Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where Have all the Liberals Gone?

What has happened to politics?

When I got started in politics, in the 60's, the groups I joined existed to change the world for the better. Get out of Vietnam and Cambodia, Civil Rights for All, Consumer Safety, Legalize Abortion.  The issues haven’t changed much.  Different wars. Different needs for civil rights. Different needs for consumer safety. And Keep Abortion Legal.

But last night I went to a meeting of my local Democratic activist group: Organizing for America (formerly Obama for America – we got to keep the same initials).  Nobody was happy with the political situation, particularly the gun safety issue, and the lack of a public option in Obamacare. But nobody talked about fighting for causes.  The only cause was Elect Democrats.  Even Democrats in Name Only (DINO).  Just to get the scary Republicans out of office.

I went home questioning my involvement in politics.   I hate opening my door to strangers who want to sell me a political or religious cause.  But during the last election I knocked on doors – asking if people needed a ride to the polls, or needed an absentee ballot.  I did something to others that I don’t want others to do to me.

And now, since that technique worked – Obama was re-elected – OFA expects me to continue knocking on doors.   Yes, I get it – Obama can do more of what I want if we give him a congress of Democrats.  I want progressive and liberal Democrats. There seems to be a shortage of my kind of candidate, of people who support my issues, even at the neighborhood level.

What happened? Are the Republicans so scary in their extreme views that my side has forgotten what matters? Or put another way – have we forgotten our extreme views.  Because, yes, the Republicans are terrified of our views.  Raise the minimum wage. Health care for all. Women should make their own health decisions. Automatic weapons do not belong in private hands. People who love each other should be allowed to marry.

It looks as if the Republican Party has a very successful tactic.  They threaten to take away rights we already have, and we stop fighting for more freedom. It’s as if you could stop people from reading by raising library fines.  It shouldn’t work. 

I learned a long time ago that there is no reason to give in to a child when s/he has a temper tantrum in public.  Don’t buy a child something to silence the screaming. Don’t indulge a child’s superstitions. It’s okay to step on cracks in the sidewalk.  Politics is an adult activity. Let’s act like adults and fight for what we believe in.

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