03/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Progressives: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

In the shadow of this week's disastrous electoral debacle, it is far too easy for progressives to assemble a circular firing squad. We are absolutely wrought with the shame, humiliation, and grief accompanying the premature obituaries of our own demise. However, to engage in the self-immolation that many have been advancing even before the polls closed in Massachusetts will only embolden the idiots and the idiocy of the prevailing victors. Therefore, it is critically important for us to redouble our efforts to press forward with the agenda that has led us to the point where we were prior to Tuesday's events.

It has been clear for some time now that the only guiding objective of the opposition to that agenda has been to prevent it from becoming reality. To that extent, they have been successful. Unfortunately, there are those among us who are now questioning whether or not the ultimate goals are sound when in actuality what should be questioned are the tactics used to achieve them.

The people are angry and the people have spoken, that is what democracy is all about. We must accept that. Regardless what the polling data may or may not suggest, I would offer that instinctually folks are fed up with the inability of the powers that control the governmental machinery, which is us, to facilitate constructive progress on the agenda we promised. The enemy has become us.

Once again, we can spend an inordinate amount of time casting blame about whom or what caused this inaction but the people really don't care about that. They care about results and quite frankly we have not delivered. They want jobs; we want jobs, deliver jobs. They want health care reform that is cost sensitive, removes the barriers and impediments to coverage, and ensures a high degree of quality, so do we, deliver it. They want to be confident that the nation is on the right track, so do we, we must deliver the evidence to satisfy that confidence. They want an environment that is clean and sustainable, so do we, we must deliver.

What made the election of Barack Obama so exciting and revolutionary is that after a sustained period of stasis, the American people were enthralled with the prospect of a renewed vibrancy that would propel us back to a level of greatness and respect that we had grown accustomed to from our early childhoods. And to some in the younger demographic categories it was a return to the greatness they had only read or heard about. But there was a strong belief that we could once again regain the mantle of leadership on moral and ethical issues that has eluded us for some time. And that is still the goal, that is still the dream, that is still the desire of those who are not mired in the anti-intellectualism of a lunatic fringe whose only objective is to thwart progress.

Therefore, despair not progressives, but recommit to the notion that in fact we can help build a better society and a better world by adhering to the common goals of the vast majority of people who cast their lot for that agenda just a little over a year ago. And let politicians of whatever political stripe who stand in the way of that goal suffer the consequences of defeat. It is too late for Massachusetts, but let us not allow the infection that follows the fever of impatience and anxiety spread.

And let this be a warning to our elected leaders that it is not the dream that died but rather the faith that they would be able to make it come true that took a beating this week. So get to work and deliver lest you also suffer a similar fate soon.

It is often said that what is missing in the drippy, wimpy, compassionate agenda of the progressive movement is not a lack of conviction but a lack of strength. It is now time to exhibit strength and resolve that has been unparalleled in our time. We have the right message, we have the right prescriptions, and we have what the people want and demand, now we must devise the right tactics to get the country on the right track. And not only will we be better off for it, but there will be political rewards as well.

Currently there are relatively little political costs incurred for obstruction because an angry populace does not realize any benefits from inaction. Until we change the calculus so that the angry and anxious exact a penalty for obstruction and reap the benefits from concrete actions, results like those in Massachusetts will multiply and eventually the dream will die. But we cannot allow that to happen. Right now it hurts but there is no time to lick our wounds. We must carry forth because we know it is right.