And that's the story of how I was banned at Democratic Underground!
The day when someone decides which ideas are loyal and which ideas are disloyal, then that is the day to walk out. When Harry Truman was running for the Senate, long before they had private jets and chauffeured limos, he drove himself to speaking events and drove himself home.
Some well-wishers approached Truman and said that they had a group of friends that would like to meet him. Truman followed in his car and they took Harry Truman to a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Truman stood on the back bumper of his car and addressed the assembled. "Half of you I know, the other half I can figure out, and if I need your votes to get elected, then I hope I lose. Good night." That is the essence of what we, as Democrats and as Americans, face. Many are willing to subvert our principles just to win.
The worst slogan you can ever have is: "We're no worse than the other guys." One of my favorite Woody Guthrie stories began when Woody, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were singing at a war bond supper in Baltimore. After their performance Woody was seated at the main table while Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were offered plates to eat in the kitchen. Enraged, Woody flipped the banquet table over and told the dinner guests, "If we're going to fight fascism then let's start right here!" Woody was unwilling to subvert his principles even for a good cause. To him there was no difference between fighting Hitlerism in Normandy or Jim Crow in Baltimore.
Eugene Debs said, "It's better to vote for what you want, and not get it, than to vote for what you don't want and get it!" That is where we are in the Democratic Party and in America as a whole, and the disorder found in our ranks is the same disorder found on the Republican side. Rather than pushing triangulation or political purity and closing ranks it is time instead to stand by our true principles and open our ranks. The sheriff doesn't ask your party affiliation when he delivers the eviction notice. When the company moves to Mexico or overseas it doesn't announce, "The following Democrats will lose their jobs."
FDR said, "Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are." It is better to vote for what you want and to lose than to vote for what you don't want and get it. America voted for twelve years of conservatism under Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. That is what America thought it wanted and it brought them only disaster. On election night in 1932 one wise guy sent a telegram to the White House that read, "Vote for Roosevelt and make it unanimous."
America suffered under eight years of Bush and Cheney and in the end the Republican faithful hated Bush and Cheney almost as much as the Democrats did. The Republicans could have run Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene and would have still lost. Bush ran as a conservative but ruled as a Neo-con and the Republican faithful felt betrayed and Bush's betrayal destroyed their party.
I voted for Mr. Hope and Change; he said the things that I wanted to hear and I was lured in by his siren song. Yet Obama has ruled as a moderate Republican. He has sided with corporations over unions, with banks over homeowners, offered a stimulus package that even the US Chamber of Commerce said was too small and was 35 percent tax cuts, to boot. Under the President's stimulus plan you get a tax cut if you hold on to your stocks for more than five years. It's tempting, I know, when you've lost your job and are about to lose your home to think about cashing in your stock portfolio.
Why then, if Obama ran as a progressive Democrat or even a moderate Democrat, would the results be any different to the Democratic community? We voted for what we wanted and we still didn't get it. The other side of our Democratic family says, "Well, you got a Democrat. Would you rather have John McCain?" That's a false argument. Americans voted for a Democrat to change things, to discontinue Bush policies and Republican dogma. When Obama fails, and fail he will, it will be because Republican policies don't work no matter who institutes them or what he calls himself.
The failure will be ours and will be blamed on Democratic policies when they weren't Democratic policies at all. As I recently pointed out, Obama's healthcare reform was a scaled down version of Nixon's healthcare plan and it isn't even as good as Nixon's. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said that without more federal aid to the states it will "Be a disaster" and "Hoover economics." That's what got me banned at Democratic underground, comparing the President to Nixon and Hoover, and no one ever tried to show me where I was wrong but instead just showed me the door.
Americans of all political stripes understand instinctively that this country is in serious trouble. We have more that unites us than divides us, or as Eugene Debs said, "Solidarity is not a matter of sentiment but a fact, cold and impassive as the granite foundations of a skyscraper. If the basic elements, identity of interest, clarity of vision, honesty of intent, and oneness of purpose, or any of these is lacking, all sentimental pleas for solidarity, and all other efforts to achieve it will be barren of results."
So it makes "He's better than McCain" inept and impotent politics. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to flip the tables over and to say, "If we're going to fight fascism then let's start right here!"
There is a broad consensus that agrees with what FDR once said, "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power."
The Democratic Party needs to know that it must either fight for us or fight with us. Dude! We want our party back. Democratic politics are simple: worker rights, civil rights, peace and domestic prosperity.
Gay marriage isn't a question of spin or nuance or civil unions; it's a simple civil rights question. Easily asked and even more easily answered.
Alternative energy is a question of worker rights, peace and domestic prosperity. The idea of a green future built for us in Beijing is an absurdity.
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