I spend a lot of time with readers’ comments both in the Daily News and the New York Times. From this — as well as from opinion pieces — I’ve picked up the mood and thinking of both progressives and, to be verbally balanced, regressives.
No point in analyzing regressives. Or, rather, you can actually see me analyze them when I read their comments. Picture me, shaking my head, shaking my head, shaking…
But I can grasp and verbalize progressive thinking.
First, I sigh at the nomenclature. Apparently we can be “progressive” or, hiss boo “neo-liberal.” And I do understand what falls into the bullet lists under each label. Although I’m not sure what “neo-liberal” means except I’m sure it’s a condemnation.
Here are some of the things progressives want:
- Medicare for all.
- $15 minimum wage.
- A universal base income to answer, in part, our radical income inequality.
- End of the Electoral College.
- Gun control.
- Campaign finance reform, i.e., public campaign financing.
- Third and maybe even fourth parties.
- Young activist (see above for activities) politicians seizing control of the Democratic Party.
- End of Democratic Party superdelegates.
- End of Democratic Party adherence to noble rules of governance in the face of GOP dirty power plays.
- End of Democratic Party.
- End of Capitalism/Wall Street.
- Diatribe as the crucial performance skill.
- Bernie as Dear Leader.
- No compromise whatsoever.
If I may insert myself here as an average long-time leftist liberal (call me a “neo-lib” and I’ll smack you in the mouth), that is, someone socked by disappointments and caressed by perpetual optimism, here is what I think about the above bullet list:
A lot of it is goal-ish. Fine, I agree with some of the goals but I haven’t been hearing anyone propose actual procedures for achieving those goals. I await a tad of real politik. Just a tad.
But I disagree with a number of those goals primarily because they seem to be raw and uninformed.
One big complaint I hear from you is how the Democratic bench is old, centrist and feckless. How nobody is doing anything meaningful. You seem to focus a lot of your wrath on women leaders in the Democratic Party — odd, isn’t it, that you’re duplicating right-wing fanatics and Russian troll farmers? — and, by the way, as a woman of a certain age, I take this personally.
But let’s not get into that particular street fight, not right now. Instead, I’ve got a nice suggestion: Twitter.
Thing is, the angry, caustic and despairing criticisms I read from you suggest you don’t really know who’s out there in the political firmament. Although I think it’s too early to worry over who’ll run for president in 2020 — too much will go on before that campaign begins — I’m seeing and reading a lot of really interesting, good, smart, dedicated professionals who happen to be devoted to government. In other words, politicians.
I suggest you start a Twitter account or, if you already have one, start to follow a whole bunch of politicians. (Don’t waste your time following Trump; good politicians and lawyers will retweet him with their comments so you’ll see his crap without making any effort.)
I think you’ll be surprised to learn what many politicians are concentrating on, what they’re doing, what bills they’ve presented in the legislature. What their agenda is, what their goals are.
Just today I noticed that Senator Jeff Merkley was in his home state, Oregon, holding a town hall discussion in a rural county about the importance of rural housing and broadband. And that’s only one quick example of the sort of information I get on Twitter every day, from other senators and congresspeople. Lots and lots of what one could consider Democratic Party values and hard work on behalf of actual constituents.
They’re out there, all of them. Before you discard an entire party, find out who they are and what they’re up to.
Now, as far as campaign financing is concerned, I’ve written about this previously and will now repeat myself: there’s no point in accusing Democrats of being in thrall to capitalism and Wall Street if you have no idea about what is actually happening in campaigns around the country and who is getting how much money from whom.
So again I suggest you sign up for Daily Kos Elections. No, I’m not suggesting. I’m insisting. Because before you start screaming about corruption (I’ll have to do a whole other post on that word), you need to know about money in political campaigns and the only place you’ll find out about every penny, who’s got those pennies, where those pennies came from and how they’re being spent is…Daily Kos Elections.
There. Up there is the link. It’s a free service delivered into your email inbox every day. It’ll startle you, intrigue you, horrify you and inform. After a couple of months, you’ll know what you face when you complain about campaign financing, liberally brushing the word “corruption” over everyone.