by Mary Pitt
A staggering number of Americans are totally discouraged by the political actions of both parties as Congress continues to rubber-stamp the recommendations of the Bush administration.
People are leaving the party line in droves in their search for more progressive and democratic principles and are in rebellion against the growing similarity to police state tactics and controls of our everyday life as social programs are withdrawn and the people are left without the traditional supports for the poor, the elderly, and the handicapped. We watch, aghast, as the Constitution is trashed, elections are left in question, and the standard of living of the working class descends into near-poverty while the wealthy continue to increase their income and influence.
Only one thing is lacking among these people and that is a cohesive leadership. There have been some who could have headed this movement but they are not so inclined. Howard Dean is safe and snug in the bosom of the Democratic party as are the others who made such a valiant try for the presidency in 2004, only to be disappointed by the actions of the party machinery in nominating John Kerry. There was some hope that at least one of those candidates would leave the party and continue the fight for the right, but we were disappointed. Without such leadership, we have found ourselves divided by issues that have arisen as the result of the actions or failure to act of both parties.
First of these divisive issues to come to the fore was the illegal immigration situation. This has created a large schism among the people who differ between wanting strict enforcement of border control and those who prefer to allow immigrants to cross at will and to have all the entitlements of residency that are available to citizens. The second difference arrived as the result of the Israel/Lebanon conflict. Historically, the American citizens of Jewish extraction have been liberal, being critical participants in the civil rights movement of the sixties and many other liberal causes. However, it is a tenet of their religion that they are in sympathy with Israel as a matter of faith regardless of the reason for the actions of that government. Having no real consensus on these issues could become a distracting force in gaining progress on the more serious Constitutional issues on which we must concentrate in future elections.
For the Congressional elections of 2006, we are reconciled to having no choice but to work for those candidates, largely Democratic, who agree with us that the Iraq War was a war of choice, should never have happened, and should be brought to an end as quickly as possible while continuing to assist the Iraqi people in establishing a government of their choice. While this must be our first objective, the recovery of our democratic form of government and individual freedoms, leading to the reinstatement of the decimated social programs is also of vital importance.
However, if we are to prevail, we must look to the presidential election of 2008 and, for that, we must all pull together without the conflict over these policy problems that have been thrown up before us. We need a way to unite, to all gather together, establish policy planks, and choose a leader or leaders who will represent us in that race. It is no longer enough to grit our teeth and vote for the lesser of two evils. We must allow ourselves the privilege of choosing between the good and the not-so-good again. In order to do that, we must find a way to roll into one entity the Veterans Party, the Green Party, the Neither Party, and all the other small parties that have been charging forth against the against the enemies of democracy, leaderless and rudderless. When this subject is broached among progressives, we are told that Ait is too soon@, that anyone who steps out in front of the movement at this time will be thoroughly trashed long before November, 2008. And so we blunder along, against this and against that, with minor Aleaders@ in each little splinter party, none of national stature and almost none with any name familiarity among the Asheeple@ who are not really politically aware but simply growing restive.
We need some names! Not one, but several people who can bring name familiarity and influence to bear on out behalf. We need someone to bring us all together into one voting bloc, agreed on the primary issues with which must we must deal first; who has name-and face-familiarity enough to have credibility with the people; and who has sufficient resources and courage to be able to turn loose of the party money-teat and to trust Atheir lives and their fortunes@ to God and the will of the American people as did the true heroes of our history. The those of us who truly love our country and want it to return to its once lustrous position as an example to the world as to how a multiracial and multi-faith people can live together in brotherhood must do out part. First, we must agree on those issues which are most important to us; then we must work and, probably, sacrifice to access sufficient funding to put forth our party plank. With the multi-national corporations and their treasuries against us, it will be a super-human effort, but it can be done short of violence.
As we search our personal genealogy, we see the names of heroes from the past who left their homelands in search of freedom, casting their lot in the New World, and establishing here their dream of a nation. Some came to a wilderness and some to Ellis Island. Some fled religious persecution and others were refugees from war. Some bravely stood and signed the Declaration of Independence while others raised their hands and swore allegiance to their new homeland. What happened? Has the blood of these heroes grown so cold, so diluted by the Agood life@, so convinced that the poor deserve to be so and that the old should simply die and get it over with, so convinced that all international problems can be solved by war and destruction that there is nobody of national stature who will accept the challenge to lead the people back to their rightful place as determiners of their own destiny?
If there is nobody anywhere in this vast country with that kind of intelligence and courage, the progressive movement will just be a footnote to the history of a once-great nation where we will be depicted as a fractured group of lib-lefty-internet crazies who had the temerity to think that they could make a difference in changing the world for the better and saving democracy.
We are the deciders!