Review: Blue Grit–Making Impossible, Improbable, and Inspirational Political Change in America

4 Star, Democracy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

Blue GritWanders, But I Finished It, October 13, 2008

Laura Flanders

I put this book down several times over a week and picked up another, but I finally finished it, and that brings it up from three to four stars.

Here are my notes and some quotes, and I must say, given better organization and editing, this book probably deserve to earn five stars, but not in its current state.

It is important to note that the author, in lamenting the total breakdown of the Democratic Party, did not anticipate the outright purchase of the Party by the Trilateral Commission and the financial industry that fielded both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (a protege of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who also gave us Jimmy Carter). A very exciting “show” is being run, and regardless of which candidate wins, we all lose as the two criminally-corrupt parties remain under the direct control of the financial elite.

+ Progressive ideas have been defeated by dirty tricks and fraud
+ “mainstream” Dems are dead, the best action is happening on the margins and bottom up
+ New word for me: optiholic
+ Democratic Party not listening to youth or foot-soliders, “give us your money, we’ll tell you when we want to hear from you.”
+ Liberals long for the past, progressives certain the future is bright.
+ League of Independent Voters rising in influence
+ Labor has dropped out [I would say more bluntly, labor leaders have been bought off and completely betrayed the labor rank and file] + Democrats close their local offices after the funding dries up, not organized for year-round operations
+ Need new ways to empower new networks (young, new immigrants, color)
+ Democratic Party is NOT the Progressive Coalition–some overlap
+ Red is not Red, Blue is not Blue
+ Cities are fighting federal efforts to retard wages, demanding and imposing living wages
+ Democrats not taking cities seriously
+ People across the Nation are against draconian drug laws and huge prison populations with attendant costs
+ Author believes that conservatives have locked down the national policy process while progressives are finding their voice in cities
+ I am introduced to the term “losing forward”
+ Local democrats are succeeding when they ignore the lack of support from the national party and go local, do what the party won’t do
+ LIBERAL FOUNDATIONS SPEND TEN PERCENT OF WHAT CONSERVATIVE FOUNDATIONS SPEND ON ELECTION MESSAGES
+ Democratic Party is losing revenue from contributions to an increasing preference for grass root local organizations
+ Progressive activitists are focusing on “movement” instead of the national party focus on “getting out the vote.” [As I write this ACORN is under multiple investigations while the media has not noticed or chosen not to cover fraud on the right] + KEY POINT: DEMOCRATS CAN NO LONGER COUNT ON BLACK CHURCHES AND LABOR UNIONS
+ Will take ten more years to create viable grass roots coalition
+ Too much focus on electing Democrats instead of achieving outcomes
+ PARTY AGENDA IS FIXED, IGNORES SOCIAL NETWORKS AND LOCALIZED GRIEVANCES
+ Democratic Party is still focused on top-down and direct mail instead of bottom up local empowerment.
+ BLISTERING ON “LIP-SYNCH LIBERALISM”
+ Citing Charon Asetoyer, “one size fits all slogans do not work”
+ Democrats losing it on Language, networks, credibility
+ Right has BOTH the dollars AND the captive idological media that carries entire populations from cradle to grave (talk radio, think tanks, national organs) [I have a note, Left just has MSNBC & NYT] + Dump Lieberman was a bottom up citizens movement that recognized his betrayal of Democratic interests and took matters into their own hands–this is reported to have freaked out the Democratic leadership
+ Disc jockeys have more political power today than most realize, and they can “deliver” thousands to the streets at any given time and place
+ 62% of the Democratic state committees do not have permanent communications directors (or an annual campaign)
+ NEW ORLEANS ONE YEAR AFTER KATRINA: ONE THIRD STILL WITHOUT ELECTRICITY

Ends with comments on campaign fraud, and I have a final note, crummy sources and crummy endnotes.

A couple of quotes that I felt should be shared here:

“The United States more closely resembles a purplish smorgasbord than a blue-red sandwich.” (p. 35)

“People are craving leadership that is real.” (p. 124)

This book is more of a personal essay, the result of a personal “walk-about” that pays little heed to other books in the democracy and progressive domain, other than the first one in the list below, that is cited several times by the author. See these other books for a left-oriented take on what needs to be done to restore democracy in the USA. I MUST EMPHASIZE MY VIEW: THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS REPUBLICAN LITE–THEY ARE BOTH CORRUPT AND BOTH HAVE BETRAYED THE PEOPLE’S TRUST.

Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender
The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics
Left Hand of God, The: Healing America’s Political and Spiritual Crisis
The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America’s Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love
State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence
The Working Poor: Invisible in America
Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor
Doing Democracy
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World