Political Heartbreak

Written By: Charles - Jul• 10•11

Mid-Summer                                                           Waxing Honey Flow Moon

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” – Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

Stevenson was my first political heart break.  My dad and I were for Adlai.  Dad probably had his reasons, mine were because Dad was for him.  That might have been the last political agreement we ever had.  Anyhow, I watched the Eisenhower/Stevenson returns on our television, a still rare phenomenon in Alexandria at the time.  The returns took until the wee hours to come in and staying up late delighted me.  I was, what?  5 at the time.

The more I’ve learned about Stevenson, a Unitarian, since then makes me wonder how Dad could have liked this guy and been so far adrift when it came to the Vietnam War.  Stevenson was the real deal, a man I’d still be proud to support.  We haven’t had a candidate like him, perhaps with the exception of Obama.

Death of the Liberal Class, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, a book I’ve just begun, had me gnashing my teeth by the end of the first chapter.  In a good way.  In that chapter he gives an astute analysis of the role of the liberal class in a culture, its necessary role as assurer of at least incremental reforms, and why America’s liberal class began to wither early in the 20th century until it is now virtually dead.  I suppose he’s right about needing a liberal class, I mean his argument makes sense to me, but the other point he makes, the way the liberal class of the FDR era right through today bankrupted itself through a mindless anti-communism and a venal capitulation to so-called free market economics, makes me mad.

Hedges’ political analysis seems spot on to me and it makes me want to get back in the struggles for economic justice and the true equality that only economic justice can bring.  If you want peace, work for justice.  As a long time convert to the New Left analysis, an anti-corporate, pro-union, anti-war, pro-working class movement, I worked most of my adult life on jobs issues, economic development, affordable housing, civil rights, single payer health care and radicalization of the Democratic party.  There have been some victories along the way, there have.  There have been many more losses and in today’s political climate, the matters that concern me most outside environmental ones have all but disappeared from public debate.

This makes me sad, but not defeated.  It makes me angry, but not rageful. It makes me unhappy, but not despairing.

We need again, a call to revolution in this country, not a tea-party, grab mine, forget about you revolution, but a neo-socialist movement that recognizes government’s role in insuring that no one goes broke due to medical expenses, than no one goes to bed hungry and that everyone has a bed, in a form of housing affordable.  Let’s get to work on that. Now.

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