We did it again.

In 2008, the American electorate bit – hook, line and sinker – on the promises of a charismatic orator who promised us everything and has failed not just to deliver, but even to remember what he promised. (Please, those of you who didn’t bite, save your keystrokes. I’m employing the collective “we,” and recognize that not everyone did.)

There’s no doubt: Our electoral process is perfectly – some would argue purposely – poised to place personality above principles.

This is nothing new, of course. If we valued principles and the ability to lead based upon them, we’d have elected a long line of eminently capable, honest leaders. But any objective review of the last thirty years shows that, with perhaps one exception, it’s been all about personality and promises on the campaign trail and – upon election – to Hell with adherence to universally recognized principles of fair play, let alone concern for the basic welfare of those being governed.

From Reagan to Clinton and Bush2 to Obama, we’ve been bamboozled but good. But it goes beyond that. If democracy is really about what we’ve been told – if it really means choosing leaders who will represent the people based on our expressed desires, in order to help us actualize the nation and world we envision – we’ve been far more than just poorly led.

We’ve been RULED.

Like the despots and their people who we have so regularly starved and killed and refused refuge, we – the increasing numbers of Americans who are downtrodden to an extent heretofore unseen since this country’s organization – are starving and dying and being denied refuge and the basic welfare-providing services which any nation calling itself great should be ashamed NOT to offer.

And why?

Because the ruling class has decided – despite clear evidence from those they rule that it is not of concern to them – that the national debt and budget deficit suddenly MATTER.

Even though these were of no concern to our rulers when they decided to go after one more despot.

Even though these remain of no concern to our rulers when they are drawing up “defense” (read: WEAPONS) budgets.

And even though REAL people in REAL streets in this increasingly UNREAL land are losing opportunities for health, education, and personal welfare – each and every day of the week.

What would happen, I wonder, if we began to do democracy as it was meant to be done? If WE picked the issues – and the STANCES on those issues – that WE care about FIRST – then recruited candidates who must pledge to represent us on those issues?

Without corporate money.

Without concern for party affiliation.

Unless and until we have driven a stake through the heart of the political practices that are killing this country – and Identity Politics is at the top of the list – America will never again be a truly great nation.

An effort has coalesced here at MyFDL over the past three months that aims, first and foremost, to hold candidates accountable to issues and principles. Readers like you have named it the “New Progressive Alliance” and identified five irrefutably progressive policy concerns around which we are building the movement. They’ve also developed a list of 10 prospective candidates to challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 primary and run as true progressives in the general. Beyond the 10 you’ll find at that link, other prospects include Cindy Sheehan, Jan Schakowsky, Joe Stiglitz, Patrick Fitzgerald, and Raul Grijalva.

Volunteers are stepping up, giving whatever time they can to spread the word and organize the effort in their individual states, and I invite you to join us. If you agree Identity Politics is at the root of what ails us, and you are ready to take positive action in waking people up and offering a real alternative, I hope you’ll contact me. Please write Anthony Noel at admin_at_themalcontent_dot_com.

Thanks.