“Progressives” Have to Keep the Faith in Trying Times

Americans all have labels now. And they seem to be accepting their labels without protest – even with enthusiasm. I was driving behind an old pickup truck a few days ago and noticed a bumper sticker that identified the occupants as “crazy right-wing extremists.” I would cringe at a label like that, but obviously to the pickup’s owner it’s a badge of honor.

If I were that honest, I might have a bumper sticker that identified me as a “petulant progressive.”

I am the kind of person the media call “progressive,” and I am prone to sulking.

I have lots to sulk about these days. And I’m not alone (see the photo of progressive protesters above).

It’s not just the economy, although wassup with that?

A bright fifth grader could have figured out how to put the nation back to work by now. All the president needed to do was listen to Paul Krugman. But no, he and his allies in Congress have bent over backwards to pamper the financial community, presumably in the hope that Mr. Moneybags will pass on some of the government’s largess to us peasants.

I’m sure you know how that has turned out. The bankers have rewarded themselves with obscenely generous bonuses – and turned on Obama with a vengeance. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the money he handed over to the financiers is buying ads for the Republicans.

And there’s a lot more for “progressives” to sulk about.

I’m still fuming about the mess the Democrats made of health care reform. I can’t understand why they didn’t simply open up Medicare to the rest of the population instead of trying to work a deal with the health care industry. That didn’t turn out too well for our president either, you may have noticed. The health care industry hates him – and they’re backing up their hatred with campaign cash.

In short, the president and his buddies turned their backs on us progressives in a show of “bipartisanship.”

And was that ever dumb!

Republicans never were going to cooperate with him. Their strategy has been to block anything he proposes – especially anything that might make him look good. And, judging from the polls, it’s working.

If I didn’t know better, I would think the Democrats are trying to lose the election in November. Especially the Obama camp.

Why else would they freeze Social Security cost-of-living increases two years in a row when food prices are at an all-time high? Why else would they ramp up the war in Afghanistan, which everybody in America (except the military industrial complex and their lackeys) is sick and tired of?

And why else would they appeal the recent court ruling that prevents the U.S. government from banning same-sex marriages?

I’m sure there are logical explanations for the apparent contradictions between Obama’s rhetoric and his administration’s policies. But I haven’t heard any so far.

But I – and other progressives – will have to keep the faith. We have no choice.

We can’t let the “crazy right-wing extremists” take over Congress next month. No matter how petulant we feel.

We can only hope and pray that President Obama has learned his lesson. Perhaps, from now on, he will dance with the ones that brought him to the fete.

See you at the polls.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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