Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tepid and too little - but it's something

Obama's health reform passage made it through the House of Representatives this evening by a margin of 219 to 212. It's tepid and too little, but it's something.

So, to my American friends, congratulations. Progress, however small, should be celebrated.

But I also say to my American friends that they should learn some tactical lessons from their opponents. The extreme right, having taken over the Republican Party, have effectively shifted the political goalposts in your country because they pay no attention to bipartisanship. They force their agenda through. With substantial majorities in the House and Senate, the Democrats made an egregious tactical error in attempting to work with a Republican Party that had no interest in anything but obstruction. (The few moderate Republicans not already in thrall to Glenn Beck and the Tea Party lunatics were quickly bullied into submission.)

Of course, the same applies to Canadian progressives who believe that the key to achieving their goals is the undermining of the only progressive party in the country and rebuilding the decaying structures of the "possibly not quite as extremely right wing as the Conservatives" Liberal Party.

Achieving progress requires boldness and backbone.

No progressive measure has ever been enacted by compromise with the hard right.

Just as a reminder, here are a pair of films showing the Saskatchewan precursor to the Tea Party movement. The footage includes progressive heroes like Tommy Douglas and Woodrow Lloyd. It also includes some of the dishonest demagogues - like Cline Harradance - whose lies to the people of Saskatchewan were the sole basis for the protests against the introduction of Medicare.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I once sat next to Tommy Douglas on the way home from Ottawa. Tommy was very elderly at the time, but his passion and the "fire in his belly" was as strong as ever. He was an unbelievably inspiring man. I hope we can heed his warning at the end of the clip that you posted.