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Mon Mar 30, 2015, 04:34 PM

Leftist Values

“ It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it. For there is much to dissent to.

“We dissent from the fact that millions are trapped in poverty, while the nation grows richer.

“We dissent from the conditions and hatreds which deny a full life to our fellow citizens because of the color of their skin.

“We dissent from the monstrous absurdity of a world where nations stand poised to destroy one another, and men must kill their fellow men.

“We dissent from the sight of mankind living in poverty, stricken by disease, threatened by hunger, and doomed to an early death after a life of unremitting labor.

“We dissent from the willful, heedless destruction of natural pleasure and beauty.

“We dissent from all these structure -- of technology and of society itself -- which strip from the individual the dignity and warmth of sharing in the common tasks of his community and his country.”
-- Senator Robert F. Kennedy; October 22, 1966; Berkeley.


Last week, I posted an OP on DU:GD, about “party loyalty.” The essay documented fifty years of “leftists” being loyal to the Democratic Party, and several examples of the party’s right-wing behaving otherwise in those same years. The response from others here made for -- at least in my opinion -- one of the more interesting discussions here recently. I thought that maybe we could keep it going.

I would like to take the opportunity to discuss some of the values that I associate with leftists. I started with the above quote from RFK, for a couple of reasons. First, they help to define some of the values of the left ; even though Robert Kennedy was still in the middle of the process of evolving, after the murder of his brother, he knew that “business as usual“ no longer worked. And second, that RFK was the type of candidate that the left embraces, along with most Americans.

We’re not looking for a super hero President to do it all for us. No, we’re looking for the type of leadership that works with us. We recognize that moderate-to-conservative Democrats are more likely to either hold office, or work for someone who does, than those of us on the left. But we are far more likely to be the ones who went door-to-door, who ran the phone banks, and did the grass roots campaigning that won the elections that made their jobs possible. Thus, if we are on the same team, working towards common goals, we can accomplish a lot.

We’re not living in the past. Those issues that Senator Kennedy was speaking of, almost 50 years ago, are still the areas of valid concerns. They apply to now. And we think it is unrealistic to believe that we can continue to ignore them, today and tomorrow, without tragic consequence. We dissent from the idea that we are obligated to support the very policies that are currently invested in war and violence; for surely, warfare and violence are not the proper form of conflict resolution in today’s world.

During his 1968 campaign for the presidency, RFK appeared on Face the Nation, and said, “I am dissatisfied with our society. I suppose I am dissatisfied with my country.” We feel that same dissatisfaction today. It is not that we believe the people in our society is incapable of doing great Good: when there are tragic events, for example, neighborhoods and communities come together, to provide care and support for those in need.

Yet, as RFK wrote, in an op-ed to the NY Times: “Once we thought, with Jefferson, that we were the ‘best hope’ of all mankind. But now we seem to rely on our wealth and power.” The flip-side to our compassionate society is a corporate state, a military-industrial-congress complex, that is addicted to warfare. It destroys the potential for Good to take deep root in our society. It crushes human beings.

At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the left questioned if the US had become a police state. Today, the domestic police forces have been militarized to an extent that, when coordinated with the national military-intelligence organizations, result in our being a military-police state. We are dissatisfied with politicians who allow this to happen. We dissent from the forces that seek to trample the Bill of Rights.

I remember that in the summer of 2004, in a post on this forum, that I said that I had serious doubts that our constitutional democracy could survive another four years of Bush-Cheney. One of the moderates here responded by suggesting that I was being a drama queen. Now, a decade later, I suspect that more than a few leftists would agree with what I wrote. The US is feared, but not respected. Democracy does not appear to be spreading throughout the Middle East, as the neoconservatives promised. Too many people remain poor; too many people are one pay check away from poverty. The environment is continuing to be destroyed. The levels of anxiety, fear, hatred, and violence saturate our cities and suburbs and towns.

In my opinion, the one area where the differences between the “wings” of the Democratic Party are most easily identified on DU:GD -- and currently, on a daily basis -- is in the discussions of which candidate, or type of candidate, folks want to represent the Democratic Party in 2016. And that’s not to suggest that only moderate-to-right-wing Democrats support Hillary Clinton. Or that virtually no one on the left does. But the differences certainly are evident in many of the discussions here.

