The Great Debate: Challenging Progressives vs. Safe Liberals

I wrote the following meme on Facebook. The response is both frustrating and intriguing. The responses certainly did not much stay on topic — lol! But the resultant dialogue became a perfect example of the dichotomy we face. I submit that most likely my detractors support just about every item I listed as to what a Democrat should be. All I can write is that I’m overwhelmed that they think baby steps is the way to get there.

Ken Ormes:

Divide, confuse and defeat the only major power that can plausibly challenge it. Support fascist parties and movements throughout eastern and Western Europe. Protect oligarchic interests of the state kleptocracy it runs. Murder its critics. Impoverish its people. Oppress gay citizens. Support a revanchist and misogynistic theocracy. Shall I go on?

Dale Reynolds:

You have partly described the United States.

Ken Ormes:

Dale Reynolds — thanks. You’ve identified yourself as a ridiculous and unserious person I needn’t pay any attention to.

Michael Weddle:

Ken, you, supposedly a progressive, how can you deny what you wrote doesn’t a lot sound like the United States?

Ken Ormes:

Michael Weddle — easy, I just deny it. Seriously, I am quickly losing patience with people who seem determined to live down to and validate every cartoonish right-wing stereotype of what America-hating leftists believe and sound like.

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Ken Ormes — seriously? None so blind.

Michael Weddle:

Ken Ormes — And “I am completely losing patience” with progressive Democrats who say “uncle” to centrist Democrats who tilt more and more right with voting “less of two evil” voting concepts, the option always guaranteed in each general election! Money and pedigree anyone? Face it, Ken. Centrist politics in America breeds war killing people in smaller resource-filled nations; clampdowns on labor; deregulation of banking and media; free rides for the health profit industry; fracking and pipelines and the finger for the small family famer who falls prey to Monsanto types! And, guess what? The drug war just rolls right on by without any politician — D or R — saying anything in opposition! You want this, Ken? I don’t!

Ken Ormes:

Michael Weddle — I’m afraid I’m starting to see your crowd as politically pretty irrelevant. In the two years since President ManyFineNazis took office, millions of progressive activists got to work to block repeal of the Affordable Care Act, defend DACA and immigrant communities, ensure the tax cut would be a political liability, fight vote suppression, pressure legislators for common sense gun restrictions, recruit progressive women and LGBTQ and youth and veteran and minority candidates in every area of the country and then get them elected in a historic forty seat takeback of the house that sets the stage to investigate this administration’s massive corruption and incompetence. So what urgent critical priorities has the (overwhelmingly white) fringe left been focused on like a laser? Obsessing about Hillary, attacking Democrats, undermining the Mueller probe, attacking the Democratic Party, striking ineffectual poses, feeding its own purity fantasies and narcissism, attacking other Democrats, whining and moaning and mooning about Bernie and “the media,” fantasizing about third parties like stoned dorm-party students , and — oh yeah — attacking Democrats. We’re in a national emergency, folks. I guess to my way of thinking, if it walks, talks and quacks like a Republican, it might just be a Republican or at least functionally indistinguishable from one.

Ken Ormes:

By the way if your issue is corporate power and money in politics (or if you claim it is), that is the core of House Resolution 1 which the Democrats will raise on opening day of the new Congressional session. Here’s your chance. Stop whining about Bernie. Quit obsessing over Hillary. And build a popular groundswell to make Congress pass it. Or maybe you’d rather just attack Democrats, and help accomplish Mitch McConnell’s work for him.

Ken Ormes:

Michael Weddlehttps://www.facebook.com/1589175553/posts/10216185679266564/

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Michael Weddle — stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s why you will fail.

Michael Weddle:

Ken Ormes — You seem to show your true colors by stating somebody who is advocating for Bernie Sanders principles is “whining” about them. Indeed, Clinton used similar tactics in her campaign against him. Ken, I repeat: >>>Centrist politics in America breeds war and killing people in smaller resource-filled nations; clampdowns on labor; deregulation of banking and media; free rides for the health profit industry; fracking and pipelines and the finger for the small family famer who falls prey to Monsanto types! And, guess what? The drug war just rolls right on by without any politician — D or R — saying anything in opposition! You want this, Ken? I don’t!<<< Did Obama bring universal health care when he controlled the Congress? No. Did Jerry Brown bring universal health care when he controlled both of California’s legislative chambers? No. Does the current national Democratic leadership team support universal health care? No. Do those who control the Democratic Party also vote for war? Yes, they do. Again, name me 10 Democrats who have spoken out in the past year about a jobs training program. Name me any Democrats who are talking about the drug war. You can’t! Yes, there are some new Democrats in Congress and this is laudable. Let’s see what they do! GOPwingers are horrible and always have been. Why would I not be angry when Democrats behave like them? I’ll close simply by saying center politics won’t change anything! Ken, you need to go from being a safe liberal into becoming a radical who will not accept the status quo. The status quo is killing millions, whether they are Obama’s bombs or Trump’s bombs! Also, if you think Democrats rehabilitating George W. Bush is a good idea, then you need to go to Green school — lol!

