Since the election of Barack Obama, I (insert yourself) have been impatient for progress and change.
After eight years of George W. Bush, finally, I thought this would be our time. Obviously I knew that the Republicans in Congress and their billionaire funders would never give up. But after voters made their preferences clear in November 2008, I was not really expecting the historic levels of legislative obstruction and blatant lying that followed. (Continued below...)
The Republican Party has now moved so far to the right that it is indistinguishable from some of the most fanatical and destructive groups in American history. Many of their 2010 nominees were, and perhaps most in 2012 will be, entirely out of touch with reality or cynical liars. Most important, every one of the GOP candidates for President of the United States is an ignorant clown or a willful prevaricator.
A few pundits have suggested that the right wing is overreaching in 2012 and, therefore, will self-destruct. But I know that those extremists will not destroy themselves; it is up to us to defeat them.
Much is at stake in the coming congressional elections, but everything is at stake in the presidential race:
• The next appointment to the Supreme Court may determine American public policy for decades to come. A single seat changed from conservative to moderate/progressive could end the era of conservative retro-activism; a single seat moved from moderate to conservative could end the administration of justice as we know it.
• The landmark-and-yet-disappointing national health care law will soon be implemented—or not. The health and wellbeing of more than 30 million Americans hangs in the balance. And if this modest law is blocked, as it would be by a Republican president, it will be decades before another political chance comes for universal health care.
• The power of Wall Street can be reined in (at least modestly), or it can be allowed to continue its cannibalization of our entire economy. If any one of the GOP candidates is elected president, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—and all other federal checks on Wall Street—will be dismantled.
• Republicans have uniformly denied the urgency of global warming and (with help from Blue Dog Democrats) have obstructed progress. In many ways, this is the most crucial issue of our time. There is no chance we could make even the slightest progress for our children and grandchildren with a Republican in the White House.
• And, with recent history in mind, does anybody really doubt that the next GOP president will seize any chance to start another war?
In short, I recognize that 2012 is the most important election in memory, not because the Democrats are good (although many are) but because the Republicans are among the very worst, and most dangerous, in American history.
Therefore I resolve that:
1. I will focus my energies and outrages on Republican candidates and causes. I know that there are Democrats who will disappoint me this year (and I will continue to express my frustration), but this year we need to curtail the circular firing squad and jointly attack the greater evil.
2. I will focus on persuading swing voters. I realize that arguments among voters in the progressive base, while healthy, do not win elections. I will, instead, help out in political campaigns as a volunteer and/or donor, send letters to general circulation newspapers and magazines (not just progressive blogs), talk to non-political people about the importance of the upcoming election, and urge everyone to get out and vote.
3. I will focus on using words and arguments that appeal to the swing voters. I understand that we progressives use expressions that are either misunderstood by, or trigger negative images in the minds of, average non-political voters. I will couch my persuasion in mainstream language that embraces the listener as one of the beneficiaries of progressive policy—arguing for equal opportunity, leveling the playing field, fairness and justice, real security for all, and universal access to the American Dream.