The Democrats are like the dog who chases cars, and then one day he catches one. Holy crap – now what?
For the longest time progressives were the opposition, the outsiders, and were in a sort of no-lose position. It’s easy to bitch (especially when you’ve got an administration like Bush’s providing more targets than you have ammo to shoot at), but being in charge of the agenda and having the power to actually do things, well, that’s another situation entirely.
Sara Robinson, who’s quite simply one of the brightest minds in the whole darned blogosphere, has some extremely useful thoughts on the subject of what comes next. In a nutshell, she says we need a community, not a movement. A snippet:
It’s not uncommon for movements to fall prey to the old Zen principle, “What you resist, persists.” We’re all familiar with lefties whose battles against The Man eventually left them every bit as authoritarian and paranoid as the power structures they worked to overthrow. The eternal tendency to become that which we most despise makes permanent opposition an inherently unsound way to organize a group for the long haul.
Communities have a different purpose, and different internal dynamics—and this model may be better suited to the new environment we find ourselves in now. Like organizations, they’re built to last. But where organizations are founded to achieve goals that they too often outlive, communities are living, renewable, organic entities that are held together by a workable social contract, a common cultural identity, complex social and family structures, dependable bonds of trust, and a strong set of shared values. They’re about inclusion, not exclusion; and exist for mutual support and survival, not status. They are an end unto themselves, not in opposition to anyone. And they can endure for centuries, if not millennia.
Sara’s reasoning is impeccable. Give it a read.