I don't post much here because I'm not a Democrat; I'm a radical. But we're on the same side and I'm pretty upset by the reaction to the Wisconsin loss I'm seeing on here tonight. As I said, I'm a radical. I don't believe the path to progressive social change lies in the ballot box. I believe that the only path that will or can or has ever worked is in the streets. It's in organizing. It's in protests, marches, picket lines, and civil disobedience. But more than that, it's in unity. It's in people, as they say, standing hand in hand.
That's why I'm so upset by what I'm reading here tonight. I'm a radical, but I'm also a rural Midwesterner. Those rednecks you keep insulting are my beloved friends and neighbors. They aren't stupid, they aren't ignorant, they aren't brainwashed. They love their family, hate their bank, and have just as much awe and wonder at the beauty and majesty of the natural world as any of us. We will not win anything without them. They outnumber us, by a whole heck of a lot. Unless we can reach out to them with love and respect, we will never win anything of value in the American political system.
They see the world through a different lens than you and I. In their world, abortion is murder, unions are thugs, and hope comes from above--from the rich and from a personal God. It's a different way of seeing the world. It's a scary world they live in. We treat the poor like garbage. They lead hard lives where failure is constant and struggle never lets up. They do without food so the kids can eat. They wear clothes that mark them as members of the underclass. They are constantly fighting against stupid ass rules and doing whatever they can to build the best life possible. Until we respect them and meet them where they are, until we work at street level gently pulling them, educating them, loving them we will never win. You don't win with hate, at least, Progressives don't win with hate. We win, we are at our best, when we are animated by an overwhelming sense of love for all creation. We win when we place solidarity at the forefront.
So stop talking to each other, stop wallowing in anger, start knocking on doors, drinking Bud, and hanging out at the autoshop. Go where the people are and listen. Hang out in the break room or whereever your janitors, cafeteria ladies, and bus drivers go. Listen to their stories, listen to their fears, to their hopes. Learn about their lives. Read Joe Bageant's archived blog or his books on poor white Americans. Like him, I too grew-up (half-time at least) as one of them. Half my family still lives in that America. Whatever you do, take Joe's advice (not the part about not voting for Dems, the rest of it):
"What the fuck do you think middle class liberals should do then?" I'm gonna answer it. ORGANIZE! Quit voting for that pack of undead hacks called the Democratic Party and ORGANIZE! Howard Dean is just another millionaire Yale frat boy. ORGANIZE! Quit kidding yourself that the Empire will protect professionals and semi-professionals such as you and ORGANIZE! Spend time on a Pentecostal church pew or in a blue-collar beer joint and ORGANIZE! Join the Elks Club and ORGANIZE! Realize that there is no party whatsoever in the United States that represents anything but corporate interests and ORGANIZE! Start in your own honky wimp-assed white bread neighborhood and ORGANIZE! Knock on doors and ORGANIZE! Move heaven and earth and hearts and minds and ORGANIZE! And if enough people do it, it will scare the living piss out of the political elite and the corporations and they will come to club you down like they did in Miami and Seattle. But at least you will have been among the noble ones when the history is written."