We live in a time where insanity has become the norm. The American people, center or left, and yes, even many on the right, know this at some level. We are fed up with the direction this country and world are headed. If Democrats want to win this upcoming election, and win significantly, then they need to let go of their timidity and get in step with what’s really felt by the majority of people in this country. What follows then are Eight Points – not progressive or liberal, but simply common sense – that could make winning a reality. If every candidate in every Congressional district, every Senate race, every election in the country, large or small, would just run and honestly act on this simple set of intentions, people will respond positively at the ballot box, not just at the upcoming election but beyond into the 2008 presidential election. These Points, if honestly committed to beyond the election, if taken from the general to workable specifics, can revive this floundering country:
1. A commitment to Truth. A renouncement of the Karl Rove tactics of negativity and fear, and the embrace of a heart-felt and practiced commitment to Straight Talk.
2. An End to the culture of corruption in Washington – for both Republicans and Democrats – which means ending the influence of lobbyists representing wealthy individuals and large corporations at the expense of the greater public good.
3. A bold articulation of real American values: A) Patriotism. A love of country, which is to say an informed willingness to question as well as to act selflessly for the common good, contrasted to nationalism, a blind allegiance to country, right or wrong. B) An emphasis on a return to morality and ethics and family responsibility, not rigid and narrow-minded religious dogma. C) A call for citizens to make sacrifice, to give up narrow self-interest and to make positive contribution to their country, their community, their family.
4. An end to the war in Iraq, which means getting truthful about why we’re there in the first place. The end would require the development of a boldly comprehensive exit strategy that would insist upon the immediate organization of a representational Iraqi government at the country-wide level, with three zones of ethnic identity – Sunni, Shiite, Kurd – at the local level.
5. A call for a conscious move away from the adversarial and arrogant politics of the Bush administration, to be replaced with a commitment to a newly enlightened statesmanship, which at its core would be committed to truly listening to and acting on other countries’ issues and concerns, in the end resulting in a greater degree of anti-terrorism.
6. An end to the military/industrial control of the country’s economy, to divert multi-billions of dollars in military waste (the key word here is “waste”, not anything to do with weakening the military but quite the opposite) into direly needed social programs: health care, education, environment, energy technology, etc.
7. A commitment to a comprehensive approach – new sources, greatly expanded conservation, new technology, new tax and monetary incentives – dedicated to energy independence, as visionary and committed as the American program that once put a human on the moon.
8. A call for and a absolute commitment to world-wide nuclear disarmament.
Of course, there are other points, specific and general, that could be included here. But these Eight Points are a starting place that gets at the core issues. They are not fear based, and they ask for Americans to get involved, to make sacrifice, to take responsibility for the perpetuation of their freedom and liberty. Most of us Americans at heart are good people. We’re smart enough to know what acts ultimately constitutes our own best interest. We all know, at some level, that something’s badly wrong in our country and that we can’t keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them. Most of us are ready to be asked to be part of making nation-wide, fundamental change. The Democrats must take the lead in this fundamental change, they must choose boldness over timidity, courage over fear. If not, the people will eventually take this opportunity from them.
R. Glendon Brunk has been a wilderness guide, log home builder, commercial fisherman, wildlife biologist, and dog sled racer in Alaska. His book Yearning Wild: Exploring the Last Frontier and the Landscape of the Heart was recently published by Invisible Cities Press.