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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Will The Real Progressives Please Stand Up


I recently read an article by Yvonne Abraham entitled “Wu Stumbles Out of The Starting Bloc.” First of all, Many people of District 2, including myself, are displeased with the author referring to Councilor Linehan’s supporters as “cheap seats.” Their was a definite lack of civility in the author’s tone. I was taken aback by the acerbic tone in the article. It emanated a latent hatred.

It seems the author automatically takes umbrage with an Irish-American candidate from South Boston because he is, well, an Irish-American candidate from South Boston.

The author represents a dangerous faction of people who falsely claim to be progressive. They perversely re-define diversity. Their diversity calls for supporting or not supporting a candidate based on the color of their skin. True progressives define diversity as the acceptance of all people. For true progressives, the color of a person’s skin is not an issue at all in deciding whether or not to support a particular candidate.

Many folks are lured into supporting a candidate because of their affected rhetoric that speaks of progressive values. But we “cheap seat” progressives–as Abraham referred to us–are not deceived by the sophistry of charlatans that refer to themselves as progressives. We will not vote for someone just because he or she is waving the progressive banner; we vote for the true progressive that demonstrates progressive values.

Councilor Linehan has support from the gay community, the Chinese community, and, yes, the Irish-American community. That is a truly progressive coalition. A coalition that led to Councilor Linehan winning by about 1200 votes, which does not meet many people’s standards of a close election–although the author thinks otherwise.

City Councilor Linehan has proven that he is very affective at bringing folks together whom at first may appear to have different goals and aspirations, but in fact have the same wants and needs in life. That along with his experience, demonstrates the sagaciousness of Wu’s decision to support Councilor Linehan’s bid for city council president.

Progressive


(A Facebook conversation with a person whose name I will protect–she took umbrage with my support for civil right of Haitians in The Dominican. There will be a demonstration in front of the Dominican embassy on the 18th from 1PM to 3PM)

Jean, do you believe in freedom for all people? After President Abraham Linclon, by far the best President in union history ( maybe besides Teddy Roosevelt–by the way Both are Republicans, but progressive) gave the Gettysbug Address, this country was reminded of the importance of the Declaration of Independence–perhaps more important than the Constitution itself. Why is that? Well, the Constitution, was antonymic to the values set forth in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution strayed away from The Enlightenment ideals. Children should learn word-for-word The Declaration of independence’s Preamble–the most poignant words ever written about our founding principles and the ideas that bore our nation’s genesis–adults should learn this too. They were the most important words ever written: We Hold these truths to be evident that ALL MEN are created equal. The they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable right, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

After reading biographies of Thomas Jefferson, it is easy to realize that he literally meant “All men.” Not white men–not Anglo-Saxon men.

You see TJ ( Thomas Jefferson) was a humanist and a deist, and a follower of the moral code of Jesus. By this, I don’t mean he was actively engaged in religious dogma that has destroyed the primitive version of Christianity. James Carroll refers to the spilt in Christianity as “Prophetic Christianity” and “Constatitian Christianity.” What is Prophetic Chritianity? It’s the following of the real message of Jesus: love, compassion, and empathy–ironically these are the principals that connect all progressives together. Like TJ, I’m a deist, a humanist. I believe that every man deserves freedom. And it is stunning, Jean, that people like yourself, have a problem with this. I mean you are conservative, but aren’t some values are shared by all Americans. People Wrap themselves in the American flag, but have no grasp of the Enlightenment period, the philosophy of which influenced our national philosophy. Try to get a coherent definition of freedom from these philistines–and good luck.

Marty Walsh is One of Us


The Mayor-Elect of Boston, Marty Walsh, has proven himself an effective advocate of working-class people.  The coalition that carried him to victory is a direct-result of his roots as a champion of Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods. 

Mayor-Elect Walsh is indeed a trasnformative figure.  Walsh was able to build a voting coaltion in Boston that symbolizes that racial politics is in its death throws.  His election was a carthartic event for the city of Boston. Working-class people of color and working-class whites came together to elect one of their own.  No longer are we divided by spurious racial differences; instead, we are united by the need to save our city from becoming a playground for the rich, and a target city for corrupt corporations. 

