to Kick Republican Butt!
March 27, 2002
In Disarray"? They wish....
This is what the Republicans would have everyone think. Because
we are an inclusive party, unlike the Republicans, and our
party allows and encourages diversity of people, thought,
and discussion, does this put us into a permanent state of
"disarray," or actually strengthen our party? I feel it does
the latter, but, we need to do a much, much, better job of
getting our message across, and in the process, promote unity.
We have allowed the Republicans (with the media's help) to
put us on the defensive. As an example, over the years they
have successfully poisoned the term "liberal" to the point
where much of the public has a negative connotation of the
word. At this point, I don't see us being able to turn this
around, and nor should we waste the time necessary to do so.
I suggest that perhaps we start using the term "progressive"
in place of the word "liberal." The term "progressive" has
positive connotations, and is reflective of our basic values.
Here's Webster's definition of progressive:
One that is progressive: a person believing in moderate
political change and social improvement by government action;
moving forward or onward : advancing : increasing in extent
or severity: of or relating to political Progressives: of,
relating to, or constituting a verb form that expresses action
in progress at the time of speaking or a time spoken of -
The Democratic party, and all of its spokespersons, should,
whenever possible, start using the term progressive. We, in
our writings, should do the same thing. Though a "liberal"
at heart, I am also a realist. We have bigger fish to fry,
like winning back the White House and Congress, and need not
waste time defending or fighting over abused nomenclature.
While successfully mutating the word liberal, the Republicans,
in a brilliant move, co-opted the word "right", and have managed
to make it, for millions, a positive part of the lexicon.
How did we allow this? The "Right-Wing", the "right stuff",
"the Right is right", ....ad nauseam. The "Right" isn't right.
The "Right" is wrong, and if anything, we are the party of
"right," yet they have stolen the word, mangled it's meaning,
and abused its premise. Fine, let them have it. Again, we
have larger issues with which to concern ourselves.
We, the Democrats, have allowed the Republicans to successfully
put us on the defensive time and time again. An example: despite
winning the presidential election of 2000, we are treated
like the minority party. We won damnit, and the majority of
the country backs our policies, not theirs! Yet, the
Republicans portray us as losers, and continue to ignore the
political realities of their minority status. With
tremendous hubris, and a great deal of malice (witness, Lott's
diatribes and fits over Pickering), they deride the policies
and desires of the majority, resolutely ignoring them while
they try to ram through their ultra-conservative agendas.
As I stated in my DU editorial of last week ("Mandated
Governance? Not!"), WE ARE THE MAJORITY, and we damn well
need to start acting like it! We need to stop behaving like
losers, and challenge the Republicans at every turn.
In a fascist move, they are using the so-called "war(s)"
to silence the majority, in an effort to beat us back, and
seem to have some of us cowering in a corner. I say, enough!
We are proud, we won, and we are the majority! With heads
held high, with electoral and moral righteousness on our side,
it's time to take off the gloves, and give the bastards a
taste of their own medicine!
If we can't be the Party with a spine, then we damn well
don't deserve to run the country.
Unity of message is another area we need to carefully consider.
It is difficult, under the best of circumstances, with a party
as diverse as ours, to maintain unity of message. That said,
all agendas should be made secondary, and relegated to one
thing: voting out Bush, his henchmen (and women), and kicking
as many Republicans out of Washington D.C. as we possibly
can. None of the hopes and dreams we hold for our country,
our families, and the people of the world, can be accomplished
as long as these people remain in power. They are an illegitimate
government, and we need to treat them as such, ....day in,
Rather than spending hours discussing conspiracy theories
(no matter their potential validity), rehashing the past transgressions
against us, or endlessly debating individual policy issues,
we need to look forward, and stop looking at the ground. What's
before us, is an opportunity to win. Without the win, the
conspiracies will not be investigated, the abuse against our
people will continue, our policies will not be instituted,
and the destruction of our country will persist.
We need to get "on message," and stay there. Focus
is what will win the elections of 2002 and 2004. Unity has
never been more important for our party, nor the country.
Looking at the current issues before us, there are several
that would provide the best opportunity to throw the Republicans
off balance (and out of office), and they need to be pursued
with unwavering tenacity by our legislators (war, terror alerts,
1. Enron, and their ties to this administration. This
area is so ripe for legitimate scandal, that the Administration
is scared to death of it. That fear will become more recognizable
to the public as time goes on, and as we scratch deeper in
search of answers, it will turn to a visible and discernable
panic. It won't be long before they shoot themselves in the
foot (witness Cheney's refusal to release information), and/or
details emerge showing the depth of corruption within this
administration. I want to see G.W. with that "deer in the
headlights" look... again.
