Don't belong to the Party of NoOne of the things I've learned as a political junkie and wannabe-activist is that you can simply say No, No, No all the time. You have to offer people something to say Yes to.
In a previous essay, I took issue with some comments made by my friend PCS at Adirondack Musing blog. He promptly offered a response of his own. In it, he "asked [me] to give [him] the secret plans of how the Green Party is going to gain control of our government...."
I explained to him a little about American history; history which has repeatedly shown that organizations can have a huge influence on the direction of policy even without a majority of seats in a legislative body or none at all. In the early 20th century, the Progressive Party had a major influence in pushing progressive items, like anti-child labor laws and the health and safety labor regulations, that are now considered basic in any civilized society. They never controlled the presidency and I don't believe they ever controlled any governorship or state legislative chamber. Movements like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NAACP, abolitionists and women's suffrage organizations weren't political parties at all.
All of these movements and parties succeeded not by crossing their fingers and wishing for the best for years upon years upon decades. They demanded not Hope but action. They succeeded by putting pressure on elected officials, without regard to party. Pressure that included threatening to withhold votes, support and money... and the willingness to follow through.
They weren't timid and meek. And most importantly, they weren't in hoc to any one particular party or individual (a key principle which the US labor movement singularly failed to learn, with results we can all see). Their responsibility was to their beliefs. As the political axiom goes, "There are no permanent allies, only permanent interests."
Politicians and parties worry about getting elected. Citizens must be more concerned with what's done once elected.
All citizens should be responsible to their beliefs, not their political party or any particular politician. The party and the candidates need to be servants, not masters.
I did point out to PCS that the first step in the Greens not-so-secret plan is to persuade people like him who clearly have sympathy with the Green agenda to actually vote for the party or, at the very least, consider it.
But none of this seemed to persuade my friend. He clearly thinks that the idea of the Greens or any other so-called third party making a difference is not pragmatic, is unrealistic.
So be it.
But in terms of how to the citizens can take back the government from the corporations, I've never heard from him or anyone else a realistic, viable alternative to real multipartyism.
So I will throw his challenge back at him.
If multipartyism is not his answer, then what is HIS illuminating secret plan to reinvigorate and render effective the progressive movement in the United States?
Any readers are invited to share their suggestions too.
Don't belong to the Party of No.