This Is the Progressive Majority?

I am seething. Just got an email from the so-called Progressive Majority. Rather than go on about it — don’t want to say something I will regret later — I will post my response to their missive launching an anti-Ralph Nader effort. An excerpt from PM’s screed:

Ralph Nader says he’s “testing the waters” to determine whether he should run for President in 2004. He has set up an exploratory committee to raise money and recruit volunteers. He’s launched a web site, which his 2000 campaign manager said would play a key role in raising money.

Ralph Nader has said he would decide soon, so we cannot afford to wait. Progressives everywhere need to speak out to let Ralph know that, while we deeply respect his contributions and his role in advancing progressive causes, he simply must not run in 2004.

Early next week, Progressive Majority will publicly launch a campaign – Just Say No, Ralph – that will serve as a vehicle for progressives to weigh in on this critical decision.

Yep, gasket blown, I started writing:

To: Gloria Totten, executive director, Progressive Majority

Re: Your obnoxious and anti-democracy “Don’t Run Ralph” effort:

Oh, I see. Those of us who are TRUE progressives and do not support the Democratic Party should not get a choice in the election? Shame on you.

Don’t you get it? For many of us who vote according to principle, not politics, your candidate won’t get our votes whether Ralph runs or not. We will not vote for non-progressive candidates. Meaning, if Kucinich does not get the nomination, we will not and can not vote Democratic. Period. Character counts and integrity is job one.

So, no. I will not support your anti-democracy effort. In fact, I will step up my efforts to convince Ralph to run. It is obvious America needs him more than ever.

You wrote: Today is our first political test for 2004. Can progressives remain united in our will to defeat George W. Bush next November?

That would be a good question if it were based on anything resembling truth. Job one is to be ethical and moral. If compromising on what is right and conceding to those asking us to do unethical things gets Bush out of the White House, we still lose. Better to lose the whole world than one’s own soul. Or, paraphrasing Dr. King, you must do what conscience tells you is right rather than what is popular, expedient, or politic. For many of us, it would be unprincipled, unethical, and immoral to vote for candidates we believe are unfit for the job. Dean, Clark, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, et al — all unfit.

You wrote: We need to decide. Now. Ralph Nader says he’s “testing the waters” to determine whether he should run for President in 2004. He has set up an exploratory committee to raise money and recruit volunteers. He’s launched a web site, which his 2000 campaign manager said would play a key role in raising money.

Ralph Nader has said he would decide soon, so we cannot afford to wait. Progressives everywhere need to speak out to let Ralph know that, while we deeply respect his contributions and his role in advancing progressive causes, he simply must not run in 2004.

No, progressives NEED to do the progressive and ethical thing, not to go along with the master’s broken tools and broken system. We need to back people with integrity, not those who have bought into the Demublican-Republicrat shitstem. And it is alarming to see PM align with the win-at-all-costs crowd. Very disappointing. At what point does the cost become too high for you? Does it ever become too high? Sounds to me that you are Liberal Majority or Centrist Majority — anything but progressive.

You wrote: “I’m writing you today so you are the first to know about it – and to ask for your help. We need virtual organizers who will help us spread the word. Please use the link below to become a virtual organizer.”

Um, no. My site is committed to doing honorable, moral, ethical things. This PM endeavor absolutely would not qualify.

My message:

RUN RALPH, RUN!

Natalie Davis, global citizen, progressive activist

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7 thoughts on “This Is the Progressive Majority?

  1. The “Progressive Majority” is no more than an arm of the current duopoly.
    They couldn’t care less about progressive issues and are only about majority.
    For your information, there are already several announced candidates for the
    Green Party nomination – including David Cobb (my personal favorite).

  2. You can feel good about yourself, or you can participate effectively. You’ve chosen to feel good about yourself. Valid choice, but don’t pretend it means anything.

    yeah, it sucks that standing up for what you believe in and remaining absolutely true to your principles means you do nothing but help the opposition, but life isn’t fair.

    Personally, I think your choice is insanely selfish and self-serving, but that’s just me.

  3. Hmmm… you want me to vote your way and support a party of which I am not a member or supporter to help you and hurt myself. Sounds like you are at least as selfish as you say I am.

    Sorry, pal, I gotta do what is right.

  4. You say “What is right” as though you are the arbiter of such things. You can say “Right for ME” and be accurate, but it’s quite a different thing to declare that you know “what is right”. That is a very debatable issue.

    I think it is right to do what you can to protect the most people from the most damage. I am not always one to say that voting third party is wrong, I’ve done it myself. But in times like these, when the guy who is going to benefit from the fact that you didn’t throw a vote to his opponent is someone who can do the sort of damage to this country that will last for DECADES after he is gone (Supreme Court, the deficit)even CENTURIES and into forever (the environment) I think thorwing a perfectly good vote that could potentially stop it is not only selfish, it’s grotesque and ego driven.

    And you can bitch all you want that this attitude is what keeps us in a “duopoly” and somebody’s gotta stand up sometime, and that is true. But timing is everthing, and this is NOT THE FUCKING TIME.

  5. In my opinion, it is right, period. That is what my conscience tells me — it is never right to support someone not in favor of equality for all. Again, better to lose the whole world than one’s own soul.

    As for timing, that works if one is political. I don’t make decisions based on what is politic. Personally, most political moves are immoral.

  6. This is a crosspost of sorts.

    One’s vote is the least thing one has to offer. It’s next to meaningless. Advocacy for progressive causes gets more people involved. It does not substract from the plurality the lesser or greater of two evils gets in the popularity contest. There are millions of people looking for someone worth fighting for. Not every stay at home on election day is apathetic. Not everyone who refuses to vote for one of the machine candidates is a naive, self-disenfranchising jerk. They have principles and they should be respected for that. They are building, not tearing down.

    The argument that working for a truly progressive presidency equates to being objectively pro-Bush is a poor argument. That’s the same species of argument that was used for his war. And that’s the one I hear being advanced from people who should know better. It’s a false dichotomy, eerily similar to the “there is no alternative” cry of ruthless people. Work to get more people involved. The solution to disintegrating democracy is more people caring enought to do something.

    That said, not even a progressive president is going to be able to do more than undo some the worst harms inflicted on us in the last few decades. The extreme right wing is energized, willing to be violent and happy to steal elections. Their political heros could be caught committing sickening crimes and they’d deny the evidence. Their politicians are firmly entrenched and the most of the Democratic opposition, such as it is, is risk averse. Any salvation for the United States is going to come from the ground up.

    Finally, politics is not, in and of itself, moral or immoral. It is a craft that can be perverted to good uses or bad. There are both moral and immoral practicioners of the craft.

  7. True that, I tend to get testy by what is happening on the right and left. It certainly appears that there are many more of the latter, sad to say. But there are good pols out there.

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