Speaking only for myself -- obviously -- I believe that we need candidates (not only for the White House, but for Congress and state offices as well) who will speak as directly and honestly as RFK did in the last two years of his life. We face severe problems, and the times require the potential of real change. Senator Kennedy was honest about that. Both those who supported and opposed him trusted that he believed what he was saying. That quality seems rare these days.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 80 replies Author Time Post
Reply Leftist Values (Original post)
H2O Man Mar 2015 OP
Scuba Mar 2015 #1
H2O Man Mar 2015 #5
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2015 #2
H2O Man Mar 2015 #6
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2015 #9
H2O Man Mar 2015 #11
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2015 #13
H2O Man Mar 2015 #16
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2015 #17
H2O Man Mar 2015 #18
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2015 #19
H2O Man Mar 2015 #23
Ghost in the Machine Mar 2015 #3
H2O Man Mar 2015 #7
hifiguy Mar 2015 #4
H2O Man Mar 2015 #8
Andy823 Mar 2015 #10
H2O Man Mar 2015 #12
democrank Mar 2015 #14
H2O Man Mar 2015 #15
G_j Mar 2015 #20
H2O Man Mar 2015 #24
99Forever Mar 2015 #21
H2O Man Mar 2015 #26
Enthusiast Mar 2015 #22
H2O Man Mar 2015 #28
Enthusiast Mar 2015 #32
JonLP24 Mar 2015 #49
sabrina 1 Mar 2015 #57
H2O Man Mar 2015 #58
mmonk Mar 2015 #25
H2O Man Mar 2015 #34
mmonk Mar 2015 #40
H2O Man Mar 2015 #43
mmonk Mar 2015 #45
deutsey Mar 2015 #27
H2O Man Mar 2015 #35
deutsey Mar 2015 #42
H2O Man Mar 2015 #44
sabrina 1 Mar 2015 #60
Octafish Mar 2015 #29
sabrina 1 Mar 2015 #36
H2O Man Mar 2015 #51
H2O Man Mar 2015 #50
2banon Mar 2015 #79
Orsino Mar 2015 #30
H2O Man Mar 2015 #53
Romulox Mar 2015 #31
H2O Man Mar 2015 #55
sabrina 1 Mar 2015 #67
MissDeeds Mar 2015 #33
H2O Man Mar 2015 #59
CanSocDem Mar 2015 #37
H2O Man Mar 2015 #61
Ichingcarpenter Mar 2015 #38
H2O Man Mar 2015 #62
Tierra_y_Libertad Mar 2015 #39
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #41
guillaumeb Mar 2015 #54
H2O Man Mar 2015 #63
bullwinkle428 Mar 2015 #66
Zorra Mar 2015 #46
H2O Man Mar 2015 #68
hootinholler Mar 2015 #47
H2O Man Mar 2015 #69
JEB Mar 2015 #48
H2O Man Mar 2015 #70
guillaumeb Mar 2015 #52
H2O Man Mar 2015 #71
aikoaiko Mar 2015 #56
H2O Man Mar 2015 #72
aikoaiko Apr 2015 #80
2banon Mar 2015 #64
H2O Man Mar 2015 #73
2banon Mar 2015 #78
derby378 Mar 2015 #65
H2O Man Mar 2015 #74
derby378 Mar 2015 #75
appalachiablue Mar 2015 #76
deutsey Mar 2015 #77

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 04:50 PM

1. Wonderful post, thank you H2O Man.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:07 PM

5. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 04:52 PM

2. We dissent from the current reality that women are discriminated against and treated unfairly.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:08 PM

6. Absolutely.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:10 PM

9. Thanks for posting, H2O Man. Thanks for starting the discussion.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:59 PM

11. Glad to, and

I definitely appreciate you adding to it!

I figure that about half of my family members are female. I am not willing to accept their being treated as second-class citizens. I've never really understood sexism -- it offers no advantages, only disadvantages, to all human beings. I feel the same way about gender roles, sexual identity, etc. This crap in Indiana, for but one example (an extreme one, at that) is unacceptable.

Injustice needs to be placed under bright spotlights, and good people need to step up to the plate. I like the calls for boycotts; I'll be sending out a pile of letters to businesses in the morning, explaining in clear terms exactly why I am boycotting their products.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 06:26 PM

13. I will send letters and make phone calls too then.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:14 PM

16. Great!

I was on "face book" earlier today. I think that a lot of Good People are taking an active stand on this. I think it's great -- it is so important that we all are fighting that gross "law."

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:25 PM

17. This gross law is step #1 in the state by state march to overturn the Federal Civil Rights Law

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:34 PM

18. Oh, you're so right!

Exactly. Exactly. And they will continue to try other ways to restrict other people's rights, state by state, unless we put a stop to it.

This instance will require grass roots pressure, plus support for a federal court case.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #18)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:38 PM

19. And corporate pressure to rescind these laws.

Here's who has these laws waiting for approval:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/2015-state-rfra-legislation.aspx

