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¡Pobrecitos!  I take a look at my Liberal brethren with pity.  Yes, I'm aware that that "sounds" arrogant, but it's not meant to be.  It's genuine concern about how the essence of what it means to be a Progressive can, in times like this, be the biggest contributor to the demise of our democracy.

The Republicans are not crazy.  Within their world view and objectives they are doing exactly what they should be doing; by the book.

Obviously, when one thinks about "The Right," there are sub-segments within that may have slightly different world views and motivations, but somehow they all coalesce into a brutally efficient and effective movement.

So at the lower levels of their movement you have the bible-thumpers holding the Book in one hand, the semi-auto in the other one, with a wild-eyed expression, while rocking back and forth waiting for "signs" of the "end-of-days" so they can engage in an "Army of God" struggle.  And then you have the Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss disciples, with a tinge of puritanical legacy, who are influenced by Social Darwinism and Eugenics thought (many of them without knowing it).  And then you have the movement leaders at the top; the plutocrats manipulating their minions down-channel.

A movement that is now in the process of a wholesale fascist takeover of the country, taking advantage of the inherent weakness and naïveté prevalent in modern progressive thought.  

I've given this a lot of thought, and unless someone can convince me otherwise, the biggest weakness I notice on the Left is that there is an inclination to address all issues from a logical, thoughtful, reason-based approach--exclusively.

In moments like this, that limitation (or deficiency) could prove fatal for what is left of  our democracy (which at this point is very little), or for the hope of ever being able to restore it.

And this should not be that hard to understand.  Going back to parables, there is a time for everything: "And a time to every purpose, under Heaven A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal..."

The only time reason, justice, intelligence, empirical evidence, and fairness apply in human affairs is when the other party you are dealing with has also agreed to be bound by those things.

So for example (and to put it in perspective), if you live in a small village and you become aware that a group of marauding barbarians are heading to your village on horseback, after having plundered three previous villages, leaving in their path a trail of death and destruction, you should know that the upcoming "power struggle" with these barbarians is not going to be about being reasonable, or thoughtful, or talking about evidence, and philosophical differences.

You have to prepare to be as ruthless and vicious and relentless as they are when you come face to face with them.

Likewise, many of my fellow progressives want to hold on to the idea that they can challenge the barbarians coming down to destroy them by appealing to reasonable discourse and debate, and by counting on the governmental institutions that are supposed to ensure a level playing field.

For some strange reason it's hard for them to understand that the entire government has fallen into the hands of the barbarians; that the entire media is a propaganda machine; that the judicial system has been corrupted to the core.

Burying their heads in the sand, they cling to the idea that they can count on these thoroughly corrupted institutions to make things right; to address criminality, and impunity, and abuses of power, and exploitation.  It's very sad to see that!

Some reading this would say, "Well, what do you suggest we do?  Do you have any 'solutions' to offer, instead of sitting in front of your computer writing stuff?"

Well, yes, I do have suggestions.  And again, I don't think they are too hard to implement.

First, understand that in order to help bring about a better, more just, more "perfect union" you have to have the power to do it.

Also understand that at the most fundamental level the concept of power is amoral.  

We are at that junction.  On the one hand you have a side that is on the verge of gaining power with the purpose of subjugating and enslaving the populace.

On the other you have a side that believes in fairness, and justice, and equality under the law, and in a secular form of government, and in the U.S. Constitution.

This is an existential struggle at this point.  We are not in normal times.

If the Left and Progressives fail to understand and conceptualize this reality on time, we are doomed.  The Republic of the United State of America (as envisioned by her Founding Fathers, and all those who have worked to make her better since) will be no more.  The answer to Benjamin Franklin's comment when asked what type of government we had, and he replied "A Republic, if you can keep it," would be "We could not keep it after all."

All people of good will; all progressive organizations, unions, community organizers, social activists, must join forces under one banner and engage in the struggle, with the understanding that the gloves are off.

