Opponents of the Clean Power Plan seem united in their belief that solving climate change is either unnecessary or should be very low on the list of national priorities. Their ideology remains fixed in a world of polluting energy. Fortunately for our children and grandchildren, the rest of us are moving forward.
We here at LivingRoomConversations.org consider ourselves "radicals." Radical doesn't mean vandal or hooligan. It means, literally and operationally, "from the root."
In most states, the legislators themselves can creatively draw districts that yield their desired outcome -- this is akin to the politicians choosing their constituents. What type of district would be best for a representative democracy? Districts drawn by the politicians themselves, or districts drawn independently according to an objective set of criteria?
It is amusing for Democrats to watch the "Ted Cruz wing" of the GOP try to defend their big DHS bill, just as it will be amusing to watch them howl later this week when it gets split in two. All a Democrat will have to do to really rub it in will be to say, "But you've been saying all along that immigration reform can only be done one tiny step at a time!"
Federal courts are vital -- they decide pressing matters every day, whether they are challenges to employment discrimination, corporate malfeasance, or immigration appeals. Do we just throw our hands up on judicial nominations, buying into a lazy argument that nothing much can be done now with a Senate controlled by Republicans?
For half a century beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, there was a direct connection between the problems that afflicted American society and the remedies on offer from our democratic system. High unemployment? The New Deal, the World War II mobilization, and the postwar boom took care of that. Stagnant wages? With unions, growing productivity, minimum wage laws, and other regulation of labor standards -- American real wages tripled. Education? The G.I. bill, massive investment in public universities, community colleges, and later in public elementary and secondary education produced a better educated and more productive population. The exclusion of blacks from the American dream? A mass movement and a revolution in civil rights law made a big down-payment on redeeming the promise of Lincoln. I could go on, but you get the point. In the last century, democratic politics addressed real problems.
The upcoming 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 Presidential/congressional elections are a time of opportunity. The majority in this country are tired of cultural warfare. The vocal minority may be ruling but they have failed at governing. Sometimes war is necessary but it is always destructive and never sustainable.