When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31
This is just nuts. I’m trying and failing to imagine where the Occupation of Wall Street goes without including Democrats. Jane Hamsher wants to play gatekeeper, though. Remember what I said about firebaggers as the “cool kids”? This is what I’m talking about. Mind you, Jane doesn’t separate sheep from goats when it comes to collecting checks for her blog ads company; her Puritanism is reserved solely for the goats:
It’s hard to overstate the madness of this kind of thinking. Mass movements are supposed to be just that, mass movements. I’m meeting people on Court Street later today to pass out flyers and hold a “mic check” for freedom, and in a town like Florence that may mean a dozen people this first time, if I’m lucky. Apparently, I’m supposed to pre-screen them first: have you ever donated to MoveOn? Sorry, this democratic uprising is only for the cool kids.
What’s happening in New York and around the country proves the truth of what I’ve been saying for three years — that a political party will display more spinal and intestinal fortitude when a movement makes a helpful noise instead of working against them. Take Harry Reid last night:
Reid whipped out an ace he’s had up his sleeve since he became majority leader — one that his liberal critics wish he’d used two years ago to end the filibuster and ram the Democratic agenda through the Senate without having to contend with frustrating supermajority requirements. Reid and 50 of his Democrats simply voted to overrule the parliamentarian’s decision that McConnell’s motion was in order. Presto, McConnell’s motion could not come to a vote, and Reid had avoided a political embarrassment — and eliminated a very small minority right in the Senate.
But this wasn’t just about checkmating McConnell. As he said in a statement late Thursday, “The Senate must have the ability to move forward on legislation that has broad bipartisan support. A small minority of senators cannot be allowed to bring bipartisan legislation, like a bill to end China’s job-killing, underhanded currency manipulation, to a grinding halt when 14 million Americans are out of work.”
Then there’s the president picking a fight with Congress. Mind you, Obama has the permission of public opinion to do so. Democrats want what the tea party was: a movement that felt real and gave them a chance to vent their frustrations. That’s even more true seeing how the first three years of hope and change turned out. What makes me different from Hamsher, I guess, is that I actively support specific legislation both the president and the Occupation stand for. I want to have a Buffet Rule, and the president wants a Buffet Rule, and the Occupation wants a Buffet Rule. It’s in the AJA.
Jane has done exactly as much work to pass the AJA here as the ACA (health care) before. I.e., notadamnthing. Here she has enjoyed several minutes to talk about pressuring Congress on the issues of import (there are many! Where to begin?), and a real grassroots movement really ought to visit Congress and apply public pressure. Indeed, it might find popular support. Imagine, if you will, hundreds of thousands of actual-real-not-imaginary people of diverse backgrounds taking the people’s House back.
This might be a great time to be seen actually doing something specific about jobs, because that’s what Americans are most concerned with right now: jobs. There simply aren’t enough. The president is talking non-stop about jobs, and infrastructure, and so are the Democrats. I’m sure that counts for nothing in Jane’s universe — just as I’m sure Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean (both have endorsed the Occupation) will have to come through Jane’s gateway if we are to succeed.
So I’m glad to watch Keith Olbermann deliver the Occupation’s demands. But to get the beltway’s attention — to actually pierce and deflate the Broderian consensus bubble around austerity economics — Americans must “crash the gates” together. I’m looking forward to meeting Olbermann next year. I’ll be glad to see Kos and maybe Marcy again. But we cannot all get together at Netroots Nation with Jane Hamsher if she and Dan Choi are still pretending the president is not into them when they’re the ones measuring the gate. There is an element of the Occupation that actively wants nothing to do with the president or Democrats; fine, I say. But the movement will be what you make of it, and if we are to survive the age of austerity politics we must end it ourselves, together.
The way forward is through. We can do this, yes we can, and Jane wants to play gatekeeper. GreenBeck wants to be keymaster. (Yes, that’s a Ghostbusters joke; David Sirota is Zuul). I won’t let these people destroy what has been started around the nation. I have to go talk to people this afternoon, and some of them will not fit through the gates these people leave open. Unlike them, I want this to work more than I want to be cooler than Obama.
Just pass a damn jobs bill — even through the Senate — and this movement gains instant credibility. Follow through with direct pressure on the House, whether they pass it or not, and we have crashed the gate. This is not about Republicans or Democrats; it’s about change. Change comes out of movements (she’s picking a fight with Van Jones? Seriously?!), not a man. We are the hope and change we’ve been waiting for.
Maybe then we can talk about a change election — a true change election, one that doesn’t include further damage to democracy or Democrats. Starting over with a whole new program sounds like another prescription for failure to me. It means you need original infrastructure; and I’m just not prepared to build all of that by myself. Jane and company can go ahead if they want, but remember how that’s worked out before.
The way forward is through. Push for passage of a bill. Push for another. Create model legislation. For heaven’s sake, I’m mentioning people with legal education; they should draft a law this Congress would pass, or else organize to actively change who gets elected in America. Let the fissaparous Aravosians rally around their darlings — go ahead! — but let’s stop the meltdown.
By the way, I coined firebagger to mean a self-destructive critic. I’ve noted the “PROUD FIREBAGGER” t-shirt on certain websites; and that’s fine. Let them organize in a democracy, but the American democracy has Democrats in it. You will have to let them in. You will have to let me in. You will have to let Blue Dogs, an endangered species, in (and Yellow Dogs, too — knowing the difference is half the battle).
This movement needs to happen en masse, or it’s not a mass movement.
Tell both your senators to pass the bill NOW.
Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121
It doesn’t matter which party they’re with. Hold their feet to the fire!