Nov 6, 2006

Vote For a Progressive America, For a Enlightened & Nicer Future

The Nature of Our Polity (part 2)

Facilitating incompetence and enabling morons to do more damage is irresponsible! If for nothing else, there has to be a change of the guard in our Congress after this election because the worst of our fears have materialized under this Republican leadership. We cannot change the nature of our politics unless we change the people we send to Washington DC. And, there has to be a price to be paid by those who steal & waste our money, violate the Constitution, and put our country in grave danger.

Is it all about incompetence? Well, the so-called independent voters who move back and forth should definitely be concerned about the condition and direction of the US. Many who in the past voted for the Republican party have very little to be happy about today. The theocrats and the very socially conservative people may like what they've seen thus far of the Republican agenda; they are not going to be convinced to switch or support "secular" candidates. On the other hand, all the scandals have dampen their enthusiasm and will affect their turnout on election day. If Bush doesn't have a tape of Osama bin Laden endorsing his ..friends the Democrats, I don't see how the latter will lose the House. The Dems are also poised to win the Senate if they net a 6-seat margin--I'd be more confident of a Democratic senate if the Virginia and the Missouri races were in blue states (like New Jersey where Menendez will win).

I'm a believer in that our politics reflect our people, even if much of the ills we see today result from people's apathy. Unfortunately, this country is more conservative than we hoped for, although it can be moved towards a more progressive direction. Liberalism is good polity for most people, because it provides the best possible conditions for individuals to realize their potential. We just need to articulate our ideas better, in a more clear way, and to make the Democratic party a true alternative to the conservatives--change it from"Republican-Lite". We have to realize that some 20-25% of the country will never be convinced, because they believe the hold the truth with a capital T. Those who believe that we're in the end of times, [check the Rapture Index for fun!] have little concern for reason, global warming, the environment, and see the conflicts today as the prelude (if not the prerequisite) of Rapture.

We have to send the lunatic fringe back to the margins, because it doesn't represent traditional American values. We progressives have stronger ideas so we should begin to talk about them. Intuitively, we tend to talk about the rationale of public policy, the vision for the future, and use complicated reasoning--all those things are good, but there's a place & time for them. We have to learn how to speak to the audience and to American values. How many people know, for example, that Liberalism was the ideology/movement that replaced the Old Regime (ascribed status, religious conformity) and that even modern Conservatives have adopted liberalism's values, as articulated in our Bill of Rights?

A positive attitude is needed, much as the concept of positive freedom, therefore, we have to offer an alternative to the Conservatives. They talk about values and ideas either in the abstract or in terms that contradict the principles upon which our country was founded. I understand that most of Americans are sick and tired of this failed & incompetent regime and the failed occupation of Iraq has lots to do with the dissatisfaction. Yet,we have to offer a positive alternative if we are to move the country forward. These are some of my reasons for voting for the Democrats:

  • America stands for individual freedom and due process of law. We should not give up those rights & privileges that have made us strong; if we become like our enemies, then they'll win. Giving up something very specific for something undetermined is not a good idea. Suspending Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights shows that we are not sure of ourselves. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave must remain so and not surrendered to the politics of fear--and to the War on Terror that takes place everywhere and has no end! This is the legacy of Bush & Co not of America!
  • We need to leave a healthy planet to our children and future generations. Republicans are not willing to use the government to exercise oversight to benefit the public good. Their actions (or inaction) have resulted in polluted land, air, and water. As long as there's someone, somewhere that has an opinion contrary to the known facts, BushCo will tell us that "there are two sides to a story!"
  • We should stand for meritocracy and egalitarianism, and one way to express this is through equality of opportunity and a strong social safety net. After all, being part of a very wealthy nation there should be dividends for the commonwealth. We are not strong when we run a huge deficit. I haven't seen anyone having the upper hand with a banker who holds his lien. Having to pay debts means less available money for other things.The Saudis, the Chinese, and other foreigners own much of our national debt. We were told that there wasn't enough money for a universal health care system, but we ended up paying up to a trillion dollars in a war of choice! Access to education has become costlier in the last 5 years (more so than in the last 30) because state and federal subsidies are cut. Where is this equality of opportunity our country was known for? Public services are needed for the ..public, not the very wealthy. From the bankruptcy bill, to Medicare, to transportation & infrastructure, to libraries, to Internet neutrality, to health care (includes preventive care) available to all citizens, are some of the things we should be concerned about. We should act to enhance the quality of life when it matters. "A culture of life" is something we progressives can easily understand.
  • Change without forethought is foolish, but we have to embrace the scientific inquiry and progress. We give value to our actions and we have the ability to do harm and good. Stem cell research is very promising, as all the science that tries to explore and understand who we are and the cosmos around us. Perhaps this isn't what some people are looking for, but everyone has benefited from the advances in technology and medicine, not to mention the exhilarating experience of accumulating knowledge. It's time we stop with this nonsense of debating what science is and what kind of it we should be teaching in our schools. Science is one thing: empirical evidence, testing, re-testing, observation, open inquiry, and open to revision when better evidence or a theory come along! Sadly, there are many Republicans who do not accept ..Enlightenment!
  • We have to elevate our polity from the gutter, from bumper-sticker issues, pushing of the emotional buttons, and cynicism. Dumbing down our society isn't good for our freedom, our way of life, and our future well-being. We have to demand to be treated as responsible adults--not deferring judgment to Big Brother. We should demand honesty from our elected leaders. A progressive attitude means critical thinking, tolerance, respect for evidence and appreciation for science.
Look around and examine which candidates come closer to your ideals, priorities, and expectations. We as a progressive human beings have an obligation of civic duty. We care enough not to be cynical and indifferent; we know enough to make an informed decision.

IMPORTANT RESOURCE ON ELECTION DAY: VOTER ASSISTANCE HOTLINE, 1-866-OUR VOTE. Call for help if you notice a problem at the polling station BEFORE you cast your vote.