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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...

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Comment Preferences

  •  What does this mean? What is the definition (8+ / 0-)

    of "extremes?"

    My intention for writing this diary is to get people from both extremes of the liberal/progressive political spectrum into one (virtual) room
  •  Ray, I've said it before... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, lostinamerica, StrayCat, mrkvica

    ...and I'm sure I'll say it again - the only way to create political change is through the accrual of political power, and the only way to accrue political power is to organize.

    I don't want to turn this diary into an ad for my software business, but that's where I have the solution.  I got sick of trying to learn Votebuilder and VAN and Sage Systems and all the other campaign software I've used through the years, so I wrote my own:  ORGANIZE!

    It's currently in beta-test, we're using it to defeat a proposed casino in my home town.  If anyone wants to try it out and help me beta test it, visit www.orgmytown.com and click the "ORDER ORGANIZE!" link.

  •  People keep imagining they can somehow (16+ / 0-)

    say something that gets "most people" to see something they do.

    Usually it doesn't happen. I don't think it does, anyway.

    I stay focused on marijuana reform because it is so simple and basic. Most issues are far more complex. The government has lied and lied and lied and lied and lied about marijuana. A majority of people see this now and the tide is turning.

    What I learned from it, over the years, and what is relevant to a political discussion and political site is that on election day we only need a majority to win our side.

    We keep at it until we win.

    I abandoned any idea or hope of unanimity ages ago.

    We only need 55 - 60% for our ideas to win on election day. Forget the rest.

    •  Well, let's see if that's true: (8+ / 0-)

      Should children be exploited, made to work 12-hour days?  Should workers have certain rights like minimum wage, vacation?  Is bribing government officials a good thing?

      If you are dealing with people who are acting in good faith, you could write a list of one thousand things they would agree on--100%.

      •  Let's see.... (4+ / 0-)

        Should children be exploited, made to work 12-hour days?  - republican value. I will assume you know I don't support such a thing.

        Should workers have certain rights like minimum wage, vacation? Democrats mostly believe that - republicans hate it. You know - I have NEVER had a 30 day vacation? Ever, I have been laid of for over a year at a time but that's not like a vacation, no matter what repubs say.

          Is bribing government officials a good thing? I'd bribe government officials, if I had the money, in order to get what I want, and I'm a nice guy who wants nice things for people. Those scumbags don't respect anything but money so yeah, I'd certainly bribe them to make things right.

      •  Definitions, Ray. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, xxdr zombiexx, Joieau

        What is "acting in good faith?"

        Certain farmers might not see anything wrong with having children working 12 hour days as long as he pays them for their work (and in fact, that often seems to be the case).

        There are many people who don't think there should be a minimum wage.

        Bribing government officials is "lobbying."

        I completely agree with Doc. There are always going to be outliers who won't be be convinced their extreme ideas are wrong. I'd rather organize with like-minded folks and then reach out to sympathetic citizens who can be persuaded with reason and data.

        And that's about 60% to probably 75% of citizenry, depending on the issue.

        Don't forget, when George W Bush left office, he had a 23% approval rating; and 28% said they approved how he handled Iraq (this was after 2007 was the bloodiest year in the war).

        I figure about at least 25-30% of people in any instance will never come around.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:55:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this diary, Ray (16+ / 0-)

    keep on keeping on.............

    unless we develop new methods of doing things, our progressive cause will die.  The whole political system is caught in a choke hold by the global corporate nation states.  We gotta find other ways to break free and I respect your search.  I respect you helping us think outside the box.  Because unless we do, we are doomed.

    And I especially respect the calm tone of discussion you bring to your diaries.

    Thank you.

    We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

    by SeaTurtle on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:11:42 PM PDT

  •  maybe a starting point for all could be... (10+ / 0-)

    Campaign Finance Reform - let's take money out of the equation.

    It may be the start, to get democracy back in action.

    I know there are hundreds of other things that need to be addressed but we have to start somewhere.

    Campaign finance reform could be that common ground for all interested imo

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'' George Orwell

    by lostinamerica on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:13:13 PM PDT

  •  I accept your take on the situation but for two (11+ / 0-)

    quibbles:

    1.  "more for them, and less for everybody else" - I don't think the moneyed interests really consider everybody else or anyone else.  They just think "more for me."  They are completely blind to everybody else - we are invisible.  They do not do what they do in relation to anyone but their own desires.  They are not out to get us, ruin us or hurt us.  They are just out for them and we are collateral damage.

    2. "value the concept of doing everything we can to elect more and better Democrats." - Sure this is the mission of dailykos. The problem is how sure are we that there are enough better Democrats who would or could run for office.  The system self-selects for personalities and values that are an anathema to most traditional Democratic values.  It's an ego and power game in which holding office and looking toward a monetarily rewarding back end are the goals.  "Better" from a baseline where the average is below a failing grade is not really better at all.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:15:28 PM PDT

    •  #1 - yes, yes, yes (9+ / 0-)

      Really - there aren't oligarchs rubbing their hands together in back rooms chortling over the increased suffereing of the 99% in expectation of their imminent total dependency. They have no clue about, and little interest in, the reality for those who are outside their bubble. In fact, one way an impact could be made is to somehow break through that obliviousness to personalize and particularize the real world as the rest of us experience it.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:29:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It IS a zero-sum game, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annan, StrayCat, Catte Nappe

        and the global financial elite understands this. Here's a quote from Chrystia Freeland in her seminal article for The Atlantic The Rise of the New Global Elite:

            The good news – and the bad news – for American is that the nation’s own super-elite is rapidly adjusting to this more global perspective. The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.
            I heard a similar sentiment from the Taiwanese-born, 30-something CFO of a U.S. Internet company. A gentle, unpretentious man who went from public school to Harvard, he’s nonetheless not terribly sympathetic to the complaints of the American middle class. “We demand a higher paycheck than the rest of the world,” he told me. “So if you’re going to demand 10 times the paycheck, you need to deliver 10 times the value. It sounds harsh, but maybe people in the middle class need to decide to take a pay cut.”

