For the last 40 years, America has lived George Orwell’s worst nightmare. It was a bit more subtle than Orwell imagined, but our domination by powerful interests has been no less complete than the dystopian world the author described in 1984. We have been fed nationalist propaganda for decades, dumbed down by our schools and our food and our government. The demands of Wall Street long ago supplanted the needs of Main Street to the point that even “liberal” presidents play their tune at every conceivable turn.
We have become American Consumers of Shit and Shinola, no longer citizens of the Republic armed with information, passion and esprit de corps.
Last year represented the first year in my lifetime that a significant number of the electorate shook off their stupor and voted accordingly, despite the long national awakening since Junior was promoted by the Supreme Court because of a technicality and a huge set of brass balls. It took a full-on Constitutionally-sanctioned coup to wake us up and even now the Powers That Be shove us back into the Us vs Them framework. Unity is bad for maintaining control, so they keep us divided into neat little demographic factions locked in an eternal ideological struggle.
Since the strategy of those in charge of this mess really hasn’t changed, I say it is time for We The People to go on the offense in a way we never have before.
This is the first legitimate shot America has at shaping a true progressive presidency since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, but Barack Obama will only be as “liberal” as the country allows him to be, so the proffered solutions can’t be more of the same failed programs democrats always trot out. Democrats need to explain to the country why a progressive shift in thinking is a good thing and then offer smart legislation that actually moves us in that new direction. There are hearts and minds still waiting to be won if progressives would start speaking the truth with the same conviction as those who offer nothing but lies.
What do I mean by progressive? First off, it isn’t driven by a political party. It is a state-of-mind that eschews the status quo if it is keeping us from moving forward as one nation, one people. Being a progressive is just as conservative as it is liberal.
Which brings me back to offense. Changing a nation is a huge effort that takes multiple generations. Progressives need to start, right now, speaking the language of winners and offering innovative solutions outside the traditional left-right political paradigm. The language of winners is positive and assertive and a bit arrogant. Not arrogant in the sense that everyone else is wrong, but arrogant in that how can anything else be considered right based on the available evidence. Think Teddy Roosevelt or LBJ rather than members of the modern political parties. Their sort of conviction led to committed converts rather than political insurgencies.
It’s why Barack won the presidency. He was convinced America could be better and trusted the voter to see through the haze. He was right.
I am betting on the same thing. I am convinced We The People are in a place to hear hard-truths if presented logically and with conviction. I also think we are ready to contemplate big, bold initiatives that will take this country in a progressive direction, though not necessarily liberal or conservative as currently defined. I don’t think it will be easy or that we will solve 40 years of pain and misery and devolution with one election or even ten. The journey must begin somewhere, though, so why not right here and now? If the journey is to begin, we need as many Americans moving in the same direction as possible, liberal and conservative.
After all the shit we’ve been fed and continue to be fed, it will take shocking language and absolute certainty to break through the programming.
To do that, some people are sure to be offended on both the left and right. Some people need to be offended. Hell, I’m offended on a daily basis when and if I bother to watch five minutes of local or national news. Given the nature of the the forces arrayed against us, isn’t it time We The People had an offense that brings us together rather than driving us farther apart? Isn’t it time we used the same uncompromising language and moral certitude that got us here as a way to get us out? Americans respect that sort of bold communications style. They can get their arms around it. Nuanced discussions give the appearance of uncertainty, which is weak.
Being weak is un-American.
That’s the feeling I get from speaking with friends who are conservative or former conservatives. They need to see a capable, type-A progressive. They need to experience an Alpha Male progressive (even if you’re female) who knows his shit, can reach equitable compromise and lives up to his stated ideals. That’s how to win back respect (and votes) from people who have barely tolerated being in the same country as “liberals” for the last forty years. To them, democrats are still a bunch of hippies hanging out in the park with hand-painted signs. The RNC convinced them they were right years ago and then didn’t deliver on anything they promised. The DLC did the same thing in the 1990s and failed the left as well. It’s all bad.
It’s time to define what the two major parties must become by convincing the silent majorities in both to see the logic of progressive solutions to long-standing problems and encouraging them to enforce those ideals by voting in primary elections.