I am a progressive who took a long view at the unevenness of the playing field in United States politics very early on.
What I saw got me off the Internet long enough to try and make a difference in a way that would be constructive to the values I hold dear, not destructive to the only ones remaining in power who are willing to listen to my views and hold some of the same, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye on every single issue. I wrote to many publications, called a whole lot of media, donated until it hurt, telephoned and faxed Congressional Republicans and Democrats (as well as writing to the White House), canvassed for the 2010 election (since my district is solidly blue, I helped a Democratic Rep in a nearby district retain a seat that until 2006 had been held by a Republican for years), called talk shows, and discussed with neighbors, family and friends what we could do together that was positive, instead of wallowing in the negative and spreading doom’n'gloom.
Let me make it very clear as to what I believe is going wrong in this country currently. It isn’t this President, but rather:
The extreme rigid and unyielding opposition who demonstrate plain hatred for this country and the working folks who made it a great place by any standard;
Media conglomerates and their bought-and-paid-for polling companies, who appear bent on manipulating public opinion to have us be as uninformed as possible when we go to the polls, even to the point of hacking phones and spreading outright lies;
The Citizens United decision that allows large corporate monied interests the very real opportunity to buy American elections;
GOP redistricting that is aimed at fucking us up further on the political playing field by tilting a country that is generally rather moderate to be represented by GOP loonies;
Republican Governors and legislatures in various states, gutting whatever in our history has been helpful to regular working folks, and doing so as quickly as they can;
A Supreme Court which (usually by a majority of one) favors and rules for giant corporations and is full of shit when it comes to the rights of ordinary people;
and 30 years of Free Market “pull up your bootstrap” policies that got us where we are.
To believe that one man was supposed to do by himself what we as a nation have obviously not been able to do for those 30 years was a ridiculous notion to begin with, and one that should have never been a point of contention. And yet it has been. Barack Obama requested of Americans long ago to help him get things done, not just pull the lever and sit back and point our fingers. But what most did was to decide that their time would be better spent singling him out for not saying exactly what they had determined he should say as the only important thing to do. We haven’t done near enough to speak out against the ones who are willing to really screw us up forever, and too many have done the easy thing: criticized this President for every fucking thing, no matter what it was.
I’m starting to have great doubts that many who claim to be progressives really are. I’m also beginning to believe that those who call themselves conservatives have serious self-loathing issues; how else could they support policies which seek their destruction?
As a progressive, I want positive progress, not perfection in every way, which is an impossible quest anyway. Those advocating that we turn this nation upside down obviously have nothing to lose, while those who are waiting for a revolution obviously don’t want to understand unintended consequences, as I don’t believe a revolution would bring about a liberal utopia or a teeny-tiny government that does nothing to help its citizens, but everything to help mega-corporations.
Too many Democrats voted for President Obama looking for a liberal George W. Bush, a leader who would be mean-spirited, incompetent, manipulative and petty all at the same time. Too many Republicans are trying to say about President Obama what Democrats were saying about George Bush. They don’t want to see that he has not earned in his 2.6 years what George Bush wrought upon this country for the longest-ass 8 years I have ever experienced!
Personally, considering the immaturity of many who speak with the loudest voices, I’m surprised that this nation has been able to progress positively as much as it has to date under this President’s administration.
I won’t say this again, but hear me now; I’m tired of the amount of negativity and wasted time spent on defining President Barack Obama or his “base” by those who measure progress by how loud they can moan and groan. I encourage instead that folks who claim “disappointment” become better informed as to the unevenness of our political playing field, and think a bit more realistically as to what this nation has done to itself for the past 30 years, and what it will take to get us out of the large mess that we made for ourselves.
I believe that the time has come for true progressives to become more effective – and don’t get me wrong, many are – at defining the opposition for who it is (i.e., corporations, their lobbyists and their ruthless paid-for politicians) and attacking them in every way, all day, every day, as relentlessly as some who purport to being progressives have gone after one man, our current President.
One positive thing that can be said about conservatives is that they have their eye on the prize, and they aren’t ashamed by their lack of facts or their willingness to repeat the lies that form their talking points. It is now the turn of progressives to clearly see the playing field for what it is, and do all that they can to turn the tide on the irrational crazies. I know that is what I will be working to do, and I would like all “real” progressives to join me in that just cause.