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Sunday, November 11, 2012

After the Election

I've been reading lots of postmortems and postvivas.

On the R side: the range is between a sensible Michael Gerson, a true conservative in the Edmund Burke and John Kekes tradition, and a grumpy Charles Krautheimer in the angry right white male populist, nativist tradition. Gerson recommends that the GOP take responsibility, learn, include, and promote real republicanism. Krautheimer recommends holding the present path (except maybe giving in a bit to the Latinos), while blaming the moral fiber of the nation, the takers over the makers, or anyone else who doesn't see the world the way he does.

On the D side: Krugman is recommending that Liberals hold tight and don't make a deal on the fiscal "cliff"; others are pushing an expanded social issue agenda. Single issue organizations are rightly pushing their agenda in immigration reform, limiting the fossil fuel industry, expanded gay and women's rights, and jobs through public infrastructure spending especially smart growth and public transportation. (Whoops! This just in. Santorum blames the "homosexuals.")

But I am not so interested in what the Parties or the President need to do. I want to consider what I want to do with others in the aftermath of this election.

As I have confessed before, I am a socialist in economics (i.e. for social justice), a libertarian in culture (i.e. with so-called social issues), a conservative in politics (e.g. for true republicanism). As such I will support resources for the working poor to assist them achieve greater equity and political power. I will strongly support the expansion of the rights and true wealth of people who have been left behind in our system. I will support scientific inquiry and tolerance; and I will fight religious dogmatism and bigotry. I will also support self-organizing communities for achieving understanding, for creating or reorganizing their own institutions, and for having collective power in relation to the monied people and institutions who are now shaping their environment and future.

I think that the biggest issues that face our humanity were not much discussed in the recent electoral campaign.

They are:

1. The widening gap between the rich and everyone else with the consequent domination of the superrich and their institutions. This means much more than tax reform or debt reduction but re-imagining the fundamental vision, mission, and structure of our national and global economy and its institutions.

2. The state of the planet with the consequent survival of the human species. This means more than preventing or adapting to global warming but re-imagining the fundamental vision, mission, and structure of technological progress in relation to the condition and future of humanity.

3. The development of cosmopolis and the possible loss of freedom and power of communities, nations, and/or the whole of humanity. This means understanding and reviewing the structures that will prevent domination, war, and terror.

Each of these issues imply the others. Underlying them is the vision, mission, and ethical structure or integrity of humankind: the notions of justice, of equity, of power, and of freedom.

So what do I intend to do?

1. I will continue to work with my church, nonprofit housing corporation, and metro-wide community organization to advance affordable housing, community organization, and development in Columbia Heights and DC. This keeps me grounded in a diverse neighborhood community with many others of similar values and interests.

2. I will explore developing new or working with existing NGOs that will educate, organize, and advocate in relation to these three interrelated issues.

  • I will continue to read, discuss, contemplate, and write on these issues and their underlying ethic.
  • I will meet with leaders in public and private organizations to identify gaps, pressure points, and a place where a committed group of leaders might best make a difference.
  • Working with colleagues, I will organize and develop a thoughtful response through an organization based in DC but involving people and organizations with as much reach as possible.

Click here for a Mind Map of the three issues and see next blog.

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