After every battle the defeated are in retreat. This is a critical time when cool heads matter. The tendency is to run off in all directions, but the correct response is to find a defensible point and rally.
I had to break this into two parts because the Kos server thought it was a one-line story. Please go back and read Part 1 first.
Environmental Responsibility and the Future
Democrats must confront this administration on abuse of the environment. The way to get this across is a simple statement: We will not approve any Bush appointee for any office (including Supreme Court) until Bush has removed from the Interior Department anyone who has ever worked for, directly or indirectly, the coal companies, the oil companies, the lumber industry, the paper industry or any other extractive industry company or interest group.
This is a way to burn two bricks with one bridge. (Did I mix metaphors?) It highlights the ongoing abuse of the environment by the Bush Administration and it blocks any nominee until the Republicans come to reason and start to negotiate with the Democrats on more equal terms. It restores somewhat the balance of power, while at the same time bringing to a screeching halt one of the worst abuses of the Bush crowd.
The environment is the entire basis for the future. How does George Bush explain to his kids how he's taking away their most precious inheritance? What kind of future are they going to have? (Oh, I get it. They're going to be rich, so they don't care. I wonder if either of them will shockingly turn out to have a conscience.)
The environment is a moral issue. It's high time that the Democrats beat the Republicans over the head with a good moral issue. This is a fight that the Democrats must wage in the Senate and they must stick to their guns. It's an issue they can and will win.
That brings us to social responsibility. It is abundantly clear from this election that the electorate is woefully uninformed about such things as civil rights. They voted for a guy who says we absolutely need PATRIOT Act II. This must be addressed forthwith.
Democrats in the Senate should insist that any nominee to the courts be liberal on their interpretation of the Constitution and laws. In other words, they should give the law a fair reading, one that takes both pillars of justice into account.
A good test of whether a prospective jurist is going to be fair is how they treat partial birth abortion. Do they have the proper respect for the health needs and feelings of the mother? If they don't believe that the mother's rights, as a fully grown and functional adult human, supersede those of the fetus, they should not be on any court.
Is this a litmus test? Yes, and every prospective jurist should be able to pass this kind of litmus test. If they can't look at the human side of the equation, they will lean too heavily on the pillar of severity and that does not serve justice in America.
But there's a deeper problem. Why would any citizen have problems voting? And clearly they have. In tests done by the media, many people couldn't properly mark their ballots.
This can only occur through deficiencies in the educational system. Our schools need to teach the rudiments of being a citizen. The Democrats must insist that part of "No Child Left Behind" be a program of "No Citizen Left Behind." In other words, a requirement for high school graduation must be that you can list the rights enumerated in the Constitution and correctly express what they mean at a personal level. You must be able to successfully mark a ballot. You must understand the duties of serving on a jury. You must be able to look at a voter information pamphlet and correctly understand the meanings of the arguments. In short, school must prepare you to be a citizen.
In order to do that, schools must also teach reasoning and logic. To graduate, you should be able to formulate and understand a logical argument. You should be able to understand the scientific principle and apply it to a theory. You should be able to spot logical fallacies, like the argument from design, and reject them. You should understand how science relates to technology which relates to increases in the standard of living. You should be able to see how population growth works against that to decrease our standard of living.
Unless our citizens can do these things, they can't run a functioning democracy. And as Democrats we should promote functioning democracy, not just the dumb sort.
I've listed four areas of responsibility that must be addressed in this country for us to go forward. We can skate on these only at our peril. We've sort of gotten along without liberalism for the past twenty or thirty years, but look where it's gotten us? Do you like where it's gotten us? I don't.
Ever since the Democrats started to mumble the word "liberal" they've been taking it in the shorts. Now it looks like all the mimsy Democrats have been blown away by the Bush wind. I hope the ones that are left have the balls to turn this around.
The Senate is the last bastion left to the forces of good. The orcs are at the gates and we're busy burying the dead. But we've got to rally round the liberal standard planted on the Senate floor.
When you, Senators, get there, take a look around you and find that standard. Align yourselves with it. Salute it. Then give it your all. You will find it hanging there, red, white and blue, with stars and stripes, its folds reminding you of the complex fabric of society. At the moment you see it you will know your calling.