Is it possible to be a tough liberal?
After 911, many Gore voters said they felt better about George Bush because he would handle terrorism more effectively-- that Republicans were tougher in a war situation-- that democrats, particularly liberals, are not so tough, even wimpy.
Americans are still scared and angry and they need to know that their leaders are doing something about the new, more dangerous world the fundamentalist Islamists have created.
Al Gore, though he lost the election, pulled together a majority of voters. That majority can do great things and bring about changes from the current, Republican led status quo. Its going to take strong, tough leaders making difficult choices on what issues to emphasize if that "Gore" majority is going to be brought together in a way that empowers change which makes a difference.
We need leaders who will voice tough, left wing, democratic strategies and positions. Peace rallies wont stop the terrorists or the mullahs teaching hate in the madrassas. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to be silent on how to deal with these virulent, toxic haters. Hate is something the left knows how to and has the courage to confront. Lets take it on!
Maybe we need to pull together anti-terrorism, anti-fundamentalist-hate rallies-- big rallies with tough talk about terrorism and kind talk about helping people who are captive in cultures stuck in the Islamic equivalent of the dark ages. There is a whole generation of Iranian young people, straining at the leashes of the graying mullahs who would love to see demonstrations in support of their freedom efforts-- demonstrations that might include supporting violent overthrow of the Ayatollahs.
It appears that a majority of Americans agree that the Bush team has failed to persuasively argue for an Iraq war now. Still, any successful Democratic candidate must put forth a convincingly tough policy that deals with the reality of terrorism in the world. Democrats and liberals can and should define positions on how to deal with terrorists who wish to kill Americans and our allies or damage our resources.
If we dont like what John Ashcroft is doing with our constitutional liberties in his efforts to prevent terrorists from hurting us from within, we need to come up with alternate solutions.-- social, legal, military, economic.. fair, including the desire to maintain constitutional rights, but damn tough-- tough enough to get some people mad.
We need a Kennedyesque "land-a-man-on-the-moon Apollo Program" type vision for freeing the US of dependence upon fossil fuels and thus, dependence upon the middle east, or Russia or Africa for oil. Energy independence is patriotic. Failure to enact laws which support, encourage and finance this effort is not only stupid, it hurts the country!
We need to come up with a vision that deals with the tens of thousands of hate-mongering madrassa schools spread through the Muslim world-- a problem the Republicans have ignored. These two issues alone can and should be embraced by democrats with a tough attitude. Its a good thing to free millions of children from brainwashing mullahs who use food and lodging to buy souls. This is an easy one. Lets spend some serious money offering parents in those countries alternate educational options. The Saudis wont let us. But we can compete with Saudi Wahabi fundamentalist money in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries where theyd be happy to allow us to help the children learn English and useful information, instead of just strong doses of the Koran and hate.
We need to talk tough to Republicans on these issues and make the Republicans get behind solutions to them.
Theres lots of talk about encouraging democracy in all those middle east kingdoms, and Im all for it. But you dont plant a flower in the snow. You dont offer democracy to fundamentalist zealots who will throw away the democracy and supplant it with religious totalitarianism. You dont espouse religious freedom in a situation where the freedom given to one group will be used to wipe out all dissent, all diversity. You make the tough choice of dealing with people who foul the community waters-- who dont respect your values of freedom, of democracy. There are some countries that are not ready for democracy, not while the wolves of fundamentalism are waiting in the wings to gobble up the freedoms and replace them with Taliban-like theocratic repression.
Author Thom Hartmann has recently written that talk radio has been taken over by the right. The result is there are no national liberal talk shows, unless you count National Public Radio (NPR.) The problem with NPR is, because of its government funded, non-profit status it cant air the kind of edgy talk about national politics and personalities that the right-wingers pump out. NPR commentators cant spend an hour ripping apart the other sides leadership or positions, as Limbaugh and his mud slinging cohorts do.
Note: When I wrote this, I wasn't aware of the Mike Malloy and Peter Werbe shows. Both Mike and Peter are hosted by http://www.ieamericaradio.com/ Technically, since they have listeners in several cities, can be heard via Sirius Satellite radio and by listening on the internet, they have national programs. Both hosts are tough liberals with strong progressive voices. But they only have a handful of actual affiliate stations-- a tiny following compared to Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage, etc. Recently, Thom Hartmann started a daily show with ieamericaradio.com too. They are definitely worth listening to on a regular basis, and you should try to get your local radio station to sign on as affiliates, to carry their shows.
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