To those who may have taken offense, let me apologize, and that includes Steven D. In a lot of ways, he and I were saying the same thing. I actually appreciate his passion.
But let me try to explain what I think stirred something in me to write what I did, and explain what I think is a phenomenon here that, to me anyway, is somewhat alarming.
There are many, many us, probably the vast majority of us here on this blog, that have been working for change for a very, very long time. Call us "old fogey progressives", regardless of our age. We've seen fights come and go, whether it goes back as far Vietnam (or further), the Reagan years, or today. We're just as committed to change as anybody here.
Within this group are quite a few people who are experienced with campaigns, grassroots organizations, and local, state and national party organizations. They've been working hard from day one to try to get some change to our party and our country.
Then, there are some here who I will call "born again progressives". They are "born again" in the sense that, by they're own admission, they were either Republicans, or politically inactive until recently when they "woke up" to the ills of the current administration and DEMAND CHANGE NOW.
This is partly what I got mad about yesterday. Steven D wrote an impassioned diary about how the party leadership was losing him. What set me off was that Steven D admitted he wasn't a registered Democrat and didn't really become "active" in politics until 2004. My diary, in many ways, was a response to that, and try to tell Steven D what my party was about, faults and all, and encourage him and others to take up the cause of changing our party for the better.
Too many times, though, those of us who disagree -- for whatever reason, by it strategy or policy -- with born again progressives get throttled for disagreeing. Sometimes names like "Vichy Dems" are thrown out as a way to identify the naysayers. Sometimes people who disagree are called "Establishment Dems" as well, which is almost equally galling, considering that the only members of the Establishment that post here are the ones that are currently in Congress.
I suppose what alarms me the most is this attitude that sounds alarmingly like the Bush Doctrine. You remember the Bush Doctrine, right?
You are either with us or you are with the terrorists
The feeling I get from a select few "born again" progressives is similar:
You are either with us or you are with the wingnuts
Look, just because we disagree on tatics doesn't make us a wingnuts. We are ALL part of this goddamn struggle against tyranny, against indifference, against cronyism.
But you can't marginalize people who support you ideals just because they disagree with your tactics.
People screaming that the Democratic leadership should "shut down the government" provide no insight into how the expect the leadership to take on such a task! Congress will be session approximately a total of THREE MONTHS in real legislative days this year. What, exactly, do you want them to shut down?
YOU CAN'T SHUT DOWN A DO-NOTHING CONGRESS. And this Congress will be in session for the least amount of time since the term "Do Nothing" Congress was coined 60 years ago by President Truman.
So I understand the anger and frustration. But in a way, it scares people like me, people who have walked arm in arm with progressive leaders for years, because it smacks of zealotry.
I want the "born agains" in my party. I want them to help FIX my party and contribute their energy to the cause. I just don't want them to think that because we disagree once in awhile that we're some sort of "enabler of corporate interests" or a "milquetoast Democrat".
The old fogeys can learn new tricks from the born agains, and the born agains can benefit from the experience of the old fogeys.
One thing is for certain, though: if we don't find a way to bridge the gap, we're doomed for sure.
The good news is, we've got no other place to go but up.