Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Progressive Thoughts for the Liberal Mindset
Dyan Ortbal-Avalos

Since black Tuesday I have been silent, collecting my thoughts about what has happened in our Country. I couldn’t watch the news, and I couldn’t read my e-mails. I had to repeatedly tell my mother who would call, “I can’t talk about it yet Mom.”

Today, I can talk about it, but I don’t particularly want to, well not in the “dwelling on it” sort of way. Do I think the election was stolen? There is an old African proverb that goes something like this… Until the lions have their own historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter. We will probably never know the extent of what really happened with the likes of Sinclair Corp. and, the anti-Christ himself, Rupert Murdoch controlling our media. However, there are certain things that we do know for sure.

The established Democratic Party is not working for us as progressives. The DNC, the DLC, the state parties, it is time for a wake up call. Bye-bye Terry McAuliffe, we need some new blood. Even at the state party level, we must infuse new ideas, a new and better way to do things. I don’t blame these organizations for our current situation; I blame us, all of us who didn’t even know who was running our state Democratic Parties or the DNC before this election cycle. We took too much for granted for too long, and now we must pay the price. Unfortunately, our price is extremely high and particularly repressive.

I am sick of hearing how “brilliant” Karl Rove and the maniacal machine are. What they do is not brilliant, it is evil and thoroughly corrupt, and the fact that we could lose the so called “moral majority” to the likes of these immoral sleaze bags and their sheep herding antics just proves that we are not properly expressing and framing the issues.

For instance, I am tired of hearing about patriotism. I love my country, but I will no longer consider myself to be patriotic. Patriotism is egotistical. Should we consider ourselves better, more righteous, more intelligent, more deserving than any other human being because of the country in which we inhabit and the values of our particular culture while discarding the rights of others to believe in their own cultures? This kind of arrogance leads to unnecessary war as an attempt to impose our superiority upon all others. Can’t we start promoting a new phrase for patriotism that encompasses our planet not just our country? Something like “I’m a Global Patriot, I love all of God’s Creations”, or “Patriotism is a Worldwide Value”, Well, I wasn’t a marketing major but you get the idea.

It is so obvious to many of us that we need to reframe the issues in this country to reshape the minds of the average churchgoer who votes based on one or two issues and clearly cannot see the big picture. From our views on preemptive war to the death penalty, the environment, as well as healthcare for our children, we do have morality on our side, and we must make others understand that. Yes, that’s right, I said it, we have morality on our side. If I didn’t believe that fully, I wouldn’t be who I am today. If there is one Supreme Being, put whatever title to him or her that you want, I know for sure that he loves my gay Uncle Victor and would never want him to feel like a second class citizen. Inclusion is love and love is everything.

Some of us have grumbled lately that although we agree with the rights of the GLBT community, we wish they had remained silent through this election so it could not be used against us by the Christian “ so wrong” Right. While I agree that this issue did mobilize the fear-mongers to seek out and exploit every last drop of prejudice, the cause was a worthy one, and silencing the worthy is just as untruthful as lying. Those who hate others based solely on race, religion, or sexuality, are a dying breed, and we should be proud to be ahead of the curve and on the right side of this issue. No backing down for political expediency, which would be cowardly and not at all progressive. You need only look back a few decades to realize that we are making huge strides in the plight to end discrimination, one step forward, two steps back, as they say. We can’t get anywhere if we don’t keep taking the bold steps forward, because they will be happy to start running backwards if we don’t.

So where do we go from here? What do we do next? I will quote Albert Einstein who said, “We cannot solve problems we have created with the same thinking that created them.” We need to change our party. We need to reshape the word Democrat, linking it to the term "progressive" rather than "liberal." The negative connotations placed on the word liberal are too much to surpass at this time. We are progressive, we are moving forward, advancing. We can reclaim "liberal" once we reshape our party. We must keep fighting for our beliefs, we must continue to seek out progressive candidates to fight for, and we must figure out the best way to pump a gallon or two of grassroots sensibility into our figurehead organizations. We can make a difference, after a few days of quiet reflection, which followed closely behind a few days of crying like an abandoned child, I have come to realize that all of our efforts are not in vain. We are progressives, and the slowest force in all of nature is progress, always moving forward with the quiet strength of perpetual motion.

One day soon, the lions will have their historians.

Dyan Ortbal-Avalos
DFA / Change for Missouri


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