2015 LEGISLATION
Jurisdiction
Bill Number
Summary
Arkansas
HB 1228
Enacts the Conscience Protection Act; provides remedies and penalties for violating or abusing religious protections; declares an emergency.
Colorado
HB 1171
Concerns a state freedom of conscience protection act.
Georgia
HB 29
Relates to state government; provides for the preservation of religious freedom; provides for a short title; provides for findings; provides for definitions; provides for penalties; provides for the granting of relief; repeals conflicting laws.
Georgia
HB 218
Relates to state government; provides for the preservation of religious freedom; provides for the granting of relief; provides for definitions; provides for a short title; provides for findings; provides for an effective date; repeals conflicting laws.
Georgia
SB 129
Relates to state government; provides for the preservation of religious freedom; provides for legislative findings; provides for definitions; provides for the granting of relief; provides for a short title; provides for an effective date; repeals conflicting laws.
Hawaii
HB 1160
Prohibits the State or any county from burdening any person's right to exercise religion absent that burden being the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest.
Indiana
HB 1632
Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.
Indiana
SB 101; Signed by Governor - 3/26/2015
Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest; provides a procedure for remedying a violation; specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law.
Indiana
SB 568
Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.
Michigan
SB 4
Creates Michigan religious freedom restoration act.
Montana
HB 615
Revises laws related to the fundamental rights under the constitution; relates to constitutional amendment proposals.
Creates the Montana Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Nevada
AB 277
Prohibits state action from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion under certain circumstances.
Nevada
SB 272
Prohibits state action from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion under certain circumstances.
North Carolina
HB 348
Enacts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Oklahoma
HB 1371
Relates to the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act; relates to definitions; adds certain definition; prohibits state or subdivision from making certain claim under certain action; provides for codification; provides an effective date.
Oklahoma
SB 440
Relates to the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act; relates to definitions and burden upon free exercise of religion; modifies definitions; authorizes certain action; authorizes certain relief; provides an effective date.
Oklahoma
SB 610
Relates to discrimination; relates to the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act; provides an effective date.
Oklahoma
SB 723
Relates to the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act; relates to definitions and burden upon free exercise of religion; modifies definitions; authorizes certain action; authorizes certain relief; provides an effective date.
South Carolina
SB 127
Relates to the South Carolina Religious Freedom Act; prohibits restrictions on the free exercise of speech or religion during the course of any locality, municipality, county, or other state instrumentality proceeding in violation of the first amendment of the United States or Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of South Carolina.
South Dakota
HB 1220
Provides for the free exercise of religion and to declare an emergency.
Texas
HJR 55
Proposes a constitutional amendment relating to the free exercise of religion; provides that the state, a county, municipality, political subdivision or agency may not burden a person's free exercise of religion unless necessary to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means; provides that a homeowners' association may not burden a person's free exercise of religion unless necessary to further a compelling quasi-governmental interest of the homeowners' association.
Texas
HJR 125
Proposes a constitutional amendment relating to a person's free exercise of religion.
Texas
SJR 10
Proposes a constitutional amendment relating to a person's free exercise of religion.
Utah
HB 66
Relates to religious freedom; affirms a person's religious freedom to act within the confines of the person's religious beliefs.
Utah
HJR 5
Relates to the protection of religious rights; proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to enact a provision relating to religious rights.
West Virginia
HB 2508; Failed - Adjourned
Creates the West Virginia Freedom of Conscience Protection Act.
West Virginia
HB 2830; Failed - Adjourned
Concerns the West Virginia Freedom of Conscience Protection Act.
West Virginia
SB 487; Failed - Adjourned
Creates Freedom of Conscience Protection Act.
Wyoming
HB 83
Relates to religious freedom; creates a Religious Freedom Restoration Act; provides definitions; limits specified governmental actions that burden religious freedom as specified; authorizes claims and defenses against governmental action that burden religious freedom; provides for severability of the act.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #19)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:06 AM

23. Perfect.

Thank you for adding this resource! Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 04:59 PM

3. K&R! Great post, thanks H20 Man! n/t

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Response to Ghost in the Machine (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:08 PM

7. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:06 PM

4. Kick 'n' rec.

 

Great post!

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:08 PM

8. Thanks!

Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 05:25 PM

10. I couldn't agree more.

To what Kennedy siad, along with what you said, I agree. And I think everyone should make sure to find a candidate that they feel is best suited to meeting such goals, and then they should do everything they can to make sure that person has a fighting chance to win the nomination next year.

I also believe that after the nomination process is over, and we have a nominee, we need to support that person by at least voting for them in the general election. If we want to move forward instead of going backwards, we need to make sure we don't let some republican like Cruz, Bush, etc. doesn't end up in the WH. I am sure that Kennedy would agree with that. The person that wins may not be the one we voted for in the primary, but the one that wins will be a million times better than any republican that might win. We have to consider the Supreme Court, women's rights, civil rights, and hundreds of other things that we know for sure a republican in the WH would be a disaster on those issues.

I am not a Clinton supporter. I don't know who I will vote for since we really don't even know who is running at the moment. I will wait, listen and find the on that I think would make a good president for "all" of this country. I won't be voting for Hillary in the primaries, that much I do know, if she runs, but whoever wins the primary "WILL" have my vote, even though they weren't my first choice, there is no way in this world I want another republican messing this country up, taking away the progress we have made with president Obama in the WH, and taking us backwards, not forwards. Just my opinion here.

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Response to Andy823 (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 06:03 PM

12. Very good!

I believe that our thinking is very similar on the issue of elections. I'm always willing to discuss with others what I think is right for me, and why I vote the way I do. I do not tend to tell others how they should vote -- unless, of course, I'm working a particular campaign. I trust others to vote their conscience. (The only exception is when it comes to extended family, neighbors, or friends, who are republicans. I do explain why I believe they are voting against their own best interests.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 07:00 PM

14. H20 Man, when you "speak" I listen. Thank you for this post.

As a Proud Leftist, popularity contests don`t sway my vote nor does the size of the bankroll collected by any Democratic candidate. I vote on issues only because issues I care deeply about represent the value system I`ve stood by for decades and passed on to my precious children.

I agree with you that the "type of candidate" Democrats want to represent them is the clearest indicator of the party`s different wings. Some in our party now support positions they were totally against when Bush was in office, obviously not because it`s something they believe in, but because it`s now a Democrat holding that position. I honestly couldn`t do that. If I`m against landmines under Bush, I`ll be against them under Obama and still against them in the next administration, no matter which party is in the White House.

As Robert Kennedy said, a corporate state coupled with a military-industrial Congress complex can destroy the potential for good. For beginners, look at corporate media. Same talking points, same white faces, all honoring the Washington-based buzzwords. There`s little interest in real-life people and their real-life problems. It`s 3-minutes or less with pre-arranged questions asking nothing of consequence to average citizens.

People are breathless over the 2016 presidential race. What we`ll hear (unless a Leftist somehow sneaks into the debates) is predictable. Candidates will (temporarily) "moves to the center" from right field once again and that homeless child will still be homeless come November of 2017.

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Response to democrank (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:12 PM

15. Well, thank you!

You make a number of valid, very important points here -- in a much shorter manner than I seem capable of, as the lady who volunteers as my editor often notes -- and I definitely want to respond to them. But first, I really want to thank you for your kindness. I know that I’m not “the voice” of any group, but I’m comfortable being “a voice” from the left. And it is very nice, when another voice from the left, compliments me as you have. That means a lot to me.

