Earlier today I wrote this diary about the failure of large environmental lobbyist groups and Democrats to speak out about the dangers of climate change because they were told (by Frank "Fricking" Luntz for gawdsake) it wouldn't poll well.
Because the folks who took Luntz's advice looked at polls that said Americans' number one priority was jobs they stopped talking about the reality of the danger we all face from man made climate change. Instead, they talked about "green tech" and how many jobs it would create, and allowed the Republicans and the Kochs and "conservative think tanks" and Fox News to dominate of the debate over the reality of how climate change is devastating our world.
Since adopting that approach in 2009, the number of Americans concerned about climate change has dropped from a high of 2/3 of the population in 2008 to just a smidgen over 51% today.
By the way, that diary of mine got 4 comments. Four, for an issue that represents one of the most serious dangers to our future. But then again, who is talking much about climate among progressives at Dkos, or in Congress today. It's become another issue that has been essentially taken off the table and marginalized, like other issues such as increasing taxes on the wealthy, prosecuting the people who made America the land of torturers, infrastructure spending, etc.
I appreciate the few diaries on climate change or other neglected progressive issues that make the rec list here at Dkos all the more because so few do these days. Instead we get constant and redundant diaries about whatever the topic of the day is. We are becoming not much better than old media in that respect.
You don't change the conversation if all you do is respond to the agenda of the other side. We need to start talking about our own agenda.
- Jobs, not deficit cutting.
- Ending our wasteful foreign wars not continuing them into the indefinite future.
- Income equality not income inequality.
- Taxes on the rich, not eliminating the social safety net.
- Climate Change and investment in renewable energy not an Energy policy that calls for more drilling for oil and gas in America and the mining of coal (which btw will never make us free from foreign oil, because we don't have enough reserves no matter how much we drill or where.)
- Regulating the Banks, not letting them off the hook for the experiment in disaster capitalism they foisted on us over the past decade that ended up making them even more powerful and funneling even more government dollars to keep them in business while we wait for the next shoe to drop.
- Promoting the right of privacy instead of government intrusion in all aspects of our lives.
- Defending Public Schools for all not backing hucksters who want to privatize our school systems
- Making affordable health care a right not a privilege for the few.
- Creating new infrastructure for the 21st century rather than allowing our old infrastructure to crumble around us.
Are these things we can accomplish in this Congress right now? Hell no. But we should be talking about them loudly and consistently every day.
When Democrats did have control of Congress and the Republicans were in the minority they didn't stop pushing their crazed simplistic and divisive agenda. They didn't stop talking about their "issues."
Yet that has what the Democrats have done: given in and given up by reacting to polls and fearing to offend their big money contributors Fox News and the Beltway "opinion makers/pundits." The Dems have degenerated into a party of Hollow Men and Women (and no the few who are not do not make up for the majority who are). They have forgotten that no change comes without hard work. They have forgotten how to lead.
Everyday someone in or outside of the Democratic party should be going on a news show or holding events or protests to push the progressive agenda and push our issues. Not respond to what the Republicans say. We know what their agenda is, and so does the public. We need instead to be pounding away at what our plan for America is, not reacting to the demeaning and ridiculous and failed vision of the GOP/Tea Party/Big Business/Fundies who now control our political discourse.
It may take years. It may be create frustration and anger, and even despair when the polls don't change immediately in our favor. However, by fighting our battles on a field chosen by the Republicans we will always lose. We can only win if we fight on our turf, for our ideals.
Look what happened in Wisconsin. A true grass roots movement arose to effect change, to say we're not going to take it anymore.
In America there our millions of people out there, many unemployed and in desperate straits, many without health care, many just scraping by, who have been waiting for the national leaders in the Democratic party to arise and fight as hard as the people who protested against Scott Walker. Waiting for someone like the Sheriff of Pima County (Tucson), Clarence Dupnik , who spoke the truth about what has happened in his state and standing up for liberal values. Waiting but not finding them, or not enough of them.
Because the Democratic party's national leadership (with rare exceptions) so often fails to try to push for the most rather than accepting the least, Democrats have become the party of "We kept your losses to a minimum (this time)" instead of the party of the working classes, the poor, the oppressed, and progress in the best sense of the word. Right now the Democratic party as a whole is only a vessel to propagate the careers of politicians who have no message other than "We're not as crazy as those guys over there."
Winning elections means nothing if nothing changes. We don't need a party that helps the banks while giving away the rights of the rest of us. We don't need a party that is afraid to stand up for progressive, liberal ideals. We don't need a party whose idea is to compromise before the bargaining even begins. And we sure don't need a party that refuses to tell the truth about jobs, taxes, climate change, the need for government and so forth because it doesn't poll well.
Once upon a time the Whig Party fell apart because it had no consistent message, because it tried to be all things to all people and ended up being nothing to anyone. That is the path the the current Democrats are following. If the Dems want to be only a center right party doling out slightly less benefits to corporations than the far more extreme right-wing party that is now the Republican Party, what value do they provide? What reason is there for us to vote for them?
If they refuse to speak for the issues we as liberals and progressives care about, what benefit are they to the vast majority of Americans, people who the Republicans are trying to turn into wage slaves and a permanent underclass to be exploited by the Disaster Capitalists on Wall Street, in Big Oil, and in the Defense Industry (among others)?
No benefit. None.
The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. They can fight for us or submit to the power of multinational corporations and accept their place as the least favored child of corporate America. If they choose the latter, their future as a viable political force is doomed. If they choose the former, well, isn't that better than selling out the country you supposedly love? Isn't that why Democratic politicians got into politics in the first place: to make America a better place?
Let's all hope they choose wisely.