Someone wanted to hear something positive for what's in store this new year. I mentioned Congressional investigations, but they wanted something more positive, so here's my response.
You wanted to hear something positive for what's in store this new year, and I know that Congressional investigations aren't exactly the sort of thing that moves us to the moon, but it is a necessary part of the foundation that needs to happen to begin to repair the damage from the last six years, if not the last twenty six years.
But more than that, more than the barest sense of optimism coming from the Democratic Party, or the hope born of the reality that Bush cannot just dictate to the Congress any longer, I think there is a growing sense of empowerment by everyday Americans, that the solutions offered by capitalistic market forces and the largesse of Republicans and Big Business are not so much part of the problem, but irrelevant to the problem solving equation. Because there is this new kind of community spirit that is growing, thanks to tools like the internet and those darned blogs and bloggers, groups like MoveOn and Daily Kos where people gather to talk and discuss and strategize and work together to find real solutions, to find ways to push our power elites to actually work constructively to solve problems like the rebuilding of New Orleans, or to realistically address global warming and mitigations to reverse the trends, and improving our wasteful consumerism, and so on.
Some of the big "events" that have happened of late, the ones not really reported, or not really reported appropriately, or not really reported correctly, are the stories that show that there's a rising tide of progressivism coming from the ground up, and that progressivism is a reflection of that empowerment, I believe.
While the media talked about the horse race and the attacks and the teevee commercials in the Connecticut Senate race, the real story was that a progressive and unknown citizen essentially unseated a sitting and thoroughly entrenched in the DC Beltway United States Senator through the power of common citizens, not teevee commercials and David Broder endorsements and political party money. That he later lost in November was a testament to the toughness of the nut, the desperation of the established forces, and the cowardice of the same. But a precedent was set on August 8th, 2006 when Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Primary, and there were a bunch of victories in November, like here in California's 11th Congressional District, that were rooted in that August victory. This address is a nice speech of what the Democrats hope to do this new year from Jerry McNerny, who won pretty much with just the help of grassroots, progressives, volunteers, internet bloggers, and his own hard work and great record.
My hope is the recognition among a lot of Americans that there are new political forces and new ways of communicating, and that people are using those tools and forces to have an impact against the corporations and the Bush Republicans. People are beginning to see that there are other ways to work collectively besides through entrenched moneyed forces, but still within our political framework, and that solutions can be found when progressives, maybe even in the hinterlands of Fargo or El Cajon, can advance an idea and connect it to that framework with the new tools, that new force (that isn't really new, I know) I'll call progressive people power, and circumvent the good 'ol boys network to get things done.
That's where I see the hope, and when you combine that with a Congress more inclined to support Americans instead of Corporations, we might see some actual progress this year in getting us out of Iraq, stopping the fiscal hemorrhaging of our tax dollars to the corporations, and getting some kind of a grip on our oil addiction, and its concomitant fight against global warming.