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Framing a more aggressive, progressive approach - part 1
There has been good community discussion here, off-and-on since the blog's genesis, including recently, on what the political approach among progressive Democrats should be, in both the short- and long-term. Here are a few of my opinions.
One thing I've learned as a blogger, is that only when you're very, very sure of yourself, should you assume that anything "goes without saying." Therefore, I need to make it entirely clear that what I'm talking about is the (far) more aggressive promotion of intelligent, reality-based - that is, progressive - policy ideas. (And those ideas are most assuredly out there, all over the place.) I am absolutely not promoting some sort of antimatter universe, mirror-image of the righties with their crazed, fanatical, ultra-simplistic, fear-and-hate-based howling. Even if I thought that the latter approach would work - I don't, because the people that we're seeking to persuade, know better - I wouldn't debase myself, or those with whom I'm trying to connect, like that.
My ultimate socio-political goal can be expressed, in very concise and straightforward language, and I don't delude myself to the effect that it's going to happen overnight.
Conservatism needs to be destroyed as a significant influence in American political, economic, and social policy.
By any rational assessment, the results of contemporary conservatism, since its ascent beginning in the late 1970s, have been uniformly disastrous. However, getting that across to enough voters, to consistently make a significant difference, has proven to be far more challenging than may be readily believed possible, at first.
As an adjunct to that:
Anybody - elected officials, would-be elected officials, media "analysts," propaganda mill hacks, anyone - who publicly claims that conservatism is anything other than the very embodiment of corrupt, despicable failure, is behaving as the rich man's whimpering, groveling, butt-kissing propagandist cur, and needs to be contemptuously dismissed as such.
(Note that I used "behaving as," not "is;" that's an important distinction. Also, "butt-kissing" is as far as I can go, on a family blog; in my own head, the terms tend to be far more blunt and crude.)
In other words, I'm suggesting that we tell people to quit letting the plutocrats screw us - and, where applicable, our kids - over, once and for all. People take huge exception to being screwed over, and it's a matter of making it clear to them, that that's what's happening. It doesn't have to be this way.
The key point that we hammer home, at every opportunity, is that it's time to make the rich man pay up - down to the last thin dime. Because, people do know what's been going on, and they are not happy. We just need to get them to the polls. And righteous anger motivates. The civil rights movement, for example, had its successes because people got pissed, (and expressed it constructively and appropriately), not because they copped out via cynical, doom-and-gloom defeatism.
Some things that conservatives have had going for them, include:
- It's much less challenging to block positive, beneficial change, than to get it to happen.
- The plutocrats control corporate media, which is why most of it now functions as little more than outright propaganda on behalf of maintaining the status quo.
- The conservatives display shameless enthusiasm for indulging in the most extreme socio-political tactics, like warmongering for political gain.
- Most distressing of all, are the cynical, apathetic attitudes toward politics manifested by so much of the public. The righties have done all that they can to foment that, and, as much as it infuriates me to admit it, it has worked well. Overcoming this, is, in my estimation, our biggest challenge.
Factors on our side include:
- The demographics of the electorate appear favorable. In 2008, voters under 30 went Dem by greater than 2:1. Basically, they're better informed than their parents, because of modern education and communications. The fastest growing racial/ethnic groups, namely Hispanics and Asian-Americans, vote blue. Only two groups are strongly conservative: voters over 70, and white men aged about 35-55. And the numbers of the former are, for the obvious reason, declining.
- Year after year, in poll after poll, the public supports us, on the issues. They're with us, big-time, on issues like taxing the rich, the need to curb corporate power, and preserving the social safety net. They're also with us, by smaller but still quite significant margins, on union rights, reproductive freedom, and so forth. Even gay marriage is becoming more popular than not, overall. About the only issue that conservatives have going for them is, inexplicably, guns.
- While they may have the money, and the true believers, we have a virtually infinite advantage in smarts.
I think that most of the current frustration among progressives stems from the fact that, given the items just above, it seems like we should be consistently seeing a progressive breakthrough, by now, and it doesn't seem to be happening. I'm not sure what to say to that, and this is not meant to be condescending, but this is the real world, and setbacks and frustration are part of the deal. They always have been. Yet, things have improved, overall, in the long term. It's just a matter of speeding that up, admittedly by an order of magnitude or so.
We don't have to change the "minds" of the rabid right. Another five percent, overall, consistently voting Democratic, gives us long-term dominance, at the federal level, and in the majority of the states. There will still be the Conservadems, trying to screw things up, but we will have accomplished a big first step...and then we can really go after the red-state South.
We have to make it loud and clear, that we're the better choice by a mile. On the issues, the public already knows it. No more mixed messaging, no more playing it safe, and no more conceding anything. Remember, plenty of Democrats and Independents benefit by the status quo, as well, and those are essentially their tactics. And bear in mind that, while most of those currently in power may be superficially cunning, they are not smart, by our standards.
In future posts, I intend to develop some of these notions/claims/suggestions, at greater, though not tiresome, length. And, it's not like I'm the only one, suggesting that more of those who've had enough of the way things are going, quit pillow-fighting, and go for the jugular. There's really nothing new, in the content of this post, at all. I'm just presenting it a little differently, than I've seen done before.