Requiem for American progressivism (4)

It‘s not just in their kaleidoscopic view of peace and compassion that progressives and ultraconservatives have a parting of the ways. It reaches much deeper than that; at the very bottom, at the source, of the political well itself: freedom.

For progressives, neither social progress nor the exercise of civil liberties can exist without freedom, as if it were the oxygen keeping alive the flame… ready to burn any arbitrary authority capable of bringing human progress and understanding to a halt.

At the aftermath of the presidential election, and the abdication by the Democratic Party leadership to fight under the banner of progressivism, Americans should come to grips with the idea of continuing economic, social and environmental change. More of that regressive change we’ve been experiencing for over three years; namely, a second round of wealth redistribution, unchecked fiscal irresponsibility, continued war overtones, blatant desecration of the environment and a frontal assault on freedom.

While all these changes are crammed down our nine-eleven, terror-numbed throats by the praetorian elite of plutocrats, a consenting mob of fundamentalist faithful are likely to remain attuned to those issues which for them have great moral significance, while keeping a blind eye to critical societal values which are based on hope and charity, but are unfortunately not faith-based.

As we get ready to enter the stage in the second act of this neo-conservative play, one that has all the makings of a medieval morality play, we may wish to ask the apostates of Christ’s teachings how they intend to remedy the socio-economic pillaging by their political bedfellows, the Cheney-bunch.

Are the new-born Christians prepared to replace that ember of hope progressivism has provided up to now? Hope for a just and better life on this earth… before the Second Coming? If so, a few questions come to mind… questions that in fairness would need to be answered, such as… How will child poverty be handled? What about the loss of living-wage jobs… and the demotion of the middle class to a newly created “upper lower class”? How will the increasing poor be helped, or the sick treated? How will injustice, hatred, intolerance, war and fear be addressed? Who will protect the environment… or be an advocate for future generations?

These “moralistocrats” who tilted the nation to an unrealistic Right may not find a moral dichotomy in keeping God in their lips while their hands soak in the sweat, blood and tears of their less-fortunate fellow Americans… but many of us do. Religious people, to be taken seriously, cannot afford to be long on moral judgment and short on compassion; or they will be judged themselves, and cast in ridicule for giving theism a bad name. It was their choice to establish “political conjunctivitis” with the neocons; therefore, it’s only just that we take the Religious Right to task to make amends for the deeds of their political allies.

In truth, this requiem is not so much for American progressivism, but for the few discernible remains of progressivism which had survived in the Democratic Party. Progressivism has not died in the hearts and minds of many Americans, and probably never will, even if the group think of empire hardens the hearts and brainwashes the minds of so many Americans. But its influence in American political life has waned, becoming almost invisible in today’s Democratic Party.

There is no moderate progressivism as implied by the overly pragmatic approach that Democrats such as Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and most of their peers, have taken all these years. There can be no compromise in placing peace, compassion and freedom at the forefront of political life. How a person measures up on those issues determines whether or not the term progressive applies.

A requiem for progressivism does not imply the acceptance of its eternal repose… not if we look outside the Democratic Party. Accept we must that for progressivism to grow and flourish it must establish a garden of its own… and not be a sharecropper laboring in the infertile lands of others… as it has done for the past few decades.