Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Let's Get This Party Started

Gad. Posts like this are why I can barely stand to read the liberal blogosphere. I appreciate that the Daily Kos has often been an effective progressive tool, particularly in holding Democrats accountable to their progressive constituents.

However, I can't stand this whole discourse promoted by Kos, that those pesky single-issue groups like NARAL need to be quiet for the sake of electing more Democrats. (And this isn't Kos's first posting on the subject.) The simplest criticism to make is that it is really easy for Kos and bloggers like him--a group of people composed almost entirely of white men--to call for groups to subsume their beliefs for the larger cause. If abortion is illegal, it's not going to be Kos who gets pregnant and needs one. It's really easy for somebody who lives a really privileged life to call for everyone to hold back on their own "personal" issues so that our beloved party can gain a few seats. People such as myself, who believe strongly in "single issues" don't do so just to be difficult. It's because these issues that seem so inconsequential to Kos actually affect people's real lives, and that's much more important than the Democratic Party gaining another senate seat. I don't care about politics because I want the Democrats to "win," I care because I hope there will be meaningful change someday. I'm not afraid to say that Dianne Feinstein has caused a lot of harm to a lot of people, and just because she is a Democrat doesn't make it any better.

The other problem I have, with that post and many other similar strategies, is that there is an undercurrent of anxiety beneath them which says, "the Republicans are winning, therefore we need to adopt the strategy that makes them win." I firmly believe that in politics, the message is the medium. I've always had a problem with PETA not so much because I disagree with their politics (often that too!) but because they take their tactics and iconography from the anti-abortion movement. The disgusting posters with pictures of foxes skinned alive are not at all different than disgusting posters of fetuses. Actions by PETA and the anti-abortion people never actually challenge the dominant order in a meaningful way, they just try to horrify you into blind submission.

I don't want our entire movement coalesced around media friendly leaders. I don't actually think that a disciplined party leadership is a good thing. We don't need a tight, focused message. I don't want a pseudo-fascist college organization along the lines of the College Republicans. I don't want old-boy networks of any kind, or pandering of any sort. The Democratic Party's greatest strength is its fractiousness. Where there is conflict and diversity of opinion, that means real human beings are around.

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