Can the Democratic Party Bring Progressives and Liberals Home?

    There is one very important difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.  The Republicans fight and vote against nearly every policy or piece of legislation or nomination or even personality that doesn't fit into their truly narrow minded, ideological view of the world.  The Democrats, however, behave as "rugged individualists" or "free agents" who behave as if loyalty to the political views of the people who elected them are important only as the next elections draw near.

    How else would you explain the eight Democrats who voted for that nasty little piece of work John Ashcroft or the twenty three who voted to auction off our national lands and parks and wildlife areas by voting for Gale Norton?  In fact, how else would one explain the fact that the rest of Tumbleweed's nominations were confirmed with the unanimous support of the Democrats in the Senate?

    Let's put this current crop of dweebs aside for the moment and look at what the party must do if it and its followers truly desire to remain relevant even in the near future.  Understand, these are just my humble suggestions and there will be many improvements or adjustments that may arise in their stead.  Nevertheless, this is what I see as the very first baby steps for,  not just the Democrats, but all progressives and liberals and all of us who do not share the greed and selfishness and moral meanness that are the hallmarks of the Republican Party nor the pointlessness that has become the Democratic Party.

    First, we must immediately cease eating our own.  The absolute insanity of blaming Nader for keeping Gore out of the White House one moment and then glorying in his receiving less than the needed 5% of the vote in the next breath must give the Rabid and Religious Right some very sweet dreams.  For the last time, Gore lost the election due a number of factors, the very least of which was Nader.

    Next, we must proclaim very clearly what we stand for and what we oppose.  As full of insanity as Gingrich's "Contract on America" truly was, it became a rallying point even to the majority of people who never  read it but who enjoyed the bumper sticker mentality of its title.  We must present our arguments in the same manner and with the same push for consensus among the majority of progressives and liberals and all of the other Americans who feel so isolated from the process.  Only in unity may we begin the long process of wrenching control of this nation away from Corporate America.

    If possible, we can work within the body of the Democratic Party, although it would take a truly heroic change of direction away from the greed and corruption that infects its entire structure.  If necessary, we must push aside the antiquated and corrupted two-party system and create, not a third party, but an alternative party for those who's voices have for too long been silenced.  A place where the majority of the American voters can go and learn of the possibilities that this nation offers rather than watch those possibilities going to those who are best able to purchase them but who need them the least.

    We must acknowledge and bring into our organization those political stalwarts who truly care about America and the diverse richness of its people rather than the material riches that the political life now offers.  We must find those people (yes, like Nader and Benjamin and Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) who will not only stand up to the elite but who also has a history of honesty and support for the average men and women and their children.

    We must take those words that have been vilified by the right through their conservative media and redefine them as having the positive, caring and progressive meanings that they once possessed.  Words like liberal and progressive and social welfare and sharing and fairness and true decency and real moral values and family and all of the other words that the right has skewed into the warped, insane world that they inhabit.

    The progressives must create their own means of reaching out to the people to inform and offer solutions.  We must create access to the American people in order to spotlight those individuals who would offer their time and efforts in order to build a better world for all.  Witnessing the conservative media's unbreakable chokehold on the conduits of information was one of the saddest spectacles of the last fifty years or more.  We must have access to the American people in order to free their minds of the pap and drivel that is the media in the twenty-first century.

    We can do that through the same simple means that the conservatives have so successfully used.  We must take our beliefs directly to the people by means of television and radio and newspapers.  In as much as the vast majority of these outlets are completely owned by the right and their elite, then we must build a new network of electronic and paper media.  We have the skilled craftsmen and women needed, we have the unions to organize and protect, we have the money and the power in Hollywood, we have everything we need to build a completely original era of entertainment and informational sources that the American people can turn to for factual and immediate news.

    We can build a television network that employs only union members and who produce programs from  one end of the entertainment spectrum to the other, from comedies depicting working men and women in their daily lives to white papers explaining and expounding on individual issues that are of great importance to America's workers and families.  We can copy the same styles that have proven so successful for the conservative media but instead of simple fluff and nonsense of XFL football and Seinfeld, we would be offering a mirror for the world that can leave the viewers something to consider as they go about their daily lives.