In fact, over the weekend, I sent my editor a link to the OP I posted last week. I said that my essay wasn’t what I wanted her to look at; rather, it was the many outstanding responses that created an outstanding thread. Plus, for a relatively long thread, there really wasn’t much hostility there. Maybe a little tension in two spots. But overall, very positive.

I’m glad you brought up the topic of your children, and the importance of teaching them your values. That’s a huge thing to me. More, all of my friends and associates who have children feel the same way. Quite a few of them are public school teachers; it’s always interesting for me to listen to how, in their jobs, the most important thing to them are the students. And it’s not just something they say -- indeed, they don’t have to, because their actions show their passion for teaching.

These folks are all employed in public schools. (Some of my family, friends, and associates “home school” their children. Obviously, they love their students, too!) They are capable of teaching important values, without having to include religion. It’s funny how the rabid republicans, who whimper about “school prayer,” don’t grasp this. Or, maybe they do: perhaps that helps to further explain their war on public education. Certainly, a school should teach civics, and encourage students to be educated participants in our democracy.

Family values -- including encouraging children to get a solid education -- are core values of the Democratic Party. It’s an example of the type of “common ground” that almost every single Democrat Party and Democratic Left member can agree upon. There may be different opinions on some aspects of public education, but it is difficult to think of an official from our party who attacks public education.

Not impossible, though, for New York State residents. Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to take adversarial positions to the teachers union, and to public education. He’s close friends with PA’s governor, and NYS senator Tom Libous; Christie is clearly an unethical specimen of humanity, and the republican Libous was indicted in federal court for corruption last year. While Cuomo was re-elected last fall, he didn’t have any support from leftists. I have no problem with those people who did vote for Andrew; however, they should understand why others were not willing to vote for him. (And no, that didn’t help his republican opponent in any way whatsoever.)

We should all be encouraging people to think for themselves. In fact, that’s half of one of Onondaga Nation’s Chief Paul Waterman’s teachings to my children: “Think for yourself; act for others.”

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:39 PM

20. Amen

Beautifully said.

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Response to G_j (Reply #20)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:11 AM

24. Thanks!

In that brief period, from 1966 to '68, Senator Kennedy told the Truth to the American people. He challenged them to become actively involved, from the local community level, up to the national level. And it was -- and still is -- a beautiful message.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 08:45 PM

21. Thank you for this, H2O Man.

Robert F Kennedy awoke me politically. I often wonder ...


What if?


Personally, I think it would be a different world, certainly a different nation.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #21)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:28 AM

26. Right.

I think that you expressed the experience of a lot of us here. The quote at the top of the OP comes from my copy of his '68 campaign magazine, "Bobby." It went on sale (for 60 cents) in the local newspaper/magazine store a couple of days before the California primary. It's a bit tattered now, all these years later, kind of like me.

The two other quotes are in "The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America," by Thurston Clarke (Henry Holt & Co; 2008). That book's prologue details how that question -- "What if?" -- haunts many of us today.

And you are exactly right: it would be very different today. The dynamics of Chicago, Nixon, Vietnam, and the extensive series of crimes known collectively as "Watergate" damaged the nation, far beyond how bad it was when RFK was a candidate.

I still wear the tie clip that he handed out, during his 1964 campaign for the Senate, on the courthouse steps in Norwich.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 06:29 AM

22. K&R! This post should have hundreds of recommendations!


Yet, as RFK wrote, in an op-ed to the NY Times: “Once we thought, with Jefferson, that we were the ‘best hope’ of all mankind. But now we seem to rely on our wealth and power.” The flip-side to our compassionate society is a corporate state, a military-industrial-congress complex, that is addicted to warfare. It destroys the potential for Good to take deep root in our society. It crushes human beings.

It continues to crush human beings. It continues to crush Americans even if they aren't active military.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #22)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:53 AM

28. Thank you.

I think that "foreign policy" needs to be a huge consideration for the 2016 elections. That obviously includes for the White House, but it involves both houses of Congress, as well.

The mess in the Middle East stands out. While things were far from perfect before Bush-Cheney, the hell that the region has become today is largely due to the policies of the neoconservatives. Our elected officials should have attempted to prevent the Cheney-Rumsfeld et al stirring of the pot there. The damage they did there would also inflict serious harm to our country.

We simply cannot continue to allow the neoconservative agenda to dictate.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #28)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:21 AM

32. You are so right.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #28)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:48 AM

49. It is #1 on my list

I badly want foreign policy to be reformed but I'm not sure where most potential candidates stand on those issues but I know enough about Hillary Clinton to know she'll continue to take us in the wrong direction. There are her 2003 Iraq war speeches. She also said it in a somewhat recent article that US would have been better able to tell whose arming the ISIS rebels rather than the regular rebels if we had "skin in the game" meaning if we were arms trafficking we could tell whose arming who. Not only it wasn't true given that Frontline & others reported that the CIA flew them out of Turkey to Qatar to train & arm rebels (they asked screening questions but I'm sure terror groups w/ experience in dealing with spies know how to pretend to be someone else for US top shelf equipment) but a statement such as "skin in the game" has bad idea written all over it.

That is another thing. "Gun control" means something completely different outside our borders.

Had to let that out, I agree great thread K&R & agree with most of the responses as well.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #49)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 02:41 PM

57. Foreign Policy is hugely important right now, imo. Even if we were only to think of the

enormous drain on this country's resources. Trillions have been spent that could have turned this country into one of the best democracies OUR money could have bought.

Imagine even half of that money going to Education.

