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Living Liberally Blog
Living Liberally Blog
Submitted by Jen Johnson on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 7:16pm.
The first Friday after Inauguration, I was catching up with a close friend from college. We had planned on watching Inauguration coverage and celebrating together in New York, but at the last minute I decided to go to D.C. and join millions at the National Mall.
“It was so exciting,” I gushed. “I felt such a sense of community and collective joy.” I recapped my day: Struggling through to find a way into the Mall; watching Obama speak to us all on a monitor near the Washington Monument with the Capital Building in the distance. When Senator Feinstein spoke of this transition of power, I cried. Did I believe in democracy again?
I asked my college buddy, who spent the day with her family, what she thought of Obama’s speech.
“I couldn’t bear to watch it.”
When I asked her why, she said: “I want to be hopeful, but I’m afraid.”
I nodded. My own troubling thoughts and feelings had returned as well: Has anything actually changed? Are people energized, or are they exhausted? Does progressive politics stop with Obama’s election?
At last night’s Nation/Air America event, “Change For America? Obama & Progressives After January 20,” I found out what some of the progressive elite think.
To my relief, all of the speakers acknowledged and identified our fears. Obama could fail to meet our soaring expectations. Our goals might be ignored in favor of pressing economic and military concerns. And – perhaps most troubling - the grassroots might be as exhausted as I was on Inauguration Day.
For each fear, they asked us instead to rally to the promise we made ourselves during the campaign: Hope.
Opening remarks were made by co-moderator Mark Green. The 2001 Democratic mayoral candidate for New York City and president of Air America Radio introduced us to the event with some lighthearted jokes, a comparison between Obama and Jed Bartlet of NBC’s The West Wing, and a more serious image: that “the way to keep government upright is to lean on it from all sides.”
After her introduction by Green, Nation editor and co-moderator Katrina vanden Heuvel urged the audience to approach the coming months and years from a bottom-up standpoint: Instead of asking how Obama or his administration are doing, ask “How are we [the people] doing?” This simple shift of focus, she explained, enables us to set the terms of the debate and define the new Center, rather than allowing the government to do so.
Retaking the podium, Green encouraged us to think of our current political moment in historic terms. He called to mind the 20th century’s touchstones of political transformation: the landslide elections of FDR and Lyndon Johnson in 1933 and 1965.
Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, began the panel by encouraging us to keep hope alive. He reminded us that the movement that elected Obama was created by us; not the campaign. Pariser’s antidote for the mounting fear? To focus political energy on people-to-people connections instead of the isolating, panic-loving media.
Next, prominent political journalist William Greider suggested that since progressives are being largely excluded from the administration, our role should be even more focused on grassroots mobilization. Greider’s top issue was bringing an end to the corporate state by reforming the Federal Reserve system.
On the more administration-focused side of things, Patricia J. Williams insisted that we aren’t post-race, and Lawrence Korb prepared us for the daunting foreign policy debate that lies ahead.
The panelists were as realistic as they were energetic; I left the conference anxious about the same dilemmas with which I entered. I thought of all the voters who may continue expressing their patriotism only on Election Day; of the unproductive partisanship that persists within my own family; of how fleeting the victories of 1933 and 1965 were.
But I also felt something new: Determination to sustain a progressive movement beyond an election, beyond a time of crisis, and into the fabric of American life.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 8:53am.
Both parties helped to bail out the banks,
Crossing the aisle, the Prez compromises
And now having passed with just Dems,
Does the GOP prefer burning down to building up?
Or they may just not care about regular Americans
Who ever said a new President would make this all easy?
Come share your thoughts, a booth & a pitcher or 3
Submitted by Stuart Peterson on Fri, 01/23/2009 - 5:24pm.
For those of you who were not there this past Sunday night at the Living Liberally Inaugural Ball you should really consider not missing more events by us! Imagine walking into a three-story club to find a group of 400 liberals listening to Jim Dean talk about the future of our country! Imagine the drink tickets being traded for cocktails! Think of the politicos and interesting liberals that could now be your friends. It was truly an incredible Inaugural Ball.
Along with Jim Dean's call to action, other local politicos got up to speak to the crowd. State Senator Daniel Squadron spoke about his hopes for a progressive future. City Council Member Bill deBlasio talked to the group about his campaign for Public Advocate and continued the talk of the future of progressive politics not just in New York City, but nationally.
Pictures after the jump...
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 6:12pm.
As we dive head-long into these first 100 days of the Obama administration, we can't help but think of just how whirl-wind the last few months have been - seeing the Obama candidacy become the Obama administration-in-waiting become, as of Noon EST this past Tuesday, the Obama Presidency. By our count, there are 208 Drinking Liberally weeks to go before we do this whole Inauguration thing over again, and we wanted something special to remember this special time by - so we announced our quest for the Official Unofficial Drink of the Obama administration, and opened it up to your suggestions, awaiting some brilliant names and ideas.
