What Do We Stand For?

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

I need to know. Other progressives need to know. Other Democrats need to know. We need to figure this out.

What do we stand for?

Only 2 months ago, I thought this question would be awfully easy to answer. I mean, why wouldn't we support President Obama's agenda & whatever the Democratic leaders in Congress pushed for? Why would they be afraid of being more progressive now that they have a mandate?

But that's just it, they're still afraid. So far, there are signs that the Democrats now in power are still afraid of promoting a progressive Democratic vision of a better America. Despite large & growing public support for things like expanded domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, a complete exit from Iraq, real actions to target the climate crisis, and a fairer budget, Democratic leaders seem afraid to push a full progressive agenda in 2009. So what can we do?

We keep pushing for what we stand for. But what do we stand for? We stand for what we've always believed in.

I tried to say this in my last essay on LGBT civil rights, and I'll say it again today. Pols will be pols, so we can't just expect them to do the right thing. And when they waiver, we can't just conform our agenda to whatever they're flip-flopping to. We must stand firm and hold our elected leaders accountable so they hold fast to the promises they made to us.

If we don't stand for something, are we good for anything? That's what we as Democrats must continually ask ourselves. What are we doing to end discrimination against LGBT people? What are we doing to end discrimination against women? What are we doing to stop the climate crisis? What are we doing to end economic injustice? What are we doing to make the world a better place for all people in the world?

This first year of a "Democratic Trifecta" will either be a major progressive victory or an utter failure. And if we don't pressure our leaders in the White House & Congress to enact the bold solutions needed to put this nation back on track, then we will have failed. I don't know how else to define it.

So how do we take our stand? Call Congress. Write the President-Elect. Tell them to repeal DOMA. Tell them to pass an economic stimulus package that also promotes eco-friendly development solutions. Tell them to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. If we don't show the strength of our conviction, will they ever show theirs?

Isn't it worthwhile for us to stand for something? And won't it be worthwhile to make our party stand for something? So what are we waiting for?

Tags: Accountability, Congress, Democrats, Obama Administration, President Obama, progressive values (all tags)

Comments

43 Comments

Tips? Flames? Suggestions?

You know what to do.

by atdleft 2009-01-05 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

I think that what separates most people isn't what they stand for, but 1) how they would rank those interests, and 2) how they would achieve their goals.  Now comes the hard part of governing, where everyone is presumably in the same boat but we will not have access to much of the information dictating the actions of our elected officials.

by rfahey22 2009-01-05 12:13PM | 0 recs
True...

I think that what separates most people isn't what they stand for, but

1) how they would rank those interests, and

2) how they would achieve their goals.

The problem that Democratic leaders in the past 30 years have faced is that they try to implement our goals in a "baby steps forward" sort of way. And when the GOP still rejects even these baby steps, they mostly abandon these goals. I think what we need to do is push our party leaders (Obama, Reid, & Pelosi) to be bolder & push them to take the BIG steps necessary to solve our problems. For far too long, the radical right has exerted pressure through media outrage, lobbying, boycotts, and far more, but we haven't seen similar action on the left until Dumbya Bush forced us out of complacency.

But even though we won the election, we still can't be complacent. We must now hold our elected Democrats accountable & make sure they do what they promised us to do.

by atdleft 2009-01-05 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

We can't put pressure on them. Led by Obama, they don't give a fuck about us. Look at how condescendingly arrogant he was on FISA this past summer.

by MNPundit 2009-01-05 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

Condescendingly arrogant?

I'm sure you can present a link to back up that claim.

Because as I saw it, while he disagreed with the netroots types on the issue, his disagreement was quite respectful.

by mistersite 2009-01-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

Sure, here is Greenwald's analysis of the statement. I find it condescending and arrogant because he's lying. I am not a fan of GG, and he has to my knowledge, never been happy a day in his life, but his analysis is still on here.

by MNPundit 2009-01-05 02:57PM | 0 recs
Bingo!

by suzieg 2009-01-06 01:11AM | 0 recs
We stand for truth, honesty and justice

At least you have been true to your principles, and speak out against the herd like mentality shown on other sides, and by the would be troll hunters round here.

Honesty, truth and justice. It doesn't sit easily with the mob mentality, or the lickspittle apologists, but I am convinced MYDD will continue to display these values of independence of thought and freedom of expression so lacking elsewhere on the liberal blogosphere

REC'D

by zerosomgame 2009-01-05 12:16PM | 0 recs
speaking of standing for things

A recent comment from Iowa Governor Chet Culver about his goal of being the best governor Iowa's ever had got me thinking about what kind of politicians go down in history as great.

I am coming to the conclusion that there's always a tension between the safe political course for a "successful politician" (who is most likely to be re-elected) and the kind of leadership that historians will remember favorably 50 or 100 years from now.

Iowa has had governors elected to several terms who didn't accomplish anything of note.

Most of the policies needed to tackle the really big problems will have powerful interest groups lined up against them. If Culver wants to be one of the greats, he's going to have to take a shot at achieving something big, and that is risky. He may fail to get his plans through the legislature, or his plans may be unpopular in the short-term and therefore cost him the 2010 election.

