Jim Wallis’ “The Politics of Change” (March 2008) so effectively probed the possibility of real political change given the “vast array of powerful forces that will do everything possible to prevent real change.”
This analysis stood in contrast to E.J. Dionne Jr.’s article in the same issue, which asked, “Is It Still a Wonderful Life?” His seemingly sanguine conclusion is that Americans are at heart so noble (like George Bailey) that if we come together around a “new democratic solidarity” and embrace George Bailey’s politics, we would transform the nation. Dionne offers oppressed Poland as an example of how a coalition weakened the grip of Soviet domination. That illustration is irrelevant in that in Poland everyone knew who the enemy was. In our case, a “vast array of powerful forces” pose as protectors and providers who assure us that we have never had it so good and that with them we are secure, yet all the while they resist meaningful change.
Wallis is right when he says that “the change must go deeper than politics” and that “unless change goes deeper, politics won’t really change.” Every one of the presidential candidates is offering to do the same old thing, only better. Deep and real change is not on their agenda.