Imagine using it to create jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, providing long term jobs for millions of Americans.

It could practically eliminate poverty if it were to be spent here.

And that would lead to less crime.. Which is a real imminent threat to many Americans.

But most of all, we are doing wrong as a nation.

That loses the US the moral authority to be able to influence other countries in terms of human rights, eg.

I just read a report that states the US and its Western Allies have killed over 1.3 million human beings over the past decade or so.

And that, has made us more enemies than we had when it started. So we are LESS safe.

Raising the question: 'What did the Iraq War do FOR the American people?

Stopping these neocon policies abroad should be at the top of the list of issues in the coming election, imo.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #57)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:14 PM

58. You're right, of course.

And you bring up an essential point: our foreign policy is our domestic policy. It hasn't always been this way, and it is unfortunately becoming extreme at this time. It goes beyond the question the nation faced during the Vietnam era -- did we want guns or butter? -- and now involves the institutionalization of spying on citizens, clamping down on Amendment 1, and obviously the militarization of municipal police forces.

We have citizens afraid to be in public without carrying weapons; punks like that George Zimmerman, pretending he was law enforcement and murdering a kid; and an increase in police assaulting, even executing, people in our streets. And for what? No good comes from it. Thus, we consider the "why?" Because we get the constant diet of anxiety, fear, and paranoia.

Growing segments of our population are "colonized," for all intents and purposes. They are offered amusing, glittery trade items, in return for their being first class citizens The percentage of black Americans who are either incarcerated, or on probation or parole is staggering.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:27 AM

25. I think we all have to realize the system has become structurally worse.

Just capturing the Presidency will not change much soon but maybe can pave the way for conversations to address our societal, ecological, and economic problems especially as they relate to income inequality. A more progressive America or a semblance of return is still a decade or more off.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:16 AM

34. Right.

When you build a house, you always start with the foundation. Yet, in "off years," we always see less interest in most elections, than when there's a presidential contest. In order to institute real change, we have to navigate those tides.

Democracy is a process, rather than a future goal. What we do today will help to determine what is possible tomorrow. As important as the presidential elections are, we need to continue putting most of our effort into strengthening that foundation.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:35 AM

40. Yes. Foundation, then brick by brick to soundness.

My focus on a candidate for President is the question if they have what takes to start the conversation (foundation).

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Response to mmonk (Reply #40)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:45 AM

43. As a young man,

I did a lot of work on foundations. It's hard work. I'd be sweaty and dirty within minutes of going into the "hole." Even if you try to be careful, you end up with tons of bruises and cuts. And people driving by had no idea how hard you were working, because you weren't visible, like you are when you are putting on the roof. It's the same thing in social-political activism.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #43)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:52 AM

45. Yes, everyday activists do the heavy lifting.

Eventually, politicians will then have to choose. Most are the last ones on board.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:33 AM

27. "we’re looking for the type of leadership that works with us."



I'm on the Left, but I'm not an ideologue and I don't insist on political purity, but I'm really tired of always being told we have to reach across the aisle and be bipartisan and be happy with watered-down results from which the lion's share of benefits go to the elites, while the other side often ramrods its agenda through.

I want leadership that not only leads but fights for our interests.

RE: RFK...here's something I wrote about his leadership that DU published way back 2002:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/02/07/27_rfk.html

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Response to deutsey (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:22 AM

35. Beautiful!

I really hope that everyone reads the OP at the link you provided. It is simply outstanding.

It is so important to not create a "St. RFK" (or a stained-glass MLK). They were human beings, who were not unapproachable -- in fact, they approached the public, asking people to help them in the struggle for human rights and social justice.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #35)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:40 AM

42. Thank you!

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Response to deutsey (Reply #42)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:46 AM

44. I've been really tempted

to copy & paste your essay here on this thread. I'd really appreciate it if you would!

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Response to deutsey (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:19 PM

60. I agree with H20 Man, that is a beautifully written essay. Should

be posted again imo. We are losing that kind of leadership in the Dem Party. And need to be reminded of what a Democrat ought to be for.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:01 AM

29. The Thing

You hit the nail on the head: TRUST.



MacReady: How you doin', old boy?
Dr. Blair: I don't know who to trust.
MacReady: (swallows, sighs) I know what you mean, Blair. Trust's a tough thing to come by these days. Tell you what - why don't you just trust in the Lord?


When the Democrats say they will do one thing -- support Universal Health Care, for instance -- and then, once in office, don't. A fraction of people remember. Same for matters of war and peace, Social Security, jobs, unions, family farms, public education, green energy, environmental protection...Things Change-Back.

And while those trusted to do something seem to have logical and plausible excuses, there's no real reason for them to even try. AS long as it's only a fraction who remember their individual gored ox. The Pols have already done the hard thing from their POV, they're elected. Hmmm? Now, what to do to get money for two, four or six years down the road?

PS: Sorry to sound so cynical. Since my first vote in 1976, I'm a happy warrior. Just tired of fighting my own team, too, to get anything done.

Most importantly: Thank you H2O Man! Great post.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #29)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:48 AM

36. The best way to know who we can entrust with the power to represent us, is

NOT by what they say in political campaigns, but by their records.

I don't think you're being cynical, Octafish, I think you're being realistic.

We can't 'win' simply by winning elections.

Really winning would be electing people who have proven they understand that it is the PEOPLE they are supposed to represent.

Far too many appear to forget once elected, who they work for.

Money talks apparently.

Which is why I hope Wall St actually meant it when they said they would not donate to the Senate races unless Elizabeth Warren stops talking.

Imagine the power they have given her to finally get money out of our politics!

