Very few people understand this. God knows the press certainly don't. Most liberals -- particularly the Generation of the Desert -- don't. But they will by 2010.
As I have said for many years now "It will be impossible until it happens, at which point it will have always been inevitable." We have finally reached a tipping point in the level of engagement in the post election civil sphere -- at least on a national level -- to see sustained Progressive impact.
It took Thurgood Marshall Nine Years to get to Brown v. Bd of Education. Even then it was a 2-day argument, and a 5-4 decision. Nor did Brown mark the end of discrimination, or the end of the civil rights movement. I have no doubt that a week after the Brown decision Thurgood Marshall was busy defending what the Hell good was it to get a dumb Supreme Court decision that didn't really mean anything or make a difference anyway.
We have shown there is another way to do things. We have shown a generation of activists that "we are the change we have been waiting for" is not an empty slogan. Our involvement made a critical difference in getting this bill through -- with forward-looking spending investment intact. Yes, it included a decent dollop of tax cuts to grease the wheels, and many more programs should have been funded than were. We have not changed the nature of politics as a process of achieving consensus among people with strong disagreement. But we have changed the underlying nature of the debate we are having from one bounded by the question of "does government have a role at all" to "what role does government have?" More importantly, we have shown those who dared to act that their voices did matter and do matter. That their helplessness is a lie, that the inhabitants of the city are not giants, nor are we grasshoppers. We are Benjamin Franklin's well-armed lamb, come to claim our liberty from the wolves. Let them vote for something else for lunch for a change.
Mind you, there is much yet to be done. As the Progressives almost discovered, it's not about electing the right people and going home. It is not Heaven, nor over the sea, but near us, in our hearts and our mouths that we might do it.