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Michael Weddle — centrist politics may breed war but it breeds less war than right wing politics. When those are the only viable options, the lesser of two evils is the only moral choice. That is principle.

Michael Weddle:

Lesser of two evils, Thomas? No thank you. I’ve seen enough of that. How about instead we build a powerful and loyal opposition — one that won’t cave to the center!

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Michael — because we can’t. Not quickly. We have to climb the hill one step at a time. Those who think they can scale the hill instantly, die. And many die with them and partly because of them. I will not be complicit in pie in the sky optimism that ultimately results in the suffering of millions. If you vote third party you are a selfish narcissist and your principles are misguided at best, evil at worst.

Michael Weddle:

Thomas — I’m not advocating third party — although it would be nice should it be possible. I’m advocating for better, stronger and non-placating Democrats. For example, do you think watching Schumer approving Trump judicial picks makes me happy? Schumer should be stringing nomination out for as long as possible, much like what GOPwingers do to Democrats! The problem is both political parties support the whims of the oligarchy, the military-industrial-media complex!

Michael Weddle:

Democrats are supporting this, for example:

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Michael Weddle — they can’t help unless they become power. They can’t become power if they alienate centrist voters. Yes, they need to be more focussed but your relentless criticism only hurts their chances. You should either help or stop. You are doing neither. The Republican party has had success for many years because there were not members who criticized the party. Play for the team or get off the field. Don’t wear the uniform of Democrats while rooting for them to lose.

Michael Weddle:

Ken and Thomas, please cease and desist encouraging progressives not to criticize Democrats. It was criticism that made the Democratic Party. If you don’t believe me, study the Dixie Democrats! Were there no criticism within the Democratic Party there would be no primary elections! Did you guys think Bernie could sustain his differences with Clinton by keeping his mouth shut? My friends, it’s time for introspection. Below, in my humble opinion, is what a Democrat should look like and advocate:

* Strengthen Families
* Teach Not Just Children to Share, But Adults Also
* Racial Justice
* Dignity for Sexual Preference
* Protect Youth By Assuring Them a Healthy Future
* Become Anti-War — Do Not vote for 720 billion Defense Budgets
* Do Not Weaponize Space
* Remove Nuclear Threats From Planet
* Strengthen UN & Develop Hemispheric Governments to Assure Fair Trade Between All Nations
* Cease Exploiting Third World Resources & Labor
* Encourage Ending Capital Punishment Worldwide
* Reform Wall Street
* Medicare for All/Prescription Drugs
* Totally Combat Climate Change
* Income inequality
* Wealth Inequality
* Strengthen & Expand Social Security
* Big Money out of Politics
* Break up Big Banking
* Big Money out of Media
* Decent Jobs With Living Wage
* End Fracking & Reliance on Fossil Fuels
* Preserve & Respect Native American Lands
* Fair Immigration Policies
* Affordable Housing
* Strengthen Assistance to the Disabled
* 100% Veterans Care
* Free College Tuition/Debt Forgiveness
* Free Internet or More Competition
* Encourage Cottage Industry
* Encourage Worker Cooperatives
* End The Drug War
* Community Policing to Include Sociology
* Restore Habeas Corpus
* End Private Prisons/Private Probation
* End Drug Forfeiture
* End Urine Testing
* Legalize Marijuana
* Use Harm Reduction on Drugs — End Criminal Sanctions
* Job Training Programs
* Trade School Education
* Study Whether Inheritance Tax Could Eliminate IRS
* Convert Puerto Rican Storm Damage with 100% Renewable
* Corporate Restoration if Lands-Waters ruined by Negligence
* Priorities on Clean Air
* Improve Rural Economies
* End Harmful Chemicals on Crops
* Strengthen Food Protections/Encourage Healthy Diets
* Preserve Colleges Involving Cultural-Ethnic Heritage
* Strongly Support Nursing and Personal Care Attendants

In closing, keep Guinness pubs open all Night so we can gather to figure out how to do all of the above — lol! Enjoy, drink and be merry and share with your neighbor no matter who they are!

