I took a computer science class in college, a FORTRAN programming class. Each program I wrote was worth 8 points. However, there were at least 40 different things I could do to lose points. Mess up 8 of those those 40 things and get a zero.
And it’s exactly what liberals are doing to our president and his administration right now.
My mother-in-law likes to say “The Republican Party is run by a CEO, the Democratic Party is run by committee.” And it’s true. Republicans have a CEO (those who write their talking points and decide their positions) and then, almost without fail their members do what the CEO says as a single voice. The current marching orders from the Republican CEO are to thwart each and every thing this administration does, vote “NO!” on everything and frame every single conversation and debate as a failure of the Democrats. Their homogeneity is at once admirable and detestable. It’s counter to everything that Democrats stand for, right?
The Democratic committees and subcommitees and study groups and issue groups and focus groups, etc. all work independently. They each have their own issue to promote and defend and their own hills to die on and they are passionate about them, often to the exclusion of all else. Here’s a short list of just some of those issues:
- Peace and anti-war efforts
- Civil rights for minorities
- Ending torture
- Civil rights for the LGBT community
- Privacy and domestic spying
- National security
- The economy and jobs
- Banking regulation
- Environmental regulation
- A green energy economy
- Climate protection
- Campaign finance reform
- Health care and health insurance reform
- Women’s rights and control over their own bodies
- Education reform
- A fair and progressive tax policy
- Reigning in corporate power in the political realm
Yes, there are others, perhaps some that YOU feel more strongly about and that’s exactly my point.
We all have a handful of issues that WE see as The Most Important Issues of AllTM. I certainly do. The problem arises when we use OUR set of The Most Important Issues of All as our yardstick by which we measure the success of our leadership. Because we each have our own yardstick and it measures things differently. If our political leaders don’t measure up to OUR personal yardstick, they are deemed failures.
But I suggest that it’s nearly impossible for any political leader to measure up to every liberal’s yardstick simultaneously. It’s just not possible because they are all different and nobody can addess all of these issues simultaneously and to the satisfaction of everyone.
And because we all walk around with our yardstick in hand and our expectations front and center, we fail to see the larger picture.
Every day we get news of how the Obama administration is moving the ball downfield in the right direction. This week it was a push to more effectively regulate banks and get the taxpayers money back as well as firm statements about fixing the clusterf*ck that the SCOTUS created by giving corporations yet MORE political power and influence.
In the past it’s been things like putting solid, forward-thinking people in charge of our Department of Energy (Steven Chu) or on the Supreme Court (Sonia Sotomayor) or a progressive military veteran in charge of Veterans Affairs (Eric K. Shinseki). And things like vocal statements that we will not torture and we will shut down Gitmo (though Congress has thwarted this) and that the United States is committed to doing its part to reverse climate change and support for labor and those not in the top 10% of our economic strata and a whole host of other good, progressive stances. The list is long and this isn’t a diary intended to list them all. Rather it’s a diary to point out that we ARE making progress, we ARE moving the ball down the field and this administration is doing more to promote progressive causes than any in a very long time.
But these damn yardsticks we use — they almost ensure that the president will never measure up. It’s a test worth 8 points where there are 40 points worth of things to lose points on. If we require perfection, we always and forever be disappointed, dissatisfied and unhappy.
What frustrates me most is that liberals seem incapable of promoting their own yardsticks without tearing down those with different yardsticks and those with the power to make change happen. Impatience and myopia are hurting us and they are hindering our ability to move forward. We seem so trapped in Attack Mode from eight years of Bushian tyranny that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to hold a mop and contribute to the cause. Rather than working hard to fight for what we believe in, we now, in far to many cases, just throw rocks and work to undermine the best hope we have changing the country for the better. And I’m not just talking about the president but about ALL of us that a working for progressive causes: politicians, activists, and citizens.
I got some hope over the past couple of weeks when I watched the progressives come together to help Martha Coakley win the Senate seat in Massachusetts. Yes, we failed in the end but, for just a while there, we all seemed to be pulling the rope in the same direction. Sadly, that ended on Wednesday morning and we went back to the destructive tendencies.
I vow to continue to work hard for the things I believe in. But I also vow to look up regularly to see the progress we’ve made and to appreciate that. We only have two feet to stand on and if we shoot those feet, we will fall. And we will fail.
I’m just sayin’…