Democrats & Liberals Archives

Five for the Road

It is a long way back for the Democrats from the abyss looming before them. The bridge to a new century has crumbled and the Democratic Party is in disarray in this new election year. Things can change rapidly in politics, winners become losers every day in the biggest game in town. The truth is this does not have to be a zero sum game for people in this nation. We do not have to punish the poor for being poor or reward the rich for being rich any more. Nor do we have to drive the Middle Class down the road to joblessness and the loss of wealth that looms in a future defined by the same old politics of left and right. The Democratic Party needs to redistribute its attention to a number of the new ideas that are emerging today as prospects for the future.

Redefining the role of government in the lives of the people is the primary idea of this century. In both domestic and international affairs this is an essential ingredient to any resurgence by Democrats. This process of creating a new vision for our nation has been left to the Neocons and the think tanks of the Right wing. Until and unless the Democrats grapple with creating the big ideas of a new form of government suited to a very different world this will be a one party nation. The Imperialism and militarism of the Neocons is a theme that is not hard to define and oppose but what will replace it? Corporate control of our electoral process and our legislature is not the answer but we need to do more than expose it to the people. Being consumed by the neocon philosophy, as Joe Lieberman has been in this Primary season will not bring success. Being merely opposed to it as have Howard Dean and others will not answer the need for a bigger better idea to oppose it.

The Democrats need a new idea of how we are to use our very real power in the world. Without a central big idea about how our relationship to the rest of the world should work that space will be filled by the right wing atrocities of Preemptive war and economic hegemony disguised as “Free Trade”. So the first item on the Democratic agenda must be a new idea about how we approach a world that has begun to see us as a dominating bully.

The Democrats also need a new Idea about how to use our government at home. The old ideas of Social Security and redistribution of wealth using the government as an intermediary are no longer popular enough to rule the debates about wealth and poverty. Rather than trying to sell the unsellable the Democrats need to seek new answers. The private economy grows wealth when it creates new products and eliminates old problems. We need to understand how that works better than we do today. We need to focus that power to create a new definition of governance that supports the private sector without eliminating legal controls on how that sector works. The private economy, like the government, is there to enrich the people and support their lives. It is not there to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few and destroy our environment while producing products that break down on schedule in order to make a market for more of the same.

Those two ideas will comprise the two central themes of a new Democratic theory of governance. It will be the first really new set of ideas to enter our political debate since the new deal. The Neocon theme of dominance by force is the oldest theme in foreign policy around. The cronyism of both Bush Administrations taken with their subjugation of the interests of the people to the interests of the Corporations is also an old theme. The monolithic church used to occupy part of the space that the Corporate Powers occupy here today. The aristocracy occupied the rest. The wealthy families in Royalist times had their lobbyists too, that is another analogous relationship between our current government and those of the past. The Idea that all wealth should trickle down from the hands of the Barons and Earls of the economic world is not a new one.

We need a grand new idea about how to supply our energy requirements or we will wind up a vassal to the oil bearing economies. A few of us think that the Bush Family’s financial relationship to the Saudi’s ruling family is one sign of how close we already are to that condition. More than a few of us believe that Iraq was all about oil; and that international trade is also more about oil than most economists expect it to be. The ideas are out there. All of them are becoming more and more economically viable as the future unfolds. We will either lead the revolution in renewable energy technologies or we will be consumers of technologies that are developed elsewhere.

We need new ideas about education. Our children are being prepared for a life as corporate employees, badly I admit but they are not being thought to think for them selves. We need to prepare them for a life as entrepreneurs. We need to teach them to create their own jobs and their own place in the economy of the world. We need to embrace the idea of a world economy but not one that is dependent on the same old tired corporate dominance of economic power. We need to empower the people of the world to overcome the handicaps of poverty and bad leadership in order to create a new world order based on our greatest ideals of Democracy and equality for all.
Finally we need to develop a relationship to our ecosystem that is sustainable and has the characteristics of positive feedback engineering which will make it self regulating. The ecosystem must be fully integrated into our economic model so that the costs and benefits of our economic system can be supported by the consumers of the world and not the taxpayers. Until we create the basis for this idea in our society we will continue to degrade our environment needlessly. It is no more impossible to define the costs of environmental contamination and degradation than it is impossible to define what inadequate health care costs us today. We know the answers to these things when we want to seek them. But the nature of things as they are will not allow us to pay for them appropriately unless we reconstitute our government to address these problems. That is my rendition of what the Democrats need in order to use our government and our economy to create the new world order that is needed by all the people of the world. God bless you all and keep you safe in this time in which humanity needs a few good new ideas.

Posted by Henri Reynard at January 29, 2004 11:55 AM