And boy, did our chapters deliver - we received many dozen spectacular, hilarious, original, clever, and, even moving Drink recipes sent to us via e-mail, our website, blog comments on Open Left and Daily Kos, and even in-person suggestions. (Let's just say that people can be very open about their ideas at a Drinking Liberally meeting.) Some of you called on Obama's multifaceted heritage, putting together elegant multicultural concoctions which you might think wouldn't work, but do. Others got all punny, asking us to celebrate with humor the fact that Bush was gone and the Obama years had commenced.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 9:47am.
With a short speech on renewing America,
Even before orders to close Guantanamo,
And yet, within those same first minutes of joy,
We all talk about a President's first 100 days.
So let's dust ourselves off & restore America.
But first, how about a drink?
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 6:39pm.
But what, exactly, will we be liberally drinking?
Many of our chapters offered suggestions for the Official Unofficial Drink of the Obama Presidency. But now we need to hear from you: which is the winner?
We'll be announcing it on Monday, in time for you to make sure your local bartender is ready to brew it up. Tell us in the comments thread what'll quench your thirst.
The Spartanburg, SC, chapter held their own competition and here were some of their candidates:
"Yes We Caffiene"
Team of Rivals:
"How Sweet it Is"
Obama Mama II:
Barack O-Pom-a (Same name, different drink)
Finally, the sunrise represent a new dawn, which is what our country needs right now."
Chocolate covered Cherry
And some classics from Liberal Mixology:
Barack on the Beach
Remember, what we drink is up to you. Let us know. You have the power. Yes, we can...drink liberally.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 8:20am.
Last night, we announced that we're joining with terrific progressive partners to host over 3,500 Inaugural Parties around the country on Tuesday, January 20th.
With MoveOn.org Civic Action, True Majority, CREDO, Color of Change, YDA and others, these parties will be across the country in bars and homes, restaurants and theaters, and will range from dance parties to potlucks as we celebrate a new day in America.
So check out the Drinking Liberally Inauguration 2009 page to see where our chapters are hosting events; find your local chapter to see what they're up to; or visit the directory of national bashes to find -- or host -- one that fits you.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 01/15/2009 - 10:14am.
After 8 years of Bush & Cheney,
Through 8 State-of-DisUnion Addresses,
After 295 Thursdays of Drinking Liberally,
The liberal drinking isn't over,
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Tue, 01/13/2009 - 4:31pm.
"Screening Liberally Big Picture
"Small Town Values." It's big time politics' winning slogan. But what exactly does that mean? And is it even possible for the political machine, so desirous of this wholesome image, to actually value the small town itself?
"Crawford", David Modigliani's documentary about the Texas town of the same name, attempts to answer that question by examining the aftershocks of then-Governor George W. Bush's wholly artificial move to the small hamlet as he prepped for the 2000 election.
Remember Crawford? The quaint Texas burg where Bush publicized his brush-cutting, ranch-walking "roots"? In this film, Modigliani introduces us to the real town and its full-time residents. "Crawford" begins by introducing the audience to the town and a sampling of its residents. Each tells us when they moved to Crawford and why they're there, revealing a bit about themselves and the town: 10 years, good school district. 24 years, loving community. 44 years, Crawford native with six generations buried in the graveyard.
Then we cut to the newest Crawford resident, George Bush. And I couldn't help but wonder, along with the town, "Why?"
Whatever his motives, many townspeople saw his arrival as an opportunity to revive their flailing local economy, long suffering since a severe drought in the 1950s. And as the administration continued, business did pick up as the town experienced tourists of all kinds: political, gawkers, and eventually thousands of protesters.
By focusing on the people of the town rather than pundits or visitors, "Crawford" offers a unique perspective on the Bush administration, media, protests, and political awareness. We find out just where that typical news image of Crawford – the hay bales and farm equipment – is located, and examine whether it misrepresents the town or George W. We hear from fervent Bush supporters, like Crawford's souvenir shop owner, and from his critics, like the school's supposedly "blasphemous" history teacher.
Modigliani's editing heightens the audience's understanding of the residents' emotional journeys, at one point layering protest audio with residents' faces, at another cutting from a packed street to an empty town. Through the film, I felt each character's convictions, confusions, frustrations - whether I agreed with their politics or not.
"Crawford" wisely unfolds from the vantage point of the townspeople, favoring no single view or group. What does become clear is how difficult – and important – it is to be politically aware and active in a community, especially when you have a minority opinion. How does Crawford's history teacher wake up each day, knowing that most of her student's parents do not support her? How should we rise to our own political challenges? "Crawford" will inspire you to consider this, long after the Bush years are but a bitter memory.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 9:43am.
Democrats are busy changing their minds
Republicans are digging in to oppose seating
And the media's focused on Caroline Kennedy
In times of crisis, transition & opportunity,
And we're just reminded once more that
Try to laugh off their foolishness
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