Distill all that is good and fair into one single movement.  Know and believe that you are right.  Know and believe that this is akin to a battle between good and evil.  Know and believe that this is an existential battle.  Know and believe that if you don't win this battle, you and future generations will be subjugated, exploited and enslaved.

Design your own media strategy; your own messaging.  Completely drop out of the "framework" which has been set up by the fascist sociopaths consolidating power right now.

It should not be that hard, since you have the truth on your side.  So frame it.  You frame all the issues.  You don't let anybody else frame them for you.  You set the terms; you make your demands.

You have to be ruthless, relentless, and act with extreme conviction and even zealotry.  There is nothing wrong with being a zealot in the name of democracy and justice and equality.

This can happen, and we can win, but not until we all collectively realize that the system right now is broken and corrupted to the core, and that it is being turned against you.  Once millions and millions of people are able to conceptualize this and see this very clearly, what needs to happen will happen.

But this cannot happen without principled leaders who speak truth to power.  I'm hopeful that those leaders will rise up.  We, the people, are ready.




Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 01:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.


Is our system of government broken?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I generally agree with this diary except (9+ / 0-)

    significant elements of the GOP are indeed crazy.

  •  Simple is easier to understand than complex. (12+ / 0-)

    Republicans are absolute masters at keeping the message simple.

    The Democrats could have a simple message also...

    Where are the Jobs Bills Mr. Boehner?

    Repeat it over and over again.

    But, they don't...

    They play ball according to the Republican playbook.

  •  Great diary. (10+ / 0-)

    This is the issue at hand.    One big coalition with one big goal of restoring democracy and the rule of law.    Great diary.     We can't fight what we won't see.

    If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

    by dkmich on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:16:11 PM PDT

  •  As A Marketing/Advertising Guy (16+ / 0-)

    I see our party doing what so many of my clients do, they try to be everything to everybody, instead of picking one message and sticking to it.

    They also do something else that is common, if their efforts don't produce results, in like ten seconds, they have a knee jerk reaction to change their message without even giving it a chance to succeed.

    The Republican have been at this for like 40 years. Us, not so much.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:19:54 PM PDT

  •  Hey Ray did you go to a mtg this weekend (4+ / 0-)

    You said you were going to a Rebuild the Dream mtg. this weekend. If so, do you have anything to report?

  •  We're an Internally Oppositional Party is the (6+ / 0-)


    The party includes both conservatives and liberals. Leadership is largely conservative. Mostly they oppose fighting the conservative movement and the Republicans as if they were the type of force they actually are --the President is adamantly opposed to it.

    Only some Democrats are going to call the right out for what it is, only some will try to communicate strongly and tightly on behalf of their candidacies and their issues.

    We progressives though while we're willing to fight, yes we definitely do need to learn to shut up when we're tempted to argue, and stick to a fact or two with plenty of emotion. Arguments are for background briefings and online policy literature not political communication.

    Slogans, images and emotion are what motivate people. The Republicans aren't wrong for using them, they're wrong because they lie with them.

    We aren't lying.

    FDR was emotional, MLK was emotional, JFK and LBJ were emotional. It's honorable, progressives.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:27:01 PM PDT

  •  Thank You For This Diary! (6+ / 0-)

    While we argue over avoiding logical fallacies, Fox and the rest of the propaganda machine is churning out their message 24/7.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:32:48 PM PDT

  •  Yes on the second - No on the first (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Ray Pensador, MKSinSA

    they are crazy.

  •  I've been trying to fly this flag for a long time (7+ / 0-)

    - there is absolutely nothing dishonorable about being clear regarding the human stakes of this class war. Let us by all means have fact and logic on our side -- but if we depend only on those swayed by reason alone, we will probably not prevail.

  •  Naive no more - in attack mode (3+ / 0-)

    So media is being attacked - check (keep up the pressure)

    ALEC/Koch have been exposed - check check (awesome)

    Fight supercapitalists by boycotting - gotta do this

    Govt - work around it for now - do the grassroots thing, but keep the pressure on Norquist.

