Democratic Narrative and Looking Beyond Self

Markos at DailyKos looks at an essay by Michael Thomasky of The American Prospect about the need for the Democratic party to have a philosophy. It’s good stuff, touching on something that I feel in my bones but which I haven’t seen articulated: we’re no longer looking toward the common good.

So what does Tomasky suggest? He thinks the moment is ripe, historically, for a return to the politics of the greater good, that asking people to stand and work for something bigger than themselves is a political winner.

The Republican party has succeeded, I believe, in taking this approach. The kicker, of course, is that it’s all been bait-and-switch: the “common good” has turned out to be good for the wealthy and powerful, but bad or neutral for the poor and middle class people who believe that their leadership is working in their interests. The problem with the Democrats (which seems obvious to everyone but the people in charge) is that the party is a collection of fractured constituencies.

But it’s clear that the future of the Democratic Party isn’t the current collection of constituency and issue groups. It’s committed, movement-building progressives who fight for higher principles than narrow self-interest, and sell that vision to an American public that isn’t as selfish and self-centered as Republicans would have everyone believe.

Narrow self-interest has given us a government mired in corruption and lies, gotten us into a failed war, and ruined our standing in the world community. It’s time for a new philosophy.

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