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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Democratic Party, Young Blood, Vampire Blood

At Alternet, Susan J. Douglas writes that Democrats have missed a key opportunity to react Hurricane Katrina:

Hurricane Katrina not only changed things for the Republicans--it changed things for Democrats too. Katrina exposed the nation's continuing failures to combat poverty and racism; it exhumed, from the '70s, awareness of the country's energy dependency and profligacy; it showed that we can move people in and out of a Big Ten football game more efficiently than out of the path of a storm; it showed that you actually need a functioning federal government; and it revealed our contempt for the elderly and the sick. (Indeed, we desperately need an 80-year-old rapper to proclaim 'George Bush hates old people.')

...Pelosi and the lugubrious Reid are reportedly meeting with mayors and governors to develop a strategy for 2006. But where are the meetings with actual people? Where is Howard Dean's barnstorming of the country, with town meetings everywhere, to get a reality check on the passion of the people?

AlterNet: Hurricane Katrina: Missing the Katrina Moment

Talking to my friend Christopher this weekend, he blames an "age evolution" in the Democratic Party: the same people running the party who lost eight years ago; the same solutions, the same numb wait-and-see attitude. The only thing that could invigorate more of a reaction, more of a take-advantage-of-the-moment attitude, would be a wholesale rebellion by young Dems in their 20s and 30s -- exactly what the Clintonistas accomplished in the early 90s. Which begs the question: who are those young Dems, and do they have the guts it takes to do so?

A woman in the audience at the National Cathedral conference, herself a longtime appointee of the State Department, commented in tears that our panels of outspoken Christian progressive Democrats were the first young leaders of substance she'd seen in the last decade.

I got a chill thinking about her remark in hindsight, because I thought I knew exactly the phenomenon she referred to. Indeed, our panels had courageous young activists and writers pulled from the corners of civilization like San Francisco or Philadelphia where one makes friends. They're also more impassioned and willing to speak from personal trials by far than your average graduate of the Institute of Politics or Harvard Crimson.

I wonder if we've manufactured a generation of leaders too confident in traditional avenues of power, too accustomed to stiff ways of speaking, to work that revolution from within. In which case it will be an awfully long ride till we get a Democrat in the White House. And then the vanguard of courageous peace-and-justice activists on the Party's fringe has a bigger task in front of it than it knows.


Anonymous CookTing said...

Awesome post, J. With so many people on the left bellyaching about all that's wrong with this world, I'm glad to see someone thinking about what it's going to take to make some progress.

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