Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Staying the Course" of a Failed Policy Vision and Strategy is Staying the Course to Disaster

From New Democratic Agenda:

Republicans (and Republican fellow travelers, such as Lieberman has become) immediately sought to salve their fears about the rising tide of progressive democratic politics symbolized by the Lamont victory in Connecticut by resorting to Orwellian doublespeak that sought to turn new democratic signs of strength into weakness.

Instead of recognizing what the Lamont victory clearly represents--the growing strength of a progressive democratic resurgence in this country that has clear ideas about how to build a strong America by taking our government back from the corporate sycophants in Congress who have been systematically destroying and continually weakening our country, the Republicans would like to deflect attention from their own terrible weakness and failures of policy by Orwellian games of language that deny the reality of democratic strength.

Too bad for them. Because the more Republicans ignore reality and retreat into their Orwellian logic of doublethink--which does nothing to change the realities on the ground--the more disastrous will be the consequences of their policy failures for families in this country and around the globe who seek to live in stable and prosperous communities.

Because progressive democrats champion policies that build an environment for strong, stable, and prosperous communities, it is democrats who now represent the party of strength and true security for American citizens and families. Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to defend and retreat into an Orwellian fantasy-world that seems to celebrate ever-growing levels of counter-violence and destabilization in the name of a so-called "war on terror" where anything seems to be permissable in the name of the weird language and fantasies of "Homeland Security" (even while the real victims of Katrina, of poor health care, of uninsurance, and of poverty and disease, continue to suffer from tremendous ongoing failures of on-the-ground response within our own country).

And this ongoing disaster is what Republicans now seem to call strength and "staying the course."
Unfortunately, reality on the ground declares otherwise. As we are seeing more and more vividly, at the price of an ever-growing toll of death and destruction: "Staying the course" of a failed policy vision and strategy is staying the course to disaster.

So if we want a definition of strength and strong policy that will lead us to somewhere other than disaster, we now need to look elsewhere, and demand that every person we put into office this November will represent our public interests--and demonstrate clearly that they have the ability and the commitment to understanding strength in ways that will benefit rather than harm the public interests of the people of this country and the rest of the world.

As Robert Borosage, of the Campaign for America's Future, has written:
[Lamont's] victory represents a growing voter revolt against the failed policies and politics of the Bush administration and its congressional enablers, particularly the debacle in Iraq. Until a few weeks ago, Lieberman prided himself on being the president's leading Democratic ally in touting the war. After his defeat, Democrats will show more backbone in challenging the current disastrous course and more Republicans will look for ways to distance themselves from the president.

Lamont's victory was propelled by a rising tide of progressive energy—activists who are tired of losing elections to the right and disgusted with cautious politicians who duck and cover rather than stand and fight. Until a few weeks ago, Lieberman exemplified those Democrats who establish their "independence" by pushing off the causes of their own party and embracing the right's agenda. His voters didn't abandon him; he abandoned them long ago. After his defeat, incumbents in both parties may begin to listen more closely to their voters and less avidly to their donors.
(To read more from Borosage, click here)

In an increasingly insecure and violent world, as represented by today's disrupted terror plot, we need political leaders and representatives who will fight for the interests of everyday citizens and families. We need politicians who will not allow corporate money and influence, and the seductions of war profiteering, to distract them from the primary responsibility of promoting policies that immediately begin to build stable and sustainable communities. In a turbulent world, such policy-building will require strong democratic policy vision and the commitment to fight for the common democratic interests of all citizens against the profiteering and exploitation of the many by the few.

It's time for a new progressive democratic politics, and new progressive policymaking vision in this country, and the Lamont primary victory is a clear sign the citizens of this country are organizing to take their government and their country back from those who have been exploiting both for their own narrow profits--to the harm of democracy everywhere.

So to all who would resort to Orwellian doublethink to twist the Lamont victory into a sign of democratic weakness or leftist extremism, we have this to say in return: It's time to wake up from your delusion and face reality. Progressive democracy is the new center of strength for a secure and sustainable future for all, and it is organizing today to win the future back from those who seek to exploit the many and weaken democracy everywhere for the profit of the few.

Wealth spent in the struggle to strengthen the public good and secure the advantages of true participatory democracy for all is wealth well-spent. But wealth spent in the pursuit of making the wealthy more wealthy and powerful while everyone else is allowed to suffer the consequences of this betrayal of the commonwealth, is also a fundamental betrayal of democracy here at home and abroad.

If Lamont's victory is a sign of how progressive citizens across this country, from the poorest to the wealthiest, are learning to invest and organize their resources to take back their government from those who would use wealth and power irresponsibly to betray the public interest, then this victory is a tremendous and hopeful sign of the growing strength and vitality of progressive vision and politics in this country. Because we are the people, and we are the democratic many, we do not need to remain the victims of those who would exploit our tax dollars, our soldiers' lives, and our environmental futures, for private profit. Through organizing our public power, we can take our government back for the good of democracy everywhere.

Because Lamont's primary victory is only a first step, however, and by no means guarantees a progressive Senate victory in November (since Lieberman has declared he will fight Lamont all the way to election day), we need to continue to organize our wealth of resources--financial, but especially our intellectual and imaginative resources--to create a new politics and a new policymaking vision for this country. Such vision and political power will be necessary not only to support the victory of a progressive Connecticut senator, but to make sure that Senator Lamont will have many other progressive colleagues to work with him in the halls of Congress, and that outside these halls each progressive Senator or Representative will know they have a strong network of public support and vibrant energy to back up their struggles to create and implement progressive policies in the halls of Congress in the years ahead.

Getting progressive candidates elected is a necessary first step, but then we need to make sure we give them the tools and the power they need to create and implement the new progressive policies that are so desperately needed to address the tremendous challenges of global warming, poverty, disease, and growing violence that now (thanks in part to the tragically misdefined understanding of "strength" that has defined Republican policy) face all of us in the twenty-first century.



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