Home > Politics, Trends > New Progressive Movement is the New Deal Coalition Reborn

New Progressive Movement is the New Deal Coalition Reborn

April 19, 2011


The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society.

– Robert F. Kennedy

New Deal Coalition
The New Deal Coalition was Franklin Roosevelt’s coalition that included the Democratic party, big city machines, labor unions, minorities (racial, ethnic and religious), liberal farm groups, white Southerners, people on relief, and intellectuals. The coalition fell apart in 1968, but it remains the model that party activists seek to replicate. [1]

The attacks during the first three months of this year on the remnants of the New Deal, those being organized labor (public unions in 16 states run by Republican governors and a majority in their state houses), people on relief (Medicaid and Medicare), and intellectuals (branded elitist and or socialists), have reawakened the sleeping giant of everyday Americans who since 1968 have been quite passive in their politics. The attacks are coming in wave after wave of well-funded Republicans and Libertarian Tea Partiers attacks. The goal is to eviscerate the legacy of the New Deal and Great Society. If successful, many millions will live out their later years in poverty, unattended illness, and great suffering. It is shameful and immoral and it must be stopped.

New Progressive Movement
Fortunately, there are many millions of Americans engaging right now to fight the good fight. What the anti-New Deal right-wingers had not anticipated is this is not your granddaddy’s New Deal Coalition. No indeed. New groups from various segments of our society are taking up the banner and it looks like a 21st century New Deal coalition is emerging. It is more a loose confederation of liberals, environmentalists, economists, blue-collar workers, teachers, nurses, welders, electricians, firemen, police officers, trash haulers, techies, bloggers, counter culture survivors, artists, and engineers, and all seem to be gravitating towards something I would call, the new progressive movement. The mass-media, except for MSNBC, is all but missing it. Newspapers for the most part are not reporting it. Magazine headlines are absent of it. So, there is a need to get the news out that something is emerging in our nation and it is welcome news.

New Frontier Shattered
It is instructive to look back for we see that even in the midst of great promise and potential, lurks evil and violence; subterfuge so foul that it can wrench the hopes of an entire generation and then some.

As with many movements much of the energy lies with the young men and women who are examining their young adult lives and looking ahead wanting a hand in crafting their future. I understand. I was a young person who was part of the counter culture. We had our ideals. We were told of the New Frontier…. and then Dallas November 22, 1963…. and President John Kennedy was assassinated. And then just 5 years later in 1968, his brother Robert was murdered as he was on the verge of turning the political tide and courageously carry on his brother’s legacy. But is was not to be. And then the man who said he had seen the mountain was taken from us in another senseless killing.

We had our hands full after three assassinations in the 60s. There was the fight for civil rights and women’s rights, Nixon and all his corruption, the Viet Nam War, and then the ugly recession that came after the war ended complete with an oil crisis and inflation that threw another wrench into my own young adulthood and many millions more of Baby Boomers. For many, they went underground, or went into the mainstream, their ideals shot to hell. I have said for many years, those of us who tried to change things, tried to live differently, tried to warn against the heavy handedness of the corporate machine, tried to warn about negative environmental changes, and the evil of wars… we have unfinished business.

And so it is, at this late stage in my life that once again I will rally to urge on those young men and women of a new generation, to support their message of alternative energy, to help them call out the corruption in government, to push them for solidarity against privatization and oligarchy. It must be done and this time, we must claim victory. Every generation is called to stand for freedom from tyranny, from those who would usurp our right to pursuit happiness. We have a second chance to get it right.

– We must challenge the corporate lobbying in our politics.
– We must challenge propaganda that says there is no climate change.
– We must challenge privatization of our schools and government services.
– We must challenge those who would strip collective bargaining rights.
– We must challenge the filthy and dangerous practices of fracking, tarsands development, and deep water oil drilling.
– We must challenge corporate owned media.
– We must challenge redistricting that illegally allows vote dilution.
– We must fight for gay rights, civil rights, and human rights.
– We must challenge false doctrine and ideology.

We must do this and even more. We must do it until we are tired, and not wanting to do it, get up and do it once again the next day, and the next day. We must do all this and at the same time remain above the fray, offering clear solutions and alternatives for the betterment of all Americans. And when the extremists come after us – and they will – we must stand our ground, not alone, but together.

What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.

– Robert F. Kennedy

Source for New Deal coalition: Wikipedia

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