The chains that bind us

You didn’t really think all that brouhaha over funding the government back in the summer was the end of it, did you? Of course it wasn’t. Super Committee aside, this Republican Party is going to take every opportunity it can find to strangle the government and force it to bend to the will of its rich benefactors.

And Democrats seem powerless to stop it. I suppose that’s only natural, liberals being prone to compromise in a way that conservatives are decidedly not. But what it’s done is leave us with a far right party and a center right party, while the nation as a whole — its people, that is — keep moving forward.

All this talk of a third party, something in the middle, is completely ridiculous. Democrats are already there. What we really need is a truly progressive party. We’re out of balance because we’ve accepted the right-wing meme that they represent the true position of Americans and Democrats are far to the left, when in the opposite is actually true.

Yes, boys and girls, the wishy-washy Democrats are pretty much the party of moderation, the party that represents what most Americans are looking for. The Democratic party we have now — wholly unsatisfying to progressives — is America. But my beloved colleagues are too wrapped up in their beltway bubble to see that or even understand that things might not be as their Republican overlords tell them it is.

This is frustrating. It’s so fucking obvious to most of us and yet so beyond the grasp of those who tell us on the nightly news, and 24/7 on the cablers, what it’s all about.

What they, and conservatives, don’t understand, is that the center moves. It progresses. The center used to be in that backwards-looking, archaic place the Republicans thrive in. It isn’t now, and no amount of wishing it were so will make it go back.

But we’re stuck in this ugly place until my colleagues learn to tell the truth, until they know that the Republican party in general, and the tea party specifically, are behind the curve and will soon be left to the mites of history’s dustbin.

And journalists will be left there too, if they don’t wise up soon. Americans are unhappy with the direction government is going, not because it’s led by Democrats in the Senate and the Oval Office, but because those Democrats consistently forego their positions of power to give an old way of thought fresh power. But in the black and white world of Washington, it’s all an either-or proposition. Either you go with the Republicans or you don’t.

Frustrating, and sickening. How far back will this regressive suction pull us before the line finally snaps and we are jerked into a new world wholly unprepared?

When that happens, and it will, we’d best be prepared to help our new arrivals understand where they are and why. They’ll need it.

It’s hard now, but keep this in mind: The pull of progress has left the Republican Party dragging its heels in the past. It can decided to move itself forward with the rest of us, still representing a conservative viewpoint, but one grounded in reality instead of a drive to survive.

That’s where we are now. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have the leeway to consider the rest of us anymore. Their decisions are wholly based on what they think will get them elected or re-elected. And since our storytellers keep telling an old story that no longer has any basis in reality, too many people remain caught up in that polarizing position. Either-or. This or that.

This is the way things work. Conservatives resist change. They drag their heels. They dig in. They hunker down. And they fight back with the viciousness of a cornered dog, one that realizes its entire world is about to change completely. Liberals and progressive pull us forward. It all works quite well when conservatives inch forward, bringing up the rear and discarding the outworn ideas that no longer have any purchase on the real world.

Right now, though, those outworn ideas are still holding on, and the Republicans are giving them voice. Be gentle with them, my friends. It’s going to be a shock when the change finally comes, as it must.

Republicans are stuck, and Democrats can’t move forward without them. Republicans are entrenched in an extreme ideology that has no place here. Their good ideas are tarred with the bad from the past.

Until they let go of that, we’ll stay right here, caught in an uncivil war of someone else’s choosing.

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