Repairing American democracy
The Nov. 2 election disaster has many progressives wailing and hand-wringing. I will accept a measured amount of therapeutic wailing, but not hand-wringing. The left owes no one an apology. Many pundits and prominent Democrats are proclaiming that the Democratic Party has lost touch with the majority of Americans. The claim is made that the party must, in a word, move further to the right in order to reclaim power. Rubbish!
I do not believe that the “blue” states have drifted away from mainstream America. I believe mainstream America has drifted away from the rest of the world, at least the world of the educated and sophisticated. Most people in the world who possess an education and cultural and political awareness do not think that a preemptive war based on proven lies is acceptable foreign policy. Most do not think that a government should deny civil rights to its citizens because of their sexual identity. Most believe that a portion of the national wealth should go toward providing health care for its citizens. Most feel that ignoring global warming is a decision bordering on insanity.
This means that 51 percent of the American electorate has got it wrong. In realpolitik, garnering more votes does place one in power. The tendency to morph (abandon?) ones’ ideals to increase ballot appeal is wonderful. However, the Democratic Party should not give in to the belief that the majority is always right. History is rife with examples of majority error, the ownership of African people, the sustained, institutional genocide of Native Americans and the belief that women were too stupid to vote were all majority opinions in this country at one time. These faulty assumptions were only overturned by uncompromising idealists who worked tirelessly and relentlessly for reform.
The time has not come for progressives to be swayed into compromise by the belief that the majority of Americans are always correct, particularly a manipulated majority. Do not forget that the machinations of a diabolical intriguer, Karl Rove, are at work here, creating the agenda-driven policy and strategy of the Republican Party. The time has come for the educated and aware to stand firm behind their ideals and work tirelessly and relentlessly for reform. American democracy must be put back on course. The hard work starts now.