Monday, July 30, 2007

What we've lost in the course of two generations

From a post where Open Left's Chris Bowers worries because he says that the Clinton camp has "twice, in the last week, inaccurately gauged public opinion on a topic as being further to the right than it actually is":

Perhaps I would feel differently if I was from a different generation, but my formative political experiences have largely been about the failure of Democratic and progressive elites in stopping the conservative movement from continuing to rise. We never seem to win, even when we are in elected office. As such, one of the things I am looking for in the Democratic primaries is not only a candidate who can win, but who can reverse that pattern of defeat in governance.

I am from a generation that saw the rise of prominent social figures and political luminaries such as JFK, Rev.MLK Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. And I saw what happened to them and how far their idealism carried them in a hateful, divided nation. Later, I watched my mother as she exuberantly supported Hubert H. Humphrey and how she cried when he lost to Nixon. Still too young to join them, I saw the intelligence, the heart, and the nerve of the flower children in their generation's cause to end another unjust war. I saw college students at Kent State gunned down by our own countrymen for their idealism. I remember the awful images of Vietnam in black and white on my parents' television screen. I remember watching the Watergate hearings with my grandfather during the summer I was about to become a senior in high school and how he, while disgusted yet too intrigued to turn his head away, took the time to explain what was happening to me. In 1976, at the age of 18, I voted for Jimmy Carter in my first election. I saw Ronald Reagan come to power with a new Conservative movement with misled neo-idealists and their leaders who kissed, corrupted, and co-opted Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority.

Where Bobby Kennedy and MLK Jr. were remembered for their risk-filled fight for equality and civil rights of all Men and Women, Ronald Reagan is remembered for smaller government... being at the helm at the end of crumbling communism (with JFK, Carter, and others who set up the whole fall getting little to no credit). Sitting in the Oval Office on a Sunday morning, October 23, 1983 when 241 Americans, most of them U.S. Marines, were killed by a terrorist truck bomb. Still President when Pan Am flight 103 went down because of a terrorist's bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 35 Syracuse University students whose families never saw justice for the deaths of their children - and later were horrified to see George W. Bush make nice with devious Lybian leader Moammer Gahdafhi.

For all of this they wanted to put Reagan's likeness on the American dime.
Go figure.

You know the story from the post-Reagan years. Not too many brilliant profiles in courage-in-leadership, especially not from the Right. I think idealism and vision - the kind of vision that brings real, lasting, and necessary progress and not the kind lobbyists prefer to make - began to die off when they (whoever they may have been if you're a conspiracy theorist) began to literally kill off our most promising visionaries in this nation.

What passed for greatness after that was far from the vision of inspired men and women of the 60s Liberal era. What happened to the vision? Did it die with the murder-tainted innocence of a hopeful era? Do we teach our children to assimilate and not rock the boat because we're afraid for their well-being - - perhaps their very lives?

We think division in this country's something new, but it's not. I just think it's a lot more apparent today because of the expanded news media and the blogosphere.

What I think is particularly damaging is the people who complain about partisanship and label it as the disease that ails America. I believe the pattern of defeat in the Democratic party (pre 2006) was the tendency of Democrats to fall into the false framing of bipartisanship, traditional collegiality, and MSM-pleasing "centrism" (in parentheses because the media hasn't been shooting toward true American center on Iraq if you believe the polls). I use Senator Joe Lieberman's rise, thanks to being voted in by a majority of Connecticut Republicans and who now pushes the Iraq surge and gives lip service to a war in Iran that the majority of Americans say they do not want, as an example of how bipartisanship, by name alone, can be assigned a totally false value over common sense. I regret to see that our leaders (and the MSM who cover the horserace) seem to be regressing after winning a promising 2006 election. They have been far less than visionary and generally get a poor grade on action on ways they've chosen to try to end the Iraq war. "Going right", the direction that Glen Greenwald has caught Hillary Clinton's camp going (and they're not the only ones), is not going to help us bloggers, when MSM gets a hold of it, to convince anyone that our position is not heading toward the left fringe. This gives mouthpieces for the Right like Bill O'Reilly an opportunity to take so many undue potshots at us.

Hunter at Daily Kos can hardly wrap his mind around the audacity of O'Reilly and Fox News calling themselves a news network. I believe that the failure of our own Democrats to be strong in their vision these past five years have emboldened the owners of this new breed of media to think they can "destroy" real people out here on the blogs (like me):
Can you imagine any other news network mounting a multi-pundit jihad against a group of grassroots Americans, merely because they have the audacity to not support the Republicans? Can you imagine any other news network getting themselves into a bitter televised fight with a political community website?

Of course not. Because Fox News isn't "news" at all, and this is yet another example of why they should not be considered a legitimate news network, or even an "opinionated" news network. Actual news networks do not fabricate stories -- Fox News does. Actual news networks do not send pundits out in attempts to punish and/or sabotage grassroots political events of the opposing party -- it would be absurd. Only at Fox News, where a spectacular lack of ethics is after all the cornerstone of the efforts to manipulate the very news itself in order to prop up Republicans, would such things not get you immediately fired.

- Hunter

Nothing will change until our leaders change the tone and stop worrying about MSM's version of "partisanship" and "division".

In this country, it seems that we've always been divided on the things that matter. We're supposed to be a country that can withstand division and diversity of opinion and, out of it, create something that's actually healthy for our democracy. All we've seen these past twenty years are toxic results, a decided lack of vision, and unsatisfactory progress.

I came from a different generation, the one just before Chris Bowers' generation. After all I've seen, I have to ask many of our leaders: Why are we afraid of idealism and leading with bold vision these days? Why is our media money-jaded and controlled by private owners to the point where investigation is cut off in the editors' service of political bedfellows? Why are we made to see so often that they're working against us bloggers? Why do our leaders seem to be afraid? Who are they afraid of? What are they afraid of losing? An election? For all my eyes have seen, I'm afraid the country's losing its very soul.

The man in this video, John Edwards, has the kind of courage and vision I saw in JFK's time and the media is being complicit in framing him as a rich phony with only power in mind.

He says he won't let them shut him up.

I say good!

It's time for courage again.

Is this a returning breed?

Have we finally seen enough of the worthlessness from the empty promise of new conservatism from fat-faced hate-talk radio blatherers..and are we so sick of its vacuous political nature that we are returning to leaders who are looking well past the trees to see what could be possible beyond the forest?

This week at Daily Kos, my Idea Consultant colleague and fellow Spiritual Progressive David Beckwith said it well:

John Edwards is not promising you the world...he is delivering it. What needs being done...he is doing it. People in need cannot wait for him to be president, they need his help right now. And he is getting it to them.

I know of no one who is more deserving of the presidency, since we know he is not serving up empty promises. He is doing the heavy uplifting, and getting many other good and caring souls to help with this Herculean task.

We need an exemplar...especially after punishing the world with Bushworld Inc. Obama and Hillary are great and good people, but John is leading by example, and should be commended, not pejorated and smeared.

It has been said that when someone cares for another person, God cares for them too. Both of them. The caregiver and the recipient. I think most Americans realize that something of the sort is at play, and that caritas is indeed one of the sweetest and noblest acts a person can do.

There are people suffering today...this minute. We cannot wait for an election. Help us help John help people who need it.