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:41:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They might believe that, but they are not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Azazello, Catte Nappe

          operating to bring it about.  Lots of these people are smart and know what's happening. They just don't care about and are not doing to, for example, "hollow out the middle class."  It's like seeing a dead pigeon or a crack in the sidewalk: you see it and move on to your business at hand.

          The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

          by accumbens on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:44:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not necessarily sure (0+ / 0-)

        that I can agree with that.  But that's a different conversation.

  •  I love it! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sviscusi
    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.
    I love how you'll assume that! You'll stipulate that, for the sake of argument!

    Priceless!

  •  I'm good with most of what you wrote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, JVolvo

    Though I'd place it more 50/50 protest/voting.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:22:31 PM PDT

  •  Also, what problem have you invited us (0+ / 0-)

    to consider?

    The problem that there exists an elite to begin with? You want everyone's differing perspectives on that?

  •  OK (8+ / 0-)


    here's the thing  (from my world view, as a life-long progressive.)

    Just like the latest counter-point, that Republicans have "no real plan" to replace Obamacare with;

    If the current political system is only about 10-15% effective,
    then what's the "real plan" for replacing the corporately-coerced part of it that is not responsive;  How does one go about replacing other 85% of the "broken entrenched system"?


    When I talk/write about "Profit Sharing" and "Employee-owned businesses,"
    most people can barely fathom it.  (And that's probably less than a 20% shift toward "democratic socialism" like we see in some parts of "enlightened" Europe.)

    -- If we can't even get that!  We can fugget about the rest of the trek to nirvana-land.


    People HAVE to work.

    Products HAVE to be produced.

    Roads HAVE to be maintained.

    Food HAS to be delivered.

    Schools HAVE to teach.

    Homes HAVE to be powered.

    Elections HAVE to happen.

    Leaders HAVE to do the best they can.


    What's the plan to get to "The Ideal" Society,

    When we can't even seem to muster the "coordinated will" to get a more Democratic and Humane Society?

    -- one that actually reflects the will of the majority of its people.


    In my worldview, change generally happens from the bottom up,
    starting from millions of individual decisions, to live in a better, more socially-responsible way.

    And that takes time ... usually a lifetime, or more.


    I don't see Mr. Hedges winning many elections, with all his idealistic-to-it-my-way rhetoric.

    Morally (socially) right, though he may be.

  •  I welcome this framework (I criticize your (8+ / 0-)

    diaries fairly often).

    Most of this I can agree with, too.

    Where I take issue is where, instead of moving forward, social justice initiatives end up taking on a militant 'us vs. them--and they are EVIL' mentality.  I don't see this is as helpful.

    What happened with OWS?  It moved from a strong message of economic inequality--which is why it had initially strong support--

    to one of 'fuck the establishment' and, perhaps more vocally, 'fuck the police'.

    It would be like protesting the Iraq war by saying 'Fuck the criminal fascistic military!' (we know that the military is guilty of a lot of excesses--but somehow it's ok to demonize cops as an insitution, but not the military?)  That doesn't make sense to me.  Call criminals out on criminality--but not everyone is out to get us.

    So yeah--work w/the poiltical system for the--as you estimate--15% that you can get done, use other tactics to apply more pressure if you like--but do it in a way that is inclusive--not exclusive.  The latter will just make the country more fractious than it already is--and won't move forward.

    My thoughts.  I'm leaving in a few, so probably won't be able to respond.

    •  Thank you for that input. It's food for thought. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bevenro, StrayCat, JVolvo
      •  sure :) (3+ / 0-)

        There are a lot of awful  problems with the system--but there are lots of things that have worked for many, many people as well.  I think one reason that the middle class doesn't really protest that heavily is that--despite the bad economy--the middle class in  this country actually DOES have a lot.  We're a hyper-materialistic society (unfortunately), so I think it's easy for us to lose sight of that--but we end up being somewhat hypocritical in our protests---realizing this, we don't protest as loudly.  

        One area where I wish we would shift focus is to look out for the poor-rather than ourselves.  I think a lot of our 'causes' are pseudo-causes that we apply in some cases but not others--and often in ways that make us feel better about our own activitism.

        How many of us really look out for the people who have NOTHING?  Very, very few--and that goes for the left as well as the right.  I think it's worse from the left--because that's our traditional territory.

        So that's why, rather than rhetorical flourishes and posturing groups against groups, I think that ultimately we need to take a really hard look at ourselves, who we are, and what we stand for--and that's harder than any protest.

        Those are (more of) my thoughts---NOW I'm actually leaving.

        (thank you for the diary---I haven't read most of the comments but this is a useful way for people to talk about things).

  •  The Party Problem Has Always Been (Last 40 Yrs) (4+ / 0-)

    that much of the leadership and many elected reps up and down ticket are conservative and oppose the policies from the New Deal thru the Great Society that gave us the only large middle class we've ever had.

    I think we can probably build a large inclusive coalition for reforms of some of the extremes of wall street, police state and surveillance state, and for reducing our subsidies to businesses to flee.

