Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Identity Politics

Day 4. We’re on a roll, pickin’ up steam, train’s a comin’. My radio show starts 10am Saturday. Tune in. More on that tomorrow. I swear this is all leading somewhere, people. We’re starting out defining who we are. I didn’t expect it to evolve like this. I didn’t know what to expect. But I will soon move into strategy, and then tactics, and go into policy, which is after all determined by identity and strategy.

Words do count. Our political identities are important. Here’s another exercise for you, you should start writing stuff down: how do you identify yourself politically? Post it. Maybe you don’t have an identity, but I find that hard to believe, correct me if I’m wrong. Sure, a few people among us may not have a political identity, and I guess that’s cool. But your not leading. You’re following. And that’s cool too. Follow me. (Tee hee). Just don’t flip to the Dark Side down the road, when the next terror attack hits, or you convert to President Thompson or whatever. You’re in danger.

Progressive doesn’t mean progress because progress is a meaningless term, although that was the original 17th century name of the concept. Everybody wants progress towards their own values. Progress would be a fundamentalist Christian Republic to many Christians; a democratic, U.S.-ruling elite aligned, oil supplying, U.S. military based Iraq to the neo cons, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of people will be killed and maimed,and how many millions refugeed and trillions of dollars wasted to achieve that progress.

Our political identity determines everything, our opinions on issues, the importance of them, what we do, who we support, who we empower. I’m a Progressive first and foremost. Personally, I also consider myself a Liberal, a Democrat, a Green, a Socialist, a civil libertarian, a unionist, a Moderate and a gay libber, but those are the sub identities. Yeah, there’s a lot of overlap between these. Some of you consider yourselves Democrats above all else. That’s your identity. It affects things. One of my gripes about the party people is you’re often partisan, party above all else (here I go again, labeling and stereotyping). But you have a tendency to have a double standard for “bad” behavior if it is committed by a Republican as opposed to a Democrat. Or to oppose every single thing a Republican proposes (granted it’s easy to mistrust them). You get caught up in side shows. Take the primary flap. That’s a side show, at least for a Progressive. I don’t care about it. I’m outside the circular firing squad. I love you all. The primary system broke down this year, and good riddance. I’ve hated it for twenty years. We’re gonna fix it for 2012,I think. We will.

There IS a Progressive political identity, folks. I swear I’m not making it up. There are hundreds of thousands of people around this country who identify as Progressives, first and foremost, a whole community. They don’t consider themselves Liberals. Just ask Scott Maddox, I think, and Kucinich, Jesse Jackson, Feingold, Howard Dean, Jerry Brown, maybe Obama, if you get the chance. We gotta get them down here.

Now you don’t need to name your identity, that’s cool. Better that than say your someone you’re not. But doesn’t it make things easier? In the end, after I talk to and observe you for an hour, I’ll name you. I have limited energy, so I will try to help Progressives get elected, not Liberals or Democrats, and I will advocate Progressive ideas, not Liberal ones or Democratic Party positions (except where they often overlap).

In the end, BEWARE of the labels people attach to themselves. They may not be what they appear. Maybe I’m not really Progressive, after all. Just be clear about your identity.

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