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Reply #92: That is the key question. [View All]

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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-14-10 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #88
92. That is the key question.
I think that this thread documents that there is a variety of opinions on the issue of if President Obama and/or his administration is "liberal." (I do not think that anyone would say that he and/or anyone in the administration is a "progressive," though there could be some debate on if the Michelle is.)

My central point in writing the OP was two-fold: first, to indicate that the variety of opinions includes a number of valid viewpoints -- the differences do not make some of us "good" or "bad" democrats; and second, that dispite those differences of opinion on the topic of the President and his administration, we must still find the common ground that provides us the potential to promote the values of the democratic left.

Let's look at an example, health care reform. Good people can have very different opinions on what President Obama's goals really were. However, what cannot be debated is that Barack Obama decided to push the issue in his first year, against the advice of virtually everyone around him (including Biden, Rahm, etc). His approach in pushing it belongs to him, alone. The results of his effort belong to a much larger group, though I doubt that many people would say he did everything correctly (considering that he recognizes that he did not). So, we ended up with something closer to "insurance reform" than the "health care reform" that even the President campaigned on and advocated in that first year.

Many democrats view the results as an important victory that can be built upon; others see it as far too little. The common ground is that we need to do more, and that there is a large force opposed to greater reform; the split is if we concentrate on our different opinions on the process the reform took. One option provides us with an on-going, extremely tough fight; the other offers certain defeat.

I wish that I had "the answer." Obviously, I don't. No one person does. What I can say is that my experiences in life have convinced me that combining a "right now" and a "long-term" approach works best. I think that grass roots activism/ community organizing offers our best chance. I've talked about my plans to run for a local school board seat. Small stuff, I know, but if on this itty-bitty level, only the viewpoints of conservative republicans are voiced, it means the foundation of a democratic society is crumbling. My "right now" goal isn't to have the board be restricted to the democratic left -- but rather, to have everyone seated, and everyone to enjoy having a say. The "long-term" goal will be to use this experience to move up in county and state government (and, though I may be delusional, I would like to eventually consider another step up.)

What others do interests me, though I would not think it my place to tell them what to do. I'm always happy to add my two scents as far as helping others consider the options for reaching whatever goal they may have. In that vein, I think it is important that liberals and progressives recognize that we can't afford to let differences of opinion divide us. We need to be invested in the idea that we should all be doing work at whatever level we are most effective, coordinating and supporting each other to the extent possible, and respecting each other even when we strongly disagree.
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