Skip to main content

Pleased to be here.

I thought I’d start out with some thoughts directed at people who consider themselves to be progressive but have given up on politics because it seems rotten to the core. They may prefer Obama to Romney but don’t think there’s a huge difference between the two, so may not even vote.

Your cynicism is understandable. But cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you succumb to it, the moneyed interests win it all.

The Koch brothers, the rabid Republican right, CEOs and Wall Street traders who want to entrench their privileges and tax advantages – all of them would like nothing better than for every progressive in America to throw in the towel. Then America is entirely theirs.

The alternative to cynicism is to become more involved in politics. Help create a progressive force in this nation that grows into a movement that can’t be stopped.

We almost had it last year in the Occupy movement. We had the arguments and the energy. What we lacked was organization and discipline.

I’ve spent years in Washington and I know nothing good happens there unless good people outside Washington are organized and mobilized to put pressure on Washington to make it happen.

This isn't new. In the election of 1936, a constituent approached FDR with a list of things she wanted him to do if reelected. “Ma’am,” he said, “I’d like to do all those things. But if I’m reelected, you must make me.”

We must make them.

I suggest a two-step plan.

Step one: Vote for Barack Obama for President and vote for every Democratic senator and representative in Congress. Get off your ass and make sure your friends and relatives do the same.

Step two: Starting Election Day, regardless of who’s elected, commit at least three hours every week to political organizing and mobilizing. Connect with other progressives in your city and state. Help find and recruit new progressive candidates to run against Republicans in swing states, and against conservative Democrats. Support the members of the progressive caucus in Congress. Raise money. Raise a ruckus.

Make it our goal to reverse Citizens United, even if it takes a constitutional amendment. And have public financing of elections (including a requirement that the media provide free political advertising as part of their commitment to public service).

Also break up the biggest banks and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act.

Put a 2 percent surtax on wealth in excess of $3 million. And a one-tenth of 1 percent transaction tax on every financial transaction. And restore top tax rates to what they were before Ronald Reagan became president.

Use half this revenue to pay down the national debt and half to make sure every American has a world-class education.

Put a tax on carbon, and use the revenues to reduce or replace payroll taxes.

Have a single-payer health-care system that delivers care at far less cost than our current balkenized and inefficient one.  

And much else.

You say it can’t happen -- the system is too rotten.

It won’t happen if you wallow in the comfort of your cynicism. But it will happen if you and others like you get fired up.

We've done it before.

I remember when progressives joined with African-Americans to get enacted the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. I remember when progressives stopped the Vietnam War. When women finally got freedom of choice over their own bodies. When the Environmental Protection Act became law.

Who would have imagined two decades ago that America would elect an African-American as President of the United States? Who would have supposed gays and lesbians would begin to achieve equal marriage rights?

Of course we can take America back.

Stop complaining and start organizing. And by all means, vote.

Originally posted to Robert Reich on Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 03:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos, J Town, I Vote for Democrats, DK Poli, Barriers and Bridges, The Federation, Dream Menders, Mojo Friday, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, ToolShop, and "Progressive Politics:Tennessee Style" (PPTS).

