Angry Democrats Study the Tea Party Playbook. Good start but not enough!

The tables have turned! The intense rage, resentment, and frustration which characterizes much of the Tea Party advocates over the past decade or so are now becoming part of the scorned American left and liberals. (See 1-23-2017 NY Times article: )


The newly-disaffected advocates on the other side of the political spectrum are now engaging in protests, public venting, irate critiques and mockery of the new winning class of conservatives, evangelicals, and abused working classes.


That tactical response and emotional approach is a great waste of time and energy!


Only given the limited options provided by our existing political system does it make sense to resist ‘ politics as usual” the policy changes and the corrosive attitudinal changes  and behaviors of zealots, haters, and worse, among the newly-enabled populist groups . That kind of fight-back is not enough for fixing what is broken about American governance and social relations.


All of that activity, even if successful, is merely likely to restore, at best, an uneasy persistent tension in American society between the absurdly partisan population segments. We have the (very invalid) dichotomy of social categories of conservative/liberal, red/blue, and the like, which categories don't really reflect the underlying realities of why the "little people,” including most progressives are frustrated and will remain so.


Which one of these disparate population segments is really in favor of higher taxes (instead of smarter taxation?) Which of them is really against regulation (except that which furthers their own interests?)  All of those people, left and right, are fighting in 18th-century war with 18th-century ideas and weapons. They see and act with 18th-century within governance principles and institutions almost totally incapable of bringing people and the America nation UP! We are going sideways into more and more dysfunction and division.


The 18th-Century ideas and institutions need to be modernized. We need to understand that the true and important social categories are those of private (self-interested) citizens and public (self and collectively-oriented) ones.  What we commonly think of as conservative versus liberal, etc., are outdated, useless categories.


The "bad guys" are not the big corporations and the wealthy, necessarily, but the individualist, competitive social ethos which dominates are political-economic system. The logic of that ethos emphasizes self-interest, individualism, and competitiveness at the expense of collective interest and fairness. 


We need to smarten our governance with more emphasis on collective interest and fairness. We need institutions to increase rationality in policymaking (i. e., a “brain”), trustworthiness and professionalism in government, and easy ways for the little people, empowered by new technological means, to be truly effective in matters of governance (e.g., a set of informal oversight institutions we can call the "shadow government.”)


How can this happen? We need to see and think about governance and social relations with the filter of a new, 21st-Century paradigm. We need to create a new story of how the little people pushback upon the elite group which has dominated them for generations. We need a new social  category called “Team America" whereby Americans see themselves as part of a public citizen attitude instead of the tired, invalid categories of conservative/liberal, etc.



See Chapter 1 of The Action Manual for an overview of a Smarter, modernized America.


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