Today we have a Democratic President who is not a progressive, who is not, in my opinion, a liberal. He has expressed his admiration for Ronald Reagan. Thinking about our current president made me nostalgic for a time when a major Democratic Party player refused to play at wasteful bipartisan brinksmanship or speak of a fuzzy post-partisan era. Mario Cuomo spoke of unity, spoke of bringing the party together - but not just for the sake of collapsing the country into one politically mediocre middlism. He believed that Democratic unity - liberal unity - was what would bring our country prosperity and justice.
When Mario Cuomo spoke we on the left who did not have his platform knew we could outright criticize military adventures and trickle-down economic theories; we could demand that we take care of the old and the less well-abled; we could care about all races and orientations; and and treat women equally under our constitution. The 1980s were a lousy time for those of us on the left as they were so much the Reagan years. But at least we had leaders like Mario Cuomo who would speak out, publicly and courageously in the name of all these things, but even - oh my - the E.R.A.
Pay special attention to this passage:
It is over 20 years since Mario Cuomo dared to spell it out in three letters: E.R.A -- while a convention hall full of Democratic delegates roared those letters back at him.
Can you imagine now a Democratic Party shining on the hill introducing the Equal Rights Amendment or fighting for the three state strategy or fighting, state by state - including all those supposedly newly blue ones - for its passage?
I confess I cannot imagine today's Democratic Party doing this. But may I be wrong. May the Democratic party wake up from its mediocre middlism and go to the mat for the majority, for the 51 percent of Americans who are not guaranteed the highest protection of their equality under the law.