    Beyond that, when it comes to policies that will grow and uplift a broad middle class, I fear you'll find the numbers plummeting and the rox/sux escalating.

    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 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:30:17 PM PDT

    •  I think that what turns them "conservative" is (6+ / 0-)

      the influence of money in politics.

      •  yes. (12+ / 0-)

        Money in politics soils the decent along with the corrupt.  The ungodly amount of money a politician needs to get elected, and to stay in office beyond one term trumps whatever other issues they might otherwise tackle.  Trying to fix the way elections are run, from funding to length of time, to voting standards, to transparency, to advertising, to debates is ESSENTIAL to make some kind of change happen all the way up the line.

        Now how to fix this problem when the very people who are empowered to fix it are themselves dependent upon this money themselves?  And, how to fix this problem when the Roberts 5 have deliberately put their dirty thumbs on the scale with Citizens United and the VRA decision (and that's just a warmup, I'm guessing)--for the sole purpose of giving the GOP an electoral advantage?

        It's beyond ironic to me that we in the US feel justified in lecturing other countries about shortcomings in their electoral processes, when our own system is as corrupt, misguided, unfair, unequal, and money-driven as most any other in the world.

        Fix elections, first and foremost by taking the bottomless cesspool of money out of them, and we will see improvement in many of the issues that plague us, from climate change to education to the economy to healthcare to civil rights.  I think we need a constitutional convention--and there needs to be a clean set of fundamental, national election rules and systems enshrined in the constitution for the whole country's good.

        Thanks for this diary.

        "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

        by SottoVoce on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:01:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  this^^^^^ (7+ / 0-)
          Fix elections, first and foremost by taking the bottomless cesspool of money out of them, and we will see improvement in many of the issues that plague us, from climate change to education to the economy to healthcare to civil rights.I think we need a constitutional convention--and there needs to be a clean set of fundamental, national election rules and systems enshrined in the constitution for the whole country's good.

          i could rec this 1000x ............

          In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'' George Orwell

          by lostinamerica on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:14:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It isn't just the Roberts 5, long before they hit (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, DelilahOhMy

          the scene the Supremes pretty much legitimized bribery and infinite spending with a handful of decisions.

          1) Money = speech, can't restrict money/speech

          2) It is ok for a legislator or the President to charge a fee for access, to make you pay to talk to them (which is what the fees will always be alleged to be for, duh)

          3) There can be no presumption of bribery. You give me a ton of money & I vote on something of importance to you and vote as you would wish, no problem whatsoever. There must be proof that there was a prearranged quid pro quo for anything to be bribery, hence there is no duty to recuse oneself.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:23:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  FWIW (18+ / 0-)

    My approach is certainly different than yours and I am confident we disagree on a lot of things but speaking for me, I have not had a specific problem with your work. I must admit that I am not always aware of it. As I said my interests often lie in other approaches.

    If I can offer a word of advice, don;t take the negativity to heart. Take it from me, it can drag you down.

    Just move on.

    There once was a diarist whose name I can't remember their name that just ignored all the negative. It used to piss me off in the sense that it seemed nonresponsive on a site where discussion is our lifeblood.

    In hindsight, maybe that person was right.

    •  I'm going to highlight this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo
      If I can offer a word of advice, don;t take the negativity to heart. Take it from me, it can drag you down.
      Because you are the best example of how a contributor can harness the emotional energy, give it a slight shift in direction, and make a real difference.

      So few are able to reflect and change, and I mean change the approach, not the views or attitudes, that we should celebrate when someone shows us that it is possible.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hint: MSOC (heh) (0+ / 0-)

      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

      by JVolvo on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 01:05:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with your premise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn

    that corporate interests presently dominate public policy and, that by their very nature, corporations primarily operate to increase revenue in service of monetary gain.

    The country has been in this position before.  Balance was restored through legislation (anti-trust, trade, taxation, etc) and restoring the role of labor --which, of course, corporations view as a direct threat to their ability to conduct operations without opposition.

    Legislation -elect progressives and enact legal contraints

    and

    Labor -organize in order to collectively bargain.

  •  as a fan of democracy - the process, not its (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    outcomes, necessarily - I tend to view the democratic process as the start and end of any legitimate strategy.  "democratic process" is a big concept, encompassing standard get out the vote stuff, town hall meetings, discourse among neighbors and friends and family, as well as protests and the like.  Anything outside of that is per se illegitimate and morally dubious.

  •  I notice folks already breaking down into (5+ / 0-)

    blocks, I think we should start with this, I think we should start with that, etc. A couple more into the pot, then: consumer cooperatives, producer cooperatives, community gardens/child care, etc. and credit unions.

    Now, think. You don't have to abandon your pet issue(s) to participate in those things. Move your banking to a credit union. In your spare time start looking into coops and talk to friends and neighbors about them too. Ditto community gardens. These are things one can do while working towards solving the other bigger issues, and they also help with many of those issues all at once. Same for home gardens and use less stuff thinking.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:37:31 PM PDT

    •  Yes, examining our everyday decisions regarding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      where we shop is one of the main ways we can influence income inequality, for example. Of course, Walmart or McDonalds don't care whether I am a customer or not, but they do care that millions of people are their customers. Now obviously, it is damned near impossible to never buy anything from a big box store or a corporation. But we can each make better decisions about where we spend our money.

