Raising the Liberal/Progressive Flag in America
The general population of the United States does not understand the nuances of the progressive movement. I believe the issue is not that democrats haven't taken the time to thoroughly explain the liberal agenda - I believe the true issue is the Republican Noise Machine, which has subverted the democratic process, and is attempting to convert the United States into basically, a subservient, corporate-owned, quasi-fascist society.
The issue at heart is that the liberal/progressive American is no longer provided a voice. The field has been severely slanted to the right. Rather than attempting to explain the entire process, I will refer you to David Brock's excellent book on the subject, The Republican Noise Machine, along with a recommendation to the site, mediamatters.org.
We no longer have a voice -- Any time a dissident voice with a platform in the mainstream media speaks out against the Bush administration, they are chastised -- labeled as "wacko", "looney", "out of the mainstream", "liberal", "Unamerican", "Unpatriotic", "A conspiracy theorist", somehow related to Michael Moore or George Soros, "alarmist", "elitist", etc - These attacks come from all angels. Witness the shalacking that Dan Rather and NBC received over the mis-use of one allegely forged document. Did we see the same outrage in the Mainstream Media over Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Karen Ryan, Mike McManus, and now, Jeff Gannon? As a result, the average unbiased moderate or liberal journalist or pundit is constantly treading on broken eggshells - careful to never step out of the so-called mainstream of the American political landscape.
The neoconservatives have successfully re-defined the definition of mainstream. We need to recognize this. The "Republican Noise Machine" is part of a thirty year campaign to subvert the democratic process, and to redefine the horizon of acceptable political discourse in the United States. We need to start by recognizing this fact.
Don't be scared about the moral values debate. With the 2004 election, the democratic party sunk about as low as it could go on the issue of moral values. According to the CNN Exit Polls, those that considered Moral Values to be the most important issue (22% of the overall population) voted 80% to 18% in favor of Bush. We need to recognize this fact. The key issue here is to understand how the neoconservatives use people like Paul Weyrich, Jerry Falwell, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. James Dobson, and Pat Robertson to politicize the Christian Coalition to become indoctrinated with the issues of the neoconservative movement. Abortion is a true wedge issue - Even though the majority of Americans favor abortion in some form, there is a sizable segment of the American population that considers the issue to be a trump card. The truth is that the evangelical population of this country has no business aligning itself with the neoconservative movement. We need to recognize this fact - Jim Wallace is doing a great job re-uniting Christianity with progressive politics, with Sojourners and his new book, God's Politics.
The good news is that the progressive movement can still win back America. The results of the 2004 presidential election were very disheartening. There are signs of life -- Barbara Boxer has been instrumental in re-energizing the democratic party. We need to encourage these outspoken Democratic senators -- to give the progressive movement a voice in America. In addition, the blogosphere could play an important role in the next four years. The blogosphere is still a fairly new and undervalued technology -- A true democratic technology that provides a voice to the average American citizen.
I remember reading Noam Chomsky's take on the new media, in his book, Understanding Power. The new media - television and political punditry - is ideal for the neoconservative movement. The message of the neoconservative movement is based on short talking points, and tv-friendly quotes and clips. A thorough and well-reasoned explanation no longer need apply. Liberal advocates like to take the time to explain issues - the interconnectedness of the entire progressive movement. Unfortunately, there is no time for long explanations on TV. The American Public desires talking points, and no longer has the attention span for long-winded, thoroughly sound and thought out explanations. That is why the seemingly self-contradictory agenda that is the neoconservative movement now dominates "mainstream America". That, and the fact that corporate interests have the power and money necessary to financially back the neoconservative agenda, to keep them in power.