My father used to have a saying. "No applause for doing what you should, it ain't nothing but the right thing to do."
It seems these days that we are heaping praise on the democrats for doing what they are supposed to be doing. Standing their ground and holding onto principles that they should have been fiercly advocating since before the impeachment of Clinton. I, for one social and political critic, believe that instead of giving the democrats multiple "atta boys" and "atta girls" that we should be reminding them that taking a stand and fighting the neo-conservative Bush agenda every damn step of the way is what they have to do on a regular basis.
Some see this as the democrats growing a spine. Maybe. Look at what Consortium News is saying:
The biggest political mystery in Washington is what's caused the surprising change in the Democrats, who are demonstrating uncustomary courage in battling George W. Bush and the Republican congressional majority. The Democrats were supposed to cower and compromise after the disastrous Election 2004, but they have started to find their voice, perhaps because they have new chances to speak on "progressive talk radio."
I hope they are right but I also heard on NPR this morning that the dems are signalling a compromise over the fight against extremist right-wing judicial appointments. This is especially galling since they were turned down by Congress in previous years. This is a backbone?
Democrats must fight and fight and then fight some more. You will not win every battle. You will lose more than you can win. But you will reveal the agenda that this out-of-touch with the mainstream right-wing is advocating without thought, reflection, and of course -- compromise.
Democrats must be equally bold. They must not concede or accept the vocabulary and definitions used the right. They must establish themselves with their own clearly articulated and ACTED UPON vision. Look at how Kerry lost because he did not do that. See how Gore was damaged by a weak ability to establish a democratic vision that was meaningfully different than the republicans.
Democrats cannot be Republican-lite. They must go back to the values and actions of the party that matter: Human values not church values (spiritual and religious values are different!), compassion -- real compassion for fellow human beings which translates into education, welfare, infrastructure, environmentalism, feminism, equality before the law, fair taxation, common community. When Democrats fight for the rights of people to live their lives free from governmentally produced right-wing tyranny, we all win. Even the Republicans.