1.09.2005

What Can We Do for You?

Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
Where the neon madmen climb.
They all fall there so perfectly,
It all seems so well timed.
An' here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again?

-from Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
Bob Dylan
Copyright © 1966; renewed 1994 Dwarf Music


As I said in the previous post, I believe we are in a state of emergency.

An essential aspect of this emergency is that most Americans, regardless of their relative position on the political compass, still believe or want to believe that (1) we live in a democracy; (2) the fundamental system of government and politics is sick through misuse, but not really broken; (3) we can fix stuff and "take back the country"; (4) we just need to find the right people to do the job and save us from ourselves.

Well, have I got news for you . . . there is no longer a shred of evidence, as far as I'm concerned, that any of that is true. As Dylan says earlier in Stuck . . ., "The sidewalks have been stolen and the mailbox is locked." True democracy has never existed in the US, at least at the federal level - the deck was constitutionally stacked against it to begin with. Democracy cannot be achieved by simply adjusting a system that is anti-democratic. Think about it . . . the main reason The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang are still in power is that they knew exactly where the vulnerabilities are in the system and exploited them, while much of their opposition couldn't - for the most part still can't - see the gaping chasms in the system.

Before your blood pressure goes through the roof (and the FBI starts knocking on my door), I am not about to argue for either "revolutionary uprising" or anarchy and anarchism. I am going to suggest, however, that the nation as we thought we knew it is gone. Period. The fallacy has been that the government will always protect us from the government. D'oh!

P! is about empowering ourselves with populist, progressive principles. It is about taking full responsibility in our daily lives for each other. It is about finding out, by communicating with each other, what we need to do and how we can get it done. I suppose you could say we're about to have a "dialogue" - but I prefer to call it a "blogologue".

When Ronald Reagan was elected president, the US's political Left establishment quit. Those who didn't quit went into a slumber. We withdrew. We can never do that again.

Finally, I'm going to suggest that we can't have it both ways. We cannot - at least under the present circumstances - achieve democracy and justice and still strive for the American Dream. If you're drinking a Starbucks, talking on your cell phone, and blocking a crosswalk with your SUV, you're not a progressive. You may have some liberal ideas, but you're not a populist.

That's about all from me for now. I want you to know that I'm honored that three of the best progressive bloggers on the web have joined me. Also, in the next day or two, I think that two women will join us as Contributing Editors - I just need to tie up some loose ends.

By the way, P! is managed by the consensus of the editorial team . . . so you can see that in action. One goal we have is a certain transparency. Your comments here are extremely important to us, because to a great degree, P! will be what you want us to be.

Thank you.