Monday, April 13, 2015

Progressivism may be "The New Center"

The Hill has a short article titled: "Reid, left push for liberal 2016 candidate" — reporting that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has joined a progressive group’s call for Hillary Clinton (or any other Democratic White House candidate) to run from the "left" in 2016. (We need a Democratic debate! — because not all Democrats want Hillary, and not because they're misogynist.)

Personally, I think of myself more as a "progressive" person rather than a "liberal" or a "leftie" or a "socialist". I don't think the descriptions should all be lumped together as one and the same. People on the Right might confuse progressivism with staunch socialism, communism, eco-terrorism or code pink — because some extreme groups tend to side with progressive causes — with progressive like-minded people such as myself. Meaning, those that hold political office who caucuses with the Democrats, who also (more-or-less) better favor the working-class, minorities, the elderly and the poor — as opposed the GOP, who mostly favor the very wealthy and the biggest businesses, but who also have their own radical (and sometimes, violent) political supporters.

I oppose the liberal use of the word "liberal" by the media (even by the "liberal media") when reporting on political issues, because "liberal" might sound soft on crime (like allowing pedophiles in the suburbs to freely roam elementary schoolyards at will) — or "liberal" might imply an "anything goes" attitude (such as the hippie culture of "love-ins" and communes in the 1960s), as if we were all from the great "liberal" State of California (where I was raised for several years). Is Charles Manson a "liberal", or just a psychopath?

Bernie Sanders calls himself a "socialist", but many people (who remember or study history) equates socialism to Joseph Stalin and genocide. While at Fox News Glenn Beck called the 99ers "socialists" and said "I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans", just because they protested for extending UI benefits until there were enough jobs available. How can one compare the long-term unemployed in America to a mass killer's ideology? People weren't even allowed to protest in Stalin's Russia. On Fox News, according to Bill O'Reilly, all progressives, liberals, socialists, environmentalists, tree-huggers, climate change advocates, civil rights leader, minorities, union members (and anybody else who votes for Democrats — including Veterans, musicians, movie stars, professional athletes, etc.) are "left-wing loons" if they don't agree with him and other multi-millionaires like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh.

FDR and Theodore Roosevelt — and even Dwight D. Eisenhower — weren't "left-wing loons"; just as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders aren't socialist despots. But the GOP and the media have depicted them as "left of center" ("center" being in the middle of being what most people believe and agree with), when the "progressive" platform seems to be more "center" than whatever a "moderate" (Third Way) Democrat like Hillary Clinton advocates — which is really more to the right of center, and closer to what a "moderate Republican" might be today.

The political "Left" advocates for average working people (and those who can't survive without help), while the political "Right" advocates for very wealthy oligarchs and plutocrats, and that everyone else (the working-class and poor) should all be left alone to fend for ourselves — even while the GOP consistently promotes policies that makes it ever more difficult for everyone else to fend for ourselves (like raising the minimum wage). Aside from the "wedge issues" — such as birth control and abortion (which are religious and moral differences), that's really the biggest difference between right-wing radicals and left-wing loons. It's really that simple.

For example: Sane gun laws (aka "gun control") isn't about disarming American citizens so that the "government" (our elected officials and our military) can take control of our daily lives, or lock us up in FEMA camps. It's really about the NRA (gun lobbyists) who are advocating for big businesses and selling more guns to us (besides just to the rest of the world for war profits). It has nothing at all to do with constitutional rights, the 2nd amendment, and our right to bear arms. It's all about corporate profits. Period.

Dwight "I like Ike" Eisenhower articulated his position as a moderate progressive Republican: "I have just one purpose ... and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing wants a fight, they are going to get it ... before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won't be with them anymore."

Whereas the Tea Party today might be better described as a form of 19th century Southern fascism* — who holds a political philosophy that practices religious extremism — an offshoot of "neo-conservatism" and theocracy, as opposed to a true democracy with true religious freedoms.

