Roads Diverged For America
By Anthony Signorelli
07 October, 2006
America is facing a crisis in
its political direction. I mean “crisis” in the old sense:
A fork in the road, a bifurcation of direction in which we head down
one path or the other and can not go back. The dominant political force
today appears to be frozen, while the forces around it—one of
traditional mainstream American principles and the other emanating from
the extreme right wing—vie for the imagination of the people with
powerful, creative ideas.
While the Republican Party
implodes on its own lies and stagnates on an agenda that promises more
of the same, there is a possibility of renewal brewing in the Democratic
Party. No doubt, old guard Democrats like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry,
and Ted Kennedy still hold many cards, but new ideas and positive imagination
are beginning to emerge from other places: former Senator Gary Hart
is articulating new principles and sound policy, and Barack Obama is
articulating an agenda of hope to which most Americans relate. New ideas
are even percolating up through prominent Democrats, such as Joe Biden’s
proposal for dealing with Iraq. In addition, many of these ideas are
finding energy in the blogosphere, the electronic grassroots of Democratic
Meanwhile, Republicans white-knuckle
their adherence to failed policies. Iraq is top of the list. But they
also cling to a torture agenda, class warfare, and fiscal disaster.
Social conservatives are feeling betrayed, corporate thieves have little
left to steal from the public treasury, and the entire neoconservative
agenda is an increasingly obvious failure. There seem to be no new nodes
of energy or ideas arising from that party right now.
For America, it means we
are ripe for a new crop of leaders with powerful, imaginative ideas.
If such leaders appear quickly to galvanize the American imagination
with mainstream principles, we are likely to proceed well as we get
back in touch with the principles of our national soul. But if we delay,
or if such emergence is derailed by big political money going to the
wrong places and not supporting the emergence of such ideas, the vacuum
for new ideas will remain. That vacuum is dangerous because, as I have
written in my new book Call to Liberty, the political conditions in
the country are ripe for fascism. If principled ideas do not emerge
in the new leadership of the Democratic Party, the vacuum will likely
be filled by dynamic ideas vying for prominence from the far right wing.
Right wing ideas and leaders will build on the existing conditions and
utilize extra-constitutional powers and structures created in the Bush
administration to foster the theocratic fascism they envision for the
United States of America. Ten years ago, such an outcome could hardly
be imagined; today, it is painfully possible.
The election of 2008 will
be won on the basis of what people are voting for, not what they vote
against. The Republican Party’s new ideas will come from the extreme
right; the Democratic Party’s new ideas will come from new leadership
based on American principles. Either party could wind up with a boring
candidate with no new ideas, but both parties have a unique opportunity
to try to capture the American imagination. The election of an old guard
leader from either party will likely only forestall the kind of decision
America must make; our future is cast in the competition among these
Check out my upcoming book
- Call to Liberty: Bridging the Divide Between Liberals and Conservatives.
You can blog with me at http://www.calltoliberty.net.
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