Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to break the cycle?

MoreAndBetterDemocratsCycleYouAreHere1 21-03-35.jpg
In this disappointing winter, as we watch Democrats we put in power flap about weakly, Christopher Hayes in the Nation offered an answer to that question:

What the country needs more than higher growth and lower unemployment, greater income equality, a new energy economy and drastically reduced carbon emissions is a redistribution of power, a society-wide epidemic of re-democratization. The crucial moments of American reform and progress have achieved this: from the direct election of senators to the National Labor Relations Act, from the breakup of the trusts to the end of Jim Crow.

So in this new year, while the White House focuses on playing within the existing rules, it's our job as citizens and activists to press constantly for changes to those rules: public financing, an end to the filibuster, the breakup of the banks, legalization for undocumented workers and the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, to name just a few of the measures that would alter the balance of power and expand the frontiers of the possible.

If I had to bet, I'd say that not of one of these will be won this year. The White House won't be of much help, and on some issues, like breaking up the banks, it will represent the opposition. Always searching and never quite finding is grueling and often dispiriting work. But there is simply no alternative other than to give in and let the field turn hard and barren.

Despite Tea Party whiners and Dick Cheney, I still believe in popular action for democracy. This is always hard work.

Graphic from Democracy in Action.

1 comment:

Nell said...

It's not the tea party loons and Dick Cheney that make me lose heart; it's the weak reeds who are our "allies" and "leaders".

Thanks for the pointer to Hayes' piece. We have to ask for one hell of a lot more than what's on offer.

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