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April 14, 2005

Letter to the Editor: Now What? Move on That's What

Casey Doherty

      When the Observer comes out, I am regularly disgusted with many of its articles because of its oversimplified, arrogant, and caustic nature. The articles gloat in narrow electoral victories, and concede nothing to the 49% of the population who voted for Kerry. I must admit I was not surprised, though, I am from the blood-red state of Texas and I am used to this Republican hubris. However, after reading the Patriot I was upset by less of its articles but still put the paper down with a bad taste in my mouth.

      In some of the Patriot's articles there was the same oversimplified, arrogant, and caustic tone that I had found in the Observer. The Patriot, though a good deal of its articles dealt with current events and wrote in a professional way, was still scarred by some which seemed to have an obsession with the past. Bush won the election. It happened and progressives need to move on. I empathize with Ms. Labahn's point in her article, "Now What?" that progressives should seek solace in the protective, sarcastic enclaves of Comedy Central and Air America; but it has been proven in our elections that those who enjoy those programs are in a minority. In a democratic system a minority can only obstruct, not construct. The progressive party was not meant to obstruct, but these programs, though humorous and often dead on in their satire, too often lure progressives into becoming content with thinking that their main task is to come up with jokes about the apelike nature of our President.

      Progressive means moving forward, and I think that the Progressive movement is taking on the form of a nostalgic one. Though Ms. Labahn does indeed end her article with a call to action I found that it was overshadowed by the other 80% of her article that dealt with past events. Until the Democrats come up with a political genius that can build a time machine, progressives must stop dwelling in the past. The war in Iraq happened. Was it misguided? Yes, yes it was; but American troops are there and are in power, and to withdrawal may throw Iraq into chaos and religious civil war.

      So therefore instead of writing columns on why they hate GW and his past policies or lamenting the messy, violent situation in Iraq, progressives should be writing on how to stabilize Iraq, as huge a task as that may be. Mr. Wheatley ended his article, "Still don't get it? Why I loath GW" in a conciliatory and submissive nature writing that, "Its only four more years, what's the worst that could happen." Much worse can happen if progressives continue to sit back and glory in the mess that this administration has caused.

      Moderate Americans are alienated by extremists on both sides, by both the Republican bullies who push through their hackneyed ideologies, and the Democratic smart-alecks who simply mock and buy bumper stickers saying not to blame them.

      That said, it must be clarified again that the Patriot did contain positive, nuanced articles and is addressing current issues such as Mr. Riehs' article on Social Security and Mr. Coppola's on Abortion. Young Progressives should take cues from these students and from Progressive leaders such as new Minority Leader Harry Reid who said "We are constitutionally empowered by the Constitution to have certain powers that are inherent in this body (The Senate), and we want to work with the president. But they (The Administration) can't jam things down our throats."

      There are still 45 Democratic Senators and numerous other moderate Republican ones. Bush's approval rating continues to drop and moderate Republicans and Democrats have formed blocks against him largely thanks to his new radical plan for Social Security.

      Progressives cannot give up hope, and this article is not at all imploring progressives to back off of the current administration. There are times when the administration deserves to be reprimanded, and the shows that Ms. Labahn mentions do an excellent job of giving the administration a reality check. However, progressives need to attack its current and future policies instead of constantly coming back to the two issues in the past which are irreversible and seem to be fixated in progressives' minds above all else: The 2000 election and the Invasion of Iraq.

      Those people who are drifting away from this administration because of its extremism are not going to come into a party that is identified with stagnation and nostalgia. Moderate Americans will become apathetic if they cannot identify with either party in this two party system, and an apathetic public is the greatest danger to democracy. It is now springtime, the season of rebirth. Winter is over and its time for progressives to come out of the safety of their sanctuaries of sap and smugness and out into the realm of compromise and action.

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