* Fascism (and no, we're not talking about Adolf Hitler) is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, typically right-wing positions in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and traditional conservatism ... a totalitarian single-party state as necessary for a nation to be prepared for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties ... rejects assertions of violence automatically being negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation ... replaces socialism's focus on class conflict with a focus on conflict between nations and races ... advocates a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky (the quality of being self-sufficient, like Ayn Rand, although she herself was an atheist) to secure national self-sufficiency and independence through protectionist and interventionist economic policies (unlike Rand Paul, a libertarian, but who also shares many of the Tea Party's and Ayn Rand's other views. He sponsored The Life at Contraception bill and is also against same-sex marriage) ... The terms neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far-right with ideological similarities to, or roots in, 20th century fascist movements ... Neo-fascism usually includes ultra-nationalism, populism, anti-immigration policies, nativism (which is odd, considering Ted Cruz was born in Canada), anti-communism, anti-marxism and opposition to liberal democracy — enacting voter suppression laws, gerrymandering congressional districts, and their refusal to reform campaign finance laws — all to favor their party over any other, to have a one-party political system. Why not let all Americans vote and let them decide with a majority for what's legally moral, rather than allow a minority to dictate to everyone else what they believe to be religiously moral? (Nobody forces a gay-Republican to marry another gay person, or forces a Republican woman to get an abortion or use birth control).

If more "misinformed" Republican voters were more aware of these differences (and that people such as President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid are not our "enemy within"), maybe more Republican voters would vote in the their own economic best interests, and vote for progressive Democrats, rather than Tea Party Republicans — that is, if it weren't for the moral issues of abortion and gay marriage. Otherwise, they'd have to vote to repeal the death penalty too. Personally, I believe that anyone, such as BTK, should be immediately executed without the benefit of a 20-year appeal process — but yet, on the other hand, I also believe the even ONE wrongfully convicted person is one too many — so therefore, I do not believe in the death penalty (And if new DNA evidence is found to exonerate them, they should immediately get a new trial).

The Hill article says, "The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) has regularly encouraged Democrats to tout liberal policies, using Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a model. The PCCC has highlighted issues such as expanding Social Security, holding Wall Street accountable, enacting campaign finance reform, raising wages, and making college more affordable." Does that sound "liberal" to you? It sounds like pretty tough talk to me. (It almost reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt and his "big stick theory"; but unfortunately, the super-wealthy in this country have all the big sticks and the biggest megaphones too, thanks in part to Citizens United.)

One would think that most (if not all) Republican voters would also want most of the same things as progressives do, but when they hear the word "liberal", they become squeamish (the mass murder of unborn children, Charles Manson, pedophiles, the unemployed and undeserving drug addicts and drunks that are milking the God-fearing and hard-working patriotic taxpayers for food stamps and welfare, etc). It's all about the messaging. Just ask Frank Luntz, the "word guru" (and Fox News regular) who creates talking points and other messaging platforms for various Republican causes.

Progressivism is not "left" or "right", but is most likely the true "center" on most issues — if one were to separate Church from State — and eliminate generational racism, bigotry and ignorance from the political equation (and the moral issues of abortion and birth control). Nobody is advocating for human sacrifices like the ancient Aztecs or Mayans. Nobody is advocating for devil worship. Nobody is advocating genocide. Nobody wants pedophiles cruising the school yards. But if the GOP can convince their base that the progressives (and Democrats) believe in these things, they will do it.

If a Republican votes for a political candidate that favors abortion rights (but only early on into a pregnancy, and not the day before a fully developed baby is due to be born), the voter isn't voting for the killing of unborn babies, but is only voting to allow other individuals to choose whether or not limited abortion rights should be legal for them in the eyes of the law (not God) — and that if they feel it's morally permissible, and that they only have to answer to their God for their actions, and not be beholden to the State or someone else's religious beliefs. The Republican party claims to be the "right to life" party; but once a baby is actually born into this life, the Republicans leave that innocent life to survive all on its own (up until that person grows old and finally dies), with no support at all; and in many ways, the GOP actually inhibits a baby's and a grown person's ability to survive (like cutting off their parent's government programs if they are poor, unemployed, disabled or widowed — and trying to gut Social Security and Medicare).

Here at the Bold Progressives website is a list of 5,000 elected officials, Democratic Party officers, union leaders, and grassroots activists who agree with the "progressive" agenda (like raising the minimum wage), and includes 200 state legislators and 25 members of Congress. [You can sort by order of First and Last name or by State to see if your reps agree with me.]

Remember: Friends don't let friends vote Republican — or for phony Democrats (like Hillary Clinton). But in the end, even a phony Democrat is far better than a far right lunatic.

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1 comment:

  1. Update by FORBES: The New Liberal Consensus Is A Force To Be Reckoned With

    (*Evidently "low wages" is a "liberal issue".)