Oy, my liberal friends… oy.

Being more liberal than most, I think I can get away with complaining about my fellow liberals for just a minute or two.

Change.org has been running a competition to generate 10 ideas to present to the Obama administration this Friday at the National Press Club.  Over 7,000 ideas were submitted by anybody who wanted to submit them.

Through November and December over 250,000 votes were cast on the site and the top three ideas in each of 30 categories made it to “the final round”.  Since January 5, voting has been open among just these finalists.

Here’s my complaint.

  • The top idea (and the fourth top idea) so far, by a pretty wide margin, is legalizing pot.
  • The third most popular idea, I assume because there’s an organized lobby with e-mail lists and whatnot far beyond what you would ever think, is a proposal to make it easier for small, crafty toy makers like you see in art fairs to avoid new toy safety regulations that are coming out.  WTF?
  • The fifth most popular idea is to “make the grid green within 10 years.”  Nothing about how to do this.   That’s it.  Just “make the grid green within 10 years.”
  • The sixth most popular idea, apparently bubbling up from the fans of ideas one and four, is to “Appoint Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace and Non-Violence”.  You can’t make this stuff up.
  • Health care reform, a noble idea indeed, is sitting in two slots: number 2 and number 9.

I mean, I agree that pot should be legalized, the drug war ended, those convicted of crimes that never should have been crimes should be pardoned and they or their estates should be given reparations.  I don’t think it is the single most important thing that should be on our national agenda.

The idea of making the grid green is obviously a good one, on everybody’s mind, but that’s all it says about it!  That’s not an idea.  There’s not a single suggestion of anything we might do to get there.  Had I known people would vote in such numbers for something like that I would have entered one to “Give each American a check for $20,000” and I bet I would have beaten even the pot guy!

Anyway, it’s been a fun exercise and a lot of great ideas have indeed surfaced.  It’s a bit of a shame that half the ones presented at the National Press Club will be duplicates, limited to a tiny special interest group, pies in the sky, and/or will confirm the media’s impression of liberals as latte sipping, granola eating, pot smoking former hippies.

And not to leave off a pitch, you should click over there and vote for adjusting our trade policies so they don’t create unfair economic advantages for countries that don’t care at all about the environment, worker safety, living wages, etc.  You can vote for up to 10 ideas so, while you’re at it… find 9 other good ones to support.

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1 Comment

Filed under economy, Politics

One response to “Oy, my liberal friends… oy.

  1. Randy

    This is actually twice in two months I’ve had a similar feeling. I attended an economic forum put on by a progressive organization in my home town. They did reasonably well in attracting City Council members, a couple state legislators, etc.

    I was anticipating a discussion about how to encourage national leaders to get their act together on financial regulation and putting together a stimulus/bailout package that would actually do some good for real live people. On the local level, I was expecting a discussion about how to reach out to the most affected and make sure they are taken care of. We are liberals, after all.

    What I got instead, was a couple of very narrow “special interest” sort of comments, a couple of pretty whacked out conspiracy theorists, and a fair amount of “why doesn’t “someone” just do “something.” Not my most edifying evening.

    I suppose we can take some comfort in the fact that your standard conservative must sometimes wonder what he is doing in the same room with the militia types. You can picture the conversation, “Uh, yeah, Charlie, I support the Second Amendment, but, well, it makes me nervous to think that you carry a gun.”

    I predict a sad prediction. If the change.org voting doesn’t change pretty soon, the whole exercise will be met with a combination of a yawn and a snicker. At which point, Mr. “We should have a department of peace” will bemoan the fact that the corporate media is keeping a good idea down.

    As you put it so well. Oy.

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