When I wrote a commentary for our web page that was critical of Bush's cabinet picks, I received the following e-mail, which is representative of the lot: "I share your dismay over the cabinet of the incoming Bush Administration, but I admit it confuses me. The Progressive was clearly pro-Nader throughout the 2000 campaign, and Al Gore lost the election. You got what you wanted; the least you can do is to be grateful for it."
I must have misplaced my engraved invitation to the Bush inaugural. Maybe I slipped it under the bust of Ronald Reagan that adorns my desk.
OK, I'll be serious.
While The Progressive did not endorse a candidate, we did run some articles sympathetic to the Nader campaign. And I was not shy about my own personal preference.
So, what responsibility do we bear for the Bush Presidency? And what right do we have to criticize it now?
Even at my most vainglorious moments, I've never thought this magazine had the power to decide a Presidential election. Nor is that our objective. We do our work not to get this or that person elected but to keep in circulation a set of ideas and principles we believe are vital for bringing about a just and peaceful world.
Our responsibility is to tell the truth as we see it, nothing more. And we do not apologize for doing that.
If, on the strength of our writing, some readers of The Progressive voted for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore, well, Gore has no one to blame but himself. He abandoned much of the progressive cause. No one should have been surprised, then, when some progressives abandoned him.
But enough already. We've been up that hill. And on the downside, we meet Bush, with John Ashcroft in tow.
Yes, Bush is worse than Gore. We acknowledged that in these pages before the election. He represents just about everything this magazine has fought against: inherited privilege, corporate power, militarism. And he arrived in the White House as a result of one of the single most undemocratic and intellectually dishonest acts ever performed by the Supreme Court.
Though we believe it was more important to uphold the progressive banner than to line up four-square behind Gore, we will not succumb to laryngitis because of that. We have the same right to criticize Bush that anyone else has: the birthright to criticize our elected officials when they do something we find repugnant.
This month, Ruth Conniff and David Moberg assess some of the dangers that Bush poses and analyze the capacity of progressive forces to fend them off. Molly Ivins looks back one last time at the debacle in Florida. And Adolph L. Reed Jr. draws some lessons from the election to take to heart.
We're also delighted to publish two articles this month by progressive Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, who caught the Pentagon--under Bill Clinton and Al Gore--buying clothes from Third World sweatshops.
We hope to publish the work of other progressive Democrats in the months ahead. And we will use our voices as loudly as ever in the next four years to oppose the reactionary moves of the Bush-League Presidency.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2001|
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