Just when I thought the oxygen had finally been sucked out of the hot-air hurricane of advice to Democrats on what they should or shouldn’t do next time comes yet one more breathless analysis in Jonathan Chait’s Nov. 26 commentary, “Dean, Clinton and Kerry: No, No, No for 2008.” Sadly, this piece springs from a premise assumed to be unchangeable -- yet must in fact change or we’re all in deep trouble. The premise is that we the people are so ill informed about the true nature of the major issues affecting our lives, so incapable of rising to the challenge of responsible citizenship that we must be spoken to as ignorant children or superstitious sheep. The only question is whether to tack this way or that. For winning is all that matters, inspiring the public to abandon our intellectual apathy does not.
Chait sums it up: “Economics is complicated. Cultural issues are visceral.” Exactly. And as long as everyone in politics and the media accepts the status quo of the American mind as immutable, the further down the rabbit hole we will slide, regardless of who’s in office.
One of the unfortunate side effects of the Democrats losing the election is that now we’ll have to endure four more years of well-meaning columnists telling us that, to win back the White House, we have to move closer to the center. I would posit that the political landscape has become so distorted and polarized that the center now resides somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh. If appealing to this right-wing center means that I would have to become pro-gun, pro-war, pro-creationism, anti-gay and anti-civil rights to get their vote, then I say to hell with them.
Mine are American values, not the supposed religious values that seem to be in vogue on the right. I’m a liberal Democrat and proud of it. I’d rather be right than move to the right. I won’t sell out what I believe in a vain attempt to win the votes of people who want to take this country even further away from what I believe in.