Monday, October 22, 2007

Progressives: Wake up and Lead!

This one's aimed squarely in the mirror...

I gotta vent a bit for the sake of the world and one group of people who can play a large part in world-changing.

Progressives: Get your house in order. I used to think it was just the "Democrats", and then just the "liberals" who needed a kick in the ass, but now it's my own tribe of progressives that need a wake-up call.

In fact, I might as well lump us all into the same group for this exercise, because it seems a great many of us think we've got it all together when clearly we don't. Yes, it's a generalization, and sure there are people who are truly progressive without flaw, but most of us have a long way to go.

So, here's what we have GOT to do if we're going to lead:

1. Stop dissing religious people out of hand. Stop saying that all Christians are one thing or another. Stop saying that all religions are inherently violent. Stop saying that all religious men are misogynist. You may certainly condemn misogyny and bigotry, but you gotta quit with the broad over generalization crap.

2. Start spending more money on helping the planet rather than on telling other people to help the planet. I know we all want to get the word out, but the best way to do that is to simply do the things we think need to be done. Less bumper stickers, more scholarships. Less latex GWB masks, more solar panels. Just get back to work.

3. Stop contradicting yourself regarding violence. If you think you are a progressive, then you simply cannot condone violence. You must resist it in all its forms and quit trying to placate people who think otherwise. Capital Punishment in all cases is verboten. The answer to "what if you could kill one person to save the whole of humanity?" is not to kill that person because the question is ridiculous. We can solve these problems we face without violence. In fact, we cannot solve violence with violence, ever. I mean, duh!

4. Walk your environmental talk. This is essential. It must be done within reason, and you are not required to be perfect all the time, but you must give it your best effort all the time. Drive the greenest car you can afford, insulate your house before you resubscribe to cable. Recycle at work and start a recycling program (and keep it honest) if you don't already have one. Don't shy away from looking like an obsessive compulsive in this regard. It's shameful how many hip coffee houses don't recycle everything and compost what all they can.

5. Stop watching so much TV. You know who you are. I'm not saying you can't look at any screen ever again, but you don't have to watch 3 hours every night. My wife and I watch movies every so often, and sometimes an HBO series on DVD, but we try to keep it sane. It's not a crime to watch 24, but it shouldn't be watched 24/7, you know?

6. Be more responsible with your money. It's an overarching line item here. Spend your money more wisely. If that means drinking one less beer at dinner, so be it. If that means not buying a new iPod, fine. If you must buy a new iPod, find a way to balance that consumption back out... Whether the balancing includes carbon offsets or avoiding buying entire albums when only one song is cool, okay. Just realize that your money is a great tool in the fight for world peace and saving the planet. When you waste it on escapism with a pound of pot instead of an ounce, you do your tribe and the planet a disservice. I'm not kidding about the pot. Having wasted a lot of time wasting, I can tell you that I wish I had spent a bit more money on art supplies or trips to the countryside.

7. Care about children, and all the children in your life. It's really your only responsibility. All these other line items are really about showing future (and current) generations what to do if you want to be a loving and productive citizen. You are modeling progressive behavior to the kids that are watching you. Especially, your own children and the children in your immediate community/family. Show them love, give them tools to navigate in this wacky world. Our culture must shift this way or perish.

8. Get your mental health straight. If you've got a mental health issue or a deep relationship problem, take care of that right freakin now. I have met a lot of true progressives that frankly give us all a bad name when they lose their shit. Obviously, there are medical issues that need to be accounted for, but please, if you can, get your mind together before you show up at the next rally. Shouting "Governor Gregoire is a fascist!" while she's trying to get the biofuels bill pushed through Congress is totally counter-productive. I was at a forum discussing the Downing Street Memo where some guy in the 4th row stood up and yelled at Jay Inslee (a real progressive) to prosecute Maria Cantwell as a war criminal. Stay on topic, progressives! Seriously, I know we all mean well, but the message is being muddied.

There are clearly more line items to add to this list. Please add your own in a comment, I know you've got something to add here....

1 comment:

smooshy said...

One thing I've been working on recently is a connection to my ancestry. I feel like we're all moving forward at this lightning pace and with that, we're leaving our connection to our grandparents and our grandparents grandparents. You can even make the analogy with how well our grandparents use computers (sorry to all you cybergrannies out there for the generalization). Since experimenting with adulthood, I've broken my connection with the past. I believe it's essential for the transition, but then we forget. I see the reconnection to our ancestry with people having kids, but with so many progressives not having children, the way back is difficult to find.

I had an incredible sweat lodge experience this weekend and from it I discovered my need to find the way back to my ancestry to get more grounded and learn from their experiences. Their experiences are contained in our cell memory. There are millenia of experiences available to us if we can start to reconnect. It sounds sci-fi and Dunish, but I believe we're all capable.