Tuesday, March 29, 2005

AlterNet: How to Turn Your Red State Blue

Just finished reading an interesting essay on AlterNet called How to Turn Your Red State Blue, by Christopher Hayes. The author argues that progressives need to expose more people to progressive ideas through evangelizing and organizing and especially through making the personal political. These two paragraphs capture the crux of Hayes' argument:

This is what social movements at their best do. They pull back the curtain on power and expose its workings. They politicize those without political engagements by transforming personal grievances in the workplace, at home and in society into political issues. Before the labor movement, a dangerous workplace, low wages and arduously long workdays were just crappy things about a person's life. Before feminism, stifling your personal ambitions in favor of doting on your husband was just a drawback to being a woman.

And here's one point of access that conservative policies are inadvertently expanding: the moments of personal crisis – unmanageable debt, hospitalization without health insurance, lack of mental health services, sudden unemployment – that reveal to Americans that the right's ideology of "personal responsibility" masks the destruction of a social safety net for middle-and lower-income workers.

Well said.

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