First, a brilliant post, "Democracy and Gay Marriage" by Ta-Nehisi Coates. On what turned one New York Senator to vote yes to gay marriage, his personal family fallout when the gay nephew of the woman he was living with cut off contact with the senator/family due to his anti-gay marriage stance. Coates writes about that and has some thoughts on democracy and liberalism:
Coming out to your family is a specific trauma that doesn't really translate directly to other groups who've the felt the boot on their neck. If there's a parallel experience, it doesn't occur to me. As indicated here, it's often the source of great pain. But it is also the source of great political power. People who seek to ostracize gays must always countenance the potential for disappearing their very family members. It's not like red-lining black people into ghettos. Homophobes must always face the prospect of condemning their own flesh and blood.Great thoughts and that term, liberal frustrationism, is a keeper.
Surely there are those, who, with depressing regularity, rise to the occasion. But democracy in America is fundamentally optimistic in that holds that a critical mass of the electorate is persuadable. I've long been skeptical of this implicit assumption. But as I've aged, I have come to see it as quite brilliant. In the present case, I don't know of a more powerful tool of democratic persuasion than the prospect of losing family.
It's been tremendously inspiring to watch gay Americans wield these twin swords--humanism and democracy--against bigotry. It's also, as you've probably noticed, helped clarify my feelings around liberalism's long war.
I don't want to give in to liberal frustrationism. I've already been there and the only logical outcome is profoundly undemocratic. As I said in comments, surely Ben Tillman reigned during the time of Ida B. Wells. But whose America do we live in? Who really won that war?
Also notable today, Brad DeLong thinks for the first time that Obama will lose in 2012, prompted by David Frum's critique: "Obama is his own worst enemy."
Finally, this excellent blog post on how institutional investors are effectively doing the job of the SEC and the DOJ in punishing executives and companies responsible for the financial crisis/mortgage meltdown through class action litigation. When government is not doing its job, sometimes the lawyers will.