Initially I wasn't sure I wanted to come across all harsh and everything, but in all honesty, I don't know how I can be any more emphatic about the need for opposition activists, of whatever stripe, to stop flinging poo at each other and focus on the main task. Some of the language I've encountered from fellow progressive bloggers, many of whom I've respected until now, is simply mind-boggling. You know who you are.
Call me a hair-splitter if you must, but while certain individual Liberal activists might be open to some new electoral thinking, I wouldn't be so sanguine about the Liberal Party itself.
I understand that they need some time to grieve, to heal and to come to terms with their third-party status, and I'm willing to grant them that time. But I'm not willing to put the hard work we need to do on hold while they do that.
We're facing four years of war, to be fought on many fronts and on many battlefields. If they want to spend their time and energy gazing at their navels and trying to revive a decrepit institution that's past its shelf life, that's up to them, but I've got more important things to do. And that goes for anyone else who's not comfortable with the idea of a permanent Conservative majority.
Liberal friends, it's time for some tough love. Those of you who want to stay all Bay Street friendly and do what you did for most of the the last four years and not alienate the corporate media, there's a party for you. It's called the Conservative Party. Those of you who want to embrace progressive principles, preserve what's left of the social safety net, and keep people who think like Charles McVety from criminalizing abortion and gay sex might want to work with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Like it or not, for the next four years that's the NDP.
And once again, lest anyone think this little corner's gone all orange, that goes for New Democrats too. I'm willing to cut the rookies in your parliamentary caucus as much slack as reasonably practicable, as long as you remember an overarching strategic principle: effective opposition to the Harper government will have to have extra-parliamentary roots and focus. It's not pleasant, but it's a fact of life. Steve doesn't need your help or your consent. He's got a majority now.
The Conservative attack machine is going to land on you in a way that made what they did to Iggy look like a hot-oil massage, and the corporate media is going to go gleefully apeshit over every gaffe and every rookie misstep. Some mistakes are going to be unavoidable, but please, can you at least try not to go out of your way to step in the dog shit ... ?
We've got a lot of work ahead of us. It's going to be a long four years of engaging our fellow citizens and working to build bridges. We're going to have to reach out to our neighbours, including those who voted Conservative and those who stayed home, and we're going to have to talk to them without being condescending or retreating into truisms or lecturing them about civic duty. Mea culpa in that regard, as much as anyone else.
But let's save our energy for the things that matter, shall we?
- Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold
- Again: Stop it, all of you. We need to take the long view
- Harper as Nixon