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #36)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 12:39 PM

51. Well said.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #29)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 12:32 PM

50. Right.

In his book "The Last Campaign," Thurston Clarke noted that in this era, no politician dares to say the things RFK did -- for example, the two briefer quotes in the OP. Some will say rude things about the other party, or blame a minority group for all the nation's problems. But that, of course, is distinct from what Senator Kennedy was saying.

I think that being dissatisfied -- including with those elected to represent us, as well as the "establishment" branch of the Democratic Party -- is a sign of health. And of insight. The only folks who are satisfied are those who, as a result of current circumstance, are comfortable, because of that power and wealth Kennedy spoke of.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #29)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:35 PM

79. Hey There Octofish. Missed you. I saw what happened and that was completely unjustified, imo.

 

Thanks for being here too!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:09 AM

30. The meme is always going to be party loyalty...

...until leftists make up a clear majority of the party's base, sufficient to shout down private money.

The OP offers a good set of values.

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Response to Orsino (Reply #30)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 12:50 PM

53. Right. Thanks.

I've been working with some associates to broaden the local units of the Democratic Party in recent years. This is at the town and county levels, in a tri-county region. To register and organize more young adults, low-income folks, etc. And to promote stronger relationships with those of the Democratic Left, who aren't registered Democrats.

It's easier accomplished in some places, than others. People -- including really good people -- can get a bit set in their ways, and want to do things as they've always been done. And a few seem uncomfortable around those of us they view as extremists and/or leftists. And that's okay -- some change takes longer than others.

I think that as we've won the majority of a series of elections, in places where only republicans have won elections for many decades, people are catching on that we've got to change our approach, if we hope to change election outcomes.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:13 AM

31. The Rightwing of this Party ("centrists") does not share those values.

That's why the banks were "made whole" under this administration while inequality increased.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #31)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 01:31 PM

55. Right.

There is a powerful corporate wing to the Democratic Party. And, as you note, it does not share those values.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #31)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 06:04 PM

67. That right wing is known as The Third Way. And the Third Way = Heritage Foundation.

Yet, we have people on the 'left' who dismiss their dangerous existence in our party.

The good news is, the Third Way made the mistake of openly going after Elizabeth Warren, exposing themselves, which they normally do not do, to a huge backlash after publishing their views about her in Murdoch's WSJ.

It's interesting to see how arrogant and clueless those who have wielded power BEHIND the scenes, become. And how SHOCKED they are when they actually, finally come into contact with REAL voters.

Two founders of the Third Way apparently very disturbed by the Democratic process whereby an Elected Senator actually starts speaking FOR THE PEOPLE, decided to use, what they THOUGHT (from their DC bubble) was their 'enormous influence' within the party to ADMONISH this 'outspoken woman' in the WSJ.

As they tried to tell us, 'enough is enough' with these attacks on Wall St.

But to their surprise, while within their small, privileged, DC circles they may be 'respected' for their right wing views in the Dem Party, once they encountered the VOTERS, they received what was a real shock to their egos.

We haven't heard from THEM since. They have refused to discuss their article in the WSJ, so controversial was it.

Warren only BENEFITED from what they tried to do.

So they sent out what they thought would be 'better messengers', like Howard Dean. That didn't work either.

Now Wall St itself is issuing threats to 'stop funding' Dem Senators. Yay!! Finally, do they really mean it?

Warren wins again as even more voters not only flock to her side in this battle against Money in Politics, they put their money where their mouths are and OUT-DONATED Wall St on her behalf.

There really is a battle going on for the Dem Party right now. And we are fortunate that a few good Dems have emerged to fight that battle with us.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:22 AM

33. Another excellent post

 

Thank you, H20 Man, for your thoughtful, well reasoned posts. You are such an important part of DU.



K&R and bookmarked

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Response to MissDeeds (Reply #33)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:17 PM

59. Thank you!

I've been encouraged over the past week or so, by the number of people here that want to discuss serious, yet positive, subjects. And, of course, by the high quality of these discussions. I'm glad to be a part of this.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:50 AM

37. As a Canadian "leftist"...

 



...and a loyal foot-soldier in the fight to preserve Global Democracy, I applaud your continued efforts to 'raise the bar', so to speak.
I'm often frustrated by the unsavoury relationship Americans have with the 'free market' but, thanks to the articulate leftist writers like yourself, I am still in the choir.


.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #37)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:22 PM

61. Reading your post

reminds me of how my good friend Rubin used to tell me that I needed to move to Canada. He had, of course, re-located there in the 1980s, after residing in New Jersey. When I would visit him outside of Toronto, I understood why he loved it there so much. People seemed to be far more relaxed there, than I'm used to here in the USA.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:09 AM

38. It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it. For there is much to dissent to

qzcxMr











Thought I'd add to your RFK quotes and a kick and recom to your great post
thanks H2O man.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #38)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:23 PM

62. Powerful!

Thank you so much for sharing these! And I know that I'm not alone in appreciating them.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:22 AM

39. The argument between left and right always boils down to a question.

 

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Left reponds "Yes" no matter the color, gender, ethnicity, wealth, intelligence, or social standing of the "brother".

The Right responds "No" and says something about bootstraps while waving a flag.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:38 AM

41. +100

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 12:51 PM

54. wow!

you put a lot into very few words.

Congratulations

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:37 PM

63. Very well said!

You nailed it -- again!

