Sunday, September 16, 2012

Compromise & Re-Building a Progressive Coalition

Compromise refers to adjusting one’s political position to be someplace between two beginning positions of opposing sides.  In a murder trial the extremes are not guilty and the death penalty, so perhaps a compromise would be guilty of a lesser crime and a either no prison term or a short term.   In American politics, the problem with compromise is that the Right end of the political continuum has moved far further to the extreme right than at any time in the nation’s history.  None of the founders imagined a country run almost entirely by major corporations, as is the case today.   The Progressive position is similar to what was previously called liberal or moderate Republican positions, mainly on social issues, but fiscally more like conservatives.  There is basically no left wing position representing the American people, as that term is understood in the rest of the world, i.e. leaning toward socialistic solutions to national problems. The US is the only country among its allies with such an extreme form of Right Wing governance.  In the US today “compromise” from current beginning positions is between mildly conservative and radically conservative.  There are currently almost no liberal or left-leaning alternatives.   Most American working people, and lower income unemployed people’s values are more aligned with those of the former moderate to liberal candidates, but because of the vast power of financial interests influencing the electoral processes, these wealth interests in effect buy elections.  Electoral corruption has become rampant and public in America.

This has created a very unhealthy state of political affairs in which much of the country’s population is unrepresented, unconscionable for a country that boasts of its democratic governance.  No wonder much of the world has no interest in adopting America’s form of corporate democracy.  The Occupy Wall Street group was a disorganized attempt to begin to address this huge discrepancy, but was ineptly conceived and even more incompetently implemented.  Eventually, another group will come along, far better organized with strong connections with various important progressive power groups, and a commitment to truly democratic reform, rather than anarchy.   The conservative establishment will attempt to suppress such a group, recognizing its threat to continued unilateral control over the US government by corporate interests.  An administration that refuses to accommodate the interests of such a democratic group representing a very large component of the people, will do so at its peril, democrat or republican.  If governmental suppression becomes heavy handed, violence will very likely result, with widespread civil unrest.  Such a gross imbalance of power and lack of representation of such a majority of the American people will not be tolerated.

American unions are logical focal groups around which broader coalitions could be built among the American public.  Such coalitions would appropriately be seen as being interested in more than the wages and working conditions of union members, but as having a commitment to average working and unemployed Americans more generally.  Unions should begin reaching out to lower and middle income working Americans and providing basic services that are being denied by the Right Wing House of Representatives and Senate.  Local free or very low cost health care clinics, legal services, childcare, financial services, housing and transportation assistance, neighborhood watch and public safety, and other essential services could help build stronger bonds between middle and lower income communities and coalitions organizing for a more democratic America. If Obama is re-elected he will need every bit of support possible to proceed to rebuild an America that is consistent with our values. 

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