When in the course of political events, it becomes necessary for pissed-off progressives to dissolve the right-wing frames and conservative dogma which have infected their political party, a decent respect to the opinions of their Blue Dog and neoliberal brethren requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that progressive values are superior to conservative values; that they are better at providing for the greater good; better at creating a just and equal society; better at generating educational and economic opportunities; better at protecting America’s interests both here and abroad; better at putting the people’s interests over those of corporations, Wall Street, and big business; and better at understanding that ALL people are created equal, regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or even political persuasion, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among the people and not the powerful, arriving their just power from the consent of the governed and that Democrats must immediately stop catering to right-wing and neoliberal frames, caving to corporate interests, compromising with conservatives (in their party and in the opposition party), fetishizing bipartisanship, and instead, boldly stake their claim that progressive values and policies are and have always been the cornerstone of a strong, prosperous, and successful America.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that political parties long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that politicians are more disposed to suffer cowardice than to right themselves by courageously abolishing the frames to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of political, social, and policy abuses and usurpations, stretching back thirty years to the so-called “Reagan Revolution,” it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such conservative and neoliberal frames, and to provide new values for their future security and for the security of the nation itself.
Such has been the not-so patient sufferance of these progressives; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of politics. The history of the present conservative movement is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over politics and policy in these United States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
- Conservatives have refused to assent to the rule of law, repeatedly violating the Constitution and restricting civil liberties for their own political gain.
- Conservatives have installed activist judges who have ignored long-standing judicial precedents and who have handed down legal rulings that put corporate interests above those of average citizens.
- Conservatives have broken international law through the use of torture and have greatly damaged our standing in the world.
- Conservatives have called for accountability in government and in politicians’ behavior, except when it comes to their own party or their corporate masters.
- Conservatives have preached that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is Gospel and that the free market is self-correcting… except when it’s not. And then it’s up to the taxpayers to pick up the tab.
- Conservatives have placed the needs of big business, Wall Street, and the wealthy above all else, creating the failed fiscal policies that led to our current “Great Recession.”
- Conservatives have put profits over people and propagated their unspoken philosophy of “no CEO left behind.”
- Conservatives have driven up huge deficits through unnecessary wars and unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy.
- Conservatives have catered to Big Oil, giving them billions in tax cuts while gutting regulations that would hold them accountable.
- Conservatives have forced their agenda of “capitalism for the poor and middle class and socialism for the rich” on the country, leading to TARP and then repeated in calls for the taxpayers to bail out BP for the Gulf oil spill that same corporation created.
- Conservatives have repeatedly gutted government regulations that have led to the financial meltdown, mining disasters, unsafe food, water, and drugs, and the latest environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, among many other calamities.
- Conservatives have lived by the credo that the nine greatest words in the English language are: “I’m from corporate America, and I’m here to help.”
- Conservatives have ignored, marginalized, and mocked the science of global warming, even as the planet faces a tipping point of future, unpreventable ecological disaster.
- Conservatives have instituted failed economic policies that have gutted the middle class and created the largest wealth divide since the Great Depression.
- Conservatives have systematically demonized the working class by nearly dismantling the union movement and repeatedly blaming unions and their “lazy workers” for the corporations’ problems.
- Conservatives have undermined the elderly, the poor, and the unemployed by fighting with every fiber of their being to shred the social safety nets of the New Deal and the Great Society. – Conservatives have consistently vilified large segments of the population for their own political gain, in many cases blocking their access to equal rights or taking away their unalienable rights.
- Conservatives and their pundits in the media have continually spread misinformation, disinformation, Orwellian language, and illogic – while passing opinion off as fact – to confuse, undermine, and generally bum-out the electorate to drive down voter turnout and win elections.
- Conservatives have repeatedly used fear-mongering, race-baiting, and outright lies to propagate their will to power.
- Conservatives have bent over backwards to cater to the basest instincts of greed and social tyranny to ensure they get Government out of their pocketbooks and into our bedrooms.
- Conservatives have governed by the pernicious belief that power equals moral authority, that money is the final arbiter of self-worth, and that some people’s lives simply aren’t worth as much as others.
- Conservatives have feared everything and wanted all Americans to fear everything, too. And that just sucks.
In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned our Democratic Party to lead the way in a more progressive direction: our repeated petitions have been answered only by our party’s insistence on moving further and further to the right.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislative and executive actions to extend unwarrantable policies over us. We have reminded them of the dangers of ignoring their base. We have appealed to their sense of justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common values to disavow these conservative usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections, correspondence, and voter turnout. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of political consanguinity. As such, it is time for our fellow progressives to show the way.
We, therefore, the representatives of progressive values, and by authority of the good people of our progressive movement, solemnly publish and declare, that all progressives are, and of right ought to be free and independent thinkers; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the conservative and neoliberal factions of their party, and that they have full power to move their party to the left whether through political persuasion, better framing and messaging, primary challenges, criticism, or outright mockery. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine providence (for whatever deity in which one believes), we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our political fortunes and our sacred honor.
Signed by Order and in Behalf of The Donkey Edge,
Steve Foster & Sean Hanish
(h/t to T. Jefferson, who – thanks to conservatives – no longer appears prominently in Texas history books)