Michael Weddle:

Follow-up to Ken and Thomas:

The below list, which I’ve edited slightly, was compiled by Dan Riker and published in The Daily Kos on August 7, 2018 under the title: Progressive Accomplishments in the 20th Century. Had progressives not been critical much of what’s listed below would never have happened.

1901 to 1917:
* Significant expansion of the role and powers of the President, the federal government and the civil service;
* The commission system of local government;
* Women gained the right to vote;
* The Referendum;
* Electoral Recall;
* Direct election of U.S. Senators;
* Public ownership and operation of urban transit systems;
& Clayton Anti-Trust Act which provided the first legal rights to unions, forbidding the use of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against them.
* The first antitrust suit by the federal government;
* The breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly;
* The graduated income tax;
* The inheritance tax;
* Major reductions in tariffs;
* Prohibitions against child labor and workplace exploitations;
* Protections against contaminated food and medicines;
* Hundreds of millions of acres of protected wilderness areas, waterways and national parks;
* The Federal Reserve System.

1933 to 1945:
* Great expansion of the role and powers of the Presidency and the federal government, particularly in the national economy;
* Bank and Wall Street regulation, including the Glass-Steagall Act, which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission;
* Huge investments in infrastructure:
- Civil Works Administration
- Public Works Administration
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- Works Progress Administration
- Civilian Conservation Corps;
* Social Security;
* The Federal Housing Administration, providing financing for home purchases
* The eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week;
* The minimum wage;
* The right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining;
* Worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance.

1961 to 1969:
* The Peace Corps;
* VISTA;
* Medicare;
* Medicaid;
* Head Start;
* The Children’s Health Insurance Program;
* Income support for below-poverty level working people;
* The Corporation for Public Broadcasting;
* National Public Radio (NPR)
* Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
* Fair Housing and Public Accommodations laws providing freedom for anyone to buy a home anywhere, and to be served in any business establishment open to the public;
* The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also forbade job discrimination;
* The Voting Rights Act of 1965 assured minority registration and voting;
* Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 abolished the national-origin quotas in immigration law;
* Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created an Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to oversee a variety of community-based antipoverty programs overall called the “War on Poverty,” which reduced the percentage of people living below the poverty line from 22.2 percent in 1963 to 12.6 percent in 1970. It is about 14.5 percent today.
* Food Stamp Act of 1964;
* Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
* Higher Education Act of 1965, which increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships and low-interest loans for students, and established a national Teacher Corps to provide teachers to poverty-stricken areas of the United States;
* The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden;
* National Endowment for the Arts;
* National Endowment for the Humanities;
* The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
* The Department of Transportation;
* The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964;
* Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965;
* The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 set standards through creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
* The Child Safety Act of 1966;
* The Flammable Fabrics Act of 1967;
* Wholesome Meat Act of 1967;
* The Truth-in-Lending Act of 1968 required lenders and credit providers to disclose the full cost of finance charges in both dollars and annual percentage rates, on installment loan and sales;
* Water Quality Act of 1965;
* Clean Air Act of 1963;
* Wilderness Act of 1964;
* Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966;
* National Trails System Act of 1968;
* Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968;
* Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965;
* Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965;
* Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act of 1965;
* National Historic Preservation Act of 1966;
* Aircraft Noise Abatement Act of 1968;
* National Environmental Policy Act of 1969;

Now you’ve got to ask: What have progressives accomplished since Reagan-Bush — the last 50 years — after which time Democrats began behaving like Republicans? Frankly, I don’t think Pelosi, Schumer, Perez, et. al., provide strong leadership for the people because they are too in bed with oligarchy. Clinton and her operatives continue with control over the DCCC, the super delegates, the DNC, the DNC War Room and most of the key Democratic state committees. The electorate wants truth in politics — so let’s begin by self-criticizing the 2016 Democratic Primary and proving to the voters we care.

Michael Weddle:

Finally, do not ever infer I support GOPwingerism again. Thank you very much.

Thomas Dorenkamp:

Michael Weddle — you do indirectly.

Michael Weddle:

So be it, Thomas. You are more than welcome to take your place in the centrist herd! Good luck grabbing suburban Republicans while there’s 40%-plus Independents within the electorate.

[EDIT NOTE: If the dialogue continues in any meaningful way, I’ll add future comments onto this “great debate.”]

Founder of Climate Change Band; former NH State Rep; Supporter of Bernie Sanders & Standing Rock!