Working-class men and women–whites and people of color–are being priced out of the city that they love–the city that depends on their hard work to function properly on a daily basis. Our fervent hope is that Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh will employ his strong executive power to keep working-class families in Boston.

Mayoral Election Exposes Fissure Among Liberals


Boston is the capital of liberalism–a tradition we have followed since we were a British colony in revolt.  So it was not surprising that the two finalists in the Boston mayoral race were liberals–or, as we like to be called now, progressives.

This past mayoral race exposed a kink in the progressive movement, however. Progressives better hope that that kink does not destroy the progressive movement from the inside out.

The kink became apparent in the mayoral run-off race between Rep. Marty Walsh and Councilor John Connolly. There was a definitive demographic difference between Walsh’s supporters and Connolly’s supporters. These two different demographics formed the Democratic coalition that swept Obama into office twice. However, a coalitional shift is underway–the kink in the progressive armor is ominous for the Democratic Party’s future.

In 2012, Obama received 93% of the African-America vote; 71% of the Latino vote; 73% of the Asian-American vote. Furthermore, Obama received 60% of the vote from people who did not graduate high school. These numbers show that Obama, and, hence, the Democratic Party, have a firm foothold with minorities–particularly working-class minorities. This represents only one component of his coalition. Educated or professional people–both white and people of color–constitute an integral part of the Democratic coalition. It was necessary for Obama to keep educated professionals in his corner to overcome the 39-59% deficit in the white vote that Obama faced. Among those who have completed post-graduate study, Obama won 55% to 42%.

But once again we return to that word “kink.” And here is the kink in the Democratic Coalition: Educated white Obama supporters dropped by 5%. Romney won educated white women 52% to 48%. The coalition that brought the Democrats into power in the House and Senate in ’06, and peaked in ’08 with the election of President Obama, is starting to shift to the right. The coalition of working-class minorities and educated whites has been the Democratic formula for success throughout the past two decades. And that winning coalition is waning, shifting to the right (well, the educated white segment of the Democratic Coalition is shifting to the right).

The heart-wrenching break-up was apparent in the Boston Mayoral Race despite the fact that both candidates were Democrats. Marty put together a coalition of working-class whites and blacks. He is a transformational figure in that he was able to pull all working class people together, despite their ethnicity, into a winning coalition.

John Connolly did well with educated people, particularly educated whites. Connolly’s supporters were particularly critical of Walsh’s support of unions.

The incessant criticism of unions by the Connolly people–their irrational fear of unions–is something the Democrats should be worried about. It is obvious that the Democratic Coalition is splintering. And in analyzing the Boston Mayoral Race, one can see why the two components of the coalition are starting to divorce.

The educated whites that supported Connolly think they have no investment in a party or candidate that came up through the unions and remains a strong supporter of unions. They fear that if the unions get their way the city will be bankrupt and big business will be driven out of town. The Democrats need these educated whites and they need union support as well. The Party depends on donations from both components of the coalition, and the massive ground game union men and women carry out exceptionally well.

This fear of organized labor on the part of educated whites who are Democrats but are beginning to leave the party is a national phenomenon, and the Boston Mayoral Race has elucidated the problem.

The solution–the mending of the Democratic Coalition–rests on the shoulders of the men and women of organized labor. Rid your local of corruption; get involved in your union; demonstrate to the country that unions are not selfish institutions, but a necessary bulwark against the greed of big corporations; Fight to get unions into retail giants like Wal-Mart; demonstrate the compassion union men and women have for all working people, not just unionized working-people; in fact, unions should be more effective at helping non-union shops organize if they so desire.

The only way to heal the division in the party is to show educated white Democrats that unions are helping to promote the same principles that they subscribe to–mainly, stopping corporate greed and corruption. The unions must re-brand themselves as the final defense in the attempt of big business–avaricious billionaire CEO’s–to turn this country into Ayn Rand’s dream: a completely laissez faire country with no social safety nets; all New Deal legislation repealed; a corporatocracy. Our principles are one, so let us fight to keep the Democratic Party one.