    We can produce our own Sunday talking heads shows that will be precisely focused on the facts, not spin.  These shows would incorporate any and all dissenting voices in order that the viewers receive a real and honest debate using the immediacy of TV.  Naturally, we would offer this type of programming on a daily basis but in conjunction with the other shows so that the viewer is allowed some relaxation, as well.  To that end, we would offer Saturday morning and after school cartoons and informative kid's shows (Bill Nye and the Magic School Bus and possibly spin offs from Sesame Street and other already produced series would serve as both syndicated shows and as models for new and imaginative shows).

    We can produce nightly news programs that, like those on the BBC, offer more in-depth looks at each event rather than the U.S. model which is to cram as much unnecessary but easy to digest news bites into a program as possible.  At first, these programs would rely on the various news sources such as Routers and API but, eventually, we would have reporters stationed in various cities or regions with the ability to send them directly to more immediate and breaking stories (i.e., Seattle and the "riots" and the pro-Constitution demonstrations along Tumbleweed's victory parade route after being sworn in by the same Cretans who selected him against the majority's desire and even in Europe when news is important to our nation's labor or family or democratic futures).

    On the radio, we can use the same "talk" format that ultra-conservatives like Limbaugh and Liddy have used to brainwash the American people.  Our offerings, however, would be factual and reality based rather than the lies and half truths that is the cholesterol rather than the meat of conservative talk radio.  We will offer a place where our listeners can hear the words of Nader and Jackson and every open minded American who would care to share their views.  We would encourage rather than silence the voices of dissension in these programs by inviting those who disagree with us to speak their minds within our walls and studios.  

    We can publish our own newspapers or else provide a dramatic increase in circulation and ad revenues for those papers already in print such as the Progressive Populist or the High Country News or any of the other periodicals published in search of justice and equality.  Subscriptions to these newspapers would be offered through union halls and sidewalk stands and through the radio and TV ads that would be offered free or at low cost.

    We can create our own panel of "experts" that can be used during various high news periods to explain the truth behind the raging headlines.  Once the "major" media discovers that viewers are changing the channel to hear labor's or children's or family's views from those who actually represent these groups then it may happen that our experts replace the conservatives who are trotted out to pretend to be liberals and progressives.

    We can offer local and national candidates the opportunity to debate their opponents on our television or radio outlets as often as the need is felt.  Instead of the narrowly focused argument between equally evil candidates that the conservative media offers, we could offer a place for all of the candidates who are qualified to be on a state's ballot.  We would allow questions not only from progressive representatives but also might split the time using questions asked by those who attend the debate or over the Internet by the voting public.  If a candidate declines to attend, a vacant dais would be placed on stage with the candidate's name and party affiliation so that the viewers can see who takes their vote seriously.

    We could provide speakers for any event; graduations or business meetings or the like.  These speakers could explain how, for instance, a business can actually save money by allowing collective bargaining and offering in-house safety and job training.  These speakers would be offered at little or cost to the organizers since any opportunity to expose Americans to the profits available from treating workers fairly and with respect would be invaluable.

    We must begin the long process or reclaiming our own voices and the right to proclaim our own values.  The conservative media has learned to not only set the agenda for America but it also provides false witness to our beliefs and policies.  We must reclaim the right and ability to offer our own agenda without the filter of conservative envy and hate.  We must find some access directly into America's minds in order that our future be one that forces those who control that access to defend their actions rather than attack ours.

    Gentle readers, the opportunities that are available to the progressives are immense.  Through the medium of the Internet, we can reach out to every worker in America and, eventually, to every worker on Earth.  We can and we must organize ourselves into a force that Corporate America and the suits in the suites simply cannot afford to ignore.  Our voices can combine into a roar demanding justice and fairness and responsible behavior towards all people and to the only home we are certain can sustain life; our own planet.  It will not take Herculean efforts to accomplish this and the millions of voters and activists who organized themselves in such a short time under the Green banner is a magnificent example of that competence.

    If you believe that this is achievable, then I urge you to inform your progressive and left and all of your other non-brainwashed friends of the possibilities.  Only at the grassroots level can this be initiated and only through the efforts of those of us who desire a better world can it be accomplished.

    What are your thoughts?



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Copyright 2/28/01