I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine about the topic I’m about to address, and I thought I’d share some of what we discussed (I’ve tried to find a way to work this into a post, but I’ve been unsuccessful).
To begin, I should point out that there are a lot of people out there doing good work when it comes to organizing others into a consensus on a particular issue (I immediately think of folks like Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress when I say that, individuals who haven’t let up one inch since the election, as well as MoveOn.org and other business-related advocacy groups). And I personally think there’s always more that I can or should do, despite the fact that working on this site consumes a lot of time (as well as trying to generate stuff to keep people coming back to the Wordpress site).
But I’m a bit concerned because, based on my observations (which may not be completely representative of what’s going on – I hope not, anyway), it seems that those opposed to what Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats (and some Republicans) are trying to do are making more noise than those who approve. I’m basing that in part on the reader correspondence I’ve noticed in the Bucks County Courier Times (an imperfect barometer, I grant you), as well as the hit counts on the freeper sites where you can find plentiful propaganda on anything from the Obama stimulus, to the spending bill, to the Employee Free Choice Act, Freedom of Choice Act (which, I should emphasize again, has never made it out of the congressional committee where it originated and probably never will), the supposed return of the Fairness Doctrine…you name it. It’s easier to find the wingnuttery than it is to drill down to the reality based perspective; that online gap, if you will, seems to be growing larger by the day.
I know there’s a big temptation to say, “hey, we fought hard last year and won our victory, so let’s just kick back and let the Repugs eat each other,” which is great fun I’ll admit. The problem, though, is that the lunatic fringe that largely comprises the Republican Party now more than ever is continually trying to find reasons to perpetuate their feelings of hurt, neglect and general disenfranchisement (which, of course, is their own damn fault due to their own pigheaded obstruction and blind acceptance of their party’s ideology which has very nearly led us to our ruin).
The problem, though, is that this is EXACTLY the moment when we must not let up when it comes to contacting our politicians, writing Letters to the Editor addressed to newspapers, posting online, communicating on behalf of Obama and the Democrats to get their agenda passed into law at social networking sites…you name it. And I would just ask that we keep all of that in mind as the battles for reform play out before us, including the one on the aforementioned Employee Free Choice Act (as big as that fight is, it will dwarf the coming battle over healthcare reform and the clash over ensuring the solvency of Medicare first and Social Security later).
I know we know this, and I no more have the right to preach activism than the next person. It’s just that I’m starting to see somewhat of a disturbing parallel to 1993-1994 here (in the way that the other side is scrambling, I mean), and while I don’t believe the Republican Party will return to that type of dominance any time soon, I don’t want to see them ever get that chance. I know you don’t either.
So let’s all make sure they don’t.