Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fringe politics

I'm watching tonight's Ohio Senate debate. In the opening salvo, DeWine accuses Sherrod Brown of operating from the fringe -- he's one of those dangerous left wing radicals. (Judy Hanna's another one of 'em -- read the ongoing debate here.) Those dangerous Lefties, those Commie Reds are lining up and ready to march into power. Fear them, scream the ads.

So what are we to be afraid of? The old definition of what it means to be "leftist" doesn't work any more.

Deficit spending is not a left-wing mode of operation. Oddly enough, deficit spending is chiefly to be found in the years of right-wing presidents Bush and Reagan.

Increased governmental control was also one of the old left-wing attributes. But it takes a right wing government to enact something as invasive of indivdual rights as the Patriot Act.

More power to the states instead of the feds is a right-wing position supposedly. Except for matters concerning medical marijuana, national education acts that mandate "no child left behind" and hosts of terrorist-prevention acts that are designed to keep the populace under constant surveillance.

The century is young enough to permit me to hope for new definitions and understandings of what is left and what is right and whether these terms are useful any more. I'm looking for people who are capable of creativing thinking about the major problems of our times. I'm also looking for action. The old stalemates are going to be the death of us.

Listening to the DeWine/Brown debate tonight, the energy in Sherrod's voice and demeanor is refreshing. Both are claiming that they work in a "bipartisan" way, but I'm only believing one of them. DeWine has had his chance and it is time for a change. DeWine accuses, "he's on the fringe of his party and he's as liberal as you can get." I'm voting for that position because it is as far from DeWine as you can get. Call it left wing, or call it rational progressive action-oriented politics -- whatever! It is what we need.

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