From what one can tell, the current state of politics is such that prospective candidates who gain support for having strong progressive values are then made to feel that in order to succeed they have to censor all the positions that made them desirable prospective candidates in the first place. This is asinine.
This quote has been floating about, attributed to Occupy Kentucky:
An Open Letter To Politically Affiliated Supporters of the Occupy Movement:
Yes, you are the 99% as well, so act like it. Put down your tea cups, tie your donkey up at the door, and don’t bring your elephant in the room and expect us to not talk about it. You are individual people, and each person’s commitment to change is what makes this movement so strong. We are all leaders, so don’t tell us your political party has all of the answers, because they don’t. Would we be in this mess if they did? - Occupy Kentucky
Sorry, but I won’t be tying my “donkey up at the door.” In fact, I’ve traveled to other Occupy events while sitting my local occupation out because I feel it’s been made quite clear that Democrats aren’t welcome there. That we should check our political affiliation on the next block over before entering the occupation. And I am not okay with being asked to check part of my political identity in order to be welcome.
I want to support the 99% movement. I want to build a broader coalition. I want to pour my heart and soul into improving our nation and our world. And I want to be myself while doing it. A woman. A friend. A worker. A Democrat. I want to be able to stand next to the rest of the 99%, whether they are there as socialists, Republicans, anarchists, independents, Pastafarians, Buddhists, something else, or totally unaffiliated without dropping what I believe in, and I believe in the Democratic party.
This is insanity, you might think. Not the part about being able to have Republicans, socialists, and anarachists stand shoulder to shoulder. The part about believing in the Democratic party. You’re entitled to your opinion. But the point is that I’m also the 99% and I’m also entitled to mine.
The Democratic party is flawed. I will openly admit that the Democrats, in their current form, do not have the answers to our current problems. In particular, our national Dems too frequently fail to go to the mat on the issues that people like me care about. But I believe that our best chance for fastest relief within the current system is not to create a third party (although I don’t think that’s a bad idea), but to reform the parties we have. Someone else can wrestle with the Republican party. But me? I’m going to fight like hell for the things I believe in both out in the streets and within the Democratic party.
I think the people who wrote the Occupy Kentucky quote above have missed an important lesson from Wisconsin. When the people stood up to Scott Walker, the Democrats stood up and fought. When the people stood up — exactly what those who support the 99% movement are doing. Standing up. Instead of alienating Democrats (or Republicans), we should use this as an opportunity to force our elected officials to represent us. When the people stand up, together, as the chant goes “we are unstoppable; another world is possible.” A world in which the people lead and the leaders follow.
Monied interests will continue to wreak havoc on the legitimacy of our system of government. We absolutely must band together to fix our democratic system. While doing so, I hope that there is space for those who want to fix the Democratic system, too, because my donkey will not be tied up outside the revolution.