2. Bush's threatened use of nuclear weapons. We nailed
Barry Goldwater with this, and perhaps it's time to conduct
a similar campaign against Bush? LBJ's brilliant commercial
showing a little girl holding a flower, with an atomic blast
in the background, helped win that election. Was it an unabashed
scare tactic? Sure. With Bush though, we are in even more
danger of a nuclear conflagration than we would have been
had Goldwater been elected, so why not use the same proven
strategy? Americans care about their families more than anything
else, and if someone can be shown, as Bush has, that they
might put them, and the world, at unjustifiable risk, I believe
will see the same type of reaction.
As an example, the Sacramento Bee newspaper recently published
an editorial denigrating the Bush administration's new nuclear
policies. The editorial brought dozens of letters from concerned
readers. Of the fourteen letters published on March 23rd,
all but two expressed deep fear and trepidation at Bush's
decision. We should be capitalizing on this... now.
3. Corporate ties. The Bush administration never saw
a corporate tax break or deregulation bill they didn't like.
The term "corporate welfare" needs to be made even MORE synonymous
with this White House. Repetition is the key here. Sooner
or later, though they may get sick of hearing it, the American
public is going to wake up to the fact that the Republican
Party is the party of big money and big favors to their corporate
donors. The current level of apathy concerning this subject,
is appalling, and I am sure, delighting the Republicans. We
must change apathy to action.
4. Environmental protection. Republicans are in the
process of dismantling, sometimes through executive fiat,
a broad array of environmental protections. The public constantly
polls in favor, overwhelmingly, of increased environmental
protections, not fewer. Why then, is this administration holding
the public's desires in such contempt, ignoring the will of
the people, and reversing decades of hard fought environmental
legislation? It is time for environmental groups to put their
own turf wars aside, and come out as a unified constituency
to protest and march against this travesty. Our earth really
does hang in the balance.
5. The "war." With each new day, the Republicans issue
increasingly bellicose plans and statements (including their
purposely intimidating "terror alerts") concerning the "war."
Their political desire to keep us in a perpetual state of
war, with all of the inherent advantages in doing so, are
as transparent as they are contemptible. The accusation needs
to be made loudly, and clearly, that the bunch of draft-dodging
wimps now controlling the White House (and their brethren
in Congress), are using the "war" for political advantage,
and that many of the decisions being made are for political
reasons, not security issues. When the public finally begins
to question their motives, they will be in deep trouble. John
Kerry should take the lead on this issue.
6. Civil rights. With the White House taking daily
steps to erode and deny the rights of Americans seeking information
concerning the government's actions; with Administration controlled
propaganda spewing forth daily on the networks regarding the
"war"; with Ashcroft and his scary bunch intimidating thousands,
and shredding the Bill of Rights; with the lies and disinformation
being disseminated daily by this president, it's time to say
ENOUGH! We are allowing our freedoms to be destroyed. The
very things we cherish so much in this country, the things
we are supposedly fighting a now "world war" for, are being
removed and manipulated by those sworn to uphold our Constitution.
In my mind some of the actions taken thus far are treasonous,
and at the very least malign to an unacceptable extent the
foundations of this nation. Other than an article here and
there, and some muted rumblings in Congress (with a few notable
exceptions), thus far there has not been the hue and cry from
the public this issue deserves. We need to make it a bigger
issue. What the hell good is a "war", supposedly conducted
to preserve our freedoms, if our own government then takes
them away? Let's call it like it is: unacceptable and encroaching
We also cannot afford, as a party, to let the Republicans
continue to paint us as unpatriotic. Our outrage at their
accusations should take on bold, new, and unrelenting political
counter-attacks. It is we, who define patriotism through our
actions, and our support of the Constitution. When George
W. Bush was sworn into office, he SWORE to uphold the Constitution.
He lied, and we must hold him accountable, and those who support
These are the defining issues I feel we need to concentrate
on. There are hundreds more to consider, but as I pointed
out before, we need focus, not fragmentation. The issues above,
properly acted on, are more than enough to run these scoundrels
out of office. It is our duty, as patriotic citizens, to inform
the public concerning these outrages. Not only is it our duty,
it may be our last chance to save the country we love so much.
"If the Lord can see can see his way clear to bless the Republican
Party the way it's been carrying on, then the rest of us ought
to get it without even asking" - Will Rogers, 1928
Bassman is a freelance writer, photographer, and activist.