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  1. Maybe it's not fair or accurate to say conservatism and it's adherents are racist. Racism certainly cuts across political boundaries and includes white liberals too. However conservatism is problematic because it denies systemic racism, it benefits from backlash politics, and it envisions an orderly and decent society that tolerates racism. While there is nothing racist in philosophical conservatism, it's easy to understand why conservatives are called racist because of what they do. Conservatives deny systemic racism thinking it ended with the Civil Rights Movement. That was only a start. Overt racism and legal segregation are no longer a problem, but subtle racism is real. It's how systemic racism works. This racism that still holds black people back economically, socially, and politically. Things like stop and frisk are not isolated incidents. It's official policy for how black neighborhoods are policed. Black people with the same credit and income as whites still pay higher interest rates on a home mortgages. These things happen all the time because it's how society works. Conservatives blame blacks for racial inequality. They cite culture and behaviors like crime, violence, fatherlessness, the decline of marriage, lack of academic engagement, and government programs that discourage work. There was a time when these things were less problematic among blacks, and we were not fully free or equal then either. Racism and an unfair economy put black people in abnormal conditions. It's wrong to expect them to live healthy, normal, decent lives under those circumstances. Conservatives know better to suggest otherwise, but their politics depends on not blaming an society. Conservatives benefit from backlash politics appealing to white resentments and fears of racial equality. For some whites any progress by blacks is a threat. Conservatives knew this in the 1960s so they appealed to racism for political gain. They spread racist stereotypes about lazy black welfare recipients living off hard working whites' tax dollars and black criminals who threatened white lives and property. They did this despite the fact more whites get welfare than blacks, and blacks are more likely to commit crimes against other blacks than whites. Over the years this racial politics has become increasingly populist. The narrative goes like this - wealthy liberal elites in the media, entertainment, academia, technology, and government wrongly vilify working class whites as racists. The elites advance blacks at the expense of whites struggling to maintain their way of life and economic wellbeing. In this telling - busing destroyed white neighborhoods and schools in the name of forced integration. Affirmative Action took jobs and college admissions away from qualified whites in favor of unqualified blacks. Today these liberals preside over a global economy driven by technology, finance, free trade, and immigration that is destroying white jobs, communities, and culture. Meanwhile whites can't say or do anything without being labeled racist. At the same time blacks want reparations and to defund the police which liberals will gladly do. To these whites Donald Trump was a hero who fought back. He was their president. Trump was the man fighting the oppressive deep state and globalism that undermined ordinary decent white working Americans. It doesn't matter that Trump and other rich people along with corporate interests rigged the economy to lower their taxes, pay workers less, destroy unions. They play the stock market taking risks they can't afford, and get government bailouts when markets collapse. These same people give money to politicians in both parties who cut safety nets and regulations that benefit the people. Conservatives appeal to racism and white victimology while doing things that undermine whites economically and socially. Meanwhile blacks bear the burdens of racial discrimination and economic inequality. Conservatives opposed civil rights laws in the 1960s believing they were government overreach that threatened personal liberty and property rights. All the while they claimed to be against racism and believe all individuals should be equal before the law. What this did in effect was to prioritize the liberty and wellbeing of whites over blacks. It didn't matter to conservatives that legal segregation in the south and de facto racism in other parts of the country harmed blacks or deprived them of the equal right to liberty. This situation would not work itself out. Conservatives is clear about what should be preserved, but it's never sure about what needs to change. They have too much invested in the past and too much to lose in the present by changing their views. The stable, orderly, moral, society conservatives believe is essential to human wellbeing is problematic. It allows injustice against blacks, and depends on the goodwill of whites to voluntarily treat blacks better as individuals. But the government shouldn't do anything because that would be unfair to whites. At the same time conservatives urge blacks to fix themselves morally and culturally. They say stop blaming white society or relying on liberal government to solve their problems. In this way conservatives let themselves and America off the hook. Conservatism is too important politically to go unchallenged when it comes to race.
