Friday, January 28, 2005

Liberals' Social Insecurity

Michelangelo Signorile articulates this well:

"We're losing the battle not because the religious right is so powerful--most Americans staunchly disagree with them--but because our own leaders are so weak."

In context, he was referring mostly to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest national LGBT-rights lobby group, who may moderate some of their goals and cooperate with the Bush Administration on Social Security privatization.

But the sentiment can be properly ascribed to the vast majority of left-of-center organizations and political parties in the U.S. today. It's true that we will either stand up together or fall down together, and this view of coalition politics makes HRC's possible endorsement of a right-wing plan to privatize a vital government program morally wrong and tactically foolish. Nonetheless, it can be reasonably argued that HRC should be focused on LGBT rights, and a fight for Social Security just may not be the most important thing we should expect from them. I'm far more concerned that they keep the marriage equality parade marching forward, as long as other organizations effectively fight the dismantling of the government.

Congressional democrats, meanwhile, have chosen to frame their primary argument against Social Security privatization by denying a crisis in the system. Whether or not there is or will be a crisis apparently is determined by actuarial acrobatics based on many, many variables which we do not know. And in the 90's, Clinton and Gore both argued strongly that there was a crisis brewing for the system. What I have not heard from the dems are the reasons that privatization is a bad idea irregardless of the present or future health of the system.

Weak leaders? I think we have almost no "leaders" at all right now, and we certainly will need some to argue for our values if we expect things ever to stop getting worse.


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