Progressives these days have a sometimes angsty relationship with the social movements of the 1960s and 70s. The sense that, ultimately, these movements failed and the Democratic Party came to disaster through its association with them is inescapable. And yet precisely what we don't want to do is mimick the smarmy neoliberals of the 1980s and 1990s, forever full of scorn, forever eager to blame the left for the right's malgovernment, forever looking to get ahead by knifing an ally in the back.Sounds about right to me.
Arguably, Obama's hit on the right way to think about all this. The movements of yore accomplished a great deal and were absolutely right about the biggest issues of their time. But they made some mistakes. Mistakes that are dwarfed by the scale of their accomplishments; but nonetheless mistakes that carried a high price. Conveniently enough, 2008 could mark the end of 40 desert years launched by Nixon and capped by Bush. Enough time gone by for old wounds to heal, perhaps, and for a new generation of political leadership to redeem the promises of that earlier era.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
My damned weiner kid keeps demanding that I pay attention to her, but I found this bit by Yglesias regarding the civil rights movement interesting: