Magazine article Tikkun

Hope in American Policy

Magazine article Tikkun

Hope in American Policy

Article excerpt

THE CONTRARIAN

PROGRESSIVES ARE IN PERSISTENT ATTACK mode on America these days. Everywhere they look, they can only see negatives-increases in poverty and the uninsured, deprivation of civil rights and liberties, rising racial barriers, and foreign policies driven by fear and militarism. To them, America has lost its way.

With that attitude, it is no wonder that progressivism is in trouble. Driven by hatred of George W. Bush, progressive leaders seem to compete in out-doing each other to find more things wrong with America. Rather than look for a better America, they seem to take great joy in America's decline. Possible Republican corruption in Congressional lobbying practices? Great, that means we've got a chance in the November elections. Weakness in the economy, stalemate in Iraq? Good, that means Bush is in trouble. Progressives seem to be measuring their political standing by the size of the bad headlines for the "other guy," not by the forward movement of any positive agenda.

Progressives are out of touch with America. Americans are driven not by fear and loathing but by hope and optimism. Americans are not open to change coming from political leaders who are driven by "beating" the other guy. Instead, Americans want leaders who couch their message of change in a shared vision of the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. went to the mountaintop and saw a future land of milk and honey. We all, regardless of race, were persuaded to follow him because he was able to paint such a vivid picture of a better America, one drawn in language from our shared Constitution and scriptures, and, in doing so, he touched on a shared ambition to better ourselves. Today, progress on civil rights and black poverty is stalled because America is being painted by progressives as so filled with barriers, hostility, and rigidity that it is impossible to see the path to a better place. …

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