Come presidential election season, many citizens get so attached to one particular candidate or cause that they lose sight of the bigger picture. That’s the case with someone who calls himself “Joseph” but covers up his or her IP address so as to avoid being genuinely identified.
“Joseph” is a supporter of Unity08, a corporation that is seeking to use its lobbyist insider connections in Washington D.C. to get someone elected President. Unity08 started out describing itself as a grassroots organization, but the longer that it has been in operation, the more Unity08 has shut out real grassroots political activists from having influence within its organization and political process.
“Joseph”, as a supporter and perhaps a staff member of, Unity08, does not take kindly to people criticizing Unity08’s political operations. “Joseph” writes to Irregular Times, complaining about an article asking criticizing the dishonest PR tactics used by Unity08, “I do figure that in the end, attacking Unity08 will end up closing off another avenue of democracy, so that in the next election millions of people will be frustrated with their choices and simply not vote.”
Think about the implications of this attempted defense of Unity08’s tactics. What kind of cockamamie concept of democracy does “Joseph” have that he thinks that democracy can survive only if nobody ever criticizes anybody or anything?
Progressives have another, more traditional, idea about what makes democracy work. Progressives believe that it’s when citizens use their freedom of speech to ask hard questions about people and organizations that seek political power that democracy thrives.
Don’t buy into the warped idea that challenging the politically powerful is a threat to democracy. Ask tough questions. Speak up and point out the problems with the plans promoted by political insiders. In 2008, use your freedom of speech, even to question the progressive presidential candidates. Those candidates and causes that are worth supporting will survive the open examination, and be stronger for it.