May 1, 2012 2 Comments
progressive politics and regressive entertainment. like peanut and butter.
May 1, 2012 Leave a comment
Last Thursday, The Rachel Maddow Show continued its stellar reporting on how Republicans in Michigan are battling to deprive local communities of their right to elect local officials. The issue at hand are the Emergency Management laws that are being used to install czars who rule by fiat. As one would expect from Republican policy, this one also has a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color.
Oh, and it’s been largely caused by conservative policies on economics and manufacturing. Listen to the Reverend David Bullock:
We’ve been saying this all along. First of all, we don’t need financial stability, we need economic recovery. Two, there’s no connection between throwing democracy out and fixing the financial crisis. This is bad public policy….What kind of public policy says we continue to cut cut cut police, cut fire, cut city workers and somehow we’ll stabilize the city and people will want to move back into it. This is bad public policy.
Besides their excellent research and thoughtfulness, I appreciated that The Rachel Maddow Show made the connection between these political acts and larger values.
The question for Michigan and for other states that are looking at this as a potential model is not whether cities or towns are in good shape or bad shape. The question is whether we use democracy as the way we fix problems in this country or whether democracy itself is a problem, whether this pesky thing about people voting for people to represent them must be gotten rid of in order for us to do what we want to do, whether that experiment in governance is over and we govern in a new way in America now.
Progressives need to articulate their core values early and often. The traditional media tends to ascribe values to the conservative movement. And it’s true that being against a woman’s right to choose or a homosexual’s right to marry constitutes values of a sort. They’re the wrong values, of course, and progressives shouldn’t be afraid to point that out.
Progressives are successful when they speak in terms of values because our values are often shared by a large majority of society. Take, for example, the value of democracy. How would the fight over ACORN have gone if Democrats had:
1). Questioned the accusations so that their fabricated nature could have been exposed earlier on and…
2). Spoken proudly about the work ACORN was doing registering voters?
It would have been both the decent approach and politically effective. Republicans have a split in their ideals. They couch their policies in terms of democratic ideals but when it comes down to it they choose power over democracy in big, bold, anti-democratic fashion.
This is a war over values, and progressives need to keep hammering that home. I think the Republican War on Women is an excellent example, and it heartens me that progressives have been increasingly vocal about values, with Rachel Maddow often leading the way.