Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Lie Down with Dogs, Wake Up with Fleas

Today's NY Times has one of those panicked editorials written by a Democrat who is convinced that the only way the left can win elections is if we realize the error of our views and get in lock-step with the "majority" of Americans, who, it turns out, hate gays, affirmative action, abortion, and Hollywood. If we come around to that way of thinking, the reasoning goes, we'll start winning elections again.

As if.

To say I was offended by the editorial is an understatement. I fired off a letter to the editors, but in keeping with their sound-bite policy for letters, focused solely on the Wilson presidency, which Starr holds up as one of the exemplars of "Democratic liberalism." Wilson, the man who brought you World War I, the rounding up of those who opposed conscription, and the exile of naturalized American citizens who differed with US government policy. But what's a little denial of Constitutional rights among friends?

The editorial smacks of a breathtaking cowardice. In order to preserve the Democratic party, Starr essentially advocates tossing women, racial minorities, and gays overboard, in order to concentrate on the larger issues. Once you've abandoned human rights, I'm not sure what else is left, since I'm one of those stupid leftists who believes that human rights comes first; it's the foundation of everything else. If your economic security is built upon the denial of basic human rights to the other members of your culture, well fuck you. Eventually, you'll lose your human rights, too. Your gilded cage will just look nicer.


J.R. Boyd said...

Yes, characteristic of those, no doubt tied closely to power, who view Democratic party control as an end itself, quite apart from what that means in terms of policy, as is explicitly suggested here. Interesting that the proposal here is simply to abandon the policies and get on board with "the winners." Another interpretation might be that the party is already too acquiescent on public issues for the public to take them very seriously--and so instead they go elsewhere (Republicanism, third parties, or, as with 40% of the population, disengagement from electoral politics all together).

This is typical for people who believe politics happens from the top-down, and so the focus remains on the DNC leadership and its strategists, with everyone fretting about what it's going to take to get the Democrats a win. That's not important unless you have a job lined up in the administration. More important to most of us is that we have meaningful control over our lives. This means building popular organizations which reflect popular needs and concerns, and to continue building them until DNC party leadership can't ignore them.

FunkyB said...

This "screw 'em and let's win" theory has been taking root since Kerry lost. I see it slowly tearing at the seams of an already weakened party that doesn't understand how to find their message, let alone stick to it.