Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wheel Spinning
I'm getting a bit tired of conversations regarding Democratic core beliefs, even though I've engaged in them myself. They have 3 parts: 1) Republicans' beliefs are real simple and catchy; 2) Do we have core beliefs on the other side?; and 3) What the hell are they?

Even though this has been a near-constant liberal blogosphere issue ever since the election, and a bit before, this week Kos weighed in again, and now Yglesias and Kevin Drum too.

I have 2 mild beefs with this whole thing right now, and I'll be darned if they don't contradict one another, as is--some would say--my specialty.

For one, can we just get off the idea that it's a good and admirable thing that Republicans see the world through an overly simplistic set of (mis)understandings that lend themselves to the same, non-responsive (dis)solutions for every situation? One of the main reasons their policy anticipations are almost always wrong is that they do in fact emanate from such simple models of human/economic/governmental/cultural/environmental behavior. Their simplicity and their portent for error are not unrelated Republican phenomena. Because their ideas are so simple, they remove almost all hope of ever being right.

My second concern is this: how hard can it be for us to come up with simple expressions of our core beliefs? (and of course we have them)

We believe in a taxation system in which everyone pays their fair share. Republicans believe in lowness, we believe in fairness. People that have more should pay more and should have fewer loopholes not more. Businesses should have to pay for all the commercial rights and protections we as a government afford them. Close tax loopholes and ensure that those with the most contribute the most to the country's needs.

We believe in honoring workers, the engine of the economy: their sacrifices, their contributions, and their determination to provide for their family. That means the stability of a responsible wage, health coverage, family leave. It means respecting the right to organize, and providing high-quality necessities of preserving family life: education, clean air, water and food, safety.

We believe in helping those who most need help.

We believe in promoting peace and democracy throughout the world. That means international cooperation and leading by example.

We believe in our responsibility to future generations. Paying our public debt, not ravaging the environment, providing quality education and the opportunity for higher education.

We believe in personal freedom and equal rights under the law for all Americans. Even if you're gay. Even if you're not religious. Even if you're religious but not the conservative kind. Even if you're black. Even if you're a woman.

So, part of me thinks we have simple beliefs too. Part of me thinks it's idiotic to demand simple beliefs. By offering 6 instead of 3, maybe that's something of a compromise.

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