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, mickey, Max Wyvern, Grassroots Mom, JekyllnHyde, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Mimikatz, DeminNewJ, Garrett, Alma, Best in Show, dugjxn, coral, PLS, Bill in Portland Maine, Chi, filkertom, True North, jotter, hester, texaslucy, melo, BrooklynJohnny, ferg, copymark, kate mckinnon, MrHinkyDink, ORDem, roonie, Subterranean, AaronInSanDiego, Oregon Bear, native, kaleidescope, flatiron, NYmom, bread, surfbird007, superfly, Emerson, karlpk, krwada, simaramis, Pescadero Bill, billlaurelMD, Andrew C White, cotterperson, genethefiend, hyperstation, histopresto, eeff, etatauri, StevenJoseph, HootieMcBoob, figdish, SallyCat, shpilk, emelyn, MarkInSanFran, expat germany, RennieMac, maggiemae, thepuppethead, bara, eyeswideopen, alain2112, Gustogirl, JSCram3254, missLotus, TracieLynn, cskendrick, cyberKosFan, Silverleaf, wonkydonkey, mbayrob, susakinovember, twcollier, ask, snoopydog, Xapulin, Pithy Cherub, themank, chuckvw, mxwing, PBnJ, Black Brant, shanikka, mkfarkus, pedrito, Miss Blue, MJB, mollyd, thea lake, Cedwyn, jted, high uintas, CocoaLove, hopeful, Last Mechanic, Chrisfs, Eddie C, wader, pollwatcher, revsue, SneakySnu, Oke, hopesprings, ninothemindboggler, Mxwll, psnyder, beforethedawn, annan, MrSandman, TexDem, figbash, CitizenOfEarth, elmo, roseeriter, johanus, HeyMikey, hazzcon, rlharry, eodell, kalmoth, RebeccaG, bsegel, Timbuk3, Liberaljentaps, riverlover, Gator Keyfitz, Dood Abides, outragedinSF, Bendra, exlrrp, OneCharmingBastard, VerbalMedia, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, side pocket, Hillbilly Dem, KayCeSF, Vicky, tomjones, Steven D, Twilight Jack, realalaskan, vivadissent, Josiah Bartlett, Sybil Liberty, bibble, Maggie Pax, BoogieMama, Gowrie Gal, Brecht, Crazycab214, davidincleveland, kbman, jabney, Bluesee, 3goldens, greycat, blueyedace2, deepfish, yuriwho, JanetT in MD, Freakinout daily, SherwoodB, OpherGopher, irate, sc kitty, kitchen sink think tank, triciawyse, myeye, stagemom, YucatanMan, EJP in Maine, reflectionsv37, fixxit, lennysfo, owlbear1, Pam from Calif, Sara R, uato carabau, science geek, quaoar, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, bmaples, Sandino, kaliope, LucyandByron, Isara, Tunk, Savvy813, Floja Roja, Rusty in PA, peacestpete, fhcec, Jim R, reddbierd, lcork, cre8fire, ballybough, Sanuk, BachFan, golem, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, rcbowman, keeplaughing, vigilant meerkat, cybersaur, alefnot, edwardssl, tobendaro, BeadLady, Malachite, tonyahky, Cartoon Peril, mooshter, kestrel9000, smokeymonkey, deha, Im with Rosey, FunkyMonkey, anastasia p, fou, sailmaker, kck, blueoasis, SherriG, TalkieToaster, StrayCat, 4Freedom, Rosaura, SadieSue, NewAmericanLeft, CTLiberal, boatsie, Unitary Moonbat, middleagedhousewife, Pilgrim X, vivian darkbloom, llbear, SingerInTheChoir, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, profh, chicating, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, toys, cherryXXX69, blueoregon, nannyboz, kurious, leighkidd, 73rd virgin, SeekCa, AllanTBG, Pandoras Box, Reel Woman, subav8r, john07801, teacherD, Donkey Underpants, dotsright, jessical, Habitat Vic, shazaru, hawaii2, Loudoun County Dem, camlbacker, moodyinsavannah, Debs2, Dartagnan, ColoTim, offgrid, leftyguitarist, gloriana, puakev, jds1978, karmsy, LillithMc, tbirchard, Ticonderoga, daveygodigaditch, operculum, joedemocrat, mhanch, aliasalias, newpioneer, bnasley, rantsposition, letsgetreal, quadmom, Killer of Sacred Cows, SeaTurtle, bobswern, jnhobbs, pioneer111, yella dawg, uciguy30, ErictheBlue, GeorgeXVIII, bewild, the1sage, Ralphdog, South