On Politics and the Sorry State of Affairs (or, you know, the Democrats)

(x-posted at Forbes Avenue)

I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what to say about politics of late.

Part of it is that life gets in the way and a brotha ain’t always got time to sit down and take stock of everything that is happening. And part of it is that I’m losing faith that we liberals always taking to the innanets is even effective.

But this was a big week, folks. Big education speech. Big health care speech. White folks still freakin’ out about the fact that the president got some melanin. And one of the tried and true liberal visionaries lost his job, leaving Obama with pretty much no one on the Left with which to work.

Time to say something.

But what do I say that I haven’t said already? I wrote a few months ago about my frustration with the Democrats? But I wanna take it a step further:

I do not believe there is a progressive movement in this country, which is why I think the Democrats are so ineffectual.

To wit: Brilliant reporting on how the Democrats fucked up health care from jump.

To wit:

I identify completely with Maher’s core message, which is that Obama and the Democrats won the last two elections and that gives them some license to do what they think is right.

Who is standing up for the millions of Americans who do want health care reform? Who is standing up for the millions of Americans who want to address global warming, mandatory minimum sentencing, our crumbling infrastructure, and the sorry state of our schools?

Or, to put it the other way, who is holding their feet to the fire so that they can do these things?

There are 59 Democrats in the Senate. There is a solid Democratic majority in the House. And the President is a Democrat.

Pelosi obama reid

Can we get something done?

You know, I read the liberal and mainstream blogs and there is passion to spare. I just don’t know why it doesn’t seem to make it to the Halls of Congress. Maybe Democratic members of Congress really don’t give a shit about their constituents and so our passion falls on deaf ears. Maybe our passion is misdirected. We get outraged at the other side’s racism, but when it looks a bit like something we’d do or say ourselves, we are a lot less quiet.

When are we going to take the Republicans as seriously as they take us?

There is a real, palpable fear of the most powerful man in the world being a Black man and it continues to be the driving force behind the Republican party’s MO. What that means in practical terms is hard to describe. And because it is hard to describe, so many of us think that means it’s probably not a big deal, it’s probably just the (mis)perception of old school black politicians and black nationalists who hate Whitey, and it’ll die out because “the demographic trends are in our favor.”

And while we take the “wait it out” approach, The Second Reconstruction is ending.

We are gutting the Voting Rights Act, ruling that if you have to choose between discriminating against black folks or leveling the playing field for everyone (which, actually means that everyone has about the same chance of getting screwed), eh, go for the discriminating against black folks.

We haven’t given voting rights to D.C. residents, we haven’t passed a bill to keep people in their homes (which, by the by, wouldn’t cost the taxpayer anything), and we are screwing up the health care and energy bills. Oh – also we have them 59 votes in the Senate, but the Republicans are holding up many of Obama’s executive branch and judicial nominees, like Tom Perez and Dawn Johnsen.

Oh but we do something. As Bill said, the other side whines and cries or outright lies about something and Democrats capitulate. Van Jones should not have resigned. Single payer should never have been off the table. We should be investigating the extent to which torture was sanctioned and take it all the way to the top.

Why? Because we have to stand for something.

It’s foolish to think we can hold onto a majority by playing it safe and not getting anything done. There is a whole lot of room to move between playing it safe and being crazy single-minded drones like Republicans. No one is saying we should copy their MO, just a little of their conviction.

When we lose seats in 2010, as is highly likely, then we’ll all take to the blogs whining about how the Republicans are ramming stuff down our throats that we don’t like. What the fuck are we doing now?

Ugh…you know, the truth is that though Democrats are supposed to be the liberal party, the party of opposition, they are not. They truly are a hodgepodge of people who don’t like the modern Republican Party. That doesn’t necessarily equal liberal or progressive.

So we have one party and a bunch of people who don’t like that party. That’s it.

I like diversity as much as the next guy. But it seems to me that every group within the Democratic rank and file likes having different folks around, long as those folks don’t get in the way of what they want. So teachers’ unions can hold up education reform. And Blue Dogs can hold up anything that isn’t “fiscally responsible.”

But this is what you get when the only thing your party can agree on is that you don’t like the old White guys across the aisle.

It really is enough to make you want to disengage. I like to listen to the president speak. I’m even moved, mostly. But I really think the time for speeches is over.

I think its time to govern.

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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