You may accept the Democratic Leadership Council’s conclusions, assertions, attitudes and game-plans as promulgated by Bill Clinton, James Carville, Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel and any number of growling Blue Dogs but I do not. To me, as a Progressive Democrat and a Liberal American, that is a failure of imagination. Bruce Hornsby wrote, in his song “That’s Just The Way It Is”:
That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them
Now, that’s where I am coming from.
Most of my very large and diverse family comes from and lives in the so-called Red districts. All of my life I have worked on changing their minds about the truth of the Liberal Ideal. It has been and remains fruitful. One by one they have taught me never to concede to the past what the future knows not to be true. One by one they have changed.
As Progressives, we came together to reactivate the oldest and truest American virtues of tough-mindedness and innovation that breakthrough impossibilities and create new realities. We came together for dramatic Change.
The DLC/Blue Dogs make a lot of noise about their version of the facts. They say – That’s just the way it is. They haughtily claim that there are so-called Red districts, where the people are backward, religious, uneducated and prejudiced and that we must concede to that definition of these people and act accordingly. As I have said many times in the Progressive Caucus and anywhere I go – They are wrong, both in their characterization and in their approach to our fellow citizens. Every American has the potential to change. It is the great narrative of our history.
When I was a boy, in the Midwest, Far West and the South, Segregation was “the way it is.” My grandmother was a Suffragette, who was told that Women should not and will never get the Vote in America and that “that’s just the way it is.”
When Barack Obama once famously said that there is no Red America or Blue America, only a red, white and blue America, I recognized all of the allusions he was referring to and I agreed. But that remark is only true if we rid ourselves of the illusions promoted and reinforced by Republicans from without our Party or Blue Dogs from within our Party. Among all of those illusions, continuously ginned up by crony corporate lobbyists, the greatest is, “That’s just the way it is.” Say’s who? The men and women behind the curtain? It certainly serves to maintain the status quo. Again, that statement and political stance is a failure of imagination. It creates and maintains a monoculture that lacking diversity, even of thought, leads to dissipation and dissolution.
I lived for many years in Solano County, in the 10th CD. Many members of my family still do. The mantra there, for the last 30 years was that the 10th is a Red district, a conservative district. This accounted for Ellen Tauscher’s Blue Dog mentality and the reality that she had to do, in her own words, “a kabuki dance with the Progressives.” So it is with many Blue Dogs. To them everything is and should be a pretense, with both their constituents and the rest of us. On the one hand they pretend to be Democrats on the other they vote Republican. That’s just the way it is, they say – we must be pragmatic.
Suddenly, it seems, the dance is over in California CD 10. John Garamendi is the Representative. John is openly Progressive on Healthcare, the Wars, the Environment and a host of other issues. How is it possible that a Prog replaced a Blue Dog? Did the district change radically? I’ve spent considerable time there every year since 1970 and I would say “no.” These are middle class Americans with about the same traits that we see all across America. What changed was the reality that the leading candidate, who the Party could not refuse, is a Progressive Democrat who knows how to talk with everyday folks and show them the truth of Single Payer, Withdrawal from Iraq etc.
I believe that the only hope we can believe in is our Progressive Plan for the future. Let us, as Democrats and citizens, disenthrall ourselves from the old tired notion that “That’s just the way it is” and imagine, create and promote a new way – Progressive. Let us imbue that Progressive mandate with all of the vigor that makes America the land where Change is possible.
Most importantly, let us take that message out, from the genial warmth of our Progressive organizations, to the People, all of the People. Let us never give in to the DLC-Blue Dog-Republican theology. Let them have one Party and let us have the other and then let us see who shall prevail. Never negotiate with yourself on principle. Always, Collaborate on the Positive Power of the Progressive Proposal.
Now, about those Superdelegates and Appointees to the central committees…