Saturday, November 18, 2006

Early ChriKwaNukah Present: Progressive Power

Given the decisive victory achieved by the Democrats in the recent midterm elections, one might expect that a left-leaning individual such as myself would be pleased with the result. Moreover, given my energies expended working for the Democratic Party in Baltimore City, one might additionally assume that I was a faithful member of the donkey establishment. The former is somewhat true, while the latter is rather distant from the truth. On the one hand, I am undoubtedly giddy that the elephant no longer snubs his fat trunk at the masses of Americans upon whom he's consistently stomped. On the other, what assurances do I have that the Dems won't continue to cook up the same ole can of rancid pork and beans? Therefore, I hereby declare my support for an imaginary third party that has not yet come to fruition. Since I am somewhat of a pessimist regarding the political future of these divided states, I anxiously watch the entrenched two-party system, as it continues to erode the basic principles of open, accountable, and democratic government. Hence my tardy midterm vote for the rebirthed Progressive Party of America.

I have generally advocated voting Green to show support for various candidates - in order to build awareness about the party. But such a strategy is not viable if such a vote cast will come at the expense of handing the election to a horrific right-leaning candidate. The solution to this problem is ranked-choice voting (also known as prference or instant run-off voting), which has already been instituted in Australia and San Francisco.

There is undeniable difficulty inherent in third party action in the US, due to a robust yet diseased two-party tradition that has served America as a relatively stable outfit. Nonetheless, it is time for a drastic change. Political realignment is the best course currently, not merely for Progressives such as myself, but also for the median voter, who is poised to benefit from the injection of a higher dose of honesty in the political discourse of our day.
My dream would be to promote the emergence of a Progressive Party that would fill the void that has existed on the left for quite some time. Since the nation drifted rightward in the aftermath of all those lib movements, civil rights, student protests, and social upheaval, the political center in America has been rather to the right. As the perceived excesses of the Warren court were undone by subsequent judicial activism from the right, by legislative destruction of regulatory and social welfare provisions, and by a rash of executives committed to neoliberal ideology, the spectrum shifted. It is now time to reverse the rightward drift of the political standard. Rise up, barons of leftist ilk! Reclaim thine positions and reload your civic weaponry.

In such a scenario envisaged above, the current Democratic Party would continue its rightward migration and would become a truly centrist electoral behemoth. Renaming itself as the Liberal Democratic Party in the true sense of the term "liberal," this machine would promote the efficiency of corporate power, relatively small government, fiscal conservatism, and diplomatic prudence in the international arena. This party would inevitably receive upwards of 50% of the national vote total, as McCain-type libertarians, Arnoldesque Machiavellians, and Lieberman lovermen would flock to the erstwhile Democratic Party, which would still indeed be the proud home of the Clintons and many others.

On the right, the Christian Nationalist Patriotic Front would emerge with the support of approximately 30% of the national vote. As the unabashed tent for religiously reverent folks, cultural moralists, and admittedly chauvinistic souls, this camp could strive to represent candidly its egotistical yearnings. With most of the business types having vacated the party, this front could focus on the cultural and racial issues that the moderate Republicans never stomached. It has yet to be determined whether the isolationist or the aggressively neoconservative elements would win out, but it is likely that, without corporate support, the neoconservative comrades would be discredited. Even so, the paleocon base would abandon any allegiance to unrealistic international ambitions regarding the promotion of political buzzwords such as "freedom" and "democracy" in certain occupied countries but would also realize that their imperial goals propel America to similar ideological ends as the neocons.

The Progressive Party, which I wholeheartedly embrace, would base its platform upon much of what the current Green Party stands for but would create a broader set of goals. Public campaign financing, re-urbanization of America (i.e. an urban Marshall plan), universal healthcare, green energy, internationalist foreign policy orientation, increase in corporate taxation, and the reversal of massive socioeconomic disparities would be the tenets of this energized movement to incorporate the populist roots of fin-de-siecle progressivism, fulfill the needs of people excluded from the neoliberalist-dominated mainstream, and uplift Americans who had previously been deceived by cultural facades that masked ulterior economic motives. Progressives of the world, UNITE!

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