Where’s the Progressive Movement Headed?

I haven’t written a general political post in a while. I think it’s far important that we get our minds in a productive place and take steps towards our personal elevation. Not to mention the fact that telling women they are free and should act accordingly is political. When other entities are actively attacking a group counter measures must be taken immediately. Our life experiences impact everything we do. If other people have too much of an influence over some of our basic rights they can negatively impact us. Determining who has our best interests in mind and taking responsibility for whom we choose to support is key.

It’s why I will mock the idea of those who claim to be progressive or liberal because there isn’t one standard definition. People have to be vetted. Some are simply looking out for themselves but pretending to have a wider interest in mind. There’s nothing wrong with self-care but I’m referring to those that are being manipulative at the expense of others.

Perhaps I should ask who and what is the progressive base? We’ve seen how the Republican Party has been lock-step in opposition to anything the current President does. They will not give an inch and would rather torch the building than see it occupied by new owners. It’s too bad the Democratic Party can’t be that loyal to an ideal. It’s also too bad those members of the party who are not politicians or lobbyists can’t find common ground. The politicians themselves are floundering somewhat and comprised individuals to begin with. How can you support the ideals of a political party on paper when your business ties and associates are doing things that undermine them? Hence the term Democrat In Name Only.

Republicans had members who were far more tolerant like Jack Kemp but he could only go but so far. Democrats have edged out the truly liberal candidates like Bill Bradley a long time ago. In fact it’s their decision to out-Republican a Republican that has us in this current conundrum to begin with.  Politicians want to win elections period. There are some who have been at this long enough and came from a different generation that they still try to actually help people like Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee but who’s being groomed now to take over for the coming generations? Having a brown face in a high place does no good if they are not willing or able to support policies that benefit.

The Supreme Court ruling regarding corporations and campaign donations is the death knoll for the United States as a superpower. There had to be an appearance of propreity before that’s now erased. Everything and everyone has a price tag. Of course that leaves one window of opportunity for those who can come together, get familiar with running a business, start a corporation and fund their own candidates of choice. It already costs millions, often hundreds of millions to run a successful campaign. It’s difficult getting enough people to part with that type of cash. This is partially why we get lousy candidates who compromise so easily. Now we can stop pretending it’s an equitable scenario. Of course there’s always a wild card that can get thrown in the mix. In the case of the Massachusetts Senate race, it’s why a candidate got lazy and lost.

There was once a lot of white guilt and a window of opportunity for blacks to make permanent inroads through the passage of the Civil Rights Act and beyond but so much of that capital has been squandered. It was never going to be “equal” and the focus on some fairness doctrine would always fail. The focus should be on becoming a special interest group whose votes can be given and taken away. Many of the black elected officials have held onto their seats as if they are running a mini-fiefdom and have shut others out. The only successful upending of that practice was when Donna Edwards finally unseated Al Wynn and he was like a dog with a bone, trying every legal trick possible to delay the inevitable.

Electing Barack Obama may turn out to be a disaster for those that can least afford it. You have those that are mad he didn’t turn out to be the Magic Negro they were hoping for who now openly mock him. You have those that still view him through a male savior prism, thinking he can do no wrong and won’t accept any legit criticism. You have those whose support was based on a particular issue who will withdraw once they realize they’ve been thrown under the bus to appease factions that will never be offered enough sacrifices. Some have always contended Obama was a Trojan Horse candidate from the beginning who made a lot of empty promises, played on symbolism, is a weak leader and will do more harm than good. One does have to wonder why all those malcontents and enemies were rewarded with positions in his administration and why he’s maintained numerous Bush appointees.

