Friday, November 05, 2004

Grassroots Progressivism

So, now that we've got four more years of the same and maybe even worse from the administration of the United States of America, a lot of the people I've heard from have been talking about trying to do grassroots organizing that will make sure the progressive agenda is forwarded as much as possible in spite of the fact that, as Garrison Keillor sings, "We're all Republicans now!" I'm trying to collect ideas from a variety of people, and am wondering if you'd be willing to reply.

Here's why: a) We can do something, and we're organized, we all voted, we have a "mandate". b) It's healthy for people to get together and plan and be citizens together. c) If we swallow our frustration, we'll probably all get ulcers, which isn't healthy. d) Four years is a long time.

Here's what (this is my working list of concerns, and I'll expand it to embrace any replies I get, and then summarize): a) Further economic policies that avoid exploiting the poor for the sake of the rich. b) No tax breaks for anybody, especially the rich, when people are going hungry and lack basic health care. c) George W. Bush says he is a good steward of the land. That's a bunch of crock, thank you very much. We can all be better stewards of the earth. So we start with ourselves and our own practices. If we use lots of gas to drive places, then we need the very oil we complain about that effects foreign policy. At the same time, we hold our government accountable for good stewardship policies. d) A transvaluation of values. On November 2nd I voted for based on moral values informed explicitly by the Christian tradition. Apparently many of my Christian brothers and sisters have a different take on what constitutes "moral values." We need to get better clarity on this, and talk together about it. e) No curtailing of civil liberties especially by those who are trying to forward self-righteous, moralistic causes. f) International relations. I want to be able to visit foreign countries without feeling ashamed of my country.

That's a big list, and I know we can probably add a lot more to it. But I also have a how: a) Talk together frequently to figure out what our top priorities are. b) Figure out how to address those priorities at the local level and in our personal lives first, and then c) advocate vociferously at the public and national level for the same concerns we are seeking to address in our personal lives.

That's my whole missive, at least for now.



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