I have become a bit of a David Brooks stalker, The New York Times op-ed columnist. I am currently reading his fabulously interesting book, The Social Animal.
Luckily, his NYT articles make it to The Kansas City Star occasionally.
Published this week was an article asking the simple question: Where are the liberals?
Due to the fact that the majority of frontline personalities such as college professors, journalists, Hollywood stars, etc vote Democrat – and the fact that the Wall Street debacle (largely Republican) has been widely publicized – one would think that more and more people would be voting the liberal cause.
Yet the percentage of Americans who call themselves liberals is either flat or in decline. There are now two conservatives in this country for every liberal.
Americans may agree with liberal diagnoses, but they don’t trust the instrument the Democrats use to solve problems. They don’t trust the federal government.
A few decades ago, Americans trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time. According to a recent NYT poll, that percentage is now at 10% – a downturn on both sides of the party lines.
In an attempt to match GOP rhetoric, Democrats perpetually soil the name of government for the sake of short-term gain. How many times have you heard Democrats from Carter to Obama running against Washington, accusing it of being insular, shortsighted, corrupt and petty? If the surgeon thinks his tools are rancid, why shouldn’t you?
Obama’s recent appointments during the Senate recess may have won him short-term victories, but do they not further discredit Washington over the long run?
Liberalism has not expanded because it has not had a Martin Luther, a leader committed to stripping away the corruptions, complexities and indulgences that have grown up over the years.
I echo Brooks’ suggestion that Obama consider running as someone who believes in government but sees how much it needs to be cleansed and purified.
If Democrats can’t restore Americans’ trust in government, it really doesn’t matter what problems they identify and what plans they propose. No one will believe in the instrument they rely on for solutions.
Like so many of my fellow frustrated Democrats, I would like to see not CHANGE in Washington, but a whole new game be undertaken. A new way of doing government. Continuing the social causes by using effective, cooperative and synchronized methods.
We don’t need reform.
We need a revolution.