Published on November 15th, 2012 | by RLn Staff0
It’s Not as Simple as Red and Blue
The idea of a “rainbow coalition” is not a new one
By James Preston Allen, Publisher
Mitt Romney’s defeat was as stunning to his party as it was to many Democrats that presumed the election would be stolen by Karl Rove and David Koch with unregulated millions of “money-is speech” Political Action Committee money. The Red Party, as the GOP have now come to be known, have their own problems to deal with in the wake of President Barack Obama’s victory–not the least of which is the question of what to do with political operatives like Rove, who looked like snake-oil salesman in the face of 20-something-year-old statisticians using higher math and data analysis as an effective campaign tool. In fact, it was a game changer.
Before the gay rights movement adopted the rainbow as their color symbol, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition adopted it for the civil rights leader’s 1988 presidential run. If this election was a victory, it was one made up of this ethnic rainbow. This is both a triumph and a challenge for the Democratic party, which for most of my life-time has been beset with factional bickering than strict party loyalty. Some might liken being a Democratic leader walking a group of cats on on a leash. Occasionally they win, but only if the cats cooperate.
The simplistic concept of breaking party demographics down by race and ethnicity is only a mask for the real and more common thing that divides Americans– class. A fact in America to which we don’t like to admit. Race is used as a mask in most discussions of class in our country, and that has been the case since the very beginning. Only once in a great while does somebody reminds us of this fact, like noted leftist historian Carrie McWilliams or Mike Davis. Even reading Howard Zinn’s “The Peoples History of the United States,” would be enlightening for Random Lengths News readers like Arthur Schaper who continue to rail against my editorials (He’s got a good rant in our letters column this week).
My main point is that while the national and state Democratic apparatus are gloating over their recent victories and the Republicans are in disarray, now is actually the time to reconsider what exactly the Democratic Party stands for. Contrary to my critics, I would argue for a return to the fundamentals of liberal economics enunciated by Franklin Roosevelt in his 1944 State of the Union speech on “the Second Bill of Rights,” in which he argued that:
“Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” He proposed the following list of priorities and rights; The right to a useful and remunerative job…The right to a good education. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies…
And on the rights of security:
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. The right of every family to a decent home. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
The Romney-ites would call these “entitlements” for the 47 percent, while they enjoy the benefits of all of these rights by privilege of class. I, however, argue that these are the rights of every citizen who lives in the wealthiest nation in the world. Romney was right in his criticism of President Obama. He hasn’t done enough to “fix the economy.” And it is true the leaders of the liberal party have not done enough to extend the Second Bill of Rights to this generation of Americans. Even ObamaCare is a sad compromise on the original intent of FDR’s “adequate medical care” promise. Only Medicare and Medicaid achieved this a generation ago.
The reason why I didn’t vote for Romney is that he would have rolled back most, if not all, of these social-rights achieved over the last 100 years. And he would have done so for the sole purpose of generating a profit at the expense of the working classes.
That ideology along with Romney’s faith in hedge-fund-fueled free enterprise has suffered an ignoble defeat.
Now the Democrats need to remember who they are and whom they truly represent.