Progressives must choose progress

I don’t really, truly care about leaked emails, private servers, super delegates, whether someone is “likeable” or an establishment politician. I don’t need to agree on everything to support a general direction, and I’m not interested in being true to an ideology.

It isn’t that these issues don’t matter — they do — it’s that there are far more important and meaningful things to be fired up and active about.

This election is about more than this or that person. I think its a referendum on our national identity.

Can we embrace who we are as a multicultural, ethnically and religiously diverse country — and affirm that as the strength and beautiful thing it is — or not?

Do we vote to return to some nostalgic Neverland of “greatness”, or do we continue forward with the long, arduous and worthwhile ongoing experiment that is America?

Do we stay open to engaging with the world in a positive way, or do we close up, cut ties, invoke trade wars, build walls, and retreat into fear and isolation?

I encourage people to consider what the actual effects of one direction versus another will be — especially those who are already marginalized, poor and discriminated against, as well as children who are growing up right now.

To me, this seems like an important test of the maturity and clarity of progressives and those on the Left, in terms of where people choose to act from.

People can choose to let cronyism in the Democratic Party, the persistent belief the primary was stolen from Bernie, assertions about the lesser evil and their own dislike of Hillary Clinton obscure everything else.

People can continue to live in a social media echo chamber that reinforces their views and feeds their anger and sense of betrayal and self-righteousness.

People can stay bitter, decide that any compromise equals betrayal and effectively sit on the sidelines, while the kind of demagogue that history has long warned us against is in a dead heat to be our next President.

Alternatively, we can “live in the real world”, as Bernie said last week when people were booing him for endorsing Clinton.

We can recognize that compromise is not an evil but a basic fact of life. We can decide that what is more important than being right at all costs is engaging with the world, as it is, to help those who are most in need and to improve life for future generations.

We can accept that actual progress is a messy, imperfect direction that requires continual effort and collaboration with those whom we don’t always agree.

We can choose to focus on what actually matters most:

-The 11+ million people whose families would be torn apart by Trump’s signature act of xenophobia.

-The communities of our Muslim neighbors who it has been suggested would be banned from entering the country and racially profiled within the U.S.

-The reversal of Obamacare that has provided 20 million more people with healthcare (including me).

-The “shredding” of the Iranian nuclear deal that strengthens moderate Iranians and encourages peace.

-The undoing of the Paris climate agreement and Clean Power Plan that give us a chance to limit the threat of global warming.

The list goes on: further loosened gun laws, defunding Planned Parenthood, no progress on criminal justice reform, potential trade wars with China and Mexico, and a petty, irrational hand on the trigger of America’s nuclear and military arsenal.

This is not theoretical. This is not up to somebody else to take care of. This is right in front of us. We all have a choice, and whatever that choice is — even remaining neutral — there are real consequences.

The question, as it has always been, is not why do so many others support a Trump, Mussolini, Milosevic or a Hitler, but what good people with a conscience choose to do, before it is too late.

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