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Friday, October 14, 2005

Dems are having it too easy in these posts

As any child knows who learned to play one parent against another -- required behavior for teens -- it's important to have some leverage in social interactions. These posts may appear to be Republican-bashing, but au contraire. It's the two-pronged political process -- Dems and the GOP are problematic parties -- that I rail against.

In a perfect or near-perfect world, it's imperative to have representation in both parties of a two-party system. But, the nine or 10 percent of African Americans who belong to the Republican party are mainly advance scouts. Certainly, there are some who are true believers in their own intra-party second-class citizenship, but the African American Republicans I've met are racially sensitive and hoping to change the culture of racism that exists. They are not optimistic that it will be an easy job. Here, in Minneapolis, I know a raging black Republican who loves Bush, loves his party -- and sued them a while back for racial discrimination. Kind of a disconnect, huh?

The advance scouts need to stay, but in lieu of creating a strong third-party in this country; one that doesn't pit citizens against each other while the elected elite quietly make off with the spoils, I suggest a very bedraggled Democratic party get its shit together. The party's message of inclusion is a winner, but the party let it get blindsided by "faithers" and moralists who want their church to run the country. Because of the narrow-minded nature of the "faithers" the Dems didn't seek them out as a constituency; the party didn't play up its committment to family values, didn't effectively promote its established territory on human tolerance. Bad move. Politicians have to know and deal with such elements.

And, let's call it like it is; the Dems take people of color, gays and women for granted. Instead of establishing a system of training and promoting its core constituency -- hell, call it quotas, I don't care; politics ain't rocket science -- Dems have defined electability in Republican terms. Once again, bad move. You can't win a game when the other side makes the rules (a quick aside: Republicans screamed about the nation's debt when Dems were in control, but have now spun that to say that national debt isn't so bad).

I have said and I continue to believe that African Americans are sensitive to survival and see that the Dems are the lesser evil, as far as fit goes. The Republican Party leadership don't fool anyone with their obvious racial pandering. For them to act surprised that they get such low vote tallies from African Americans is far beyond disingenuous -- it's bad acting. They don't want African American participation in their party, they simply want African American votes.

They have done what they do best and gone to those who are easily swayed and offered golden promises or, gold, whichever works. As a result, some larger black churches have had their superstar pastors come to Jesus and the Republican way. The 'Republican way' being an effective caste system that puts societal controls into the hands of a very select few. Whenever anyone says, 'Republican Values' that's what my pops into my head: churches and morality, yeah, right!

Republican apologist Ken Mehlman has been a monkey on a stick wagging his tongue about Republicans being the party of Abraham Lincoln. Ken, you ignorant slut, this it the 21st century... I ask, 'What have you done for me, lately?' and you give me a Tuesday afternoon from 150 years ago. BTW, Ken, quick history lesson -- Lincoln only freed the slaves that were being held in the Confederacy as a political gesture. They weren't actually freed by his decree since he wasn't recognized by the Confederacy. He was less a humanitarian than a politician plying his trade. Lincoln saw the Empancipation Proclamation as a necessary evil and opined that he preferred not to do it. Winning the war -- which was never a given and was aided by black people from the North and South -- is what gave it the weight of law.

But, I am here to chastise Dems, not GOP'ers. Here is why the party is reeling and in some quarters may be described as sucking:

First, the real leaders of the party are just as beholden to Big Business and Military as the GOP. Kerry could have railed on Bush's ass about being in bed with corporations and didn't let out a peep. I wonder why.

Second, in losing elections, the Dems mistakenly think their base is not numerous enough. Listen, screw the Fox News polls and look at the census. People of color and women constitute a majority of the electorate. In underestimating its inclusive base, it seeks to become a second Republican party. Another, bad move. Why should some choose New Coke, when Classic Coke has got it covered?

