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Moving the Progressive Agenda in the Democratic Party

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If we're disappointed in the direction of recent events, progressives should take heart and double down on efforts to bring about change by working within the Democratic Party.

First, consider that it was NOT ALL Democrats who have given in to corporate greed in both the health care and financial reforms. In fact MOST have not and the platform for the Democratic Party called for universal health care. And we are going to get SOME reforms that WILL help millions of people. It's NOT enough, but it's NOT nothing.

Second, unlike the situation when Republicans were in the bare majority but had support of some key Democrats, today with Democrats having a nominal super majority, there are NO progressive Republicans assisting with their agenda. About 40+ Democratic Senators and 200+ Democratic Congress Members are progressive. Clearly the problem is that there are a sufficient number of corporatist Democrats who wield inordinate power.

Third, some members of Obama's staff and cabinet are enthralled to the corporatists, but not all are; and he will move more progressive if we the people make him do so.

Fourth, this trend toward corporate control of the government has been going on for 30 years; we should not be so naïve to assume we can change the trend of the entire society in a few months or a year.

Finally, because the mass media is corporate-owned, there is little support for facts and ideas that support the progressive mission. Today we have one major media outlet that is entirely devoted to the corporate agenda, Faux News. This means we need to make changes in the media and maximize use of the internet for rational, fact-based, and effective political change.

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Instead of throwing the entire Democratic Congress or Obama under the bus, we progressives should be:

  1. Boosting support for those Democrats and Independents like Bernie Sanders who stood with the people
  2. Identifying progressive Democrats to run against the corporatist Dems in the primaries and support those challengers
  3. Identifying progressive Democrats to run for the currently Republican seats of Congress and support them
  4. Maintaining the pressure on Obama to take progressive options and change his staff and cabinet to more progressives. There's a way of telling him what we want without demonizing him and tagging him with labels like "sellout." And
  5. Boosting progressive media of all kinds; maximize use of the internet.

To be sure, the corporatists really like to hear progressives attacking the Democrats or Obama and saying they're not going to turn out and vote in 2010 or 2012, or advocating third parties, rallies in the street, "kill the bill," etc. The corporate banksters are well aware that the Republican Party has self-destructed. Now they want to see the same happen to Democrats because the ONLY effective control on corporate power can be a government controlled by and beholding to the people. They WANT to so fracture American society that the government can pose NO restraint upon them whatsoever.

I say resist the urge to fracture the Democratic Party and demonize Democrats. Be smart. Be effective. Draw together progressives for effective action in the only political party that has a prayer of moving government in a more progressive direction. (It does take a major political party to get anything done.) With Obama in the lead, Democrats already have budged the agenda a bit in these past 11 months; reinforcing that is our best hope of becoming the change we all seek.

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I'm a retired public health worker focused these days on supporting a variety of progressive issues, such as criminal justice reform, energy efficiency, environmental protection, universal health care, civil rights, and worldwide peace and respect. (more...)

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Thank you Mary for a well written article and a go... by E. Nelson on Sunday, Dec 20, 2009 at 9:12:47 PM
you are as blind as the Republicans who say we wil... by liberalsrock on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 9:48:31 AM
Ideological purity and arrogance and exaggeration ... by Mary Bell Lockhart on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:24:01 PM
I grow weary of these articles which insist that w... by galen on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 11:43:42 AM
"Weneed to be united in making it as hard as possi... by Jason Paz on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 2:43:20 PM
The "Tea Party" is not an organized political part... by Mary Bell Lockhart on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 2:55:38 PM
I'd like to wear blinders to disallow reality from... by Jon Faulkner on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 6:43:07 PM
what?What suggestions do you have to improve the l... by Mary Bell Lockhart on Monday, Dec 21, 2009 at 7:04:05 PM
I wholeheartedly support the author's agenda excep... by Perry Logan on Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009 at 5:51:25 AM
The deals were not particularly secret. And one th... by Mary Bell Lockhart on Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009 at 12:54:22 PM