09/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fighting the Radical Right

Some of us progressives mistakenly thought that when Barack Obama and his campaign and mandate for change won overwhelmingly last November and we picked up seats in the House and when Al Franken became the 60th Democrat in the Senate that the new government would enact the change that was the substance of the election.

Americ's whacked out radical rightwing, however, has not given up on their agenda to create greater and greater income and wealth inequality, to make the country's public policy a captive of the bizarre free market ideas of novelist Ayn Rand, and to continue to have our health care determined exclusively by insurance corporations for their own profit while 50 million of us lack healthcare and its cost continues to drag down our economy.

So the August congressional recess has been a bizarre season of rightwing brown shirt tactics of real thuggery led by Dick Armey, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich.

Wow! What a revelation! Just as Hitler's brownshirts and Mussolini's blackshirts intimidated the good people of Germany and Italy in the 1930's, America's radical right is attempting to shut down healthcare reform and change by intimidation and force and the power of the Big Lies -- death panels, socialism, government healthcare doesn't work. If you oppose the public plan in the healthcare proposal and you are intellectually honest, then you must favor destroying Medicare and Medicaid and the Veterans Administration and the several other completely government run healthcare systems.

In the most hypocritical tactic yet, the right has compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

I think some folks in the mental health profession would call this last tactic projection. They are projecting their own feelings on others.

This is not the time for handwringing and worry and trepidation for those of us who know how desperately our people need real progressive change, the kind of change that can raise living standards and the quality of life for average Americans and strengthen and enlarge our middle class and create an economy that works for all.

Now is the time for us to fight for our vision and our promise and for change, to fight for a healthcare system that ensures quality healthcare for all and checks the insane greed of the insurance industry, to fight to restore workers rights and restore the fundamental freedom in any Democratic society to freely form unions and bargain collectively.

When I say fight I don't mean the thuggishness being used by the right. I mean peaceful, nonviolent mobilization that counters the Big Lies of the right, gives cover to weak Democrats and demonstrates convincingly that our ideas and policies are in the interests of a stronger, healthier, freer, and fairer America.