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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, February 02, 2007

 

A Purple Manifesto

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 02, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
I've been sounding a theme of Purple Politics here on this blog, even back when it was Dean Nation. Arguably it was the idea of Purple Politics that drew me to Howard Dean, even though I hadn't labeled it as such in my own mind at that time. But what does Purple Politics really mean?

Below the fold is one answer. It's written by someone else who prefers to stay anonymous. But I think it's as good a Purple Manifesto for our times as anything else. It's an attempt to put things in terms of real people and real policies, not just high-minded Obamaesque rhetoric. It's an attempt to craft bonds of unity across the bipartisan divide, not an artificial bridge for appearances' sake like Unity08 but rather something more tangible. It's about articulating the common ground that underlies the True American Majority. To that end, the name "Manifesto" is a bit of a misnomer because, the very essence of Purple Politics is that reasonable people can and must be able to disagree on details and means, even as they strive for a common end goal.

So, take a look below the flip at a vision of Purple Politics. As I said, these aren't my words, and being Purple I wouldn't expect anyone to accept them uncritically, but I think they form a great starting point for a debate that unites us rather than divides us, for once.

 

I believe a purple view of abortion acknowledges the immorality of killing a child inside the womb, but understands that some tragic cases require a prospective father, mother, and their doctor to make a painful and difficult medical decision not to carry a pregnancy to term.

I believe a purple view of affirmative action and race in America acknowledges the great equalizing power of education, but also understands that government should never legislate different treatments of people based on race or ethnicity, for better or for worse.

I believe a purple view of gay rights acknowledges the fundamental equality of all Americans before the law, but understands that in our democratic republic the people and their elected representatives have the right and the authority to make law, not judges.

I believe a purple view of our education system in America acknowledges that public schools provide opportunity to millions of Americans who would otherwise not be able to afford an education, but understands that poor children should not be stuck in failing schools and that public schools should be held to the highest standards so that America can remain strong many generations from now.

I believe a purple view of religious expression acknowledges the need to respect people of all faiths and their right to worship freely, but understands that it is impossible to ask any person to shed his or her faith at the front door of any public facility.

I believe a purple view of gun rights acknowledges not only the Second Amendment's guaranteed right to bear arms but also the culture in many parts of America that values hunting and looks upon guns as a family tradition. It must also understand, however, that in some parts of America guns are not a tradition, hobby, or part of one's heritage but rather tools used solely to threaten, injure, or kill human beings, and that these communities have a right--indeed, an obligation--to restrict the purchase of these weapons in ways that are in accordance with federal law.

I believe a purple view of health care in America acknowledges that every American ought to have the right to health care, but understands that the best way to accomplish the goal of universal coverage is not through large government bureaucracy but rather through modern, sleek market-based solutions.

I believe a purple view of our social insurance system in America acknowledges that millions of Americans rely on Social Security for a large portion of their retirement funds, but understands that the system is heading quickly towards insolvency and requires market-based reforms in order to keep the system viable well into the 21st century.

I believe a purple view of climate change and global warming acknowledges that the Earth has a limited amount of natural resources, and we must be good stewards of our planet. At the same time, however, it understands that there is such a thing as natural variation in the climate and that previous claims such as the "global cooling" phenomenon of the 1970s have not come to fruition.

I believe a purple view of the war on drugs acknowledges that, in large part due to laws against drug possession, the United States currently incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than the Soviet Union did under a communist dictatorship. It must also understand, though, that drugs are dangerous and destructive, and that the war on drugs must be fought at the borders first. We must prevent drugs from entering the country, and we must prosecute dealers, manufacturers, and traffickers to the fullest extent of the law.

I believe a purple view of immigration acknowledges that this country is a country of immigrants and that nativism has no place in American society. But it must also understand that America is a nation of laws, and that the act of entering the United States illegally is a crime and should be punished, not rewarded.

I believe a purple view of the social welfare system in the United States acknowledges that some people stumble in our society and require assistance to get back on their feet, but it also understands that a safety net cannot be a comfortable bed for those who do not wish to work. Churches and other religious organizations, provided that they do not proselytize recipients, should also be permitted to bid for block grants and provide welfare services to communities.

I believe a purple view of capital punishment acknowledges the need to punish those who have committed unspeakably inhumane crimes, but understands that death is permanent and changes must be made to our criminal justice system that will ensure no innocent man or woman is ever put to death in America.

I believe a purple view of the tax system in America acknowledges that lower taxes are a noble goal in their own right and that Americans ought to be able to keep more of their own money. At the same time, it understands that we cannot finance our government through debt, nor can we continue to run up trillions of dollars in deficits. Revenue must be able to pay for expenditures.

I believe a purple view of trade acknowledges the positive impact of free trade with the rest of the world, such as lower prices on consumer goods and the ability to pressure other countries into better respecting human rights. However, it must understand that free trade agreements also often cost American jobs, and these agreements should not be passed without an appropriate plan for retraining the workers who have lost their jobs when a factory or mill closes down.

I believe a purple view of the war on terror and the American military acknowledges that remaining the world's only superpower requires that we maintain a strong and well-equipped armed forces, but also understands that the United States cannot be the policeman of the world and must cooperate with other countries in order to rid the planet of the scourge of terrorism.

I believe a purple view of the United Nations acknowledges that it is the only institution currently available under whose auspices the world community can join together and attempt to avoid future wars, but understands that the United States can never and shall never sacrifice its sovereignty to a world government.

I believe a purple view of the war in Iraq acknowledges that we must struggle every day to defeat the terrorists and defend the right of the Iraqi people to establish a free, democratic government, but understands that the United States cannot remain in Iraq forever and that we must challenge the Iraqi people to secure their own country by setting a flexible date for withdrawal of American forces.

I believe this purple philosophy is the right one for America, and I believe that by addressing directly the issues affecting the American people and honestly debating the potential solutions to those problems we make significant progress towards a more united and peaceful America.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.