DemocracyMeansYou

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Monday, November 22, 2004

No, Democrats Should NOT Try To Be More Like Republicans

After a loss, or two, or three, some Democrats (like the pathetic Democratic Leadership Council) start crying about how we need to be more like the Republicans to win elections.

Seems to me we’ve been down this road before. It didn’t work in 2000. It didn’t work in 2002. And it didn’t work in 2004.

It’s not going to work in 2006 or 2008 or 2028, either.

These so-called Democrats are not your friends.

And you need to get rid of them.

Friends don’t tell friends to act like someone else. Friends believe in friends for who they are. So, fellow Democrats, liberals, Greens, what have you, don’t listen to bad advice. We can’t win elections by trying to be more like our opponents.

The shortsighted clowns at the DLC think that because Clinton pulled some of that off, then we as Democrats need to follow his lead and be more centrist. It’s a lie. Clinton pulled it off because he was Clinton, and he believed in what he was doing. He was being himself, following his own true nature.

All electoral fraud aside, the problem with Kerry was that he wasn’t being himself, and Rove and the gang nailed him for it. They saw his weaknesses of not seeming true to himself and pounced. Let’s not play make-believe: Kerry worked to get the swing voters by trying to play to the center, and everybody knew it. And it alienated both those of us who voted for him anyway, and those who might have been persuaded to follow him if he’s seemed a more solid leader.

It’s time to stop playing to the center and start playing to ourselves. If we talk truth, it will show. If we try to please everyone, it’ll also show, and when was the last time you admired an ass-kisser?

We as liberals and Democrats need to truly come from and speak to our base. We need to invite and argue for others to join us. We need to articulate our beliefs clearly, honestly, and the policies to go with it. And most importantly, our collective vision.

As a Democrat, I have no apologies for my beliefs. Here’s a short list. You should make your own.

  • I believe in responsible and accountable government.
  • I believe in truly equal rights for all.
  • I believe abortion is a woman’s choice and is between her, her doctor, God, and her mate, if possible.
  • I believe abortions should be minimized primarily through education, access to contraceptives, morning-after pills, RU-486, and adoption where appropriate. I do not believe that limiting education, contraception, or access to abortion procedures will be effective. It hasn’t reduced abortions under Bush; they’ve increased. They decreased under Clinton.
  • I believe in government-sponsored health care for everyone, a single-payer plan like Canada has, with options to purchase more extensive coverage if you want. You won’t find a working-or-middle-class Canadian—or European—who’d trade their coverage for ours, ever.
  • I believe in a progressive tax, with minimal deductions, or possibly a flat tax if it is truly a flat tax on all. I do not believe in no taxes or just sales taxes.
  • I believe corporations must pay taxes, and must stop getting government welfare. Corporations that create offshore headquarters to avoid taxes must pay huge tariffs on their products or services in the states.
  • I believe the status of a corporation as a person must be changed and that corporations do have a responsibility to the community. After all, companies and corporations are a part of the community and must begin acting as such.
  • I believe in a government that helps to lift up its most needy, or help them with money and services if need be. Programs should be fully funded, but must have fiscal and effectiveness accountability.
  • Faith-based programs should have faith-based funding. Period.
  • I believe in the clear separation of church and state. I believe it protects religion, ethics, morality, and government, more than it handicaps any of them.
  • I believe in Civil Unions for both straight and gay couples, and marriages to be officiated by religious institutions. (Whom, I believe, need to allow them).

And so on…

I’m not ashamed of any of this. You shouldn’t be either. And neither must the Democratic Party be. If there is anything we should strive to learn from our opponents, it is to speak to our bases, no matter how it sounds. The kind of hateful, fear-mongering, selfish tripe that’s considered acceptable today, is, believe it or not, speaking to the base. The base of selfishness and fear.

We must speak to our base. The base of hope. Of cooperation. Of sensibility. Accountabilty. Individual AND community responsibility. Live and let live whenever possible. True compassion (as contrasted to so-called “compassionate conservatism”). Far-sighted vision.

Our base is people who believe in a future that is inclusive, responsible, and peaceful. And those people who believe that the means is as important as the ends. Our true believers are those who truly believe that generosity leads to generosity. That violence leads to violence and respect leads to respect.

That is the message of liberalism. Let us not ever lose sight of it, and not ever be ashamed to say it aloud, to demand it of our leaders, and demand that our parties embody it. It’s up to us.

We must be the ones demanding it from the DLC, the DNC, and ourselves.

Let the bloodbath in the Democratic Party begin with me.

I like that. I’m going to put that on a button…