Monday, November 26, 2012

Opposing Big Brother by working together

I wrote an article last year in which I urged activists from the Tea Party on the right, and Occupy Wall Street on the left, to work together.  I said, among other things:

I may not see eye-to-eye with the political views of many on the Left, but I think I'd have far more in common with a left-wing Tea Party equivalent than I'd have with either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. For a start, there's so much we'd agree on! Just think about it:

  • Fed up with bloated, inefficient government programs? Check.
  • Fed up with the banksters and their predatory, thieving, dishonest ways? Check.
  • Fed up with the War On (Some) Drugs and the erosion of our civil liberties that's followed in its wake? Check.
  • Fed up with corruption, whether in politics, or big business, or big labor? Check.
  • Fed up with Big Brother, as evidenced by the TSA and all the other alphabet-soup agencies? Check.

Serious, thoughtful people on both the Left and the Right agree on all those things! I see the OWS protesters inveigling against them, and I hear the Tea Party saying almost exactly the same things! Why aren't they talking to each other?

I can see a really useful, practical alliance in US politics between pragmatic people on the Left and the Right. We don't have to agree on the solutions. We only have to agree on two points if we're to work together:

  1. The present problems of our country have been caused by doing things the same old way, for far too long.
  2. The only way to fix those problems is to get rid of every politician who continues to do things the same old way, and replace them with those who'll be more responsible to and representative of those who elect them.

Given those two points of agreement, much becomes possible.

There's more at the link.

Earlier this year, both left-wing and right-wing activists worked together to defeat a tax-and-spend initiative in Atlanta that was heavily backed by a well-funded political-incumbent alliance.  The Christian Science Monitor reported in August:

It was the Davids versus the Goliaths. On one side of a $7.2 billion referendum aimed at unsnarling Atlanta’s traffic stood the two most powerful men in Georgia, and an unlikely pair to boot: Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a Democrat.

On the other side stood the little guys: Debbie Dooley of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots and Colleen Kiernan from the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club. Despite seemingly dueling ideologies, they found common cause to lobby against a 1-cent-on-the-dollar tax to pay for 157 traffic-friendly projects in the metro area over 10 years.

Also on that side was local NAACP president John Evans – another unlikely partner, especially for the tea party, which some critics have seen as anti-minority and anti-immigrant.

The establishment bipartisans had a reported $8 million on hand to sell the transit package. The tea party alliance has been quoted as having $15,000, but tea party member Julianne Thompson, reached by the Monitor Wednesday, laughed that off. “We had maybe a few hundred dollars,” she says.

On Tuesday, the “Sierra Tea” nexus claimed giant-killer status: Voters shot the Transportation Investment Act down, yelling “no” by a margin of 63 percent – despite warnings from supporters of imminent urban decline and worsening traffic woes. About 670,000 metro Atlantans voted.

. . .

Well before the vote, tea party activists, Sierra Club officials, and the NAACP agreed to not just say no to the transit tax, but start building a “Plan B.” They even held joint press conferences ahead of Tuesday. The proponents of the plan reportedly were caught flat-footed when urban blacks and environmentalists, which should have been their natural partners, coalesced against the project.

Again, more at the link.

I think many on both the Left and the Right are extremely unhappy with what's going on in Washington at present, and equally unhappy at the thought of what a second four years for the Obama administration will bring.  We may be unhappy for different reasons, and want different outcomes;  but is that any reason not to work together to block 'big government' initiatives that we both oppose, even if for different reasons?

We can accomplish a great deal by working together wherever possible, and letting the cards fall where they may for future elections.  If we don't do that, we're all going to suffer.  I think, instead of feeling depressed at the prospect of four more years of institutionalized incompetence in the White House, we need to focus on opposing such incompetence at our local and regional levels, so that we can rebuild Washington from a stronger (and saner) foundation when the time comes.



Billll said...

The left hates the government because they don't do enough. The right hates the government because they do to much. A 1% tax doesn't sound like much but when it raises the tax paid by city residents from 7 to 8% or in this case moves monies from water and sewer to MARTA, it directly affects the city residents.

Denver is doing something similar. We had a 2% tax to buy a new football stadium for the richest man in Canada, who happens to own the Broncos. When the stadium was paid off, the plan became to move the revenues to funding for our municipal toy train set rather than abolishing the tax. I believe they got away with it.

Dirk said...

The problem with such coalitions is that they tend to work for a single issue...but try to get them to continue working for longer than that, and you start having each group trying to set a different agenda. Even if the stated purpose is to beat down big government, you will inevitably start having one group or another start bringing in social issues of some type.

I'd support any group that stated, up front, that social issues are just not that important when the financial situation is what's causing trouble, and about to cause disaster if left unresolved.

We need to get the finances in order before we can focus on social issues...which, for the most part, should not be the business of government in the first place!

Tim D said...

Too bad they couldn't do something about the poison pill in the bill. It raises the fund matching requirements to 30% for road projects for areas that didn't agree to the T-SPLOST until they "vote-right".

Anonymous said...