10/13/2005: Missed opportunities....
At Facing South, Chris Kromm raises the sad possibility that progressives are squandering their best chance, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to stop the heartless GOP revolution in its tracks and enact some needful reforms:
The New York Times had a discouraging but, I think, on-target piece earlier this week describing the closing window of opportunity for progressive reform in the wake of the Katrina catastrophe, and why progressives should see this as an issue of urgent national concern:I wish I could be sanguine about the prospects. But with the "two-party system" in this country having slowly deteriorated into the "one party with two-wings system" (those wings being the "anti-abortion and beat down those icky gays wing" and the "pro-choice and those gays aren't all that bad" wing), I'm not sure that the moderate-right wing of Our Only Party (i.e., the Democrats) is going to fight the right ("moderate" Republicans) and batshit crazy right (religious right, neocon and social conservative GOP) wings of Our Only Party in order to see that something mildly resembling "social justice" is done.As Hurricane Katrina put the issue of poverty onto the national agenda, many liberal advocates wondered whether the floods offered a glimmer of opportunity. The issues they most cared about - health care, housing, jobs, race - were suddenly staples of the news, with President Bush pledged to "bold action."Katrina put issues of race and class on the national radar in a way that won't be repeated for a very long time. But the opportunity to discuss and act on these issues -- progressive issues -- is being largely squandered.
But what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones [...]
"We've had a stunning reversal in just a few weeks," said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. "We've gone from a situation in which we might have a long-overdue debate on deep poverty to the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that low-income people will be asked to bear the costs."
Let's be clear: If progressives fail to seize this opportunity, what will suffer are not only the people of the Gulf Coast, now at the mercy of real estate speculators, energy developers, far-right ideologues, and other nefarious interests. We will also lose a once-in-a-decade chance to resurrect the progressive agenda on a national scale.
Len on 10.13.05 @ 09:28 AM CST