  2. Thanks so much for responding....It felt good to stop by.
  3. I had visited a few times and noticed changes were being made to the forum. I came later and this room was gone. There was a Safe Space if I recall correctly. Now this room is back. Can someone fill me in on who owns the forum and why this room disappeared for a while. Is back indefinitely or not ? Thanks....
  4. In the past it was said that Republicans were the party of the rich and Democrats were for working people. Now the political Right has successfully managed to portray Democrats as the party of media, academic, and entertainment elites who are hostile to ordinary Americans and their values. In reality both parties are dominated by the wealthy and corporate interests who give large sums of money to elected officials and candidates for office. This is especially problematic for liberal and left leaning Democrats who believe in a fair economy built on shared prosperity that benefits working people. Who are some of the wealthy donors backing Democrats ? They include billionaire hedge fund managers like Tom Steyer and George Soros. Steyer who founded Farallon Capital in 1986 gave $ 90 million dollars in 2016 and planned to spend $ 30 million on House races in 2018. Steyer who founded Next Gen to initially address climate change and environmental issues opposed the Keystone pipeline. Meanwhile George Soros, who founded Soros Fund Management in 1969 has given $ 30 million to Democrats since 2011. He also backs liberal groups like the Center For American Progress through his foundation called Open Societies. Other wealthy backers include people whose fortunes were made in the tech industry like LinkedIn cofounder and former CEO Reid Hoffman who gave $5 million to the Senate Democrats superpac Senate Majority, and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz who also gave Democrats $5 million dollars. Furthermore companies in the media, entertainment, and tech industry give Democrats money. Walt Disney, Time Warner, and Microsoft all give most of their political contributions to Democrats. Why does this matter ? Candidates need money to get elected especially Democrats. Be realistic - right ? Well no. Many of these people are social liberals who support gay rights, diversity, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, and gender equality. At the same time they oppose regulated markets, organized labor, increasing the Minimum Wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and corporations. They also tend to oppose Single Payer Healthcare. This makes it difficult to even nominate more liberal and left Democrats. And if they get elected they find it difficult to shape policy or legislation even when Democrats control both houses of Congress. There can be no real discussion or progress on reducing income inequality, breaking up big banks, stopping the suppression of unions, or enacting single payer healthcare as long as big monied interests dominate the Democratic Party. Liberals like Elizabeth Warren and leftists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will remain marginalized until we break the hold of rich donors whether they be George Soros or Mark Zuckerberg. Does this mean that centrist Democrats should be utterly defeated and purged ? No. Such a thing is neither possible or desirable. However rich Democrats and the centrists they back shouldn't control the party either.
  5. This may be leftist but it's not liberal. Liberalism is about individual freedom and democracy. It can't be true to itself if it harms or suppresses it's opponents. Rather liberalism works within the system and uses the democratic process to achieve it goals. Moreover the liberal recognizes the existence of many different and conflicting values, lifestyles, and views in society and politics. This pluralism rests on tolerance which means we can't kill or coerce one another. Liberals value persuasion and voluntary action. Moreover we know that we can't always win debates or elections. We won't get everything we want exactly how we want within the democratic process. Being true to ourselves requires us to continue trying to win people with better ideas, arguments, and policies because the only alternative is violent strife and tyranny. We had better recognize that there are extremists and people with bad motives on all sides. No matter how much I disagree with conservatives they are human beings, citizens, individuals entitled to life and liberty. They are my countrymen - fellow Americans. I don't want to kill or censor them.
  6. Literally the word connotates generosity and openness. Flexible rather than ridged. As a political tradition it has and continues to evolve over time and circumstance which makes defining liberalism difficult. But it's basic commitment is to ensure individual liberty. I think this is very important to political and social life.