Park Democrat, TomP, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, CroneWit, revm3up, flowerfarmer, Chacounne, wayoutinthestix, ScottyUrb, Cordwainer, Involuntary Exile, elwior, skohayes, Panurge, filby, Buckeye Nut Schell, lineatus, Akonitum, VL Baker, jamess, hilllady, tofumagoo, Hanging Up My Tusks, TokenLiberal, Jeff Y, catly, Tam in CA, mofembot, No Exit, Horsefeathers, J V Calin, KrazyKitten, tsqd, Abe Frohman, emidesu, BYw, nb41, dmhlt 66, Mike Taylor, dzog, SolarMom, squarewheel, maggiejean, Sun dog, Bule Betawi, Rhysling, J M F, Fonsia, Satya1, rsmpdx, Valatius, litoralis, mjkellett, greengemini, divineorder, Softlanded, LinSea, nofear, cantelow, CanyonWren, maryabein, janmtairy, susanWAstate, WakeUpNeo, mkor7, CamillesDad1, EquationDoc, cjenk415, sillycilla, geebeebee, dskoe, zizi, asym, mksutherland, badger1968, jazzence, sanglug, kevinpdx, Shelley99, histOries Marko, IreGyre, Question Authority, sfarkash, Little Flower, louisev, hopeward bound, astral66, kingfishstew, clifmichael, Livvy5, futureliveshere, CountyMayoDem, citisven, Leftcandid, porchdog1961, Larsstephens, HoopJones, CalGal47, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, smileycreek, Renie57, confitesprit, rb137, Laurilei, FogCityJohn, flitedocnm, estreya, gramofsam1, David Harris Gershon, UTvoter, stunzeed, Proud Mom and Grandma, yellowdogsal, Luma, Crabby Abbey, mjbleo, sunny skies, JohnAdams999, ATFILLINOIS, consciousempress, dharmachord, cordgrass, batchick, gulfgal98, tb mare, ItsSimpleSimon, anonevent, ThirtyFiveUp, Yasuragi, sharonsz, ban48, Publius2008, kenwards, ericlewis0, Floande, Loose Fur, Oh Mary Oh, fiercefilms, therehastobeaway, lgrabowski, Wisdumb, tgrshark13, Xtatic, Mac in Maine, translatorpro, Onomastic, Mike08, renbear, jtb583, mama jo, spooks51, Bob Duck, ban nock, slowbutsure, sabo33, sostos, implicate order, Wolf Of Aquarius, vahana, myadestes, RunningUte, Susipsych, sisyphusrocks, Bluerall, FarWestGirl, kiwiheart, Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht, Ricola, kevin k, deeproots, KelleyRN2, CoExistNow, lupinella, princesspat, Ebby, peacevehicle, molunkusmol, mrsgoo, Haf2Read, Ricochet67, Cinnamon, Cinnamon Rollover, I said GOOD DAY sir, noodles and doodles, muddy boots, smoothnmellow, sofa turf, dakinishir, Grandma Susie, MuskokaGord, peregrine kate, zapus, chira2, bluedust, mali muso, MinistryOfTruth, The YENTA Of The Opera, poliwrangler, VTCC73, randomfacts, jolux, SoCalSal, SteelerGrrl, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, bluck, Catlady62, imlpdx, Metalman68, jadt65, ParkRanger, PrometheusUnbound, Nashville fan, cheerio2, Azazello, Wandering But Not Lost, AnnetteK, Only Needs a Beat, roosterpoot, Cordyc, anodnhajo, Catskill Julie, StonyB, angry marmot, Citizenpower, IndieGuy, Jakkalbessie, barkingcat, a2nite, 2thanks, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, carolanne, belinda ridgewood, Johnny the Conqueroo, Karelin, Arahahex, avidpollinator, cassandracarolina, MusicFarmer, raina, Glen The Plumber, JAM11, Robynhood too, CalBearMom, Jason Libsch, Dumas EagerSeton, GoGoGoEverton, TheLawnRanger, Blue Dream, Jonathan Hoag, nomandates, Dallas L, ebailey, onceasgt, alpaca farmer, nolagrl, remembrance, arrjay, VeloDramatic, LeftArmed, goodpractice, Mikesq, Alhambra, leeleedee, Lefty Luke, Alantai, helpImdrowning, bwtsang, Icicle68, BitterEnvy, Smoh, ApatheticNoMore1966, DaveCaswell, Oliver St John Gogarty, duhban, pipercity1, Laura G, oslyn7, KHKS, Kombema, TheDuckManCometh, progressivist, shinobi9, HugoTilapia, lurkmodeallthetime, Evolvecrat

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site