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Congress

Do Not Trust to Hope…

What is at stake in the long run? Two things, mainly, in my view. First, it seems to me that we as progressives need to make an honorable defense of the great legacies of the New Deal and Great Society — programs and institutions that brought America out of the Great Depression and bought us through the Second World War, brought us to our period of greatest prosperity, and the greatest advances in social justice. Social Security, Medicare, housing finance — the front-line right now is the foreclosure crisis, the crisis, I should say, of foreclosure fraud — the progressive tax code, anti-poverty policy, public investment, public safety, and human and civil rights. We are going to lose these battles- get used to it. But we need to make an honorable fight, to state clearly what our principles are and to lay down a record which is trustworthy for the future.

In a hard-hitting address to the Americans for Democratic Action from last November, economist Jamie Galbraith puts the current situation of progressivism in perspective. His steely resignation may sound fatalistic, but it’s hard not to feel thus these days. “Recovery begins with realism and there is nothing to be gained by kidding ourselves…We need to lose our fear, our hesitation, and our unwillingness to face the facts. If we thereby lose some of our hopes, let’s remember the dictum of William of Orange that ‘it is not necessary to hope in order to persevere.’

Omsbudsdog Emeritus

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