Hi! I've been lurking around here for a couple of years and have really enjoyed reading many of the diaries. I've been content to lurk until today, when a bunch of somebodies finally said some things that really set me off. Hello cruel world, here I go, hope I don't step on anybody's toes.
I was reading a couple of diaries about Dennis Kucinich's badgering of the Democratic leadership and his fellow presidential candidates to act on many of the issues that progressives dearly want addressed, among them impeachment of the Veep and President, ending the illegal Iraq war (now) and reining in the extra-constitutional power-grabs of the executive branch.
What got to me was that some folks are suggesting that for the sake of party unity and taking back greater control of the government, Kucinich (and presumably others) should STFU.
This strikes me as a really bad idea for progressives despite the success that Republicans have had, in part undoubtedly due to their rigid party message discipline.
Ever since substantial numbers of the Democrats in the House and the Senate joined in with Republicans in passing a censure resolution against moveon.org, it has become increasingly apparent to me that the leadership of the party meant to send progressives a message. I think that Nancy Pelosi in a fit of hubris, summed it up best when she said, "They are advocates. We are leaders."
Pelosi probably didn't notice that she had it exactly backwards. We the people are the leaders. She and her ilk are our representatives or advocates. We elect them to do our bidding - not to tell us to shut up because they know what's best for us.
Can you imagine the Republicans passing a censure motion against a base organization that has millions of members, donates millions of dollars and works assiduously to elect Republicans?
What on earth could make Democrats and their "leaders" take off the gloves and slap their base?
In my view, even though I am not a supporter of Kucinich (or anybody else as yet), I think he is doing yeoman's work in pressing the agenda of progressives, demanding that the "leadership" get out of the way and let the democratic process work as well as holding fellow candidates up to a progressive standard in their policy positions.
If the "leadership" feels that progressive priorities are too controversial to pursue before a major election, should they win based on whatever lukewarm bucket of predigested, focus group tested platform fillers, they are unlikely to risk their newfound popularity on progressive causes.
If progressives stfu and allow the "leadership" to take away their rightful role then they have no right to whine when the "leaders" fail to act in their interests.
Now, before the elections is precisely the time for progressives to stand up and use all of the leverage they've got to press their causes. This is no time to stfu.