frompoet Mark Weiss travelling through Texas:
But democracy requires constant dialogue. Many of the voters in this past election forget the dialogue part, and most forget the constant part. For a democracy to work, and this was clearly the intent of our founding fathers, elitist as they tended to be, politics has to be a full-time concern of the electorate. Most of the electorate seeems to consider the burden too onerous. But it's the price of self-rule. One can pay attention to baseball only during the series or to god only at easter and christmas and get up to speed pretty fast. If one pays attention to politics only for a couple of months every four years one is likely to be a dupe.
from poet Ray Bianchi:
It has always been interesting for me to see the reactions of Secular people to the power of Religion. As a person who is a progressive and a religious person I think I have a unique perspective. The reality is that very few parts of the globe live in a post-religious mindset- Western Europe, Canada, Japan, the Blue parts of the USA are certainly there but the reality in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East is that religion is a powerful force that is alive for many people.
There has been a global debate between secular and religious views since at least Descarte but in much of the developing world religion has efficacy because it serves a powerful need to belong and to be taken care of to have a nurturing environment. There is little difference between what motivates Evangelical Christians in the South USA, Members of Christian Catholic Base Communities in Latin America, Islamic Fundamentalists, Hindu Fundamentalists and alike they all crave order and community. These communities help people to negotiate often harsh lives and these people are not stupid they are in fact doing what they have to to survive in a harsh world. The secular Left in the USA and in other places has not provided another means to doing this they have done so in Europe but that is a special case.
The problem for the Left in the USA is that they have forgotten that the US is, outside of major population centers, more like the Developing World than Europe. Religion remains a powerful force and the people who live in that world will never vote for a man like John Kerry who is alien to them. I wrote in my blog about this the fact is that Europe was able to secularize because the government takes care of economic and personal security, in the USA we live in a Social Darwinist experiment with no security and religion serves as a security for many people.
Until the Left in the USA can convince working class people that they can change this dynamic and provide real security for people it will continue to lose ground. The Left in America should learn from the Right, create a counter establishment, create a philosophy of their movement and fight to win that argument. People are not going to vote for a me too party or movement.