There is a lot of joy to be had in watching the fall of that disgusting, sexually harassing, pig of a man, Bill O’Reilly. Also, there are a thousand laughs in watching Tomi Lahren losing her soap box because she dared deviate from the Republican party line. But this is also an opportunity to take a good hard look at what is happening on the left as well. While we are laughing at them, however much they truly deserve it, we are ignoring a very big problem on our own side.
We are all eating our own. From the “moderate” Progressives eating the far left, to the Democrats eating anyone that dare mention they were, at a minimum, color blind and tone-deaf. Each of us must take into account that the Right has always been “Members Only” and the Left “a big tent.” That big tent was about goals, and accepting everyone for who they are, being equals as we moved towards those goals.
The left has now become basically three groups, and two are members only. That will not only fail to win the day, it flies in the face of what being a Liberal, being a Progressive, and being a Democrat mean. It ignores goals for methods, and for candidates, and overall, for an impossible perfection.
I am in the middle, a person that voted wholeheartedly for Bernie and later held my nose to vote for the one candidate on the ballot that was the least dangerous. Do not get me wrong, she was a candidate who would have done 100 percent better than Trump but she was not the one who most reflected how I wanted to achieve our goals. (Any argument that Hillary was/is a warmonger is now moot since Trump did exactly what he said she would do in Syria… any argument that she was corporatist is now moot because of his cabinet… any argument that he was more pro-LGBT than she, also moot… any argument that Hillary was under influence of foreign powers, also moot… I could go on all day.)
Over and over I see people on the left attacking Bernie Sanders, which is absolutely tone-deaf, as he continues to be the most popular political figure in the country. I also see a group that claims Hillary was perfect, but, she was not. I also see people in the middle, like I am, acting holier-than-thou, because we did the “right thing” (whoopie for us, the country still lost in the end). I see the attacks that Bernie didn’t back Hillary soon enough when he literally backed her from even before he lost the primary, saying he would not be a third party candidate. However, that isn’t the point.
Toe The Line Or Lose Is Not Our Way
On the right, you either agree with the party line, which is painstakingly clear — hence Lahren above being fired and sued by/suing Glenn Beck — Or you leave. There is no room for not believing “like the rest.” On the right, there are usually only black and white answers. They forgive “imperfections,” such as being a misogynist racist asshat, as long as you toe the line. Lahren’s mistake was that her point of view was consistent with party doctrine, “small government” but crossed the line by allowing women sovereignty over their bodies.
On the left, we are supposed to deal in shades of gray, rainbows of it, actually. We focus on goals, not homogeneity — in fact, we value differences. However, last year, that stopped and our identity politics turned into sects that couldn’t rally. We started to say, instead of, “how can we best serve everyone,” “you will like what we give you, stop fighting.” We started to say, you must support everything 1000 percent, and if you disagree then it is your fault if we lose. We started to say, this is “the best” when it clearly was not “the best” for two-thirds of our own voting base.
Now, we have a party that is shattered, each group standing alone will win nothing. However, we are under attack from the outside and from within. The far left wants a war — and doesn’t care if we destroy the country — as long as we change, the centrists want to figure out WTF is going on with Russia and hurry along Trump’s implosion so we can get to fighting on the legalities of undoing him. The Democratic party liners seem to be so deeply involved in recriminations that they are frozen in the act of moving forward.
Hillary was perfect, they say, and it was simply sexism that undid her. Did that factor in? Yes, it did — no question. As stated by Sarah Lerner, Clinton was billed as “flawed,” by the media (because she is, like all of us) but couldn’t survive it as well due to her gender:
“Flawed,” when attached to Clinton, didn’t take on the connotation of “We all make mistakes and that’s okay.” That’s reserved for men. Instead, it became an insidious reminder of the perfection that the world expects from women. This impossible standard is a trap because when we inevitably fall short of meeting it, society tells us that we only have ourselves to blame: “If only you were more of this or less of that, then you would have succeeded.”
Was it the nail in her coffin? Well… one of them, yes. But by far not the biggest.
The answer seems so complicated, but the facts are there to see: we missed. We missed the mark in this election, we didn’t give “the people” what they wanted, we nearly won anyway because the alternative was so incredibly awful. We had a decent candidate with some real baggage and a metric shit-ton of manufactured lies and horror stories being broadcast and targeted at the most easily led. She would have won but for Comey’s lies about her email investigation, the Russian propaganda plan, the lack of enthusiasm for her as a candidate, the Electoral College, Jill Stein, and Clinton’s failure to campaign in three states. That’s an awful lot of “but fors.”
The left wing has lost sight of their goals, and in doing so begun to undermine everything we stand for.
The Democratic “party line” people are seen as being elitists snobs, the centrists as our version of special snowflakes, and the far left as narcissists. That is disgusting in a party that is supposed to be fighting for those that don’t have the sway to fight for themselves. It is also untrue in most cases, as only a few of those in any of those groups are really like that. However, when the right calls us “elitists,” perhaps it is easier to understand when we are labeling our own as acting that way.
Hating on each other because of chosen politicians was not the Democratic way before, unless we were talking about Republicans. Suddenly, it is all we seem to be doing. We need to focus on our goals, not our affiliations: there is no way out of this as long as we remain split — and our enemies know it. Hell, the Observer is running overtime talking about the Dem leadership being out of touch — and they’re right to a certain extent as much as they are wrong, too — but what we need to see is that it is run by the brother-in-law of Jared Kushner.
Until we go back to focussing on equality, assured to everyone, and to caring for the humans in our country, not the corporations, to fighting injustice — even for white America — we are stuck in this three-way split.
That is exactly where they need us to be to keep us ineffective, punching ourselves in the face.
Don’t blame any single one of these groups, we lost our way and scattered when we needed to tighten up and win for the greater good. But that simply doesn’t matter so much anymore. Right now, what matters is that we stop infighting and start looking at our goals. They are the same, at the end of the day, so start voting for those with similar goals. We will get there. Stop requiring perfection when good enough will do. Progress is the goal, so, baby steps are ok.
We can avoid the GOP implosion that way. Or, we can grip this run-away basket and ride it right straight to the Fourth Reich, all the time protesting that it isn’t our fault; if only people would have done it our way.
Being a Progressive, an Independent, a Democrat or a liberal shouldn’t stop you from being able to work with others in the same group towards the same goals. Democrats aren’t able to stand alone in this fight, they have become too small a group, but together we can focus on baby steps to reaching the only goals that really matter, equality, assured freedom for all, and the right to pursue happiness.