      In addition, we should take  a page from the rightwingers. Back in the '90s they decided to focus on local issues - school boards, county commissions, city councils, etc. It worked, but it is much less sexy to pay attention to school board races than Presidential races. But if we are to make progress, we have to take back our local politics. Because this has huge implications nationally as well as affecting our daily lives much more than national elections in many areas. Look at gerrymandering for the most blatant example of how local elections affect national politics.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 06:48:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How is this even possible? (0+ / 0-)
    In other words, regardless of your point of view, worldview, and opinions, I'm going to assume you are acting in good faith.  
    How is it possible for someone apologizing for NSA abuses to be acting in good faith, even if they think they are?
  •  We must encourage the American people to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    PULL THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR ASSES. That is, turn off the box, read and talk to one another. Too much money in politics ? The money is used to buy television ads, because they are so effective. What if television advertising just didn't matter ?

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:46:48 PM PDT

  •  Start by filling local offices (6+ / 0-)

    No seat should go uncontested by a Democrat or Progressive. Even in areas where we don't think we can win, we must keep having the conversations and forcing the other side to spend money.

    Library board, City Council, township supervisor, school board are often uncontested.   The Republicans start here and fill most of these positions.  I suggest the millennial generation start NOW to get involved in the political process.  

    We need to throw the bums out of office, and that takes candidates with credibility and strength.  Get in the game. By 2020 this could be a very different country.

    Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

    by GwenM on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:56:54 PM PDT

  •  I see it very similar except, i'm pretty much... (5+ / 0-)

    to the point that, though I believe there are well meaning democrats, the party itself is just as corrupt as the republicans.

    Even the New Deal didn't start us from a level playing field (The Fed for example) and the powerful has been slowly morphing the system to something complete corrupted designed to take power from the people and give it to the money. Since Reagan its been very focused and successful even getting dem presidents to help it along.

    Its so far gone now with so many layers that it would take decades to fix even with a willing congress. I just don't think it can be fixed from the inside anymore. I also don't think we have much more time to fix it before we are too poor as people (the 99%) to have any leverage.

    We are so far along that they barely try and hide it anymore. Secret courts secret trade deals and who knows what else. Our federal government as gone completely rogue on us from insane ruling from the SC to a congress that doesn't even care what they people want to a 'unitary executive' president willing to commit crimes (not specifically Obama, any and all presidents lately).

    I know this is a dem site and there are some great dems, but we can't keep playing the game as its intended, heads they win, tails we lose.

    The only way to win is to change the game...

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:57:57 PM PDT

  •  I will take this diary in good faith as you say (8+ / 0-)

    it is intended. In this graf I both agree and disagree:

    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.
    What I see as a problem with so many here is the fact that people want things solved and they want them solved right friggin now. I would like that too but it is basically not possible.

    You say that participation in the process is 10-15% of the solution. That is where I dissagree. I take my cues on this from the GOP on this. The fundies and wingnuts did not like the GOP but instead of backing away they decided to take over the party. They started with dog catcher and moved up the political ladder. They took over the bottom of the party to build a bench. But what they pretty much never did was vote Democrat or third party. They felt that the worst Republican was better than the best Democrat.

    It took decades to get to where they are at now and a lot of the time they held their noses to do it.

    But now that they are here they are doing something that is destroying them. They own the party now and they are trying to make it too orthodox. If you don't agree with them 100% they drum you out of the party.

    I don't want that to ever happen to us. There is honest room for disagreement. Take the NSA issue. There are some people that are not bothered by the spying. I'm not talking about the people who claim it isn't happening. I don't understand where they are coming from. But there are people who don't think it is a worse problem than getting hit by another terror attack and they think this will help.

    I disagree with them but I think it is a valid opinion. I think the President feels this way and I can completely understand that. I honestly don't know what I would do if I were in charge of protecting hundreds of millions of people. I'd like to think that I would be better than that but I think if I saw the reports that he sees I may feel differently. One of the things that bothers me about a lot of the people around here is that they don't seem to think about that at all. They just see him as a craven person who wants to be a dictator which is essentially the views of the right.

    Most of us don't have a real dog in a lot of the fights we fight. We're not gay but we fight for gay rights. A lot of us are men but we fight for women's rights. White but fight for the rights of minorities.

    Most of us do that by trying to put ourselves in their shoes. I'd like to see more of that when it comes to the people that we elect into positions of power. We do not need to change our positions. We just need to understand that others come to their positions honestly.

    This comment is probably way too long and boring to read the whole way through but I hope it was clear enough.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:59:07 PM PDT

    •  The comment is not too long, and is not boring (4+ / 0-)

      at all.  In fact, I found it to be a real gem in the fact that our previous interactions have been pretty hostile and somehow we found a way to put that hostility aside and engage like adults--acting in good faith.

      I think you know we're going to disagree on our views.

      I tend to look at the system as corrupt from top to bottom (because of the influence of money on our political system).

      I see the two party establishments as serving the same masters, although there is a marked difference.

      I believe that the Republican party is outright fascist and nihilistic.

      The Democratic party establishment is corrupt also, but there are very dedicated progressive factions within the party which help moderate their approach.

      So in the end, if everything remains the same, I see the country moving towards fascism (creeping in), but the Republicans would get us there at lighting speed, while the Democratic party establishment would slow the pace, but eventually will get us to the same place.

      BTW, I define this new type of fascism as when we reach a tipping point where the interests of supranational corporations are one and the same of the government.

  •  I'm sorry, but I'm not in the mood. (3+ / 0-)

    After deal with Reggid today and reading Armando's diary I'm pissed beyond belief.

    People, we have a problem.

