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A Teachable Moment

Putting the "Pro" Back Into Progressive

by JAYNE LYN STAHL

Okay, it’s late, nearly midnight, on a Saturday night and probably not the best time to write about current events, but something has been plaguing me ever since Scott Brown pulled off what many describe as a major coup for the Republicans by winning Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts.

What I want to know is why it’s impossible to get the centerfold image of Brown, the one where he poses nearly nude for "Cosmo," out of my mind? What next, will Sarah Palin join the ranks of those baring all, but their game plan and a clear political platform? And, if she did, would that make all your average garden variety meat eating neanderthals flood the polls on November 4, 2012 given, God forbid, that Ms. Palin does become her party’s nominee.

But, by the looks of things, Palin has already been out trumped by Beefcake Charley Brown. By the way, apart from an incisive and right on the mark piece by David Corn, can anybody name three things that Brown stands for? He’s quite clear about what’s he’s against: 1) health care reform, 2) big government, and 3) higher taxes, but what concrete plan does he have for solving the massive problems of his state? Or, does anyone care about his platform, in the end, or just the platform bed he’s posing on?

Sarah Palin and Scott Brown are not anomalies. They are the logical extension of what happens when the media becomes an instrument of seduction instead of exposition
If the special election in Massachusetts happened to teach the Democrats something about what they must do, as a party, to recapture that populist spark that gave Barack Obama a 28 point lead over John McCain in November, 2008, it is that charisma rules at the expense of substance, and that the boundaries between Republican and Democrat have been sufficiently blurred as to make independents jump from one party to the next like a couple of frogs in a frozen lake.

Any ship that has too much weight in the center will sink. If he really wants to get the upper hand with the banks and Wall Street, Obama better start his spring cleaning early. Goldman Sachs, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, XE, Halliburton, and the Fortune 500s have been running this country for generations, and running it into the ground.

The best antidote to Scott Brown is to not to give undue weight to his candidacy. He tips the balance, in the Senate, but it was a precarious balance at that. So-called "blue dog" Democrats have seen to that.

It’s time to put the "pro" back in progressive, or suffer the consequences when reactionaries prevail.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.