Air America went off the air last week. I wish I could say I was sad but I really could care less. It started off with such great potential but I felt it was a wealthy person’s idea of limousine liberalism. It was high-brow, too New York, too white-oriented and didn’t work with local communities. Where was its audience? Who was its audience? As an AA black woman there was never a real attempt to reach me and speak to my concerns. Was I just supposed to fall in line based on certain assumed shared generalities? If you’re not invested in me why should I care? Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have millions of  listeners for a reason. They’re speaking to the lowest common denominator. It may be exploitative (and profitable) but it provides a pay-off that is irresistible to many. Teabaggers are united in that they are fighting for whiteness. Some may think gaining a broader perspective would quell the fears of these types, but I don’t think educating folks on the realities of life will be the panacea to hatred. Race is the easy fall-back position that the upper classes can always use to retain power. It’s why so many focus on immigrants being here versus the companies that hire them. Or the involvement of corrupt government practices aided and abetted by foreign countries in destabilizing some to begin with.

Race and class to a lesser extent are easy things to focus on because they can be quickly determined, especially with regards to race. This may be the unpopular opinion but blacks, particularly African-Americans are headed to the bottom of the pile unless some fundamental changes are made and pronto!  Latinos will officially be declared the largest ethnic “minority” group in the 2010 Census.  Their physical numbers have increased as well as a growing political dominance will emerge. I found it ironic that Univision held a telethon for Haiti knowing full well these networks (Telemundo, etc) don’t show Latinos with African heritage in a favorable light if at all. If you go to Miami will there be a sudden surge of support by Latinos for the Haitian community living there? Well I won’t hold my breath.

The African-American (AA) culture has been in the gutter for some time. It’s not only because of the lack of stable families became the norm. It’s not only because some decided to discuss negative life scenarios and degrade black women. It’s not just because certain white executives at companies saw it as a profitable venture that would be more effective than all other media attacks combined. It’s not only because some people are truly dumb and thought you could control the flow of evil. It was because black people who know knew better did nothing and some of those people also decided to make a profit from it.  When people offer up their necks to be chopped off few will refuse to grant their wish.  Nobody wants to actually be black but everybody wants to benefit from past endeavors that were successful. AAs have not demanded reciprocity from other blacks, let alone anyone else. Others feel free to spit on AAs regularly and as their political clout rises will pass laws that make it feasible to do so without repercussion.  No black president is going to stop that or make any efforts beyond what people are willing to do for themselves.

4 Replies to “Where’s the Progressive Movement Headed?”

  1. The focus should be on becoming a special interest group whose votes can be given and taken away.

    no one saw the negative side of assimilation being the utter neglect of our own cultural causes and stability. the only redeeming value of segregation was that it helped enforce the communal purpose. in our rush to get away from the slurs and slander that comes along with our social standing, we abandoned the one true element that kept us together not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well.

    i dont fault our older generations for leaving behind their own struggling businesses and institutions when factories such as GE and ford opened up to us or when busing allowed us access to better educational facilities (we knew there would be difficulties in adjustment from white faculty members, but who would have thought 40 years later we'd still be treated indifferently in a united school system?)

    we left too much of who we were behind and didnt have the proper institutions to care-take our interests. back in the 80's, i think we made the correct moves when we recognized the need for black history classes for our students from our various perspectives. the compromise is what killed us: an extra page in the american history books dedicated to malcolm x, nelson mandela, and maybe one or two more black inventors.

    we went from reading van sertima in the streets to mcdonalds becoming the official sponsor of black history.

    the black panthers got free lunch programs in the schools of our nation.

    the teabaggers are gonna make sure my abscessed tooth remains a pre-existing condition.

    as always, there is power in numbers.

  2. Very clear and concise.

    I agree with your last paragraph wholeheartedly. We refuse to hold our leaders accountable.

    I was about to write a post about the special election in Massachusetts. You said the key word "fiefdom." I don't think the Dems lost in Mass because the candidate got lazy, but its because the Kennedy's created a fiefdom in Massachusetts. This leader for life syndrome is going to kill us. You are so right, there are folks who are in it for the power (which is why I still find Shirley Chisolm to be the best politician ever!) and not for helping their constituents.

    What bothers me the most is that we all (whites too) don't understand how the political process works.

    And you are so right about the Supreme court decision, we can all stop pretending now.

    1. It's all on us and how much we're willing to fight and work together. I just don't see a progressive movement being more than a whimper.

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