    I hope I didn't do damage to my keyboard writing this because I'm pounding the keys.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:00:16 PM PDT

  •  Nice post, Ray. I think we are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northerntier, Ray Pensador, JVolvo

    passionate people who get side-tracked by small differences over big issues.

    Here are my priorities.  #1 is enfranchise every voter in every state, get them to the polls, strip Republicans of every possible office.

    #2 is a mandated living wage, no hiding places.

    #3 is educating every citizen about our rights and obligations. Then mobilize to get Dodd-Frank fully implemented, the Patriot Act repealed, and effective oversight of the NSA.  I don't need to know what they're doing every day, I need to know there are advocates at work for privacy rights.  

    Nothing happens without an informed and active electorate.  

    Nothing improves until everyone who works has the security of a living wage, an active union or other advocate for safety and health concerns, and the power to create change.

    If we organize well and stick to the core issues a lot of equally important issues will smooth out.  Democrats are NOT going to regulate my vagina, deprive my LGBT friends of their civil rights, strip away the rights of voters, install a theocracy, kowtow to the ultra-wealthy.  They will move leftward if we make it clear that that's what we want and we're organized enough to ensure it.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:00:20 PM PDT

  •  I agree. I wish you would write more diaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, sewaneepat

    from this perspective. I think we could find common ground then.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:11:03 PM PDT

  •  But what about the LAAAAAAAW???? (7+ / 0-)

    You cannot protest without a proper permit!

    You cannot strike because you are interfering with Private Property!

    You cannot hold anyone accountable for anything that they did because it was LEGAL!

    What you are proposing is complete anarchy because you are promoting the violation of the law!  In fact, your suggestion that people apply pressure to political people means that they are attempting to change politics by means other than politics!

    And as we know from our politicians, unless you use the political process as it is set up, you're engaging in non-standard political activity, intended to bring about political change!   Or to use the government's term for it... TERRORISM!!!!!

    Clearly the only thing we can do is sit down, trust our leaders, give money and volunteer when they ask, and do the same next year.

    Because otherwise we're sabotaging the party, and the Republicans/Terrorists will win.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:14:26 PM PDT

  •  I would recommend not looking at the big (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, annan, blueoasis, Ray Pensador

    picture right now.

    Find an issue or two that you're passionate about and change the world doing THAT.

    Become an expert in your issue. Dive into it. Tell us what you're doing. Encourage us to do more about it. Become THE GUY about that issue. Change your neighborhood. Change your town. Change your community. Change your state. Change the country -- doing that one thing.

    And climate change, for example, isn't "one thing:" it's a bazillion things. "One thing" might be getting involved in lobbying your county to build bike paths and lanes so people can bike to work; encouraging employers to put in bike lockers and showers; asking REI and EMS to put on bicycle seminars (which include discounts).  Make sense? Focus your passion to goals that you can accomplish by yourself or with a few equally dedicated friends and neighbors.

    In the process, you'll meet lots of people who are doing the same or similar things. You'll build networks. These form webs that support you as you attempt bigger and more audacious projects. If you try something different, you can lean on your networks for support because you have credibility with them.

    During election years, sure, help with elections as much as you can. But then back to business.

    You're a passionate guy, but you can't change the world based on passion alone. But if you focus your passion, you just might be unstoppable.  

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:20:40 PM PDT

    •  That's a Suicidal Approach In Circumstances of (4+ / 0-)

      crisis, which we're in. Although I differ in a number of signs and specifics from the diarist.

      On climate change alone you're talking upwards of 1/3 to 1/2 century before we might begin to address it. The scientists do not look kindly on that kind of delay.

      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 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:37:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What can you do right now to stop climate change? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, Ray Pensador

        You as an individual -- that you haven't already done -- that is going to have the sort of impact you're talking about?

        I presume you lobby your representatives and the White House, have reduced/changed your driving and other energy use (buying energy efficient appliances, sealing and insulating your home, using solar, electric cars, etc), minimize water use, talk to your neighbors, recycle, eat less meat, plant and maintain trees, shrubs or other greenery, support local parks, environmental causes and politicians.

        I figure these things are the bare minimum that each of us should be doing (well, buying electric cars and solar panels may not be possible for many)-- and are already doing.

        What else can the average individual do?

        The region I live in WILL be obliterated by sea rise. I'm always looking for new solutions.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:59:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I understand where you're coming from. I tend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo

      to focus and concentrate on the big picture, on root/systemic issue; that's where my passion and interest is.

      But there is a lot of value in what you suggest.

  •  I also like to think most people on Daily Kos (6+ / 0-)

    are acting in good faith.

    I agree somewhat. I think corporations control pretty much everything, and they don't care who they hurt. Our economic policies aren't made to help the masses, but to enrich the top few. And eventually that comes crashing down. The same is true for every issue. Is defense spending dictated by needs or by the military industrial complex?  Health care policy is not dictated by people's needs, but by corporations. The same is true with criminal justice - mass incarceration because it is privatized.

    I've been very concerned the economic race to the bottom is not reversing. The solutions are outside current conventional thinking. Yes, outside even the Democratic establishment.

    I know the history of why this happened. The Democrats gave up after the 1984 election debacle. They decided they had to move to the economic right to win again. We need to move it back.

    I worry because I'm not sure conventional thinking will catch up until there is another economic or environmental meltdown.

    But I'm not in the camp that seems to want to throw the Democrats overboard. You can't just tear something down. You need something to replace it with. The Democratic Party establishment is what we have to build on. The only other viable alternative now is Republicans. And I do believe there is a big difference.

