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There was a little dustup yesterday on the old blog......and I helped stir up some of that dust.

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.

It's the phenonmenon of "Born Again Progressives".  Sounds strange, doesn't it? Well, let me try to nail down the characterstics of what I'm talking about.

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.

Originally posted to wmtriallawyer on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:01 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sorry to cover this ground again... (4+ / 0-)

    ...but this was still sticking in my craw after yesterday.

    Hopefully, we can find a way to get along before November 7, 2006.

    If I can't dance, it's not my revolution.

    by wmtriallawyer on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 09:57:06 AM PST

    •  I'm guilty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmtriallawyer

      of being one of the "born again", tho I have always voted Dem., I have sat on the sidelines until a Bush.  That said, the split yesterday bother the hell outta me. Thank for making this bid to tie it all together. If we allow our differences to split us apart, we will once again be shaking our heads going, How the fuck did they win this time . I will vote Dem., both in support , and in some cases in Protest, but I will vote Dem.

      -8.63 -7.28 Vote+$.01 I will vote Dem., but in protest and support.

      by OneCrankyDom on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:07:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well (6+ / 0-)

    The problem that I have with many here is that they are all too willingly to foresake any Democrat that devaites from their agenda 1%. Whenever a bill comes that certain factions here oppose, if a Democrat votes for it, the same chorus of people comes out to say that "we can't vote for Senator X again because he is a 'DINO'". I hate the litmus tests that people impose.

  •  Beer, chips and salsa ....? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wmtriallawyer, KiaRioGrl79

    Godd#%@! it! I knew you were all holding out on this beer-loving Wisconsinite and chips and salsa loving ex-Texan.

    "Conservatives hate Pooh because he reminds children to 'think, think, think.'"

    by dicta on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:14:53 AM PST

  •  It's more than just 'born agains' (6+ / 0-)

    who are dissatisfied and want change now. Many of us are just plain scared because we feel that we're near a point of no return and it's very ahrd to understand why people defend the democratic leadership. They have been ineffective for YEARS. Under one of the WORST administrations in history.

    If you were to look at a list of all the damage this administration has done, I'm sorry, but tears will come to your eyes and there is just ZERO excuse for the lack of action on the part of Democratic Leaders.

    And they are counting on people to forgive them and show up to vote anyway because as liberals WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.

    If you're an old fogey then it should be clear that we're reaching another point in history where it's more than just politics as usual.

    So I don't buy this 'born again' business as being the wedge. Many of us are mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore. This Pres and his Congress are ready to take us over the cliff.

    •  Well Stated. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemInCville, KiaRioGrl79, DoctorWho

      Some of us just want our party back.

      Some of us remember the Democratic Party that represented working class people, and that championed civil liberties and civil rights for everyone, even people of limited economic means. We remember the Democratic Party that recognized that economic freedoms are civil rights.

      The Democratic Party I remember revered the Constitution. It would not tolerate for any reason (tactical or otherwise), the terrible erosion of checks and balances to which our Nation's venerable charter has been subjected over the past five years. It would not rely on pollsters, advisors, or focus groups to tell its leaders which way the wind was blowing on any such important issue as Separation of Powers, and imposition of despotism by the Executive Branch.

      That Democratic Party, the one I remember, would never have allowed the Constitutional crisis we now face. At least, not without making a lot of noise to alert the public. To generate debate. To frame the issues. Most of all, to save the Nation from tyranny.

      Many officeholders now calling themselves Democrats have sold out to the same multi-national interests that have also purchased the other party. Their voices have been silenced by $$.

      Greed was at the root of slavery. We've eliminated de jure slavery, although it still exists de facto to some extent. But we've not only NOT eliminated slavery's root cause, but some Americans (mostly Reagan Repubs) have paraded around shouting from the rooftops that "greed is good!"

      What evil nonsense that is! The Democratic Party I remember would not stand for it. Things changed beginning around the mid-1980s. Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 had a lot to do with it.

      Some of us just want our party back.  