    But an area where we really need to work:

    Fundamentalism - we need to get serious about this. Become the "other" way, encourage boys to grow their hair long, tell the young girls to stop cutting up their bodies and faces (no more plastic surgery, girls), teach about spirit and the earth, indigenous ways, etc. This can be done and I think this is the area wherein I will work.

    I am convinced fundamentalism is at the core of all that is wrong in our country (and our world for that matter).

    Good diary, Ray. Well done, sir.

  •  Not trying to bash here, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Simplify

    ... Honestly, our President is the one who seems to be naive.  Everybody except his own advisors have been screaming at him for a few years now that he cannot make deals in good faith with the crazy people in the Repub party.

    And they are crazy.  Not necessarily clinically mad, but crazy in thinking that all this stubborn politicking for short-term gain will do anything but backfire on the country as a whole.

    (The alternative is possibly worse: You're right, they aren't crazy, and that's what they want to happen.  I haven't ruled it out at all.)

    And the concept of power is not amoral.  People have power over other people all the time.  They could drive their cars into crowds, put poison in the meal they're about to serve, steal credit card numbers from the till, slap their kids and spouses around, start firing from rooftops... but the vast, vast majority of people do not.  They do not even think of such things.  The power is not amoral; the amoral desire to have power over others leads to attempts to get and then exert that power.

    Good vs. Evil?  Oh hell yeah.  I've been saying that for years.  To do some of the things they have done, the Repubs and their supporters (including some Dems) have to be either mad or evil.  And they must be stopped.  Would us gaining that power make us amoral?  Somehow I doubt it.

    Tom Smith Online
    Music In Every Style... Except Dull
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:09:07 PM PDT

    •  Power is amoral: "The 48 Laws of Power" Read on (5+ / 0-)

      This is from the book I read a years back by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers, "The 48 Laws of Power."

      One of my favorite ones "Crush your enemy totally."

      Law 1 Never outshine the master.

      Law 2 Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies.

      Law 3 Conceal your intentions.

      Law 4 Always say less than necessary.

      Law 5 So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life.

      Law 6 Court attention at all costs.

      Law 7 Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit.

      Law 8 Make other people come to you; use bait if necessary.

      Law 9 Win through your actions, never through argument.

      Law 10 Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky.

      Law 11 Learn to keep people dependent on you.

      Law 12 Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.

      Law 13 When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interests, never to their mercy or gratitude.

      Law 14 Pose as a friend, work as a spy.

      Law 15 Crush your enemy totally.

      Law 16 Use absence to increase respect and honor.

      Law 17 Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability.

      Law 18 Do not build fortresses to protect yourself. Isolation is dangerous.

      Law 19 Know who you're dealing with; do not offend the wrong person.

      Law 20 Do not commit to anyone.

      Law 21 Play a sucker to catch a sucker: play dumber than your mark.

      Law 22 Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.

      Law 23 Concentrate your forces.

      Law 24 Play the perfect courtier.

      Law 25 Re-create yourself.

      Law 26 Keep your hands clean.

      Law 27 Play on people's need to believe to create a cultlike following.

      Law 28 Enter action with boldness.

      Law 29 Plan all the way to the end.

      Law 30 Make your accomplishments seem effortless.

      Law 31 Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal.

      Law 32 Play to people's fantasies.

      Law 33 Discover each man's thumbscrew.

      Law 34 Be royal in your fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.

      Law 35 Master the art of timing.

      Law 36 Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best revenge.

      Law 37 Create compelling spectacles.

      Law 38 Think as you like but behave like others.

      Law 39 Stir up waters to catch fish.

      Law 40 Despise the free lunch.

      Law 41 Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes.

      Law 42 Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.

      Law 43 Work on the hearts and minds of others.

      Law 44 Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.

      Law 45 Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.

      Law 46 Never appear perfect.

