Columns / Discourse / November 17, 2010

Notes on: The Democratic Party

Having a two party system always insures interesting, albeit entertaining, power dynamics within the branches of government, but rarely insures more than that. With the recent seizure of the House of Representatives by the Grand Old Party of Rich White Men, we can be assured of a dramatic expression of the pivotal power split between the House, the Senate and the Oval, but little helpful legislation on part of either side. This is due to the Republicans lacking the power to do anything but hold up the Democrats, who are now too scared to act, as such action would inevitably lead to the “alienation of moderate voters.”

While the Democrats still hold power in many important places, they can be counted on to freeze in the headlights of up-and-coming grass roots opposition, comprised mostly of misguided middle class anti-federalists, pro-corporate poor and people who like tea. The concept of wielding power decisively is foreign to the Democratic Party, much to the chagrin of the grassroots left and less moderately minded middle class. Although recent and quite clever YouTube videos have ironically listed the President’s accomplishments over the last two years, it is unclear whether that irony was directed toward the President’s opposition or toward his leftist supporters.

By leftists supporters I mean those persons who had hopes that this presidency would bring about a radical change, not only in what the government did, but also in how it was run. I mean those who were constantly told by liberal parents and friends to cool their radical inclinations for (and desire for and love of) progressive action. They were told that the Democratic Party was the only party worth voting for, as it was the only one that would get anything done.

And yet it seems like the Republicans are much better at getting things done, even if those things are insidious and completely insane. The support of the aggressive far-right and its representation in the Republican Party is thus envied by the left, who seek a more active role in the political and ideological spheres of the Democratic Party. This role has been actively denied by the party, which seems to feed off of the inherent inactivity of political moderation.

This is the last chance for the Democratic Party in the minds of many. We will give them the next two years, but those should not be spent readily preparing for 2012. Reelection is only assured if there is support on the left and by the youth, support garnered only by action. If reelection becomes a reality, then there can be no more false promises of universal healthcare, demilitarization, anti-homophobic action, poverty alleviation and better public education (read: free college tuition!). These things must become solid socio-political realities and not just meaningless, feel-good, inefficient legislation.

I would not ask the Democratic Party and its federal form anything I would not ask of any progressive citizen of this nation. Be aggressive. Be unwavering in your beliefs and your dedication to the working and middles classes. Do not reason with the Republican Party and kick out “blue dog” democrats. Replace them with those who question the status quo and the place of the failing “free” market in contemporary American society. Check the conservative advance and throw it out of the halls of government. If you do not do this, then the left will. If this happens, as it becomes clearer that it must, we will not turn to you for help or advice.

The Democratic Party cannot fail the left again. It cannot fail to be constantly progressive or it will falter and collapse under its own inefficacy and a liberal close-minded sense of moral superiority and middle class comfort. There is a two party system in this nation; to those who support it, prove to us that we must not have something more. Turn the bass up and bump the system, or the left will leave you to sing their own tunes in the street.

Abraham Diekhans-Mears

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