    I've always said there's a time and a place to talk about what policies SHOULD pass and what policies CAN pass.

    I think when talking about what SHOULD pass the goal s/b to educate, build support for, not attack the current party.

    anyone thanks for the effort.

  •  There is no organized left in this country (8+ / 0-)

    That's the heart of the problem right there.  There's still enough cold war era misinformation out there that you can't even mention Marx and still be taken seriously in most circles.

  •  I generally agree with what you said. (6+ / 0-)

    I think that I would not have used the term 'detractors', but something along the lines of 'reaching out to the broad spectrum of Democratic beliefs'.

    I also think that a lot of folk are understandably upset and frustrated over how our whole government has been saturated with the corporatists and the elitists who think that the masses were made to serve them as if this were a monarchy.

    But you are right when you say that this is an age old problem thru out history.  Sometimes I think that we have been under the illusion of democracy and 'freedom' and somehow the gloves have come off and the blinders removed, revealing the real agenda here.

    I think our true strength lies within the masses waking up and doing what the mythical character from the movie 'Network', Howard Beale said -- getting mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

    Until we reach critical mass on that, the frustration will continue and grow amongst those who already know better.

  •  Good diary, Ray. And I take extremes to mean (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, Ray Pensador, JVolvo

    factions at  opposite ends of the same side - in this instance. It does seem that we have to both win elections and engage in social and political actions, both in groups and as individuals.  
    A lot of positive comments and suggestions here. Ultimately it will take massive efforts on many fronts to  affect change. But these are fronts are all connected.
    Multi-headed hydra, whackamole, whatever the hell we call it - climate change, the endless wars, poverty, the MIC, etc,  etc are all a result of living in a corporatocracy.
    The question is how do we organize around that thesis to best change the status quo.

  •  Ray Pensador, i think you are on a fool's errand (0+ / 0-)

    here, because I do not see good faith all around. The comments on this diary so far should be sufficient evidence for that. The name-calling from the White House against Progressives over the years ("Professional Left" and so on) should also be sufficient, even though they have certain facts they can point to on these questions. Similarly for those calling centrist Democrats Conservadems and Corporate Democrats, even when there are facts to back up such claims.

    Blue Dogs, Democrats who are openly against some part of the Democratic agenda, and call themselves that, are a different matter. Pro-life Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, whom I voted for over Richard "Rape babies are God's will" Mourdock, for example. Donnelly has evolved to some extent on God, gays and guns, and may evolve on abortions one day, when public opinion here shifts enough.

    I am looking forward to the demise of the Republicans, and to spirited debate between Democrats and Progressives after that. I do not expect civility about fundamental motivations then either. But compromise may again become possible.

    However, I would look forward much more eagerly to campaign finance reform that would make Democrats independent of corporate donations from Wall Street and Big Coal, among others. Not the nickel and dime systems so far proposed that candidates routinely opt out of. Also to the breaking of the filibuster and the state gerrymanders, and to replacing Scalia and Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 07:58:31 PM PDT

  •  You want honest opinion? (3+ / 0-)

    My central problem with your ideology is that it's predicated not on this:

    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").
    -- an attitude with which I am in total agreement, and which is supportible with much direct evidence (the percentage of money in political campaigns which comes from 400 people),

    but that it's really predicated on this:

    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).

    This is exceptionally different from the first statement, and I don't think you understand that. At least, I haven't seen any indication that you do.

    The first statement is saying these 400 people have a lot of influence over our political process. The second is saying that nobody else does, and that everyone from the President on down is simply doing the will of the 400.

    That assumption seems to be the filter through which all data is processed, and all data points are framed to reinforce that premise.

    I don't find any useful way to have a dialogue with that.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:13:09 PM PDT

    •  I do appreciate you taking the time to share your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Lady Libertine

      perception of my writing, worldview/ideology.

      You're close... I don't think the population at this point has much say or power about what happens.

      I think we are made to believe we do (an illusion).

      That's how I arrive to the 15% / 85% split.  If we only focus on participating in what is essentially a rigged political system, and neglect to engage in peaceful resistance against what I see as a Corporatocracy, then we'll never make any progress.

      I understand that probably most mainstream Democrats will not agree with that view.

      •  You do understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too

        that your 15/85 split is not the result of any number-crunching, but just your abstract, subjective perceptions, right?

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 06:53:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, of course I understand that. But I believe (0+ / 0-)

          it to be accurate.  But yes, it is my own subjective understanding of things.

          About you?  Do you agree with the premise at all?  What's your take.

          •  I don't agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too, virginislandsguy

            that we can't effect strong positive change through electoral politics, at local, regional and national levels.

            I do agree that we can effect strong positive change through means outside the electoral system (the Flush Rush movement being one example that comes to mind).

            Where I most strongly disagree with you is that when you take "They're all serfs of the Corporate Oligarchy" as your premise, you interpret every event through that prism. The end of DADT and the expansion of marriage equality, rather than strong achievements of the progressive movement through electoral politics, are nothing more than a deliberate distraction -- bread and circuses to hide what "they" are REALLY doing. The ACA, despite all the important and positive benefits to make health care available and affordable and remove many avenues by which the insurance companies can rig the system, is presumed to be nothing more than a con game. Because your conclusion is your premise.

            It is, fundamentally, the same logical process that a creationist uses -- all evidence is interpreted through the lens of the premise and thereby reinforces it, rather than is interpreted on its own merits and is used to challenge the premise.

