I generally agree with this post, and like one of the other commentors I always feel a bit of pride when I pay a parking ticket. However, with that said, here are two complicating factors:
1) Much of my taxes are going to pay for the war, which really bothers me. So there is a big part of me that is not proud of paying my taxes, because I know that part of the money is going directly to something I find to be profoundly immoral. Now, I'm smart enough to know that in a democracy you don't get to choose where your tax dollars go, and I'm mature enough to accept my own responsiblity as an American in the disaster that is the Iraq war, but I really really wish it would stop. And so when I think about my money going to pay for this horrible thing I don't feel proud at all.
2) Some people don't pay their taxes in order to resist feeding the war machine. Its not a position I agree with, and they are a far cry from the hypocrites on the right, but you really can't say they don't love their country -- even if they don't want to pay their taxes. In fact, they are opening themselves up to great personal risk precisely because they do love their country. So the equation between not paying your taxes = hating your country doesn't always work.
Overall, though, great post. Next year we should organize a campaign around this theme.
The blogpac tool is very easy to use, and a great addition. You are doing fantastic work here. Thank you.
A couple of ideas:
1) The blogpac tool might be even more useful if 1) you strongly encourage people to personalize the letter somewhere on the page, and 2) if you add an option that separate out the addresses of the news organizations so people can send individualized responses to each institution. As it is, I think the letters might come off as a bit generic. Links could also be provided to each offending story so we can easily see how to target each letter. I know its more programing, and perhaps not possible, but it might be worth thinking about.
2) I think the next step in this campaign needs to be to humiliate one of the reporters who filed one of the offending articles. I know this part isn't pleasant... but there needs to be consequences for publishing this kind of crap. Reporters are used to being able to write anything they want about us and not suffering for it. That needs to change. A concerted effort to humiliate one of the worst offenders would go a long way to doing that.
One can agree that you don't have to take a vow of poverty to care about the poor, and that the critique of Edwards along these lines is bullshit... and still wonder at Edward's political judgment about this.
Think about it this way: Nobody in their right mind thinks that if somebody windsurfs it means they would make a crappy president. But Kerry still showed a whole boatload of poor judgment by going windsurfing.
I don't know the details of the compromise... but tax relief for small businesses is something that progressives should be behind, as long as it is done responsibly. Small business owners (and I mean the owners of businesses that are, you know, actually small) often make very little money and they often work extremely hard. Their businesses keep money in the local area, they don't export jobs, and they are often intertwined with the character of a local community. In other words, small business owners are a natural ally of the progressive movement. Yes, they often exploit the crap out of their employers. But they are also often in extremely precarious economic situations themselves. And the tax burden on them seems unduly high -- at least from my perspective (my wife is a former small business owner).
Not that I think the Dems should be running on this issue, mind you. Clearly, its politically foolish in the current climate. I just think it is incorrect to say that it is not a liberal position to try and regulate this stuff.
No, but liberals do regulate them. No cigarette ads on television; no selling pornography to children; no running around naked in the public park; no false claims on drug labels; etc etc. Regulating cultural expression makes complete sense from a liberal perspective. Its a way of promoting the rights of some individuals by restricting the rights of others. Classic liberalism.
Techies who design ultra violent video games may not like it, but some people believe that ideas actually do have consequences, and that families need the help of the government to control the flow of information their children are exposed to. The popularity of these types of laws among some sections of the public indicates that many people are worried about this type of issue. Its not only cultural conservatives who are worried about the impact of games, music, pornography, etc.