Moral Fixation: The Unbearable Smugness of the Left
To everyone who is tired, broken, beaten down, disenfranchised, alienated, slandered, deported, raped and silenced: are we done…or are we finished?
No, this isn’t an emotional call to arms flanked with a grammar corrected meme-quote from a forty-eight-year-old rapper. What I’m asking is: are you done persisting on your moral high ground or are we finished as a movement because Bernie Bros and Clintonistas can’t coexist beyond a march here or a comment section there?
The divisions we forged during the 2016 Democratic Primary are still alive and well despite a common enemy enjoying his two hundred and twenty-seventh day of Executive privilege. It’s easy enough for me to observe the Bernie Bros vs. Clinton Youth bicker-fest as it still clogs up social media and comment sections to this day.
Honestly, some of these posts look like EULA notices with the long list of things you will or will not discuss with people who don’t agree with you. I understand you want to vent your frustration over the opposing progressive side’s stubbornness and lack of self-awareness but you’re concern trolling away all of the wonderful things we have left in this country as you sit smugly on your Whole Foods hot bar catered picnic on Resistance Hill.
We share these powerful moments as progressives like the Women’s March or Black Lives Matter actions or many other events and gatherings that have yielded positive results. Then days later Matthew Yglesias will declare Bernie the presumptive 2020 nominee and all hell breaks loose. Wigs are snatched, feelings are hurt and we retreat back to our moral high grounds.
Let’s also address for a quick moment how a great deal of “acceptable misogyny” thrown around by the anti-Clinton left should be called out for the trash it really is. Say what you want about Clinton’s ethics (if you think she’s the first candidate to get debate questions early, you’re lying to yourself), a good amount of the energy and nastiness came about because she was a woman. You may not have experienced it, but I’ve seen the comments, the tweets, and the ugliness. Not just from Trump supporters masquerading as Bernie Bros, but from real progressives who get a little too fired up. Bernie supporters were so desperate to beat Clinton, a portion of them co-opted some of the right wing memes and slogans that obliterated Clinton’s public image. Even worse, some Bernie supporters showed their true colors and voted for Trump in the general election. I wouldn’t feel right criticizing both sides without making that point.
When you talk to either extreme, they are oozing with hubris when it comes to 2020 but woefully short on details as to how we’ll get there in the first place. On a Presidential level it’s a bit early, but Dems have had a few special elections and have not won a thing. Why?
Democrats continue to think being the party of the moral high ground is enough to drive voters into the polling booths. With voter obstruction at an all time high and general apathy for non-memeable elections, we have two pre-existing barriers to success for Democrats when trying to turn a seat from Red to Blue. Beyond that, specifically calling out Jon Ossoff and Archie Parnell’s ill-fated campaigns, why are we still taking our black, latino, LGBTQI, and other voters from oppressed groups for granted? They all deserve to be catered to with the same energy as the corporate donors, celebrities and other elites. Democrats flood millions and millions of dollars into chasing these waterfalls only to lose in a way that only Democrats can: being on the right side of history and the wrong side of apathy.
Even though Ossoff and Parnell struggled to connect with minority voters despite following Clinton’s 2016 blueprint, the same problems persist, possibly to an even greater extreme in the Bernie Bros camp. Despite co-signs from Killer Mike and other black politicos, Sanders’ movement lacks the grounding these marginalized groups can actually depend on. Free college tuition and free healthcare are great promises, but it leaves behind those who are in poverty *right now*, are being deported *right now* and are dying because of a lack of access to adequate medical care *right now*.
That’s not to say that a free public college and single payer healthcare shouldn’t be included in the platform for the Democratic party, I’m saying let’s lead with the real issues that plague our homes and streets right this moment. $15 minimum wage, an expansion of Medicaid, fucking schoolbooks…these are all easy slam dunks ready for the DNC party platform that a majority of Americans already agree upon.
Ultimately, I feel like one group is firmly entrenched in the past and one group is staring at the sun. So why can’t we just call it a day and start looking at each other longer than a march or a good Trump roast session?
I was so angry when I saw the coverage of the Berkeley counterprotest to a planned “free speech” rally that was to take place in Civic Center Park. All of this violence and carnage and property damage talking heads on the left are so quick to disavow was just seconds of physical conflict. Meanwhile, the death of Heather Heyer and the injuries of 34 others at the hands of white supremacists seem like a distant memory now that the left feels as if they have to “lead by example” and shame those Antifa.
No wonder the Republicans can continue to spin a web of bullshit and call it Prada and the public votes against their best interests. The left, in general, is too obsessed with the concept of being right that we get in the way of our own progress. I won’t say that we need to beat the Trump out of these supporters but don’t be surprised if you are the face of a notorious right wing organization and the Antifa Welcoming Committee isn’t very accommodating. The left needs to stop tripping over itself to disavow anything that has to do with Antifa or any other organizations that are on these streets actually doing work and protecting vulnerable peaceful protestors.
I don’t see anyone flashing the number of injured and dead by Antifa on the screen. Any way you try to justify your exaggerated criticism of Antifa and other far left movements, you still end up doing the work of the right for them while stifling your whole movement. I think it’s cool to gather the posse up to say put the weapons down and lets attempt to find common ground but at the same time, Republicans are moving forward with their plan to regress our society with very little hesitation.
We may disagree on the extremes and fine points of progressive politics but we are all still progressive. If we remove party and preference from American politics, how would any of these Republicans survive re-election standing on their character alone? We need to stop kicking back hoping registered Republicans have had enough of Trump. The Democrats need to come together and give the tired, broken, beaten down, disenfranchised, alienated, slandered, deported, raped and silenced a united front that says NO we are not finished, this is our country. United by justice for all.