      Law 47 Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop.

      Law 48 Assume formlessness.

  •  Nope, They're Crazy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    And there are o republicans, haven't been for the past couple of decades!!!

    If there were they would have been in the streets, with no need to become teabaggers with a twisted libertarian ideology mess, during the previous admin!!!!

    CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

    by jimstaro on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:20:14 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, MKSinSA

    Tipped and recommended.  

    More tax cuts would be gluttony in a time of starvation. That is not America. That is a nation about to be plundered, and a people laid to waste. - Charles Blow

    by gulfgal98 on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:39:37 PM PDT

  •  While We're Squabbling About the Debt.... (5+ / 0-)

    they are passing new voter ID laws all over the country.
    They are eliminating the young & the old.  They are disenfranchising thousands of voters.

    They are thinking ahead to 2012.  We're treading water babbling about the latest mean thing DeMint or Cantor said.

    Their distraction is working just as they want it to.  They are gutting our voter roles....the only one talking about it is Rachel Maddow.

    Make no mistake.....they did the same thing when they took over state legislatures & elected Republican Governors in 2010.  We didn't see that one coming either.  

    We're acting like the rubes.....& they've slickered us again.

  •  brainiacs and cheerleaders (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Ray Pensador

    Webranding, please critique me on this. Anybody else, please jump in with constructive comments.

    Brainiacs is my flip term for the logical, rational show-me-facts kind of people. Wonkish and not usually social, they are the planners and predictors, the ones who make charts and crunch numbers so that we can understand what's going on and Make Plans.

    Cheerleaders are the emotional, "article of faith", true believers who are very social, very communicative, and throw great parties. They are the ones who inspire the masses, get contributions, and Get Stuff Done.

    All you brainiacs out there (me included!) listen very carefully: The Cheerleaders Are Just As Good As The Brainiacs. You can't do it without them. They are just as competent as you are.

    The Democratic party needs great brainiacs and great cheerleaders. We also need both groups to understand that they need each other. I don't care if we understand each other, I care that we can work together. You may consider my charts and data incomprehensible gibberish, as long as you accept that it works. I'll consider your ability to socialize some form of black magic, but I'll accept that it works (I'm still going to try a figure it out though. I need a hobby....)

    This kinda ties back into the rational and nonrational framing thing as well. Think of the Tea Partiers as cheerleaders tricked into supporting the Dark Side. They were taught a specific frame, which they don't question. That's the nature of frames, after all. The Dark Side brainiacs found out that they could infiltrate that frame, and use carefully-tailored propaganda to point the Tea party cheerleaders towards the Dark Side's goals. Since nonrational framing works on faith and belief, the Tea Partiers did not stop to ask questions.

    The Tea Party then did what cheerleaders do, and ran with it like crazy. Successfully! If you look at what they accomplished with the numbers and money they had, it is impressive. Pointed in a stupid direction, but impressive.

    We need the Light Side brainiacs to equal and better the Dark Side brainiacs. We need to build framing around principles and values that we all can live by. Then we need to hand a damn fine strategy to the cheerleaders and GTF out of the way. They will grab it, live it and run with it.

    OK, lots of humor and snark so as not to insult people. Now, tear it apart and let's Get Stuff Done.


    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 05:20:36 PM PDT

  •  Drew Westen's book ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, prfb

    The Political Brain, expressed a lot of this same frustration about messaging. Democrats rely on logic. Trot out numbers. Show off charts.

    Our message deserves better than that. It deserves clarity, simplicity and unabashed dedication to repeating.

  •  So much of this goes back to the 1960s. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    the Left really seems to have internalized pacifism, that conflict is evil, and that we will not fight, because fighting is wrong.

    This is fundamentally wrong, both morally and practically.

    Practically, if one side is willing to fight, and the other side is not, the fighters win.

    Morally, acting as though fighting is always wrong only produces, in real-world terms, the victory of evil.


    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:06:35 AM PDT

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