The biggest news of the day is obviously the Congressional compromise on Bush's Iraq war budget demands. Trumpeted from the front page of every paper, it is clear that the Democrats gave in to an unpopular president out of fear that they will be perceived as weak on the national security. It's hard to make the leap from a war of aggression to our national security, but Bush made it and the Democrats refuse to unmake it. Naturally, this is sickening to principled people who oppose the war and wish for our troops to come home safely and in a timely fashion. It also brings me to my point du jour. In our state, compromise with a powerful and well-intentioned but wrong governor has gotten us a ridiculous and unreliable education funding mechanism. It's just this week gotten us an utterly lame parity bill that doesn't cover substance abuse and affects less than one-sixth of North Carolina's insured. It has gotten us a weak-ass de facto moratorium on the death penalty that could change at any time. Compromise has brought us here and it's a disgraceful place to be.
This country has been driven so far to the right and been so confused by masterful rhetoric that we no longer act our values at home or abroad. Don't worry, I'm not going to get all Lakoff on you, but I'm going to say that enough is enough. Compromising has gotten us a vicious and hopeless foreign war, a war on a tactic (Terror's a tactic. Was World War II a War on Strafing?), an unprecedented curtailment of our civil rights, and manifold other woes at home. This has all come about because the Right has long had well-funded think tanks and fringe churches that issue extreme opinions on all manner of topics. Sure, many are rejected, but they kept at it and the whole country met them more than halfway.
I'm taking back the night and doing the same here. This is a progressive think tank's blog. I don't have to pretend to be palatable to business, and I don't have to worry about the tender sensibilities of a "Respect for Life" crowd that favors the death penalty, an unjust war, environmental decay, and the right to kill petty thieves. Yes, I'm going for the Left, not for what's left when the not-as-Far-as-it-should-be Right have finished making a mockery of the American social contract. When the NAACP can issue a 14-point agenda that gets wide and thoughtful coverage and meets with success, you'll know I've made a difference. When legislators of one party can stand up to their own leaders (a la Janet Cowell, God love her) to do the right thing or say no to the wrong thing, you'll know I've made a difference. When Respect for Life means caring for all the living – not just the unborn – and truly prizing human life and potential above all else – not just the few stray cells forgotten in the fertility clinic's freezer – you'll know I've made a difference. When North Carolina is known for its beautifully clean rivers and beaches, the health and welfare of its children, and its enlightened social policies, not just for its corporate incentives, then you'll know I've succeeded. When people matter more than profits, you'll know everyone came around. If it means a few more visits from aggrieved apologists or angry posts by spineless conciliators, bring it on. Just not at dinnertime, please.
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