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Progressives, Take Hold of American History


Progressives, Take Hold of American History

Harvey Kaye

Americans were ready to make history anew in 2016 — and in a tragic way we have. We elected to the presidency a man who represents not “the better angels of our nature,” but the worst. If we slept at all election night, we woke up on the morning of Nov. 9 chilled and tearful. But as others have written, now is not the time to retreat in sorrow.

We need to take hold of and lay claim to American history.

And we need to advance a progressive American historical narrative.


"For far too long, liberals, democrats and progressives have run from the past" No, Harvey, Progressives had a clear vision and did not run from the past despite having a candidate who was practically unknown and considered radical by the MSM and his own party. Sounds like you had too much coffee or too many onions in your omelet and came up with a catchy phrase: they ran from the past", and ran with it into the dark recesses of punditry.


That the Democratic party establishment has betrayed its traditional consistencies and ignored its history for decades, no argument. To lump progressives in "ignoring the past" with them is just plain ludicrous. Even a casual look at the Green Party platform shows that the party espouses the very best of this country's "social-democratic" traditions. Greens and progressives, in general, have about as much in common with members of the DNC as they do with Donald Trump. Give me a break. Kaye needs to direct his sermon where it belongs.


The leaders of right-wing counter-democracy, from the 70's onward, knew the history very well and developed their plan of attack accordingly. Now here we are and the foundations of civic culture have been erased - access to civic education, a free press, freedom to assemble, organized labor, local banks, etc. It is almost too painful to look back at what was dismantled piece by piece, with Democratic party assistance. When Populists chose "fusion" with the Democrats in the late 1890s, they lost big too. Until every despondent, lost, sandy-soil, red state "Republican" receives a knock on their door and a message - quit voting for any Republican and probably half of Democrats, nothing will change.


Kaye makes an excellent case for revisiting early American history. If the US populace had a better understanding of our founding and our founding myths, then the right wing rhetoric about our history and the Constitution itself would find more deaf ears on which to fall. The left has for too long relied on a tactic of simply not being Republican, rather than offering viable solutions based in our own historic reality. The Left is as miserably bereft of the knowledge of our actual history as the Right is. This history is generally only taught at the college level and then only electively. One really does have to intentionally seek it out and learn it along with all the other things required for survival--so it slips farther away.

Thomas Paine, George Mason and others embraced the notion that all individuals had unalienable rights and fought for the empowerment of the populace as the sovereigns of this nation. In other words, if we the people decide to throw out the Constitution and write a new one, we can. (It has in fact already happened. At the Second Continental Congress, the original Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was basically discarded and replaced with the current one--an illegal act under the Articles.) That's the Revolutionary DNA that courses through America's veins, and that's the spirit the left must connect to to win a real democracy.

It's worth noting that if one more state falls into Republican control, the Republican Party will have the numbers it needs to amend the Constitution in any number of ways--very quickly. It's time to for We the People to resist the theft of our sovereignty, for which our Revolutionary ancestors died.