  7. It was a thought provoking and insightful article. Far too often diversity and tokenism are substitutes for policies that address the economic dimension of racial inequality. At the same time the corporate elite can be any race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation it doesn't matter. The aim is keep all working people down.
  8. I always enjoyed him for focussing on the economy and telling it like is unlike most progressives on television. RIP Ed.
  9. I don't have a problem with all moderates. Some are better than others and living in a red state like Kentucky I've voted for plenty of them. At the same time I'm a liberal who wants to see the party do big bold things that lead to shared prosperity and freedom for all. Far too often the moderates seem to be against policies that ensure these goals. While many think the center is safe. The Republicans have ran far right while falsely portraying centrists as extreme leftists and beating them with conservative voters who are Democrat in name only. These centrists who form the big money donor class will stifle liberals whenever possible. I want a big tent party but it's not easy. Plutocracy is here and the damage it's doing to the economic and political system is real. Yet I wonder if we can have a discussion with centrists and find any common ground.
  10. Here's what I hope more Democrats will start saying : 1. Work should pay enough to live and improve your life. Right now it doesn't do this. That must change. 2. You can't tout the virtues of individual freedom and responsibility in an economy where working people lack paid leave, adequate retirement benefits, or they get crushed by high healthcare costs. 3. Too much money and power for the wealthiest people shrinks the middle class and increases poverty. 4. We are losing our political freedom and democracy is being eroded by the ability of rich people and Corporate America to control elected officials through campaign contributions. It's government of the moneyed elites not the people. We need to put an end to this ! 5. No working person should be left behind or hindered because of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.
  11. This is a really good point. I continue to believe that liberals and leftists within and outside the Democratic Party must connect and work with ordinary people at the local/state level who are fighting. It will take years but the payoff will be tremendous not only for a more progressive party but people all over the country.
  12. Thanks so much for responding. I was wondering if you have a Democratic Moderate who you see as promising to confront plutocracy ?
  13. Moderate Democrats tend to favor less market regulation and oppose redistribution. Can we really expect them to fight plutocracy ? Moreover their social conservatism on things like guns and abortion must compete with GOP Conservatives so are they viable ? A lot of Liberals are for gender equity, LGBT Rights, protecting the environment, and fighting climate change. Political Liberalism the kind that tames capitalism, moderates economic inequality, and deals with social issues is lacking. Can we get it back ? Big money is deeply entrenched within the Democratic Party. It opposes labor unions, progressive taxation, and things like Single Payer. Can this be fought by people like Bernie Sanders or the candidacy of Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez within the party ? Do we need outside groups to push the party in a left/liberal direction to stop plutocracy ?
  14. I think you may be on to a good idea here but there are real obstacles to getting there. Whether we blame rightwing propaganda, stupidity, or hate people tend to see enemies in liberals, activist government, and people who are different. Furthermore a lot of working and middle class people idolize successful business people. They don't think of wealthy business owners, major investors, or corporate CEOs as responsible for wage stagnation, busting unions, damaging the environment, or using money to rig politics in their favor. They simply will not see the negative side to big money predator capitalists. When they think about elites who are " destroying America" its government bureaucrats, left/liberal academics, the Press, lawyers, and politicians. We must do the long and very difficult work of listening, talking, and working with people to fight plutocracy and build a free and egalitarian society. This will not happen within the Democratic Party apparatus or through established national groups. It must begin at the neighborhood and local level. Then it will go statewide and hopefully national. There is no guarantee. Think about it. Whether it's a small town or an urban area college educated people or the non college educated regardless of race when people connect lack of money for schools, basic services, dirty water, decaying infrastructure, and layoffs to tax cuts for big business and their wealthy owners they will fight. When people see friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors threatened by deregulation pushed by corporate lobbyists and their political lackeys they will fight. When they realize that stagnant wages, lack of paid leave, inadequate retirement benefits, and lack of job security are natural or inevitable. They are caused by selfish greed among top management and rich investors. People will fight back.
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