This post will be a bit of me talking out loud, trying to work these ideas for myself. There's an answer here somewhere - maybe we can find it together.
First, we need to rethink the term "progressive". The Liberals who don't want to be called liberals are ruining that word. Why a person wouldn't want to be a Liberal is beyond me. I always think of a line from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park -"All the benefits of an expensive and liberal education." LIberality was supposed to be one of the goals of American culture. We were intended from the beginning to take the framework they had set up and to push toward true democracy and real freedom for everyone - black, white, native, male, female. At this point, though, we've let the evil elements of the Right convince people that it's a dirty word. Once that frame is in the popular consciousness, using it in any context invokes the entire association they've created. We need a new word. I think "populist" is more accurate. Of the people, by the people, for the people...
So that's the label for the Left. Populists. Don't let them scare you away from it with phantoms of communism and socialism. There's never been a crew more venal, self-serving, and dishonest than we are confronting right now. Stalin pales in comparison to the Bush Administration.
I'm trying to find a label (other than wingnut – hee) for the people we are opposing, because at this point, I think that is most of congress. I can't believe some of the votes lately. The Democrats have just rolled over and played dead too many times not to count them as part of the opposition. I can count on one hand the numbers of them I might trust with the most basic issues - Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, maybe Charles Rangel, but not necessarily. One of my main issues is freedom of religion, and I think even these people would be shaky in that arena. Hillary is not on that list because she is a Southern Democrat, which means she's really no Democrat at all. She's part of the DLC thugs that have hijacked the Democratic Party. She's also far too Christian and has shown no indication that she cares about civil rights where alternative religions are concerned. She was front and center in that disgrace where all of Congress went out on the front steps and shouted "under God" in the midst of the Pledge of Allegiance when the first ruling from the 9th Circuit Court correctly proclaimed the phrase unconstitutional.
We need a word that incorporates the right mix of religious zeal, corporate and cultural elitism, corruption, racism and class warfare. If I can't come up with something better, I'll have to go with RWP. (Rich White People) Any ideas? The only other labels I can think of are Fascist, which is accurate, but I can't get Liberals to warm up to the phrase; Elitist, or Corporate Elite addresses the rich white part, but it doesn't capture the zealous and even cultish attitudes of the Right. NeoCons refers only to the small, bizarre cabal that runs the Pentagon and the White House, but I hesitate to use that label more widely. Christo-fascist may be the most accurate term of all, but that's really going to scare the limp will of the Left.
Are they imperial or imperious? Magisterial? Canonical? Autocratic? Tyrannical, despotic, domineering, czarist, dictatorial, absolutist? Well, yeah. None of those quite does it, though. It's hard to find one word that shows a few rich people with complete disdain for the poor, who are militaristic in the extreme and also extremely, so they claim, religious. This combo of greed and zeal hasn't existed since the Crusades. Hmm. The wealthy Landholders went on the Crusades to liberate the Holy Lands from the Muslims. That does sound awfully familiar. And they were SO pious in their beliefs that they would cut open women and children in case they had swallowed jewels to conceal them from the invaders Holy Warriors. What was the saying? "God, King and Country"? The divine right of Kings? Our King George most certainly thinks he's God's chosen leader. He's certainly as greedy, entitled and bloodthirsty as any feudal lord. And he has slipped and used the word a few times in situations where the word was tantamount to throwing gasoline on a fire. Crusaders is close, but still not clicking. I'll keep working on it. If you have any preferences, leave them in the comments.