Out of many, one

The snow globe nature of political planets

Shake the globe and let the luminescent, pearl-colored plastic rain down like snow.

Intentional conversation within a blue glass sphere…

Inside the hall there’s cheering, applause and a standing ovation, marking the end of a summit of political activists that was, by most measures, motivating, which is to say, successful. The noise in the room is loud; the decibels of political discourse, positively cacophonous.

Each glass ball celebrates its own scenario.

Vociferous action, within a blue glass sphere…

Bounding into banks and boardrooms, new activists shout about unfairness and responsibility. “I pay my taxes,” they shout, “Why doesn’t this company?” It’s a shocker. The You Tube hits and national media attention has eyes across the country popping like camera flashes at the Oscars. The news of the actions spreads across the liberal landscape, spawning similar protests from coast-to-coast.

Some of the scenes suck the viewer in by the enormity of their confetti-ed gall.

Righteous indignation, within a blue glass sphere…

Thousands of people surround a snowy statehouse, coming together for the unions, the workers, the middle class. They rally for their own interests, and rail against politicians who seem to be the puppets of billionaires. It is a spark that lights a sun so bright, it gets even the laziest activists off their asses to have, at least, a conversation about corporate power in America. Defiant politicians take a stand for the workers, and the sons and daughters of workers are reminded that unity, sweat and defiance built this country in the twentieth century. For three weeks in 2011, the falling snow in Wisconsin tastes sweet.

Despite the winter chill, the heavy-handed actions of right-wing politicians in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey and Indiana, ignited a hot-spot of progressive populism of stellar proportions. It is the most active solar system in the liberal American universe, the flame to which groups like Coffee Party USA, US Uncut and good ol’ MoveOn.org are drawn. For those movements, and others, existing inside this political habitable zone is like being Goldilocks in Baby Bear’s bed – it’s just right, the place to be – where transformational idealism falls into their respective atmospheres like particles of nurturing sunlight. Indeed, they use the same light to illuminate identical paths to achieving similar ideals, but, committed to their own ways of moving, they make the journey in an identity vacuum. Those running to catch a falling Madison snowflake on their tongue will soon find themselves plastered to the side of the globe that contains them. They cannot get closer to the light, or each other, because there is danger to their constitution – the self-identifying principles which define their existence.

The Democratic establishment, unbounded by such a narrow stand, swoop in to get some of that Madison mojo on them, a battle scar they get to show off to their base.  “We were with you on the steps of the State Capitol, when you fought Walker and the Kochs,” they will brag, well into the 2012 election cycle.

But there’s a reason they have the freedom to do that.

To the established parties, principle is a moving target, because they don’t have any of their own. Principles are a resource to be searched out and exploited, because people will pay good money to give their principles a platform, if they think they can get what they want in the end. It’s an old robber baron paradigm: the powerful notice the vein of gold; they value the vein of gold; they convince the people who own the vein of gold that it is in their best interests to let them market the vein of gold; they steal the vein of gold.

A hungry man will sell his mineral rights to politicians and poison to strangers, if it will help him feed his family.

Look at the way the GOP exploited the Tea Party groups going into the 2010 cycle as a means to an end, i.e., keeping President Obama from succeeding at all costs. Now, of course, their caucus can’t agree on anything that serves their other principal backers, big business. If the Tea Party folks were really voting for their financial best interests, they’d have voted Democrat or Libertarian. Instead, they threw in with the Republicans, who want to sacrifice public welfare for private entitlements. The only people who really want that are the oligarchs whose businesses benefit from the tax breaks, and the Republicans who’ve tapped the richest vein of them all – plutocrat payola.

Whether the current crop of progressive activists are talk, action or reaction, we all have to find some way to get past the operational modes that keep us apart and find the message that brings us together. We may not be able to collapse our planets into one, but at least we can find the common set where we can all breathe the same air, and there, build a more perfect union.

E Pluribus Unum.


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