodwinked into thinking that they have a voice in the halls of power and that the folks sitting in the inner circle and pulling the strings on behalf of A-merry-ca, represent them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those people represent lobbyist and their corporate benefactors. No one else. And, sadly, I am starting to believe that a certain smooth talking fella from the Midwest with an Arabic name isn't representing them, either.
Poor white people in this country have been indoctrinated into thinking that they have their skin color, so no matter how poor and powerless they are, they will always be better than the black guy or the immigrant sitting next to him. No need to team up with those people to form any type of political or social movement, because it won't benefit them. It will only benefit those other people.
".. In America, major liberal reforms require not just liberal governments, but autonomous, vibrant mass movements, usually led by activists who stand at or beyond liberalism's left fringe. No such movements were around during Carter and Clinton's presidencies. For his part, Obama won election with something new under the political sun: a list of 13 million people who had supported his campaign. But he has consistently declined to activate his activists to help him win legislative battles by pressuring, for instance, those Democratic members of Congress who have weakened or blocked his major bills. To be sure, loosing the activists would have brought problems of its own: Unlike Roosevelt or Johnson, who benefited from autonomous movements, Obama would be answerable for every loopy tactic his followers employed. But in the absence of both a free-standing movement and a legion of loyalists, Congress isn't feeling much pressure from the left to move Obama's agenda. .."
Maybe, Mr. Meyerson, the" left" isn't pressuring Congress, because they don't think it will do them any good.