Monday, January 5, 2009

What Do We Stand For?

I need to know. Other progressives need to know. Other Democrats need to know. We need to figure this out.

What do we stand for?

Only 2 months ago, I thought this question would be awfully easy to answer. I mean, why wouldn't we support President Obama's agenda & whatever the Democratic leaders in Congress pushed for? Why would they be afraid of being more progressive now that they have a mandate?

But that's just it, they're still afraid. So far, there are signs that the Democrats now in power are still afraid of promoting progressive Democratic vision of a better America. Despite the large & growing support for things like expanded domestic partner benefits, a complete exit from Iraq, real actions to target the climate crisis, and a fairer budget, Democratic leaders seem afraid to push a full progressive agenda in 2009. So what can we do?

We keep pushing for what we stand for. But what do we stand for? We stand for what we've always believed in.

I tried to say this in my last essay on LGBT civil rights, and I'll say it again today. Pols will be pols, so we can't just expect them to do the right thing. And when they waiver, we can't just conform our agenda to whatever they're flip-flopping to. We must stand firm and hold our elected leaders accountable so they hold fast to the promises they made to us.

If we don't stand for something, are we good for anything? That's what we as Democrats must continually ask ourselves. What are we doing to end discrimination against LGBT people? What are we doing to end discrimination against women? What are we doing to stop the climate crisis? What are we doing to stop economic injustice? What are we doing to make the world a better place for all people in the world?

This first year of a "Democratic Trifecta" will either be a major progressive victory or an utter failure. And if we don't pressure our leaders in the White House & Congress to enact the bold solutions needed to put this nation back on the right track, then we will have failed. I don't know how else to define it.

So how do we take our stand? Call Congress. Write the President-Elect. Tell them to repeal DOMA. Tell them to pass an economic stimulus package that also promotes eco-friendly development solutions. If we don't ever show the strength of our conviction, will they ever show theirs?

So isn't it worthwhile for us to stand for something? And won't it be worthwhile to make our party stand for something? So what are we waiting for?


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