November 8, 2004

Democrats! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Bob Herbert ("Voting Without the Facts, New York Times, Nov. 8) points out that what is currently being called "values" in reference to some of the Bush vote should more accurately be called "ignorance."
"You have to be careful when you toss the word values around. All values are not created equal. Some Democrats are casting covetous eyes on voters whose values, in many cases, are frankly repellent. Does it make sense for the progressive elements in our society to undermine their own deeply held beliefs in tolerance, fairness and justice in an effort to embrace those who deliberately seek to divide?"
And Alexander Cockburn ("Don't Say We Didn't Warn You," Counterpunch, Nov. 6/7) has some words about Kerry's supporters who spent $20 million to stop Nader (instead of, say, helping some of the Senate races they lost) and never held Kerry to even the mildest progressive principle (letting him, for example, boast of his principled opposition to the Vietnam quagmire 30 years ago even as today he supports the Iraq quagmire).

What the Democrats ought to learn from this debacle is that trying to not be Democrats doesn't work. Only a charming liar like Bill Clinton can pull it off. As Bob Herbert and Eileen McNamara (see yesterday's post) point out, the Democrats need to be Democrats again, advocating the ideals of social progress: economic equality and justice, labor, guaranteed health care (as it is in almost every other country in the world, rich or poor), protecting citizens against corporate might, protecting minorities from the tyranny of the majority, etc. In short, they need to adopt Ralph Nader's platform.

But they won't. Democrats have been running from their core beliefs for years. That's why they hate Nader. He represents what they once might have been -- a party of principle. They will continue their painful slide into obscurity by urging a further move towards accommodating the ignorance and hatred that are hailed these days as values and faith. They will further narrow their "liberalism" to yet fewer and ever more meaningless culture-war icons and effectively let the robber barons run us all into oblivion. Our esteemed Democratic reresentatives, after all, retire to comfy jobs in board rooms just as Republicans do.