Posts tagged ‘progressive’

A Dream Deferred?

Maybe an official of some Asian consulate has read Harold Meyerson’s column on the President’ s untapped army. “A paper tiger,” the bored functionary sighs.

What is... and what should be

What is... and what should be

That reader might be more perceptive than anyone at present realizes.  An e-mail  list is not an army. A year ago millions of people like myself were indeed “fired up and ready to go” knocking on doors,  and telephones,  and credit cards. Electronic networking was a terrific tool for turning ferment  into  political mobilization.  But I believe that Obama’s first six months in office has demobilized —  or at least immobilized — a significant part of his army:

Health care — If a “government option” is the extreme left of the debate (possibly even to be sacrificed through negotiation, and subject to mixed messages from the administration) the battle is already largely lost. Sure I favor single payer, but if it’s not even in the discussion, then the “progressive” side is at the mercy of insurance companies and related forces.

The Economy — The effort and money devoted to saving capitalism from itself dwarfs everything done for everyone else.  ’nuff said on the subject, except that…

War and Peace issues are  proceeding as promised, with a shrinking mess in Iraq and a growing one in Afghanistan/Pakistan. The economics of this “smarter”  superpower warfighting will cripple  progressive domestic initiatives, i.e.,  those that get past the snarls of Republicans, blue dogs, and the lobbyists they pay attention to.

Hope, by its nature, never entirely dies. Obama tapped into and became the symbol of a pwerful impulse. In office, he has blunted it.  Meanwhile the raving Right has increasing become the respectable opposition. This foretells failure at the top and dangerous mass polarization below. I do not want this to happen. But it seems that at this point Obama’s vaunted confidence  has led him into dangerous waters, and perhaps blinded him to necessary corrections of course. Read more…

Letter to Bill Ayers

[For a more personal take, start with “Bienvenidos,” using the link at the right. Use the Truthout link to see what Bill Ayers had to say after months of being used as a Hillary-McPalin whipping boy against Obama. Looking forward: What, I ask Ayers, is his organizing perspective for these hopeful but perilous times?

no shame

no shame

DEAR BILL AYERS:

1. Educators and parents know that you are a dedicated teacher.
2. Progressives of all kinds, including the commentators here [the responses to Ayers’ Truthout essay] AND the Obamas (I trust) know that you are and have been a smart and hardworking progressive for many, many years.
3. Sarah Palin and her audience “know” that you are an unrepentant badguy and enemy. In addition, the McPailin campaign believed (foolishly, in the event) that you would make a terrific bogeyman. As did Hillary.

So now, my brother, my question/opinion for the “movement that is always busy being born when its not busy dying.”: Our traditional role has been to speak truth to power and anyone else who will listen. And to try to “make” truth- based realities (good schools, mobilized voters, collectives, etc, etc,). When that is compared to the pain and misery especially our country has created or helped along, many crazy and stupid things seem called for. You did some of those, and in a different mode so did I and many other folks.

Some of us were able to recover from our fanaticism (as you know, others died or were destroyed — perhaps with their own cooperation). So now — among “us” — you are a source of strength and encouragement — and ideas.

But what are your ideas for reaching Barack and the rest of those who elected him? I.e. those who either believe the myths of American exceptionalism or believe that “realism” means not challenging it. The economy and the ecology are in crisis. They will form a conjuncture with our military, quasi-imperial investments, probably headlined by Afghanistan/Pakistan.

The times, I expect, will be a’changin’ even more in the next decade than they were in the Sixties. The election campaign could have — but did not — help prepare Americans for that. We need “change” that affects and includes many folks who believe that their own hard work and American superpower benevolence are all that we need.

As you know,

it ain’t so.

Where to go?

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