            I would like to see you, instead of framing what you say as "This shows the Corporate Oligarchy is in control because....", start to frame what you say in terms of 'Does X show the Corporate Oligarchy is in control, or does it show the Corporate Oligarchy can be beaten back?"

            Ya feel me bro?

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 09:05:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm going to assume that the mischaracterization (0+ / 0-)

              is not being done on purpose, because if it were, then you would be putting forward a bad-faith or dishonest argument.

              I've never downplayed the achievements of the LGBTQ community--ever.  Also, regarding the ACA, although there would be some things I could say about it, I really haven't engaged in much discussion.

              So there is no evidence for you to make those claims, and therefore, this is a mischaracterization.

              Then once you mischaracterize my views, you link that fiction to the same type of people who believe in creationism.

              In actuality, this approach could be turned around:

              If the system is as I describe it, where you have powerful corporatist cartels controlling the government, and in view of the facts you refuse to accept that reality, it may be you and people like you who are believing in a fantasy, an illusion.

              Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.

              - Chris Hedges

              •  So you tell me (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hey338Too, virginislandsguy

                I'm mischaracterizing your position in the specific, and then you validate my characterization of your position in the general.

                If it's all theater, then the gains of our rights, our access to healthcare, and other things, is all an illusion of the kabuki theater foisted on us by the corporatocracy.

                If it's not an illusion and these are real gains, then it's not all theater foisted on us by the corporatocracy.

                Pick one. You can't have both; they are mutually exclusive.

                Or, you could choose to at this point, write me off as a "sockpuppet" or "disruptive" rather than answer the challenge directly.

                "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                by raptavio on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 09:41:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is the reason why I like having this type of (0+ / 0-)

                  substantive debate: because once you engage in it, it is relatively easy to show who is arguing from an intellectually-honest perspective.

                  You can do that by objectively analyzing what's being written.

                  Once people engage in personal insults, and vulgarities and avoid debating a point, it's hard to ascertain the actual position people hold on any given issue.

                  So from your answer you see to begrudgingly admit that you were mischaracterizing my positions on specific issues: LGTBQ and ACA.

                  But then you go on to allude that it doesn't matter because according to you I'm validating your position in general.

                  Let's examine that... LGTBQ gains are real, and are a positive step in society.  That's just a fact.  Regarding ACA, it's kind of a mix bag given the fact that some of us would have preferred a single-payer system vs. what some consider to be a giveaway to large insurance cartels.

                  That's a legitimate debate, and people are still having it...

                  However, if one compares the current situation to the incremental (and real) improvements of ACA, one has to acknowledge that it also is a net gain for the citizenry.  That's also pretty clear.

                  Now, let's move on to the Corporatocracy.  The corpoatist cartels and billionaires have undue influence over government.  The revolving door corruption where up to 40 or 50 percent of congresspeople end up working for corporations that have been lobbying to them to promote their interests, and on average increase their salary by over 1,400 percent, is detrimental to democracy itself, and to the interests of the citizenry.

                  The influence of these moneyed interests results in the loss and/or undermining of constitutional rights, workers' rights, women's rights, environmental protections, and many other negative consequences--all in the name of transferring vast amount of wealth from the population to the ruling elite.

                  This could easily be ascertained and confirmed by looking at an income distribution graph over the last 40-plus years.

                  You see, the two things I described above are not mutually-exclusive as you claim.  It's call nuance.

                  Again, here you are creating a construct, based on a mischaracterization, false choices and logical fallacies, and then you measure my views against that construction.

                  Either way; I'm very pleased with the discussions in this diary.  Thanks for participating.

                  Just to make sure... I'm not being sarcastic with that comment.  I'm always willing to engage in serious discussion as long as I know where people are coming from when they are willing to articulate their views.

                  •  You're mischaracterizing what I said. (0+ / 0-)

                    I believe you're doing so sincerely thinking you're not, but you are.

                    You've pivoted from saying that electoral politics is all theater put on by the real rulers of our society (which is a statement that validates my claim that you see the ACA and gay rights gains as being illusory) to saying that 40-50 percent of congresscritters are working for their corporate masters (which would not validate my claim, and in fact is a statement not far from my own belief). These are not consistent statements, no matter how much nuance you put on them. Either it's all a con, or there's still a battle to be fought within electoral politics.

                    I'm all for nuance -- believe it's very important to an in-depth discussion of the political process -- but nuance cannot make two mutually exclusive statements compatible. And that's what you're trying to do; you cannot have it both ways.

                    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                    by raptavio on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 01:30:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is a logical fallacy: "Either it's all a con, (0+ / 0-)

                      or there's still a battle to be fought within electoral politics."

                      This is interesting... Don't you see that that is a classic example of a "false choice?"

                      The gains you point to are real, but they are marginal gains.

                      Also, I believe one must to give up on electoral politics since it is well worth it to fight for those marginal gains.  But I understand that because of the level of corruption within the political system it will remain largely unresponsive to the needs of the citizenry.

                      And that's why is important we do both: stay fully engage in the political process, and in social justice and anti-corruption activism using any number of peaceful resistance tactics.

                      Again, I don't understand why there such resistance to that notion since in the entire history of this country those have been the dynamic in play.

                      So gains in the political system are going to give us marginal wins.

                      And the effects of the Corporatocracy are going to continue to chip away at democracy until it is completely destroyed: the surveillance police state is going to continue to grow take hold; constitutional rights are going to continue to be undermined; workers' and women's rights are going to continue to be eroded; economic insecurity is going to increase; poverty is going to increase; for-profit prisons; for-profit education (anti-intellectual).