Third, the Dems don't do enough to really understand the issues that affect its base. Hell, put everybody in a bag and shake it. Seriously. The dialogs have got to be real. Part of the problem is there has not enough honest dialog between the party's core groups. The party could say, 'We are running women, people of color and gays for office everywhere we can.' Normalize it. Eventually, even the most jaded voter will note -- 'Hey, all the Republicans ever run are white guys and the occasional white woman.' But, to get to that point, you have to complete a complex program of coordinating and overlaying your base's agendas. Some agendas may clash, but you should let it be known that you are returning the country back to the people. For example, you have got to get African Americans and gays from clashing over gay marriage and comparisons of gay rights to Civil Rights and all the other GOP b.s. that flummoxes the Dems.

Fourth, call out the GOP. Ask Bush if he sees any African American as his equal. Then, watch him lie and call him a liar. Question the GOP agendas as far as religious pandering and race-baiting. Note that they've had the votes to overturn the Roe v. Wade carrot, but have never used it, instead relying on its existence to generate funds and ostracize Dems. But, remember, you can't do this without cleaning your own house. So, Dems must ferret out the intolerant elements in their own house. Don't misunderstand; you can't get into a pissing match and say you're going to knock on the door of every racist Bubba in the country and lock him or her up. If you do that, Louisiana will secede tomorrow. No. You say that you want to help people understand that we're all in this together and the party will respect the journey each human is on. And, mean it. Don't try to convert racists or homophobes, show them a better way through your success. For the political cynics, the upshot is that that element will gravitate to the GOP and make it a minor party in due time (even the African American advance scouts wouldn't feel comfortable in Klan HQ.)

If the Dems can't do these things, or won't, then the party gets what it deserves at election time.

link | posted by Jae at 9:06 PM |


Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 12:07 PM~  

I bet you love seeing Hillary, in photo-ops with Newt Gingrich, Billy Graham etc. Her husband, and George Bush41, are best buds. Call out the Republican leadership?? Not going to happen.

For the immediate time, I think single issue, independant of any party coalitions are important. In short it will boil down to single issue coalitions independant of the two parties, contra the two parties.

Anonymous Kay commented at 10:32 AM~  

Remember when our suspicions were confirmed about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rove, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Bolton, Libby, DeLay, Frist. Limbaugh, O’Reilley, Coulter, Robertson, Santorum, Lott [ad nauseum]…?

It was a couple of years ago. Researchers at Berkley published a paper entitled Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition*. The paper discussed the results of a study funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institute of Health.

In short, the study concluded that conservatism is a pathological condition, rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity."

Liberals -- still coming to grips with its conservative-dealt bitch slapping -- enjoyed a brief ‘what’d-I-tell-you’ moment. We felt vindicated, even as we understood there would be no tangible pay-off (men in white coats would not be showing up at the Rove home, for instance).

The part of the study that interests me for the purpose of this post, however, is what those conclusions imply about liberals.

If the conservative mind is associated with rigidity, then the liberal mind is associated with flexibility. We have a talent for holding in our heads, many – and sometimes opposing – notions. Our more mutable and inquisitive nature is our strength – the engine that drives intellectual evolution. But as is usually the case, strengths are also weaknesses.

"… Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity,” authors of the study said, “but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

This explains why political rallies organized by liberals often feel more like liberal-issues-a-thons, with booths, banners, leaflets and entertainment for every lefty cause ever championed.

A recent anti-war rally – the purpose of which was to protest the American invasion and occupation of Iraq – drew everything from anti animal-cruelty activists to free-Tibet action groups, all with speeches and pamphlets at the ready.

Don’t get me wrong, I tend to support these causes and – like most mentally fluid liberals – can see the interconnectedness of all these issues. But our inability to focus our attention on one thing is paralyzing us. It has the same mind-numbing effect as one of those convoluted flyers you see hanging up on the co-op bulletin board, where every thought the author has about the topic he’s trying to sell is crammed onto one unreadable page. Liberals are the collective human embodiment of the muddy flyer that is so inclusive as to be inscrutable and -- as a result -- un-actionable. It’s bad marketing.

We need to focus and -- if only for the purpose of the immediate campaign – block out the inevitable addendums, postscripts and cross-references that come to mind.

Otherwise, my dear liberal brethren, we look like disorganized idiots. Are we here to impeach George Bush or liberate Palestine? Let’s make up our fucking collective mind!

* See the paper: www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml)

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