I'm crossing my fingers and hope this exercise will be productive. My intention for writing this diary is to get people from both extremes of the liberal/progressive political spectrum (and everybody in between) into one (virtual) room and see if we can have a respectful and productive debate. Thus, the title...
I'm going to make some assumptions: I'm going to assume that within the wide spectrum of issues, from the NSA, to the political system, to the different causes we care about, each one of us have reached our conclusions based on our understanding of those issues, and that we are doing so without prejudice, bias or ulterior (nefarious) motives, as much as that is humanly possible.
In other words, regardless of your point of view, worldview, and opinions, I'm going to assume you are acting in good faith.
And finally, I'm going to assume that not one of us has the answer to the myriad of challenges we face when it comes to our socioeconomic and political system. We're entering this "room" with equal footing, and we're going to try not to denigrate or attack people who disagree with us.
For the purpose of discussion, I'm going to put forward a narrative which I hope captures the worldviews of most readers here. I know this is very risky. I hope I'm able to do it. Here' we go...
This is my narrative: Large corporate interests (Big Pharma, Wall Street, Big Insurance, etc.), and moneyed individuals have undue influence over our government; they exert that influence in order to advance their agenda ("more for them, and less for everybody else").
Therefore the way I see the system working is like this: The rich and powerful are on top of the power pyramid; the political system is below them; and then the people are under that.
What to do? It is important not to give up on the political process and democracy, however fragile, or damaged it may be, so I understand and value the concept of doing everything we can to elect more and better Democrats. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that insofar as we try to imbue the party with the democratic values with which democracy is supposed to stand for.
In fact, in my case, I'm a registered Democrat and have voted straight party line for over 25 years in every election, including national, mid-term, local. I've also participated in campaigning, having attended Obamacamp the first time around (for the 2008 election). I remember the emotion I felt when I stood in a huge around-the-block line to go see Obama speak at the Bill Graham Auditorium during the 2008 campaign...
Now, having said that, here's where I think I get in trouble with many of my fellow Democrats: I think that when it comes to addressing the important issues we face, and given the current situation (as I understand it), participation in the political process (as it is now) only offer between 10 to 15 percent of the solution. Again, we should not give up ground there, but that's my perspective.
The other 85 percent of the solution lies in breaking the choke-hold the ruling elite has on our entire system. I tend to see it as a Corporatocracy or Oligarchy.
That's going to the "root" of the problem (again, in my worldview).
At that level the political process is ineffective, and so pressure needs to be applied from outside the political system as it is designed right now.
That's where social justice activism comes into play, as well as other things like protests, general strikes, boycotts, and a thousand other (peaceful) tactics.
Now, for those who are familiar with American history, I would hope that they would notice that these types of power dynamics between "the people" and the "ruling elite" have always been with us, and that both approaches, including working within the very important political system, as well as peaceful resistance and organization against oppression and corruption, are always necessary if we are going to safeguard democracy for future generations.
I really hope I haven't offended anybody by what I've written so far. That's not my intention. I genuinely want to have a productive give-and-take with people who have different perspectives on this.
Given all the challenges we face, and given your own interests, your perspective, your experiences, how do you think we should proceed to move a Democratic, progressive and liberal agenda forward, successfully?
The floor is yours...