  •  Born again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wmtriallawyer

    I would qualify under your definition of a born again Progressive.  I was one of the 'government is fucked up, so why vote' crowd until 2004 when my girlfriend insisted I vote with her.  I may have anyway, given my disgust of Bush.  So I voted in 2004, and I started bloggin here and on my own website (SmokeyMonkey.org) last October.

    I'm glad you wrote this.  I was actually thinking of writing a diary today asking for advise from the 'old fogeys' or at least those that have been blogging for awhile.  This helped me understand the rantings of the site.

    I'm ready for CHANGE NOW!  But I also know that means working through the Democratic Party to achieve results.  I lament the lack of leadership at the highest levels, though.

    •  Don't we all (0+ / 0-)

      I lament the lack of leadership at the highest levels, though.

      You betcha. We ALL lament it.

      This is going to be a bottom up movement to take back our party, and we're going to need you and everybody else involved to do it.

      Let's learn from each other; that's all I'm asking.

      If I can't dance, it's not my revolution.

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 11:10:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Learn (0+ / 0-)

        That's why I'm here.  And I am doing my first actual political activism tomorrow!

        In Tucson, AZ, Jeff Latas will be registering people to vote at the corner of 4th and University during the 4th Avenue Street Fair.  And I will be helping!  I'm so proud of me.

        •  Excellent (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KiaRioGrl79, smokeymonkey

          Identify 'em, register 'em, and then get 'em to the polls.

          That's the only real rule in politics: get more of your voters to the polls than the other guy

          (Unless, of course, you are Karl Rove...then it's STEAL more votes than the guy....)

          You should be proud of you. I am.  Just make sure, no matter what activism you do, to have fun. Because when it stops being fun, it stops being worth doing.

          If I can't dance, it's not my revolution.

          by wmtriallawyer on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 11:16:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Two things, wmtriallawyer: (0+ / 0-)
    1.  "But you can't marginalize people who support you[r] ideals just because they disagree with your tactics.  "

        Isn't this exactly what you were doing to Steven D in his diary that started the 'dust-up'?

    1.  The problem is that this fight is way past ideology now, unless one considers fascism to be a defensible ideology.  One could be considered far on the political right in the rest of the Western World, and still be considered a 'progressive' in the 21st Century United States.

        The problem is the traditional political parties (D and R) are disintegrating in the face of incipient fascism:

        The Republican Party has been completely co-opted by the fascits, and has lost any element of traditional American conservatism it once represented (say, Eisenhower or Goldwater days).  So it isn't a question of disagreeing with what the Republican Party traditionally represented, because it doesn't anymore.

        The Democratic Party has refused to stand up in the face of obvious and egregious violations of the Constitution, and thus has abdicated any defense of Constitutional Democracy in the face of fascism.

        Third party movements are instutionally marginalized and routinely demonized (show me which article in the Constitution describes how the 'two-party' system is supposed to work, or what George Washington's opinion of political parties was).

         And there you have it.  Either the "Traditional" (individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, isolationist) Republicans get their act together; the Democratic Party gets its act together; a third party ascends; or the American Experiment is over, and fascism is here to stay.

        So it's not a question of tactics.  It's a question of survival in the face of history, and either one wants to survive, or one doesn't.  So many of your "born again progressives" are here (at the threshold of the Democratic Party) because they have chosen to fight fascism, not because they have suddenly seen the light of how wonderful the Democratic Party has always been.

        And to those, your "Vichy Dems" are as much the enemy as the fascists themselves.  Consider it a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and in my opinion, the only way for its soul to be saved is by choosing Country over Party.

    "...And bunnies would dance in the streets, and we would find life on Mars." -Peter Singer, Brookings Institution

    by zentiger on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 11:36:14 AM PST

  •  I am an old fogie progressive (0+ / 0-)

    who is disgusted with the lack of leadership of the Democratic Party. It is not an opposition party. It is a shadow of the Repugs.

    I am saddened that there is so damn little movement inside the Democratic Party to end the "spoiler" Nader problem with Instant Runoff Voting.

    Once again Dems go to the brink in 2008 preferring to play chicken with the Greens and independents rather than join forces.

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