Thursday, January 1, 2009


My New Year's resolution: to dissent, when necessary, from the politics of the new administration. Steve's "New Year's Resolution" post paints dissent and protest with too broad a brush. I agree that leftist protest is often ineffective and sometimes tragically so. I have long been a skeptic of the perfectionism that animates many leftist activists. Politics entails compromise. What we need this new year--and this new administration--is an effective left that uses its clout, like it did during the New Deal and the Johnson administration, to shape the direction of public policy. We need a courageous left that stands up to the administration and demand that it be better (it's unrealistic to expect "best" all the time). That means wiping the stars from our eyes, getting over the celebratory evocations of change, and putting pressure on Washington. The selection of Rick Warren as the nation's pastor is one such moment. There is little to gain by courting Warren. The Billy Graham comparison is most apt: what did Graham ever do for the Democrats anyhow? Warren's fellow travelers aren't suddenly going to turn Democratic because he's on the stage with Obama. But the peddlers of homophobia will be able to celebrate with a high-level endorsement. That we should fight.


Maineiac said...

I agree that the left must use it clout. As to Warren, I strongly agree his church should not have opposed prop 8 and that his view in that regard are wrong. I also agree that some peddlers of homophobia will celebrate I think that the situation is to some degree not being framed correctly I don't agree that Warren is being courted, its not a question of what Graham did for the Democrats I think it is about seeking to end the us vs them Rovian mindset of the last eight years.
I see a symmetry between the left and right. Take Rachel Meadows, Warren on one hand and say O'Reilly and Reverend Wright on the other. When O'Reilly criticizes Wright he could have explained, as the left did, the larger context of the history of the black church, but he just wanted to play on people's fear. Meadows on the other hand could have taken a slightly more charitable interpretation of some of Warren's statements and explained his view within some context.They didn't do that however because that is not what their respective audiences want to hear.
President Carter did not get President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to agree to peace by asking each party to finely hone their differences with each other.
No one expects Warren's supporters to turn into Democrats but isn't it possible they may be more inclined to at least listen when it come time to discuss other issues? I think it is a mistake to categorize all Warren's supporters as simply as "fellow travelers" I suspect that their beliefs lay on a spectrum the same as ours do.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Before we have an effective left we need a left. It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up with the kind of nitty gritty door-to door-work that "leftists" have as of the last few decades been averse to doing.

likwidshoe said...

"Compromise" = government grows regardless.

Disagreement with the "compromise" probably comes from a "knuckle dragger" who is "clinging" to guns and God or something.

Yay for "liberal" "tolerance" and "compromise"!

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