The true progressive movement

Many people are standing around dazed and bewildered. With Martin Luther King’s birthday coming on the heels of the massacre in Tucson, many people are wondering where this country is heading. Let me suggest that we “take the bull by the horns.” That we start wondering where the country is headed and take the country in the direction that we wanted to go. Let’s start with some inspiration. Maya Angelou.

Now let’s move onto something a little bit more concrete. From HuffPo:

In 1955, except for a recent Supreme Court decision on school segregation widely held to be unenforceable, there was no support from the government to end the racial order in the South. The Democratic Party was fatally dependent on the votes of Southern racists. The Republican Party of Lincoln was failing to lead even on something as rudimentary as a federal anti-lynching law.

Yet within a decade, the legal foundations of what Pulitzer Prize winning author Douglas Blackmon called “slavery by another name” had crumbled. Half a century later, public attitudes were continuing to evolve, glacially to be sure, but in the direction of Dr. King’s arc of justice. Far sooner than he might have expected, our country elected an African American president.

I mention all this not just because this is the day to remember Dr. King, but because we progressives have been depressing the hell out of each other lately and wringing our hands about President Obama’s missed opportunities.

It is all too easy to make a list of why all political possible avenues to a more progressive society are blocked. If you want to wallow in it, here is the list:

  • Wall Street capture of both parties.
  • An alliance between billionaires and disaffected common people.
  • The Citizens United case ushering in a new era of money overwhelming citizenship.
  • A grievously weakened labor movement.
  • President Obama spending his prestige seeking a nonexistent middle ground.
  • A right wing media machine/echo chamber with no counterpart on the liberal left.
  • An almost certain Republican takeover of both houses of Congress in 2012.
  • A prolonged era of deep recession that, weirdly, energizes the right rather than the left.
  • A new dark age of theocracy and denial of verifiable scientific truth
  • A national psychosis embracing guns as a basic civic right

I look at this list and think of ways that we can come together to make our country better. What do you think about when you read this list?


0 Responses

  1. There already has been a national psychosis embracing guns as a basic civil right. It’s called the NRA. In AZ they have found legislators and a governor as strong allies in dismantling almost all gun laws, and they aren’t done yet. I was amazed to see the response of many on the right that the Tucson shooting would have not been as bad had everyone been packing. Of course along with allowing vitually anyone to carry a concealed weapon they also saw fit to remove any training requirements. So imagine 30 people opening fire in a busy parking lot with many untrained shooters. Do they really think ONLY the shooter would be hit?

    When I bought a gun the NRA started telemarketing me (I assume the Sportsmans warehouse gives out this information). I was greeted with messages on how Hillary Clinton as Sec of State was going to side with third world war mongers to take our guns away. I told them that while I supported gun rights (with limitations) I thought they were crazy.

    I believe Thomas Jefferson meant that we have gun rights. But I doubt he supported shootouts in parking lots.

    And I’ll repeat, why is a 31 bullet clip needed for target practice? Its not a hunting weapon, unless you are hunting people. Even in self defense, you need 31 shots? I got a shotgun. One shot eveny badly aim should adequately provide self defense.

  2. I have another thought regarding the prolonged era of deep recession energizing the right. We saw this in 2010 national and local elections. In AZ the GOP controlled legislature refused to consider any tax increases but would rather cut education and medical benefits. The governor got them to allow a vote, which passed handily for a 1% sales tax increase.

    I voted for this increase, but would have preferred a less regressive increase in income taxes or property taxes. It did though prove that people are willing to pay more for vital services even in a recession.

    Now less than 2 weeks from the Tucson shooting by a mentally ill person, the governor and legislature are solid on no tax increases. But they plan to drastically cut more medical benefits including care for the mentally ill. And if the Fed doesn’t allow them to cut medicare benefits, off with the heads of eduction.

    I find these dangerous trends where the right uses the recession as an excuse to cut things it doesn’t want to pay for anyway. But heaven forbid allowing people to pay for things they think are important. Most people think education is important, and I’d wager most think medical care is important, particularly to protect us from deranged shooters. Not in AZ. The GOP rules!

  3. I can’t comment much for now, but I don’t think stricter gun laws would have stopped the shooting. Lunatics are going to do what they are going to do, wacky distance laws or mandating gun ownership isn’t going to help either. One of the many variables in this case that keeps getting forgotten is having a sheriff who actively refuses to do his job, and in this case it meant ignoring a huge red flag which lead to this tragedy.

    The coment on theocracy is laughable at best.
    Comment box isn’t moving down so I’ll have to stop here, I can’t see what I’m typing.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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