Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving; Now Get Back to Being Poor

They come in a line; we dish out the holiday meal. They are far away; we mail them nice care packages. They are alone; we warmly gather them together.

We are generous in our efforts to ensure the downtrodden have a happy holiday. Our senses of goodness and rightness prevail; our own bounty pricks our conscience and stirs our sentimentality. Thus we share.

However these acts are for today, the holiday. As sincere as we may be the core outcome is starkly direct, "Happy holiday today but tomorrow get back to being poor."

This is not a condemnation of our individual generosity. This is not meant to criticize the spiritual or ethical impulses that drive our holiday benevolence. It is to prompt asking the greater questions.

Why do we condone throughout the long year of many hundreds of days the exclusion of the gifts that we so willingly and with moral concern bestow on a single day? Why is our eradication of the most visible outward conditions of poverty by alleviating hunger, satisfying small needs and sharing joys, sharing warmth and fellowship, and the extension of care limited to a handful of hours?

We only give so much, individually.

Our cares are individual and expressed through our volunteer organizations in these holiday efforts. And these generous actions are inherently good. And these resource strapped organizations that express our individual benevolence toil throughout many of the other year’s days to address the needs of the poor are also good. But our greatest organization at our disposal, the organizing fabric of our society that is under our collective control, our political and economic system is not bent toward the eradication of poverty.

Eradicating poverty in this nation is not complicated but it is a real choice we make about how we command our national resources and wealth. We have chosen one path that is ineffectual at best or negligent at worse and now it remains to be seen if we will ever gather the courage to chose to control of our collective destiny so we can say, “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, everyday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Affirmation, Aspiration, Articulation, and Application

We lost. Yes, there are some bright spots and bright leaders saved or on the horizon. But we lost.

This sounds like a bitter reality pill that we are forced to swallow but silently not accepting it or seeking excuses for it will lead to continued rejection. Redefining this moment as an opportunity seems perhaps trite but this is a time for an opening to be seized to renew our Democratic Party in order to serve people with a vision for a prospective future that they will desire, support, and protect.

We need to adopt a plan to build an affirmation of aspiration with articulation yielding application.

We must not be tempted to merely position the party on whim or poll or to craftily market ourselves to the electorate, but rather to know ourselves so we can build trust with citizens and offer them effective solutions to real challenges, based on moral assurances that help all of us meet higher objectives. We need to search for what our vision is in governance both pragmatic and moral, agree on the broad brush stokes philosophically, and then employ effective constant communication to build alliances and especially obtain individual allegiances to not just win elections but mandates of ongoing actions.

Affirmation of our fundamental beliefs is vital to ensuring that we have identified the essential ingredients of both the moral positions and pragmatic governance principles we value. It is essential that our core values are an expression of our deepest vision and not a whimsical reaction to polls, politicians, or perceived popularity.

Aspiration is what we need to shape from our core beliefs. We can only say “no” today to Republican rule with authority if we reject taking over their tactics of obstruction and division.  It may have the potential to yield electoral success fleetingly but it is a cynical strategy that contributes nothing to the common good. We can do better; we will say “no” because we aspire to a finer alternative that we must define completely that we make accessible.

Articulation of our message is critical to connect to citizens and is of far greater vital consequence to earn their trust. We must not solely wallow in the mechanics of communications but pay large attention to the message. We have to express our aspirations as the best possible, well thought out, and pragmatic but visionary alternative vision of governance. We must express beliefs that can be believed in, not puffery performed for the present.

Application of our principles is our ultimate goal.  We must not seek mere reactive moments of affiliation with us in the voting booth but build a foundation to elect and reelect individuals that articulate solid common aspirational goals. We must seek voter affiliation for the long term to ultimately govern well with trust to achieve worthy objectives. We must invest the time and energy to earn it.

Democrats form the party that looks forward; let’s move forward.