An Open Letter to Liberals & Progressives

An Open Letter to Liberals & Progressives

United we stand, divided we fall. Simplistic? Perhaps? Obvious? I’m not so sure? A few months ago, I went to a talk given by Chris Hedges on his book tour, promoting his latest book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. This is a topic that has long fascinated me & in his talk, Mr. Hedges mentioned a professor of his that had inspired him i.e. James Luther Adams. So, I looked Mr. Adams up on the Internet and found a quote that was the inspiration for this essay.

It is the essence of liberalism to criticize itself.

This quote struck me like a bolt of lightning because I have long been perplexed as to why we on the Left, fight so much between ourselves? It occurred to me that those, who are working to suppress all dissent in America, must be laughing their butts off at all the in-fighting on the Left? Are we doomed because of our internal contradictions? I was particularly disappointed a few years back while listening to Air America one day. Ralph Nader was being interviewed by Randi Rhodes. She viciously tore into Mr. Nader like nothing I have ever heard before. I thought to myself at the time, how in the hell can this station claim to be the hope of the liberal & progressive movement in America? Ms. Rhodes loves to fawn over the Clintons—especially Bill Clinton—but she savaged Mr. Nader who has sacrificed his entire life to defending the poor, the disenfranchised, & all the rest of us born without a silver spoon in our mouths. Ms. Rhodes apparently has forgotten that President Clinton signed NAFTA into existence. Do I need to remind you of what harm NAFTA has done to America’s working class? Ms. Rhodes also seems to have forgotten that Hilary was a lawyer for WalMart & sat on their board. I’m not saying that the Clintons didn’t do some good for America but let’s not bury our heads in the sand & whitewash them as some sort of heroes on the Left. And yes, I realize that I’m guilty of doing what I’m arguing against i.e. arguing amongst ourselves. But, I haven’t heard or read any mention of this particular incident & felt it important to point out. Furthermore, I am offended by some of the commercials on Air America radio. It again seems hypocritical or undermining for the radio station that is supposed to represent the “progressive” movement in this country to air commercials for the enemy?

Because of Ms. Rhodes outrageous attack on Ralph Nader, I have stopped listening to her show. And this incident leads to my central argument which is that we need to establish a weekly meeting similar to Grover Norquist’s Wednesday meetings. I firmly believe that until we learn to stop tearing each other down publicly & present a united front to America, the spineless Democrats in Congress will continue to sell us out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing for censorship but consensus in public. Like Norquist’s weekly meetings, we should gather the best politicians, professors, pundits, etc. & they could argue it out until they arrive at some talking points they can all live with. And then our message, framed our way, is put out nationally in every media forum possible. A few ideas on how to more effectively do this. Perhaps our friend, George Soros, could be persuaded to finance a television station on regular t.v. like the Fox Network? Too many Americans don’t have cable t.v. & if we’re going to reach a much broader audience, we need to consider this. Democracy Now is one of the most informative programs in America and we need to make the millions of working class & middle class Americans aware of this valuable source of information. Pacifica Radio, especially Ian Masters’ Background Briefing broadcast on Sundays from L.A., is another brilliant program that can open people’s minds.

Of course it’s going to take quite some time to get our message, our values, our principles out there to the general public. And the “conservatives” have been building their media infrastructure for over 30 years. But we have the power of the Internet today & can link with one another faster & more efficiently than ever before. Some argue that it was the bloggers who made the crucial difference in the democrats taking back the Congress. Well, as we’ve seen, the democrats have been doing the Potomac two-step for so long that their integrity has disintegrated. The democrats and the republicans only respect one thing & that’s power. So, we have to build our power base to the point that they can’t afford to ignore our wishes or are afraid to do so. I have to agree with Gore Vidal when he says that we have a de facto single party with two wings. I don’t have to tell you how serious & dangerous the state of the world is. And the U.S. is the major threat facing the planet. Above all, we, as citizens who empathize with the poor & the suffering around the globe, have a tremendous responsibility to take back our government & stop the madness.

Along with reaching out & communicating our message/values to all of America, we need to pool our energy & resources to drastically improve our public educational system. In a nutshell, we need to teach critical & analytical thinking to empower people. Without a strong grounding in these skills, it’s much easier for us to be duped & demagogues can come from all points on the political spectrum.

In conclusion, I’d like to share a quote from Noam Chomsky, our greatest national treasure:

David Barsamian: Something you’ve been saying over the years strikes me as
Somewhat contradictory. When you talk about the connection between U.S. aid
And human rights abuses, you say that connection is ‘obvious,’ and at the same
Time you say that there’s no way to know about these things and you have to be
A fanatic, as you describe yourself, to find these things out. Doesn’t that leave
People intimidated and disempowered?

Noam Chomsky: If I put it that way I’m being a little misleading. As an individual,
You have to be a fanatic to find it out. On the other hand, if you’re part of a semi-
Organized movement, like the Central America solidarity movements, you don’t
Have to be a fanatic, because you have access to alternative sources of informa-
tio. (Keeping the Rabble in Line: Noam Chomsky Interviews with David Barsamian, pg. 159)

To put it another way, we obviously can’t all be Noam Chomskys & don’t have the time to inform ourselves as thoroughly as he does. Therefore, we need to consolidate the knowledge out there—and I know there’s tons of it—and we need to simplify or connect the dots in order to wake America up & take back our power. Most who will read this essay, are aware of how effectively the corporate media have marginalized Professor Chomsky. The ‘conservatives’ merely have to circle their wagons & conserve or protect the status quo. But we, the progressives, have the much harder job of liberating people’s minds by sharing with them what we have learned from our years of hard work. Our diversity is our strength but our public feuding is our Achilles heel. Do we share Prometheus’ fate, or are we going to learn to unite in our common cause to save humanity from the vultures preying on us?

—Rob DeLoss, June 15, 2007

Addendum: A thought came to me recently i.e. I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover’s successors at the F.B.I. have continued his practice of keeping secret files on everybody of importance in Washington D.C. & threaten to publicly expose any democrats who might show some semblance of “balls?” Because quite frankly, I can’t figure out why for the life of me that the “democratic leadership” has been so spineless that they ought to be dubbed the jellyfish party. (Jan. 7, 2008)

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