Sam Smith – With the Trump tyranny almost over and the Biden years about to begin, it’s a good time for progressives to figure their new course. Here are a few suggestions:
— Presidents are not agents of change; they are reflections of change. From a progressive perspective, there is little doubt that Biden will be a disappointment, but attacking him for not being good enough will largely be a waste of time. The trick is to create a progressive environment that the White House feels it must respond to.
— This is not just a matter of issues; it is a matter of culture. America hasn’t had a thriving counterculture for years. There is a lack of alternative music, lifestyle, symbols and voices that strongly conflict with the establishment culture.
–Most change starts in small places, witness the spread of state and local environmental laws before the federal government got nto it, or the origins of the legalization of marijuana. Washington learns from change at the state and local level.
— Come up with police reform polices that go beyond how cops handle crises. One reason police do a bad job is because they have become increasingly separated from the communities they are meant to be serving. Banning choke holds is good but it won’t deal with the weak community connection in many police forces.
–Face the fact that in recent decades, as liberals have moved up educationally and economically, they have lost some of their interest in issues effecting the working class. This, combined with the collapse of labor unions, has allowed people like Trump to con this constituency without effective opposition. Liberals have also become increasingly urban and so have lost interest in rural America. This needs to change.
— The young need to do more than vote. They need to teach older America what they want and need and find colorful ways to demonstrate this.
— The same is true of blacks and latinos. They should see themselves as leaders of a new America, rather than just victims of the old one, and include in their priorities issues and solutions that will also benefit white working class voters. A black and latino led labor movement would dramatically change not only the status of issues, but improve ethnic relations as well.
–Teach the young how to get along with those who don’t look like them. The easiest time to teach good ethnic relations is before the young get a bunch of bad ideas from others.
–Create as well as solve. If we only look at issues like ethnicity, police and economics as problems to solve, we can actually miss a lot of the alternative, namely creating a society that enjoys what it is rather than just worrying and arguing about it.