Thursday, January 1, 2009
ANOTHER NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
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.