a cry in the wilderness from Liberal Street Fighter

Word is coming from the tough boys of the DLC from the conclave in Ohio that, in order to win, the Democrats must become more, well, Republican:

Centrist Dems Urge Military Enlargement

Centrists who contend Democrats cannot retake the White House until voters trust the party to protect them said Sunday the Army should expand by 100,000 soldiers and that colleges should open their campuses to military recruiters.

“A Democrat has to show the toughness to govern,” said Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council. “People don’t doubt that Republicans will be tough.”

From argued that national security and safety are threshold issues for swing voters who increasingly are trending Republican.

A smart Democratic Party couldn’t win over Americans by talking about how to use our military WELL. It takes toughness to be honest about our national security. Toughness to face how terribly vulnerable our current militaristic government has made us with their unnecessary war. Not that kind of toughness will work, according to Mr. Frum and the rest of the chest thumpers in Ohio.
Only by building a bigger military, more weapons — becoming MORE REPUBLICAN — can the Democratic Party hope to regain the reins of government.  

Hundreds of centrist Democrats gathered in Ohio for the annual meeting of the DLC. From and DLC President Bruce Reed argued that Democrats should be more aggressive in pushing values issues and take an unrelenting, hard-line stance against terrorism.

“No political party deserves to win unless it lays out a plan for Americans to win,” said From.

Once again, the DLC proclaims from on high that there is only ONE solution to the party’s problems. Once again they make clear that voices on the left are not welcome in the party. Toughness means more soldiers, it means more cops, it means a thriving prison/industrial complex and paramilitary police forces.

There is no voice for the principled left in the political conversation of this country. There is only the far-right Republican party, and the center-right Democrats. Those of us who feel otherwise are not welcome in the conversation:

From said Democrats should also push hard for a reduction in dependence on foreign oil.

“We ought not to pay for both sides in the war on terror,” said From, who also called for “new ideas that value families.”

“We can help parents raise kids by adopting a uniform media rating system and banning marketing of violence to children,” said From.

There were few who quibbled with the argument that the party needs to move toward the middle.

“I think this country is becoming more and more moderate and more and more conservative,” said Leroy Comrie, a councilman in the New York City borough of Queens.

We’ll ban marketing of violence, but we’ll celebrate violence in our news media. Our most ostensibly “liberal” city, New York City, entertains heavily armed National Guard and police in it’s transportation system as it institutes random bag searches for subway riders. In a hot and precarious summer, the police in another large city shoot first and ask questions later in multiple incidents.

Instead of offering a true alternative to voters, not to mention all of the non-voters, the push continues apace to move more and more to the right. There will be, of course, nothing gained from this course. Why bother switching parties, or joining this one, if they are so much the same? The argument that the Democrats will just be smarter about it isn’t very convincing. When this leads inevitably to continued losses, or at best modest gains as a reaction against the corrupt Bush administration, From and his cronies will blame the left for the disappointing results, just as they always do.

From said the simple math of elections means Democrats must do better among moderates.

“We have to win about 60 percent of the moderates to break even,” he said. “There has never been a time when there were more liberals than conservatives in the electorate.”

We all know that weak children will try to emulate stronger children by aping their aggressive behavior. Sadly, it seems that we don’t outgrow that tendency as we get older. Violence and anger lie just under the surface of our increasingly militaristic society, and it is dangerous that BOTH the major political outlets in this country feed the militarism.

I fear to think where this is leading us.

toy soldiers via International Toy Soldiers Gallery
dove cartoon via Badger Herald

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