Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Strengthen Social Security: don't cut it!

With the New York Times leading off today with an article about how nasty liberals won't let the newly re-elected Prez slash Social Security and medical programs for the poor in order to please the plutocrats, I guess it is time to trot out this excellent video. Short, snappy and true. (H/t TGB.)

Now we reach the long part of the political cycle in which the voters who put these bums in office have to loudly and persistently remind Democratic officeholders why we put them there: to use government to promote the general welfare. At least that's what the Constitution says. What's so complicated about that? Not welfare for oligarchs, but the common good of all of us, most of whom need a little help sometimes.

What's difficult is that, after an 18 month election season which pummeled those of us who engaged to a pulp, we have to get back out there and scream bloody murder to prevent the politicians we elect from forgetting their job.

In the 1960s, we said we wanted "participatory democracy." And this sounds like a desirable thing. But we weren't always ready to do the unglamorous work of building and controlling the institutional props that make winning the general welfare possible. There were good reasons many chose to "drop out": being forced to fight and die in a pointless imperial war while observing the gender and racial hypocrisy of our elders prompted an understandable withdrawal. But the result was that for a generation the deal-makers and the careerists hollowed out the institutions in which progressive democracy is practiced: the unions, the think tanks, the Democratic Party.

The emerging majority -- what pundits are calling the "Obama coalition" including the young, the colored, the well-educated -- are taking back those institutions and building new ones. But winning and keeping a place in the push and pull of citizenship is a perpetual fight. The prospects for enduring victories remain tenuous.

The plutocrats don't rest (and they can always hire willing servants.) We can savor our wins but dropping out is not an option.

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