More thoughts along these lines are here:

http://www.bleedingheartland.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=2363

My sense with Obama, based on his campaign rhetoric and the kind of people he's appointed, is that he is not going to rock the boat by pressing for anything that might be unpopular in the short term. I just don't see him going to the mat for progressives on anything.

Will we be able to hold our Democratic officials accountable when they sell us out, and will we be able to provide enough backing for the ones who don't sell us out? I have no idea.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-05 12:18PM | 0 recs
Unfortunately...

My sense with Obama, based on his campaign rhetoric and the kind of people he's appointed, is that he is not going to rock the boat by pressing for anything that might be unpopular in the short term. I just don't see him going to the mat for progressives on anything.

You're right... And that's just more reason for us to go to the mat for our platform! If we don't push Obama, Reid, & Pelosi to do the right thing, then no one will. We have to go to the mat for us, and hopefully we'll be up for this challenge.

by atdleft 2009-01-05 12:41PM | 0 recs
heh

when did "holding their feet to the fire" ever get the net roots anything?  All the bloggerboyz did was get the more progressive candidate torpedoed and end up with an amorphous center right "I wanna be like Reagan" democratic president.  What a waste of an opportunity.  
The Obama admin is starting to look like a Bill Clinton tribute band.  What's missing though is Hillary in the top spot where she would have many of the same crowd but would have governed to the left of either Bill or Barack.  

She has always shown more political courage than either of them too.  

But it is what it is.  My only hope is that people step away from the Hopium and get serious about opposing our new president when he channels Reagan and his other heroes.

by Teacher1956 2009-01-07 06:36AM | 0 recs
So very refreshing to finally see that the

blinders are coming off! I can attest as a 40yr democrat, that as soon as they are elected, they don't give a damn about us.... Never have, never will - Your vote is forever taken for granted!

Corporate America and special interest groups are the only ones being listened to! I'm hoping you'll make a believer out of me, and will be waiting to be proven wrong....

by suzieg 2009-01-06 01:17AM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

After reading the comments on Politico's "Coulter Banned" article tonight, I would say many Democrats stand for making fun of people's physical attributes (in the most vile nasty ways) as opposed to debating their point of view.

it's disgusting.

by moscow 2009-01-05 12:34PM | 0 recs
my stars!

People said mean things on the internet?!  Whatever is society coming to?!

Also, I hear that Michael Moore is fat and Janet Reno has a somewhat masculine appearance.  Have you heard these vile slanders?

by JJE 2009-01-05 09:10PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

Thank you for spekaing up for PUMAS on blogs atdleft. REC

by KnoxVow 2009-01-05 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

Yes, we're people too. Though to many here we're treated as subhuman.

So much for progressive values

by zerosomgame 2009-01-05 02:19PM | 0 recs
by lockewasright 2009-01-05 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

A good question. Moreover, what are we willing to fight for? And I do mean fight. Note that I am spoiling for a fight with conservatives, but I certainly won't shrink from one either.

by Charles Lemos 2009-01-05 12:40PM | 0 recs
Yes

Who cares about conservatives. Let them fight each other to the ground. We're better than that. In fact we're much better at fighting ourselves that republicans are. Look at his place. Look at my troll ratings.

I'm glad you're willing to fight. Now let's find one of our own to pick on Charlie.

by zerosomgame 2009-01-05 12:45PM | 0 recs
Great question!

... [W]hat are we willing to fight for? And I do mean fight. Note that I am spoiling for a fight with conservatives, but I certainly won't shrink from one either.

Universal health care? Climate solutions legislation? EFCA? FOCA? DOMA repeal?

I'd love to see more strategizing on legislative priorities for 2009 & 2010, then start pushing Congress to pass each bill.

by atdleft 2009-01-05 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Great question!

atdleft, giving mojo to trolls just makes you look bad.

by venician 2009-01-05 02:44PM | 0 recs
Excuse me...

But what are you talking about? And what does this have to do with what Charles & I were talking about?

May we please go at least one thread without seeing a "troll vs. trollhunter" flame war?

by atdleft 2009-01-05 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Excuse me...

That would be nice, which is why it's odd that you rec'd the opening salvo.

by Jess81 2009-01-06 04:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Excuse me...

enough with the dkos behavior.

by Teacher1956 2009-01-07 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Great question!

If the trolls all left, the readership would drop by half. Note the recent diary list and count the number of diaries not about Bill Richardson.

No Roland Burris, nothing on Zimbabwe, no ideas on what the new congress should push (except this diary). Nothing on the Yoo/Bolton memo. This site is starting to look like a ghost town.

And I'm not helping, I guess, but I'm super busy at work today. I'll see if I can cobble together a diary with actual content tonight.

by X Stryker 2009-01-06 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Great question!

