1.25.2005

why progressive populist?

I've always been a little leery of populist movements. After all, we tend to hear a lot more about Pat Buchanan and Jesse Ventura being populists than we hear about progressive populists like Jim Hightower. Nonetheless, there is a necessary accountability that comes with having to win popular support. The Democrats are paying the price now for listening more to what pollsters told them than really doing what it takes to earn popular confidence.

Accountability cuts both ways though. In a democracy, it is not enough that the people hold elected officials accountable; we also need to hold each other accountable. The difference between progressive populism and populist movements that are fueled by xenophobia and victimhood is that progressive populists aren't a bunch of whiney-ass losers. It has to do with taking responsibility. In a democracy, the owners of the process are the people. Progressive populism is about doing what it takes to safeguard our investment.

"Society has good reason to fear the Radical. Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives." Saul Alinsky