Guest Post by Jay -- Ottawa
Anna Hazare – the “Anna” of this man’s name is an honorific meaning “Elder Brother” -- is enjoying enviable success at throwing the forces of corruption in India into considerable confusion. Common people are flooding the streets of several cities in support of his demands for reform. The Arab Spring must be moving east, not west. The “spark” in India is not a reform party or a last-straw incident throwing the street into rage; this spark is a person. They call him Anna.
Here in the US our op-eds and blogs with endless lists of particulars against X, Y and Z politicians and big shots are soporifics for the Average Jane and Joe. What’s the use of loading any more word bricks on the crooks or on the MSM with paragraphs from our commentariat’s elite, be they world-class witty, blue-collar sassy or lawyerly elegant? Aren’t we just a band of brothers and sisters in retreat consoling ourselves with right thinking? Is the nation any better today than it was a last year or the year before, despite our critical elite’s rapier essays? And our sincere applause? Poetry changes nothing. Ask any poet.
Something more is needed to whip up an effective level of attention. I’m about to tell you what that is. Given the nature of the world and the needs of politics, what we sorely lack is a hero. To turn the country around we need intelligence and justice and commitment incarnate in human form – we need an ‘Anna’ -- a hero of integrity who is a visionary, who is not reluctant to use power, who is determined to turn the ship of state around before the current crew runs it up on a sand bar to be cut up and carted away. Progressives need a person of the first rank in the front ranks of reform. Until a hero steps forward the intellectuals are as doomed as the ignorant. Awareness never saved timid kings from the falling axe. Why should it spare us who wail and wring our hands in the bottom half of the economic pyramid?
We have allies, like the New Progressive Alliance (NPA) -- Homework assignment: visit their website OFTEN. The NPA has gone beyond our intellectualizing and finger pointing. Much like that most famous of advance men, John the Baptist, the NPA is laying the groundwork, preparing the way for “The Hero,” someone with a record, not too young, not to old, a leader who identifies with the common citizen and who knows how to deal with the frauds who are now in charge of just about everything. The NPA has completed its work on a political platform for the New Progressive Party. They are building the infrastructure for a third party at the state level. All they need….
All they need is a real person to fill the top spot and shift the center of gravity from cake to bread, from greed to care, from Wall to Main, from Dives to Lazarus. The US has about 310 million people, not as large a population as India, but still, a large pool of talent. Are there not 50, are there not 10, is there not even one person of stature and integrity to serve as a magnet to pull together all our resentments and all our hopes into one unstoppable force to set things right in America? If such a hero ever steps forward to lead, so will academics and business people like the brain trust FDR assembled to implement the New Deal. Think about it: Would there have been any New Deal without FDR, any Great Society without LBJ? One politician can make it happen.
We need a hero, a real champion, a happy warrior who holds nothing back. If there were such a man or woman to back for high office, so much of our eloquent closet talk would be transformed into notes of a positive crusade appreciated by the entire spectrum of our society.
Ideas alone will never engage majorities, but heroes with ideas will. If an Elizabeth Warren seized the banner of the NPA, would we set aside our petty differences and work as hard for her as we ever had for any other candidate? Progressivism will never make headway until it is advanced by a charismatic leader. Am I asking for too much: a Messiah; some kind of Deus ex Machina? Probably. But I see no other way out of our present difficulty.