Whoops. Apparently I need to hit "refresh" when I visit the main page more often. Things looking way better now.

by X Stryker 2009-01-06 10:38AM | 0 recs
oh stop

one of the reasons the traffic here is down is because all the dkos trol hunters came and acted like a lot of petty petulant bullies. So stop your McCarthy imitation and let people talk.

by Teacher1956 2009-01-07 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?
We stand for.... what?
What every successful pol stands for - our perceived best interest. I taught American Government as a practicing politician for thirty-seven years, and, to the the chagrin of my colleagues gave my students a no-holds-barred practical analysis and approach to our government.
For a year prior to last November's electio-thon I argued that Barrack was really just another pol doing what pols do. I was roundly criticized by those who claimed he would be a "transformational' leader.
Guess what: BO's been just another pol. His appointments, stimulus package, everything have been warmed over gruel.
What does he care about? His re-election, of course. And he hasn't even been sworn in yet.
Such a pity.
by M1513 2009-01-05 01:53PM | 0 recs
How very true.

Pols will be pols. That's why we have to pressure them into actually following through on the promises they made us. We have to make them realize that there are consequences to what they do (or don't do) & how they work with us (or don't).

by atdleft 2009-01-05 08:18PM | 0 recs
Maybe Obama isn't...

as progressive as you and I thought when we voted for him. Personally, I find that thought comforting.

:)

by JimR 2009-01-05 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

CHANGE

by nikkid 2009-01-05 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

which means absolutely nothing.

by Teacher1956 2009-01-07 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

We? We're Democrats, and we voted for competency - that's the change - and we got competency. The goddam ship is sinking, and all I hear is a bunch of angry women grousing that the Captain won't be wearing a pantsuit when the last vestige slips under the waves, and another bunch who won't be happy until a we have an all tranvestite Cabinet.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

by QTG 2009-01-05 04:11PM | 0 recs
I'm sorry but do anybody else find the above

offensive? So the problem of Democrats are bunch of feminists and GLBT folks? I thought that was the prerogative of Limbaugh Republicans....but then what do I know?

Or is this a snark?

by louisprandtl 2009-01-05 04:45PM | 0 recs
I don't like the wording either, but I think that

was a jab at the PUMA nitwits and that I do like.

by lockewasright 2009-01-05 04:48PM | 0 recs
If I didn't know QTG as a master of

satirical oneliners, I would have thought this was written by some rethuglican...there are better ways of making fun of PUMAS and QTG knows them very well...

by louisprandtl 2009-01-05 04:56PM | 0 recs
You won't get an argument out of me on that.

by lockewasright 2009-01-05 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: If I didn't know QTG as a master of

nah louis - ive found that this particular is as bad as them.  he/she uses every diary, on topic or not to rehash primaries or lulz on puma - say for example - this diary.

by canadian gal 2009-01-05 05:10PM | 0 recs
Well, I don't like all of his comments either.

But I have come to appreciate some of his/her humor.
As per your comment above, maybe (s)he enjoys riling Clintonistas....

But this one seemed plain offensive and this wasn't an oneliner either..

by louisprandtl 2009-01-05 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I don't like all of his comments either.

Sorry if I offended anyone, except those who think that Obama won because a majority of Americans think the top priorities of his Administration (given the circumstances he is inheriting) are somehow topped by gender issues. We're up to our assholes in alligators, and before we worry about how we are allowed to use them... we need to save them.

by QTG 2009-01-06 02:10AM | 0 recs
This comment of yours is much appreciated...thx.

by louisprandtl 2009-01-06 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

Working people and a sustainable future.

I stand with the Blue Green Alliance:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/6/1 24041/0167/619/680781


The Blue Green Alliance was formed by the Steelworkers Union and the Sierra Club in 2006. Recently, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the National Resouces Defense Council (NRDC), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) announced that they were joining the Blue Green Alliance. By joining forces, the Alliance now unites more than 6 million people working to create a Green Economy based on justice and fairness.

snip

Together, the Alliance represents more than 6 million people, and its goal is nothing less than to transform the U.S. economy through global warming solutions.

http://www.seiu.org/2008/12/blue-green-a lliance-expands-to-include-seiu-cwa-and- national-resources-defense-council.php

by TomP 2009-01-06 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: What Do We Stand For?

If the question you pose is in the terms of the Democratic Party the answer is: nothing!  Change in Democratic Party terms is strictly race or gender.  It is the reason I changed my voter registration from Democratic to Independent.  Oh yes I voted for the party this time but if the Democrats can't deliver in the next two years then I will vote differently.  I laughed when Obama said it would take more than one term to change things.  Of course every President since Washington can make or has made the same claim.

I have come to understand things clearly.  Bush and Cheney did not lie to the American People, wiretap illegally, commit any violation of the Constitution or go to war in Iraq for no reason.  If they had surely the Democratic Congress would have done something.  I doubt Obama is likely to waste one second of his time going after Bush and Cheney.

You want real change?  Elect third party people or find the balls to have a massive tax rebellion!  Those are the peaceful methods otherwise get a rifle!

Change, I laugh at the thought of the meaning of the word to the Democratic Party!

by orionwest 2009-01-07 07:49AM | 0 recs

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