Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Practice of Progressive Politics


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, Brad Burgess.

So, before even getting to how artists fit into all this, I think the most important thing when talking about healthcare reform (this one is really health insurance reform), is to take the following perspective, “I must let go of whatever bill I would have written if it were %100 up to what I think it should be word for word.” In fact this may be the most fundamental, yet modernly unpracticed, aspect of progressive politics. We can’t make all the progress at once.

It would be foolish to criticize the healthcare bill because it doesn’t also solve the energy crisis. By the same token I feel its important not to criticize the bill because it does not solve every problem we have with our health and with the way we practice it in society with one another.

This is one area in which being part of a collective is very helpful. A collective is not a congress, and that is a tremendous advantage of a group’s ability to compromise. At The Living Theatre everyone is considered a director of the play at rehearsal and is given the opportunity to act as such as much as the individual artists in the group will go along with whoever has the floor. We almost never come to an impasse where half the group thinks one thing and half the group thinks the other. We have many common interests and it’s not hard to find them in the creation of our art together.

The debate on our health should have a plethora of common interest. Instead, somehow, every member of the red team thought the exact same way. I can’t imagine how this is possible. If this last vote does not display that: this system of decision making is not good; then I’m not sure what can. Not one republican could compromise on this bill? About our health!? If they can’t agree about that, then how can this congress possibly have a chance at really representing our common interests?

I’m not saying that it’s the republicans fault at all, though lots of activity on the right is quite terrifying at present, including the racial slurs and shouting at people during press conferences. Kudos to Obama for keeping it totally focused and calm and collected amidst all this.

But, it is the systems fault. There are two problems that showcase this systematic failure as I see it. The democrats couldn’t come up with a bill that one republican would vote for. And, not one republican could make any compromise with the proposal. When those two factors are true, then it seems there’s a pervasive systematic break down at that point. ‘Two parties’ does not work as a system. It can’t. We are too diverse, and it’s very silly to think that all 300 million people in this country fit into two categories on any level, especially the political level.

But, we have to get over all of this. It’s all there and we have no choice but to work with it. We have to get over the fact that there are enough problems to make everyone go on passionate rants that make every idea sound like a bad one and create an impossible environment for progress or change.

Do you think that, as an anarchist, I like that this bill gives insurance companies more money? Do you think that I like %100, that now, I am being forced by the government to pay for something that I have freely chosen not to pay for for the last few years? Listen, I can’t even stand that there is a government at all. So, what am I gonna do, try to prevent the government from doing anything? How could anything get better if that was my attitude?

Well, that is the attitude in Washington D.C. It’s mostly preventative politics instead of the politics of progress. So for now, let me give a resounding, “Hell yeah!” that something forward thinking got done some how.

Tomorrow I’ll tackle how we are possibly going to handle being able to pay for health insurance when we can barely figure out how to even pay legitimate salaries to those deserving in our organizations, or even rent a lot of the time.



No comments:

Post a Comment