With wing-nut church leaders sniping at one another, reactionary pundits scrambling to save their movement, Tom DeLay sidelined in the House, and Senator Sam Brownback pandering for early presidential points, the "pro-life" alliance seems poised to collapse. But there are still larger concerns around our nation's direction and leadership.
Where is our nation headed and how are we going to get there? The Republican coalition is imploding at the same time that Democrats in Washington wait...and wait...and wait. Wait for what? For the same things that most Americans want from their elected representatives: clarity, conviction, and leadership. At this moment, most Americans are highly dissatisfied with the GOP, but we are not happy with the Democrats either. The waiting game is driving virtually everyone I meet along the campaign trail absolutely bonkers.
Citizen call and citizen response are one in the same: fight like hell for those things that matter -- good jobs, health care, equal rights, a sane foreign policy -- and we'll be there with you every step of the way. It's one thing for Republicans to self-destruct; it's another for Democrats to make the case that we can do better, that it's time for change -- real change.
As an historian and citizen candidate for the U.S. Senate, I make the connection between Republican failure and (potential) Democratic success by highlighting the lives of three stalwart civil rights activists -- Brown v. Board attorney Constance Baker Motley, MLK associate C. Dolores Tucker, and Montgomery bus boycott activist Rosa Parks -- who recently left us in body but not in spirit.
Motley, Tucker, and Parks, by their examples, inspire the continued movement for social justice, good government, and principled politics. At the same time, these individuals first had to overcome the two-strike syndrome: they were women, and they were African-American. So, to the mostly wealthy, white, male heads of the Democratic Party I say, fight like hell for the "least" of your constituents -- the hungry, the homeless, the uninsured, the unemployed -- for the most vulnerable of your constituents -- the young, the old, the infirm, the parentless, the disabled -- and for the struggling many among us -- the workers, the single parents, the same-gender couples, women, minorities, and the teetering middle class.
Ultimately, the President's week from hell and the damage to his right-wing base are in the hands of you, the reader, the activist, the party or non-party affiliate. The Democratic Party is out of power for reasons we all must understand. Unlike you, unlike me, the majority of Party heads are running scared, running after corporate dollars, running away from the fight they were elected to wage. It's on us to demand more of Democratic office holders and Party leaders and to exercise power as Motley, Tucker, and Parks did in their time.
If we fail to seize this opportunity, then the President's week of weakness will be but a footnote in the right wing's continued consolidation of power over America's Constitution, economy, and social order. When we act together -- as I'm certain we will -- in the name of social justice, good government, and principled politics, then we topple the radical right and reclaim the social contract that makes our society, once again, a beacon of hope for the world.
Chuck Pennacchio firstname.lastname@example.org is running in the Pennsylvania primary for US Senate to ultimately run against Senator Rick Santorum http://www.chuck2006.com. He is the director of the history program of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and teaches American History, National Security studies and Politics in the Media. He was a personal aide to US Senator Alan Cranston, Military aide to congressman Ron Dellums, and organized winning campaigns for senators Tom Harkin, Tim Wirth and Paul Simon.