Thank you.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 04:38 PM

66. BOOM. The right may grumble some kind of slogan showing their "concern",

along the lines of "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime", but will then actively take steps from preventing that man from obtaining said education.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:26 AM

46. tl;dnr



Great post. The last candidate for the Dem Presidential nomination who consistently spoke of the type of things that RFK did was Dennis Kucinich. He was attacked mercilessly and unjustly by both the MSM and the DU right.

The total dishonesty of those propaganda attacks on Dennis Kucinich at that time convinced me that we do indeed have some right leaning posters here with a nefarious agenda, an agenda that is significantly contrary to the best interests of the people and the planet, and right in line with the wealthy private interests that have usurped whatever vestiges of American democracy that we had left, and replaced it with oligarchy.

My point is, if we do manage find that quality RFK type candidate who displays the ability, integrity, perceptiveness, and wisdom, to initiate necessary change, protecting her or him from RW propaganda from inside and outside the Dem party will be a full time job for an enormous number of people.



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Response to Zorra (Reply #46)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:14 PM

68. Solid points.

I definitely agree with you.

The republicans, of course, are addicted to "attack ads." However, a coordinated grass roots campaign is the best way to counter them. It can be far more effective than the attacked campaign responding -- as that tends to sound like a reaction, rather than a response.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:37 AM

47. Feared but not respected

Kind of sums up our global position in a single phrase.

Had we spent what we've spent on the MIC in over the last 20 years on say doctors or education or the environment or infrastructure, I submit that no one would want to attack us, we would no longer be feared, but we would be respected and maybe even loved.

The right cares not for respect. Either giving it or receiving it. They seem to believe that Fear is enough. Every good animal trainer will tell you that a behavior done out of fear will be of substandard performance, where one motivated by respect or love will exceed all expectations.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #47)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:18 PM

69. Well said.

The right doesn't even value self-respect. Seriously. Their party demands that a prospective candidate being willing to humiliate him/herself, and behave at the lowest levels of human conduct. That they are willing to tell any lie, and eager to compromise themselves with unethical behaviors. And, on top of that, they must be self-righteous hypocrites.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:46 AM

48. K&R

 

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Response to JEB (Reply #48)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:18 PM

70. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 12:50 PM

52. and we must speak truth to the fearful, to paraphrase.

The GOP has been running on fear since 1968.
Fear of blacks was one of the cornerstones of Nixon's two campaigns. This fear was also used by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. We all remember Reagan's constant references to welfare queens, the fact that he started his campaign at a site in Neshoba County. The same county where Civil Rights workers Goodman, Shwerner, and Chaney were murdered.

When the GOP does not use fear of blacks, they use fear of Mexicans, Chinese, Arabs, Muslims, LGBT people, union members, and others.

They use fear to divide. And it works. It works because of ignorance. People are ignorant of their common interests.

They also control the media, obviously, and the schools by controlling the companies that print the textbooks.

When you spoke of democracy surviving, how can it survive and thrive when the 1% can buy enough politicians to rewrite our laws?

That said, fantastic post.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #52)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:41 PM

71. Absolutely right.

Great post! You hit the nail on the head -- over and over.

The most efficient national hate campaign in recent history would be Nixon's in 1968. I realize he won a close contest, which was followed by a hate landslide in '72. But what he was able to do, to gain re-election, was simply to build on the foundation he created from 1965 to '68. Thus, as repulsive of a human being, and as dangerous a criminal, as Nixon was, it is essential that we learn from him.

Definitely, later republicans did. Lee Atwater and Karl Rove studied Nixonian tactics. One could argue that those cads improved parts of Nixon's style of personal attack; there is no argument that mistakes them for being on his level, however. Nixon used racism, sexism, nationalism, and class-warfare with equal (dis)ease. In fact, he instituted these into the campaign- and political pillars upon which the republican party rests.

These tactics can be countered. That requires the grass roots to become more organized and disciplined than they have been, on a large scale, since the mid-1960s (with the possible exception of 2008). Although the hate tactics are entertainment/theater, intended to distract from serious issues, they must be countered. And, by no coincidence, an organized, self-disciplined grass roots, working in a coordinated manner, is the best and only chance we have to revive our constitutional democracy.

I'm not sure if I was able to communicate that clearly in this post. It's a topic that I might attempt to turn into my next OP in this series. I am very interested in hearing more of your thoughts on the topic.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 01:51 PM

56. I want to believe.



But I do not.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #56)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:59 PM

72. I hear you.

You said almost exactly what an increasing number of the people I work with are saying. There are a variety of reasons -- usually fairly closely related -- why they feel this way. And I definitely understand it. There are times when I think about the size and complexity of the problems we face, and see it in a similar manner. And that is distinct from being tired out, or feeling burnt out.

I have a couple of question: Is this a recent change? One reached over a long time? Or is it close to what you've thought all along? Also, if I am not being too obnoxiously nosy, can you explain why you feel this way? Of course, if you don't want to answer any/all of them, I understand that, too. (I tend to think "ahead" one or two OPs. Since this is an issue that a lot of us deal with, to some extent or another, it might be something a write about soon.)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #72)

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 07:18 PM

80. So I was in my early 20 in the early 1990s when Bill Clinton came on the scene


As an adolescent and teen I was naturally drawn to the Democratic party and liberal stance. It made so much more sense than Reagan and the Moral Majority crows. But my hopes were dashed as I watched Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis get their asses handed to them as they ran as classic liberal Democrats.

I was not initially impressed by Bill Clinton, but as I saw that he had potential to win I grew to like him. I liked his center stance and I think I was moving closer to center. And then he won and we removed George the Elder. And the economy grew. And then Bill won again and the economy grey again. And we stayed out of major wars. Life seemed good.

