Howard Dean has kicked up a few anthills recently, and the response to these things always amuses me. However, after reading a couple of opinion pieces linked from google news, I’m pretty cranky.

I keep seeing democrats (at least, I’m assuming from their point of view that they’re democrats) talking about how the democratic party is “letting themselves be defined by the republican party” and “this needs to stop”. I’ll agree that the democratic platform has seemed a little weak on the ideals recently, but I can’t fathom how someone can write an opinion piece about how people need to state their opinions without actually stating any opinions. I don’t know if it’s out of some weird sense of political correctness, but these people aren’t helping their own cause at all.

Here. I’ll demonstrate: I’m in favor of migrant workers having access to the same quality of health care as the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company. I don’t think the government should be allowed to know what books I’ve checked out from the library or what web sites I visit, especially if it can (and in the case of current law, must) be without notifying me. See how easy that was? Convincing people that these are good ideals is just as easy. Showing that the current republican government isn’t doing any of this, and in many cases is doing the exact opposite, is easy too.

“We need to stop letting ourselves be defined by others” is about as useful as saying nothing at all. In the same way that pity can be harmful, jumping on this bandwagon distracts everyone from the real issues at hand, and that hurts. Treating the liberal platforms as victims hurts, especially when it’s coming from within.

I imagine it would be pretty easy to get most people fired up about things like the new patriot act discussions. I can’t believe I haven’t heard someone call the bluff on this. The idea that “we haven’t been abusing these powers” is a valid excuse for giving up fundamental freedoms is preposterous to me. There will always be abuses, and by legally giving the government extreme powers, we’re giving up our ability to fix things when they go wrong. Apparently the “sneak and peek” search powers have been exercised in “only about 1%” of cases, which turns out to be about 160 searches. Doesn’t this number alarm anybody other than me?

At the time of the civil war, people weren’t saying “we have to stop letting slave-owners define our views”, they were saying “slavery is wrong.” The world is fraught with social problems, and when people start actually saying something about it instead of beating around the bush, maybe we can start to solve some of them.