originally published Oct. 28, 2011 on Open Salon. Not too many people really address this topic, which I find odd.
I recently read a comment that the Traveler made about the OWS movement on Barbara Joanne's blog: "This entire thing is frustrating because the movement is frittering away some of their moral authority by their stupid, stupid tactics." (This post is an expansion of an answer I gave on that blog.) His suggestion was that the protesters make a habit of singing the Star Spangled Banner. He's right, of course. Think of the news videos of police teargassing a crowd singing that.
I understand his frustration. I was in an antiwar protest in DC during the early seventies, when the war was winding down, and I suggested to those around me that we would be much scarier to the opposition if we all showed up in business suits rather than looking like every other protester had for the last several years. No one around me got it at all, they thought I was nuts. I wasn't.
As Kemstone has pointed out in a couple of his older posts, the majority of Americans actually hold liberal/progressive views on most issues. That hasn't helped as much as you'd think, in part because the minority has much better strategic thinkers. Not better policy thinkers - as can be seen by the Republican presidential candidate debates, a lot of their policy thinkers are blithering idiots - but strategic thinkers. That may be a misnomer on my part, because it's not so much that Republicans are better strategic thinkers as it is that Republicans make a priority of thinking and acting strategically and we, for the most part, don't.
What do I mean?
Every time the Right claims a position, the Left deserts it and then tends to vilify it because they identify it with the Right. This is one of the stupidest tactics I've ever seen. Here we are on the Left, trying to win the Center, while allowing the Right to be seen as the representatives of
3. The Military
This is INSANITY! Our strategy so far has been to assume that the moral superiority of our positions should be obvious and that, if you don't get it, we aren't going to bother with you. Great. Looking down our noses at the population we're trying to recruit. As I said, Insanity.
The craziest part of this abdication of so much of what's important in American life is that we are, for the most part, better representatives of these communities/interests than they are. We don't even acknowledge this, much less talk about it. I can't go into all of them in detail - it would take a synopsis of most of my previous OS work - but I can at least touch on them:
1. Jesus' priorities were more typically Left than Right, focusing primarily on the dispossessed and oppressed. He didn't talk all that much about, for example, sexual morality, but he talked constantly about taking care of those who needed help and befriending those who were ostracized, conduct that he was vilified for during his own life. I don't need to cover the aspects of liberalism/progressivism that should appeal to Jews because we aren't numerically all that significant and because most of us have already reached these conclusions on our own.
2. The largest threat to business in America is income polarization, not the tax climate, because income polarization erodes the customer base. The Left is better at combatting income polarization, and the business climate for a whole lot of reasons would be better with leftist solutions than rightist, including (but not limited to) that extra regulation would have saved us from a few recent catastrophes (like the S&L crisis, the mortgage crisis, and the BP Gulf oil spill).
3. While the Right waves flags, the Left worries about wages and medical care for enlisted personnel. It is we who worry about the welfare of the men and women who actually do the fighting.
4. The best way to help your country is to improve it, not to act like it doesn't need improvement. See my previous One Sentence Sunday post.
Yet all four of these are, politically, GOP assets, nearly unopposed, because we don't want to appear
1. Superstitious or autocratic
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the above four characteristics bother us, not the people we're trying to convert. They're far more worried about people who appear
2. Anti-business/economically clueless
The Right understands this and does everything possible to paint us in these colors. We, in our infinitely superior wisdom, cooperate.
And we wonder why we lose elections.