( – promoted by buhdydharma )
You can’t get where you want to go ….unless you know where you want to go. Everyone knows now that there must be change, and again we can thank the Conservative Movement and its monumental failure under Bush for driving that point home in unequivocal, unmistakable, undeniable real world terms.
So where do we want to go?
It takes a vision, to paraphrase Hillary. And to achieve effective and implementable change, it takes a vision that is broad enough to become a shared vision. But among the many things the Republicans have destroyed is the ability to even describe a vision, without some FoxNews type smearing of any and all Progressive visions. Thus Obama has not been able to fully articulate where HE wants us to go, what his vision is….and still be electable. Thus until after the inauguration we will not know where he wants to take us. We will not know where we agree and disagree. Until then, our task is to attempt to articulate our vision, and to try to be as clear as we can in this muddied and still fearful political environment. As Obama then articulates his, we will know where to support, where we need to try to bend it to ours, and where we need to oppose.
Over the last decade of renewed Culture War, one of the successes of the Conservatives has been (as I mention above) the smearing of the very word Liberal, let alone a true Liberal/Progressive vision of the world. Our attempts at vision have been labeled “soft on…’ and ‘unrealistic.’ Now however, their ‘hard’ vision of using force to solve every problem has led us here, to their version/vision of ‘reality.’ Which as even they (the non-delusional parts of they, at least) must admit, just plain does not work, AND has some truly morally reprehensible and downright vicious (torture) aspects. They have set the narrative, and their one true achievement has been to discredit our narrative. Heck, they don’t even really believe in having a vision, in their world, Real Men (Real Americans) Don’t Think. They have smeared even the concept of vision and imposed their ersatz philosophies instead, all centering around on central premise…I’ve Got Mine. That is what passes for their vision, what they have attempted to destroy our vision for. Even though ours….works.
Articulating a vision, even just to rephrase it and reframe an existing one, is hard, thoughtful work. (In a way it is even anti-blogging, since blogging is largely reactive!) But as we countdown to the election and all of our nerves are on edge from that, and from reacting to the mess the Conservatives have made, this seems like a good time to have something to concentrate on, somewhere to put all that nervous energy! I invite you to use it constructively, to think about the far future, not just the immediate future. I ask you to try to articulate YOUR vision.
Utopian, platonic visions are welcome, of course, but it is a bit more meaningful to TRY for a reality-based vision, a pragmatic one….in other words, a vision of not just where we want to go, but how we get there from here. I’ll be working on formulating and presenting mine over the next few days, part two, tomorrow will be a start. But as I say, it must be a shared vision if it is to work, so please share yours!
Comments are great, essays are better! Let’s see what we can come up with. Yes, I know it is hard, because I am trying to do it and , well, it is hard!
One way we can approach it is to start with the basics: Freedom, Justice, Equality.
And expand from there. But then we have to define Justice, and parse Equality, and the lists of specific things that we want Freedom from, or the Freedom of…starts to get very, very long. But heck, we have got a week of fingernail biting to fill, so go for it if that is where your process takes you!
Alternately we can try to describe the world we want to live in. Which IS a bit Utopian, but also useful, also part of the process. A world where, for example, where everyone has all they need, and lives in peace with their neighbors and harmony with the earth. I like that! But then we start to get in trouble with the specifics again. What separates what people need from what they want? Does haha, living in peace mean I can’t play Rage Against the Machine at midnight with my stereo turned up to 11? It violates my peace when you restrict me like that! Where, as another example, is the balance between living in harmony with the earth and harvesting it’s resources?
The devil truly is in the details, because that is where, when we move out of broad generalities and get into specifics, the conflict of definition begins. That is where we have to communicate and compromise and come to a decision. That is where vision ends and politics begins. That is where Utopias fall apart. As we have seen over the past eight years, the politics of fear still has the power to pull even reasonable people into its sticky web. To sidetrack entire populations off of the road to the future and on to the siding of the worst parts of human nature.
And here we are, and we DO have to get from here to there, and that road is filled with all of the potholes and obstacles of human nature, fear, greed, intolerance, xenophobia and just plain anger and fear based hate.
To get off of that sidetrack and back on the road we need a map. A new map, a new vision. Drawing that new map is the opportunity….the responsibility, that e have been given in this new time. The world and ALL of its People face a whole slew of challenges at this very moment, and we face them bereft of a vision, with no clear way forward. Let us take this time to try to find that way, and perhaps even show others where WE want to go, in the hope that they will join us on the journey.