Friday, January 8, 2010

Putting Obama Behind Us

There's a lot of good articles out there right now. Ones that I've read over during the holidays, but which I never had time to link to and write about. So, expect to see a flood of new posts soon. :) Of course, the way a blog is organized, you'll read this after you worked your way through all the new posts above this on the page. :)

by Sam Smith at Progressive Review.

I can't tell if anyone else knows about Sam Smith. I greatly enjoy his writing and his logic. Like this .....
Most of all, however, Obama represented a triumph of a generation of liberals dramatically different from their predecessors, most markedly in their general indifference to issues of economic as well as ethnic equality.

This heavily professional liberal class never once - in the manner of their predecessors of the New Deal and Great Society - took the lead in pressing for economic reforms. It wasn't that they opposed them; they just never seemed to occur to them.

They, after all, had risen in status even as much of the rest of the country was slipping. Over a quarter of a century passed and the best the liberal Democrats could come up with was to slash welfare and raise the age for Social Security.

Obama was the epitome of this new generation: well educated, well connected and well toned in rhetoric. But far distant from the concerns of so many.

To me, the key point is to realize that today's 'liberals' have little or nothing to do with 'the left', or with trying to do anything to actually help ordinary Americans.

Yet, we see many on 'the left' vote for and support these modern liberals almost reflexively. I suppose while the liberals were the supposed opposition to Bush, these basic facts about their policies were masked. But now, with the Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, there's no mistaking the policies they support and promote.

What I like is that he doesn't just stop with the typical whining about what's wrong. He goes on to give some ideas as to what to do about it.

The first thing that needs to happen is for there to be a clear distinction between smug, self-serving liberalism contemptuous of so many Americans and a populist progressive movement that seeks unity with those many liberals prefer simply to condemn.

The magnets for this unity are such obvious yet ignored issues as the creation of jobs, the preservation of pensions, decent treatment of endangered homeowners, an end to credit card usury, respect for local decision-making, and, yes, a healthcare plan based on providing financial assistance, not bureaucratic nightmares.

Such a movement would have to be formed issue by issue. It can not rely on empty icons or over-packed ideology. If one agrees on how to handle foreclosures but disagrees on abortion, leave the latter for another day. It is by working together on the things upon which we agree that both respect and power are gained.


KDelphi said...

I really like this guy! Post on..I will return! Thanks...

KDelphi said...

I have on e question, though, samson...(I went to the original article and saw that you had a comment about supposed Right and Left groups working together)..I hope you dont mind me posting it here...because I agree, to a certain extent--anti-war, democratizing or eliminating the Fed, no bank bailouts, anti-corporate etc. But, I watched Democracy Now today and it further frightened me ie the very racist coalition that have infiltrated the so-called Libertarian (ie Tea Baggers--which I realize is not the sam e thing), and, I also have questions about the pervasive idea that everyone should be "on their own". There is a prevailing sentiment , among alot of "freedom from govt" groups that the govt owes people nothing , and, that charity is avaiable to those who cannot "take care of themselves, bless their hearts" as one Paul supporter said to me...I maY be speaking to different groups thtn you are suggesting that the Left (TRUE left) work with, or they could be fringe, but vocal...I just wondered what you thought about these fundamental issues...not very articulate tonight, sorry...medical treatment is starting to get to me now and then...I cant seem to get satisfactory answers from those that I talk to...thanks..

Samson said...

Hi. Good to see ya.

I guess my opinion would be this. There are certain issues that we agree on. There are some issues that we would not agree on. To me, the key is to work together on the issues we agree on, and then to agree to disagree on the others. But not to let them disrupt what we can do together where we agree.

To me, the fundamentally key issues is our system of elections, and how the way its become so money driven that we end up with essentially a corrupt government.

We need to build a coalition to try to change that. The left opposition doesn't seem strong enough on its own to do that, neither does the right opposition.

And we fave a very strong, entrenched opponent with lots of power in at least three areas. Our opponents have the power of the government behind them, as well as the power of this massive and previously unheard of media machine. And lots of money and a history of using that money for political dirty tricks. Defeating them and regaining control of our democracy is not going to be easy.

Because of that, I feel we must unite. At least on the issues we agree on.

Once we have a real system of elections where people can freely debate the issues, and which isn't dominated by money and screwy attack ads, then I'd be happy to argue against the Libertarians on issues I don't agree with them in debates on free and fair elections. I've got my point of view, and they've got theirs.

Given the strength of the people in power, and the relative weakness in comparision of the people who support Paul or Kucinich or Nader, I don't thing we have any option but to try to combine our efforts to try to win back our government.

I willing to post-pone my disagreements with the Libertarians on other issues until we accomplish this. Mainly because where things stand today, the disagreements are meaningless. Not because I don't strongly disagree with them on some issues. But because its the group on the left that can get 3% of the vote disagreeing with a group on the right that can get 3% of the vote.

What's the point? Both groups are so weak separately that they can't do anything. So, I don't really see the reason why the left is constantly attacking the far right as 'teabaggers'. And at the same time, if I go to any Libertarian sites, they constantly attack anyone on the left as a 'stalinist'. What's the point of two groups that can muster at best 3% of the vote constantly attacking each other?

Of course, I have my own suspicions as to what's going on. Both the Democrats and Republicans love to see the two opposition groups spending their time fighting each other. And in the 'politics of fear' that both parties practice constantly, they always try to point out the worst of the far wing of the opposition to try to scare voters into voting for them one more time.

You'll see a lot of stuff about 'teabaggers' from the Democrats in the next year. The Democrats know they are in deep trouble in the next election, so they'd much rather talk about 'teabaggers' and 'sarah palin' than they would about how they've continued the wars they said they would end.

But to summarize this long bit of writing, I think the key is to work together where we can. And then agree to disagree and postpone any action where we don't disagree. After all, what's the real point of disagreeing with another weak group that can't gain any power either.