What has been happening in Madison, Wisconsin, should cheer anyone who has lost hope in American democracy. It is even balm for the despair many of us feel about the often passive Democratic Party.
While the Democratic state senators Governor Scott Walker needs to kill collective bargaining remain holed up in an Illinois motel, thousands of protestors—public workers and their supporters— fill the public spaces of the Wisconsin’s rococo capitol building. Many of them have brought their sleeping bags to the rotunda.
This should not surprise us.
I’m wondering—was I the only blogger to watch both the Academy Awards and the president’s prequel State of the Union Address? Two different worlds, of course, but often they conflate in the mind of this electronic onlooker, especially when you throw in the Obama Administration’s first state dinner with all those fancy gowns.
My reaction when I heard about timing of the dinner was, “They’re going to miss the Oscars.”
It’s not the New Deal. Or the New Frontier. Or the Great Society. Or, heaven help us, the Reagan Revolution. But I’m hoping after last night’s news conference, the passage of a stimulus package in the Senate and today’s rollout of a new TARP bailout that this is the Real Deal—a viable plan to restore some rationality to our economic life together as a nation.
Perhaps after the debacle of the last presidency it’s too easy to give President Obama high marks for engaging in a fruitful discussion of economics, foreign policy and, yes, even A-Rod’s steroid use. (He’s concerned about the message it sends to children.) For showing his understanding of the dynamics of Congressional politics, for using one of his vice president’s gaffes to make a point that no program’s perfect. This give and take went on for a full hour before he thanked the media and a heavy foot could be heard coming down from the podium as he strode off.
The California cognitive scientist George Lakoff http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/08/25_lakoff.shtml has urged Democrats to resist Republican attempts to influence policy by “framing” it in language that obscures its true nature—death tax rather than inheritance tax, entitlement programs rather than veterans’ benefits and social security, and, of course, “pro-life” to cover a whole lot of issues that are less than life-enhancing to many sentient beings.
Democrats attempted this with some success, but most of the time, the Democratic problem has been a lack of imagination and courage. As Team Obama gears up for a new beginning, here are some of my ideas for them:
Random reflections on politics, the media, political activism, women's lives and spirituality, often inspired by travel, cultural events or what I read.
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