America remains in turmoil, our civic identities wrapped up in the dysfunctional activities of a largely unaccountable plutocracy who rarely voice opinions reflective of our own.
Words used interchangeably provide an oversimplification of the average American’s political beliefs. Liberal equals Progressive. Neoconservative equals Conservative. With our entire political spectrum in a state of flux, we still allow ourselves to be tagged, labeled and crammed into ill-fitting boxes that lack any real meaning or definition.
As is usual in American politics, the mob rules and we all suffer fools as a result.
I see Reagan Democrats and Obama Republicans and the many disenfranchised of both parties now calling themselves independents as the same group of political moderates who lead to landslide victories in American presidential politics, not to mention pushing Congress to implement the new president’s agenda than when they are disengaged.
There is a huge shift in American politics right now on the left and the right, which means equal parts opportunity and danger.
The vast silent majority, asleep for far too long and rarely motivated enough to vote, is starting to look for solutions to problems they can no longer ignore. They are losing their jobs, their houses, their pride. They have all had different political labels during their lives. They have been democratic, independent and republicans as seemed appropriate at the time.
Some may have even joined the republican party in 2008 to help it change from within, because the party on its way out of power is usually the easiest to change and being an independent in a two party system seemed a waste of time. It wasn’t that hard of a choice as I am not politically liberal however progressive my underlying ideals.
I believe in stronger state governments to implement policies set by a smaller, more agile federal government. I think that such a change would lead to more accountability and less fraud at all levels. Evolution of American society vice a Revolution that would tear everything down to build something unrecognizable in its place.
Republicans come in all shapes, sizes and belief structures. As do democrats, making a nearly impossible job even harder.
President Obama must currently push for a progressive agenda, as outlined during the campaign, in a bitterly divided Congress using tactics no one thinks will work from within a party still suckling at the corporate teat. The democratic party isn’t innocent and that is a huge boulder for the president to push up the mountain of public opinion.
For independents, I say pick a party and drive it toward progressive change in the primaries. That is the only way we get a new political system – change it from within. The time to sit on the fence is long past. The GOP needs more moderates because it will help convince reluctant conservatives that a progressive republican party is possible.
Both democrats and republicans must continue to change their parties via primary elections to meet the enormous challenges we face together as a nation. Both parties must be forward thinking if we are to succeed. It isn’t enough for just the democrats to succeed. One party rule still leaves half the country on the sidelines or actively working against progress.
We The People can achieve common goals with different methods or from a different point of view without being political enemies.
There is no reason why the “fight” between democrats and republicans can’t be over tactics and not long-term strategic goals. We can craft a future that has republicans and democrats arguing over who has the most sustainable policies. That means progressives on all sides of the political spectrum need to focus on changing the major parties from within while giving “the other side” the space needed to transform.
Americans remain subject to their long-term programming as well and need to be convinced of things that seem obvious to the more politically aware.
Human psychology is always messy. It may take the Obama administration an entire term to get any real and recognizable changes to take root. It may take another missed opportunity in 2010 to make the most of the 2012 primaries. It will certainly take patience on everyone’s part if we are going to fix this country over the coming decades rather than drive it deeper into the dark place we have been these last forty years or so.
With the pivotal role America plays in world affairs, it is essential we bind up our wounds and figure out how to move forward as one nation for the good of the species as well as ourselves. I think Obama has the potential to be a leader of such a transformation, but only if the democratic faithful can find a way to interact with conservatives who may be open to their ideas but will never listen if the tone is one of condescension and condemnation.
As Ben Franklin famously said, “We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”
We The People have two choices right now – unity or defeat.