So I no longer believe in classic liberal politicians being able to win. I wish they could, but it doesn't seem possible. So Obama ran more liberal (Hope, Change, and all that), but I say him quickly move to the center. That solidified my belief that a left of center Democrat is the only kind that can govern.

That's the short version.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 03:54 PM

64. Well Done H2O Man! . Another one right out of the park!

 

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Response to 2banon (Reply #64)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:00 PM

73. Thanks, 2banon.

I appreciate it!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #73)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 10:32 PM

78. Thank you for shining the light on RFK's evolved political awareness, insight and quotes before he

 

was murdered, and with that snuffing out one of the finest leaders we would have known in our generation.

I don't think many here (those raised on Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush) quite get the Left's political frame of reference, they seem so willing to settle for the current status quo and call it "liberal" or "progressive" dismissing our pov with such disdain and disrespect.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 04:26 PM

65. RFK gave a list of what to oppose - we need a definitive list of what to support

And right now, I'm not seeing a unified vision of America's future coming from our party. Need I also remind everyone that California is dying?

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Response to derby378 (Reply #65)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 08:06 PM

74. Valid points.

Uncomfortable realities, of course, but I like the points you made.

I looked at the 1966 quote from RFK, and thought it might serve as a blueprint, or perhaps more of a "negative" that cameras once made, that could be used to make a definitive list of what I think the Democratic Party should support. And not just as a party plank, to be read every four years at the convention. But a list of things that elected officials, non-elected government employees, and the grass roots should be working on, every week of every year.

I hope that you might add a few ideas of what things you consider important.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #74)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:07 PM

75. For starters, a refocusing on labor

Without labor, there is no middle class. Labor does not discriminate between black and white, male and female, gay and straight. Instead of trying to grab votes from minority groups, the focus stays on what benefits all American workers. And in affirming the equal weight of every worker, there can be a renewed focus on civil rights and equal justice under the law.

For starters.

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Response to derby378 (Reply #75)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:26 PM

76. Right, no middle class w/o labor and I'd add no democracy w/o a middle class. Only the power of

strong labor can hold off oligarch rule. Our middle class, the greatest and largest the world has ever seen is now No. 2 behind Canada, the first time ever. In education the US is now No. 17 in the world. A large poor underclass grows as the middle class declines: and its' very dangerous for our way of life and our democracy.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 09:57 PM

77. RFK: A Reflection on True American Leadership

At H20 Man's request, I'm posting this article on RFK that I wrote for DU back in July 2002 (thank you!).

http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/02/07/27_rfk.html

"At stake is not simply the leadership of our party and even our country. It is our right to moral leadership of this planet."
— RFK announcing his presidential candidacy, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy is a personal hero of mine.

For me, RFK (or Bobby, which seems more appropriate to me) embodied the best qualities of authentic American leadership. Until his abrupt murder, Bobby’s pragmatic idealism inspired a nation ripping itself apart to come together - and it still speaks to us now in a time when corrupted, illegitimate power has such a stranglehold on our country.

Unlike what lamely passes for leadership today, Bobby was the real thing. The inclusive vision of America he proclaimed emerged from a conscience deepened by personal tragedy and moved by the suffering of oppressed people he encountered around the world. Instead of simply talking about compassion, Bobby demonstrated it. He was a true uniter: he brought together anti-war activists and veterans; Hispanics, inner city blacks, and rural whites; young and old; the affluent and the poor. And he was truly one of the most eloquent, impassioned political orators America has ever heard.

It’s easy to canonize Bobby as some sort of liberal saint, but I think to do so is to remove from him his most appealing and enduring trait: his humanity. Bobby’s humanity, as flawed and as noble as any character from the Greek tragedies he loved so much, defined his kind of “anti-political politics,” to borrow a phrase from Vaclav Havel, the former Czech dissident (and current Czech president). He was driven by neither focus groups nor ideology, but by a politics that grew from the heart.

As Ted Kennedy said in eulogizing his fallen brother, Bobby “need not be idolized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. [He should] be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”

It’s this Bobby, the “good and decent man” who wanted to lead America back to its moral center, that I hope will shine through in a promising new television movie about him on FX later this summer. Perhaps, in stark contrast to what we currently have in the White House and on the Hill, “RFK” may help remind us that we should expect (or even demand) more of our leaders than that they look like someone we’d like to drink a beer with.

Perhaps it will remind us that our leaders should defend the principles of liberty that are the very foundation of our society. As Bobby said in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, our leaders should acknowledge that “debate and dissent are the very heart of the American process,” and that those who attempt to repress these American values do not understand what this country is all about.

Perhaps the movie will help us to recall that true leaders do not run away when our country is in danger; instead they stand with their fellow citizens as Bobby did on the night Martin Luther King was assassinated. He was the only white public official who stood in a black neighborhood as riots erupted across America, and he helped to defuse the volatile shock of the crowd with these extemporaneous words:

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who will suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”

Maybe it will remind us that there are values underlying authentic patriotism that run much deeper than flag-waving nationalism and economic self-interest, as when Bobby said:

“The gross national product ... measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

I know that’s a lot to expect from a television movie, especially one that will be broadcast on a cable network affiliated with arch-conservative Rupert Murdoch. However, despite the current darkness shrouding our political landscape, the spirit of Bobby, the heart of what he hoped for and believed in about America, still shines out like an eternal flame in this darkness.

And with that light to guide us, perhaps we can, to paraphrase Bobby, stop looking at the way things are and ask in despair “Why?” And instead we can start dreaming again of things that never were and dare to ask, “Why not?”

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