What a responsible American Left would look like

The congressional Democrats have made Nancy Pelosi their leader.
Whether or not this is conscious strategy, it means they’re going to
run to the left. And very likely get slaughtered in 2004.

It’s truly odd how self-destructive the American Left has become.
They’re like that famous line about the Palestinians, never missing an
opportunity to miss an opportunity. And there are so many
opportunities! So many good things Republican conservatives can
never do because they’re captive to their voter base.

Herewith, then, my humble offering of a program for the American
Left. This is not sarcasm and I’m not trying to score points here,
these are issues where the Left could take a stand and gain back some
of the moral capital it has squandered so recklessly since the
days of the civil rights movement.

  • Support war on Iraq, but insist on nation-building
    afterwards.
    Saddam Hussein is a genocidal fascist tyrant, exactly the
    sort of monster the Left ought to be against. Support deposing him
    — then be the conscience of the U.S., insisting on our duty to
    help rebuild Iraq as a free country afterwards. Push us to win the
    peace, not just the war.
  • Derail the Homeland Security Act and other intrusions on
    civil liberties.
    The left hates John Ashcroft. So why don’t
    we see more Left opposition to the law-enforcement power grab that’s
    going on right now, or to the gutting of the Freedom of Information
    Act? Many Americans would respond well to this.
  • Stop the War on (Some) Drugs. This is a civil-rights
    issue. Blacks and other minorities are disproportionately victims
    both of drug prosecution and of the criminal violence created by drug
    laws. It’s a civil-liberties issue for many reasons too obvious to
    need listing — how can any self-respecting liberal countenance
    no-knock warrants and asset forfeiture? For too long the Left has
    gone along with conservative anti-drug hysteria out of a craven fear
    of being dismissed as a bunch of dope-loving ex-hippies. Time to
    stand up and be counted.
  • Support school vouchers. Another civil-rights issue
    — it’s precisely minorities and the poor who most need to escape
    the trap that the public-school system has become, and black parents
    know this. Yes, it will be hard to take on the teachers’ unions
    — but you’re in serious danger of losing the black vote over
    this issue, so switching would be not just the right thing but a
    way to shore up your base as well.
  • Speak up for science. Religious conservatives are up to a
    lot of anti-scientific mischief — banning stem-cell research,
    excising evolutionary theory from textbooks. Make a principled stand
    for science, secularism, and the anti-Establishment clause. Remind
    the world that the U.S. is not a Christian nation, and seek to have
    the tax exemption for religious organizations ended because it puts the
    U.S. government in the position of deciding what’s a religion and
    what is not.
  • Stop the RIAA/MPAA from trashing consumers’ fair-use rights.
    The Left claims to be on the side of consumers and against corporate
    power elites. So where was the Left when the DMCA passed? If the
    RIAA and MPAA have their way, personal computers will be crippled
    and consumers will go to jail for the `crime’ of copying DVDs they
    have bought for their personal use. Young people, who are trending
    conservative these days, care deeply about the RIAA attack on
    file sharing. Wouldn’t you like to have them back?

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