Friday, November 11, 2016

Election 2016 -The Autopsy Report

The biggest failure I see is the continuing lack of resources for a sustaining engine for progressives/liberals. We have never developed a well-funded counter to the Lewis Powell memo -which built and continues to provide the engine for the GOP political machine that grows more powerful in every election cycle.

We continue to react to every fire that is started -instead of bringing together labor, environmentalists, women's rights organizations, youth groups, the LGBTQ community and many more. We work in silo's. We've abandoned some Red states completely.

Ask yourself this -in a well-educated, well-informed society could Trump (or a Tom Cotton, or a Dennis Richardson) happen? Could Oregon Measure 97 lose?

We can blame superdelegates. We can blame Hillary, We can blame Bernie. We can blame the DNC. But at the end of the day -we fund candidates. We provide resources (to great groups that deserve them when they are under siege -like NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood). But what are we doing really?

We are reacting to every battle in every cycle -trying to convince a less educated and less informed populace why progressive/liberal ideas are better for all of us. We give up or laugh at people with "Government out of my Medicare" signs. I do it. However -they each represent OUR FAILURE. When people think government is our problem (when we the people are government). When people believe that the Affordable Care Act is standing between them and affordable health insurance and actually causing rates to climb (without the understanding of the relationship between Insurance industry or Big Pharma executive pay and bonuses).

We will send $27 to Bernie. We will send $27 to Hillary. And that's still important -but we are reacting. The time to become proactive was after the 2000 cycle. It's been 16 years and what have we done? What have we built? Courageous people like Sheldon Drobny and Anita Drobny founded and built Air America -they poured their heart and their own resources into it -and it paved the road for two terms of President Obama. But when they tried to raise money for progressive media infrastructure -who was there for them?

We need a media platform, rapid response capability, a people's counter to ALEC (the people that unleashed "Stand Your Ground" -never forget Trayvon Martin), and an easy method for all of us to participate and engage politically and economically (participatory democracy and budgeting). The tools we need are out there -but if we don't bring them and people together -and fund the effort -we will be fire fighting until we are all consumed by fire. can help build a platform for our future -and bring people together across ideologies -and you may think it's an interesting concept -but will you help us fund it? Will you contribute $5, $10, $20 a month to help proactively build OUR machine -while I personally continue to reach out to Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, Revolution Messaging,, the State Innovation Exchange and others to work cooperatively?

When we lose school board races and the right wing controls the textbooks -how do we reach into communities and counter the redaction of climate change? The removal of slavery, the trail of tears or other history from our textbooks in which our societal actions have been horrific (because they are not "patriotic" enough) is abhorrent.

We need our version of the "machine". And it doesn't mean we give up what we are doing -our architecture needs to allow local autonomy and action -but provide the mechanism for all of us to work together in a coordinated and cooperative way. If we don't begin now -we will continue to erode any hope or chance for the America we know we could build for the future that is possible -predicated upon opportunity, justice, courage and community.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Democratic Courage

Since 2003 I've been imploring progressive Democrats to produce a brief media piece that reclaims the values we share. We have allowed the right wing to frame us as "weak".

  • The reality is -we are not frightened of democracy -we encourage voting (as we've done in Oregon and California).
  • We are not afraid of refugee's seeking shelter from horrific violence against themselves and their children.
  • We are not afraid to pass laws -not to take people's guns away -but to do all we can to keep them from terrorists and criminals.
  • We are not afraid to trust women with decisions about their own bodies.
  • We are not afraid to demand that corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
  • We are not afraid of taking bold action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • We are not afraid to protect retirement security for our seniors.
  • We are not afraid to properly invest in education and build a lifelong thirst for knowledge and truth in future generations.
  • We are not afraid of people that love or believe differently than we do.
  • We are not frightened of facts or science.
  • We do not hide behind walls, gated communities or fences.
  • Don't mistake our kindness and compassion for weakness or fear.
We are indeed, stronger together.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Vote to Defend

It's pure mathematics at this point -as described by Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis. You are either voting to preserve hard fought progressive wins dating back to and including the New Deal -or you are voting to blow up America.
And when you blow America up -who will suffer? Those with millions in offshore accounts? Or those that will die from hunger -because the Paul Ryan budget has cancelled food stamps. Those that die of disease -because the ACA has been repealed. Women that die from infections -from a coat hanger.
This is not about punishing the DNC. This is not about years of right wing attacks and innuendo. If we lose -the America that we all hope for will be gone forever and replaced with the Wal*Mart/Hobby Lobby/Exxon version that will persist for generations.
I know there are many who care deeply and see things from a more idealist and/or purist perspective. Nevertheless this a battle that has been fought over generations -sometimes we can go on offense -and make great gains (as society did in the 1960's). Sometimes we have to defend -while preparing for another assertive push.
My read is we must defend now. Failure to do so will obliterate any chance we will have -when SCOTUS is stacked with conservatives that believe the pursuit of profit and wealth is a priority over quality of life. When religious doctrine is held to be supreme -over civil rights and separation of church and state.
November 8, 2016 is a major battle -in a long unfolding war for the soul and direction of America. Some may think we can simply wait it out. However after the Reagan and post-Reagan concentration of power and wealth -we must defend with our votes now; and then build a strong progressive machine together. 
If we allow ourselves to be divided we will be crushed -and the America that is possible will forever be lost.