                      There are a thousand other areas where our democracy is going to continue to deteriorate at the hands of the Corporatocracy.

                      •  I'm familiar with the false dilemma fallacy. (0+ / 0-)

                        But if electoral politics is all theater, then by definition there is nothing to be gained by fighting our real battles there. If real battles can be fought there, then it by definition is not theater. So it's not a false dilemma -- those are two mutually exclusive scenarios.

                        Now if you believe we must both stay fully engaged in the electoral politics system and outside it -- great. We agree on that.  But you cannot believe electoral politics are all theater if you believe that. Though you insist otherwise, the statements are and remain mutually exclusive.

                        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                        by raptavio on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 02:06:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Given our previous history of engagement here (0+ / 0-)

                          I think this has been a worthy exercise.

                          We agree on this one hundred percent:

                          Now if you believe we must both stay fully engaged in the electoral politics system and outside it -- great. We agree on that.
                          Let me try this... Electoral politics is mostly "kabuki theater" in that the delta between the expectations of the voting public and the reality of the governing powers is vast.

                          One example of that is what people thought they were voting for when they elected president Barack Obama, and what his administration ended up doing.

                          Participating in the electoral system as it is brings up marginal improvements.  Putting pressure on the system (the Corporatocracy) as a whole, has the potential of reforming the political system itself.

                          It seems we are not going to be able to find any other areas of agreement, so I'll stop here.

  •  Thanks for the diary, Vetwife. You'd think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    it would be something the entire community could rally around...sadly, every diary picks up a few detractors, trolls and hijackers. Great diary though.

  •  I do not have a dog in this fight...at all- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, HamdenRice

    Because I am a masochist, however, I regularly read comments in contentious threads - with interest. I enjoy reading pie fights and threads with factions in dispute here on DKos (it is a sick perversion, I know).

    In light of your desire here to engage in reasonable dialogue with people in disagreement with you on l'issues d'Kos, you may want to consider the diary title and think about how using the word "detractors" for people who disagree with you could undermine your intent.

    From Wiktionary:

    detractor (plural detractors)
    A person who belittles the worth of another person or cause.

    Synonyms
    slanderer
    libeler
    cynic
    mudslinger
    defamer

    Unless you are simply misusing this word, thinking its meaning different, you have negated the apparent intent of this experiment before you even started.

    Anyway, no dog here, just pointing stuff out for whit it is worth. Thanks.

    -bastrop

    The place was utterly dark—the oubliette, as I suppose, of their accursed convent.

    by bastrop on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:43:04 PM PDT

    •  No, I intended to use that word, and if you read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Free Jazz at High Noon

      the first paragraph, I'm not talking about "my detractors."

      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...
      People from the two extremes tend to be detractors, indeed.  Since you admit to enjoy watching the pie fights, you should be aware of that.

      Either way, so far I've found the dialogue pretty civil, and feel I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish.

  •  When I find ... over and over ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... that the sux contingent has, as their underlying reasoning to explain Obama's behavior,  that ..."He's power hungry" ... I have come to the sad conclusion that much of the divide is formed by naiveté.
    Yup ... power hungry. Just look at the power wielded by Bush and Carter and the big dog. Brush trimming power for one and home building power for another and the power to make the occasional great speech by the one guy that you could argue has a modicum of leftover power.
    Sure ... you could make an argument that an administration comes into office and sets out to change the political and national landscape. The shrub administration did exactly that. But that is NOT what's being argued HERE about Obama. It's purely about him.

    A president is around for 8 years. A blip in time. The current president just wants to survive the time frame  ... to make some real difference for American citizens and move on, likely to teach again.
    Oh, and he wants to protect us ... and you could certainly argue that he's  gone too far, but it sure as hell isn't meant for personal gain.

    No ... for me, there is something far more sinister at work among the sux bunch. I'll just leave it at that.

  •  I Welcome Your Olive Branch, Ray (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, JVolvo, Lady Libertine

    While I am not so pessimistic as you about the effectiveness of electoral politics as an expression of the public will, I do believe that we all have roles to play in the sizable project of getting a stop to the spying.

    Now let's get a plan, and get to work.

  •  Obama has likely another year until impeachment, (0+ / 0-)

    the question is how much of the NSA will survive. Obama currently concedes that he's expendable as long as NSA survives this crisis. Nixon did the same to protect secret loyalties. His position is that Reagan was wrong, we now admire the Berlin Wall and Stasi. US history is a series of defeats, the antimasonic party acknowledged losing the war against government secrecy, the GOP lost the war against slavery in 1876. Labor lost to Reaganism. Obama is eventually going to admit that we lost the American Revolution, we have no Constitution, but that's progress, like Reagan shilling for GE, we should be proud of our surveillance apparatus. The transition to the Biden presidency in 2014 should not be done without sweeping reforms protecting the fourth amendment.

  •  Besides "talking" to people on DK who disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    with one's views on certain issues in a civil and open manner, I think it is also important to talk with our friends and relatives in a civil and open manner. I realize this is difficult, but it is not impossible. And it is the only way to have any chance of changing someone's perspective.

    It also means listening to their opinions and concerns. No one is likely to listen to someone who berates them personally, casts aspersions on their motives or intellect, or approaches them with a you-are-wrong-I- am-right attitude. It is only by understanding someone else's concerns that one can find common ground.

    Does that mean that all our friends and relatives will suddenly agree with us? Of course not. It is a long slog, but IMO, as I said, it is the only way to change someone's perspective.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 07:08:57 AM PDT

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