Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Progressive and Patriotic

Among progressive democrats there’s a lot of angst these days that Obama will give away too much as he moves his agenda through Congress.

We’ll be talking a great deal about those thin lines between bending and folding, compromising and capitulating, succeeding and surrendering. And no matter which way things go, the contingencies of the political process will certainly dim the light on our new prez.

Here’s some of what we’ll hear:

He should’ve fought harder for this. Held the line on that. Whacked the republicans over the head. Called the bluff on the blue dog democrats. Taken on the elites. Gone straight to the people.

In the months ahead, each of us will have to come to terms with our disappointments and frustrations. My advice: be a fierce advocate for your position, but take a step back.

I was in D.C. last week. My first trip there since we won. The kids came. How different it is to visit the memorials - Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, World War II, Vietnam - at a time when we’re feeling upbeat and optimistic about America. The kids, their mom and I talked founding ideas, national identity, good wars and bad, injustice and struggle. Our Obama-era teenagers know that their country can do right and can do wrong - and they also know how cool it is that the nation elected Obama president.

We’re just beginning to pull ourselves out of a very dark period. And I’m still celebrating.

So don’t fixate on Obama mistakes and missed opportunities. We’re shifting the public conversation. We’re building consensus and support for progressive political values.

It takes a while.

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