Case in point, the Democratic radio message by Jim Wallis, yesterday, continues to blame Democrats for partisan divisiveness and scapegoating, despite the fact that Democrats have had difficulty getting the media to even show up at press conferences for the last 6 years. It's hard to imagine how they can be blamed for being divisive when they've been accused of having no plans, no message and no vision at the same time.
Wallace goes on to state that we have lost "a commitment to the common good" and blames a generic "politics" as the cause of losing our way. Again, Democrats have had no control in 6 years and only limited influence the 8 years before that. "Politics" is definitely to blame, but the scorched earth strategies of Karl Rove and the corporate crony economy are not Democratic Party ideas.
This site was founded after the 2004 election to define and advocate the values that create the foundation of Democratic Party policies. One of the complaints I heard in 2004 was that all the Democratic Party offered was a laundry list of programs that meant higher taxes for programs that many people never even use.
It became clear to me that selling the features of our party wasn't going to work until people became personally invested in a shared vision that those features and programs represent. Jim Wallis is right to challenge the country to find a "new politics inspired by our deepest held values." He is wrong, however, to insist that more religiosity fill that gap.
We are living in a time where religious extremism is the most dangerous threat facing us. The extremism of terrorists is obvious. However, our own extremists' attack on science, education, civil rights, reproductive choice, and more, is damaging to continued progress in its own right. When Jim Wallis flippantly accuses the left of using abortion as just another "issue to divide", he insults the memory of those who died because they didn't have reproductive choice and fails to respect how critical that basic choice is to the economic independence of women in general.
Not only that, but his attempt to appeal to the religious community by making them feel guilty for not helping the poor is the exact kind of emotional blackmail that caused massive numbers of people to flee the Democratic Party in the first place. The country did not vote Republicans out in order to usher in a new era of welfare programs. We voted Republicans out because their policies did not deliver the economic self-sufficiency that they promised.
That isn't because Democrats are somehow not compromising enough with Republicans, it's because Republican economics don't work for working people and it's high time Democrats just flat out say so. When religious extremists mistakenly advocate policies that harm our country, they should be confronted, not appeased or pandered to.
If Wallis is truly committed to a "new, morally-centered discourse on politics", perhaps he should use his moral authority to usher in a new era of truth in the national discourse. The key point in that era of truth is to acknowledge that some failures can truly be traced to a specific ideology and that we must root out those failures in order to avoid replicating them in the future.