Stop Preaching to the choir and start listening to the people. Everyone, not just the ones you like.
There, I said it.
My social media is blowing up with people saying variants of “Trump got elected so ‘we must’ (do something that just occurred to them)”. I’m seeing the usual suspects talking about “organizing” and others planning petition after petition to “make” Trump and Republicans do something they want done. There are also those who say things like “he’s not MY president” and calling the “entire country” racist and misogynist. This, despite the fact that he WAS elected and if Hillary had won, we would have laughed at the righties who said such things, and that the election was marked by low turnout AGAIN, that made the votes of the racists and misogynists more valuable.
The one thing missing? Progressive calls to listen, sit back and reevaluate. Strangely, that will be the one thing that works.
People don’t like liberals very much, you know. Why aren’t more progressives asking why not? It wasn’t the overwhelming support for Donald Trump and the GOP that led to Tuesday’s disaster, you know. It was the people who did NOT show up who led to key states being lost. In what should have been a wave election for Democrats, a lot of people just didn’t see the point to showing up to vote. Knowing what was at stake, why did that happen, do you think?
It’s because people are increasingly turned off by politics. If there was a theme to this election, it was that everyone just wanted it to be over. Of course, Donald Trump was an embarrassment as a major party candidate, but voters largely didn’t like Hillary, either. And one major reason for that comes from the left side of the proverbial “debate.” You don’t get to trash Clinton in the primaries and then pivot after the convention and say you didn’t mean it. Everything those of us with megaphones do becomes part of the overall politics.
Our side doesn’t do politics worth a shit. We really don’t. Increasingly, progressives don’t seem to be FOR anything. We constantly act like we know everything and we think that equivocation is a valid political strategy. When you look at the professional left media, it’s impossible to count the negative stories because there are so few of them. Progressive pundits know everything, according to them. They obsess over polls, even though it’s obvious they don’t understand why obsessing over polls is not a political strategy. See, here’s the thing; when both sides of the poilitical debate are saying “Hillary sucks,” guess what the overall meme becomes? Of course Trump sucks, but so does Hillary. So, why would you expect everyone to vote in droves when both choices are horrible? Why don’t more vocal lefties get that? And please, unicorn lefties, don’t tell me that no one listens to you; if no one pays attention, then shutting the fuck up shouldn’t be a problem, should it?
In short, our side of the public debate is long on stridency, strong on opinion and just as fact-free as the far right. Worse, it lacks any kind of political sense. If you are talking about “organizing” right now, you’re clueless. If you pride yourself on being “non-partisan,” you’re not very bright. If you spend all of your time complaining that the Democratic Party just doesn’t cater to progressives enough, you really need a new hobby. There are TWO viable political parties out there and one of them kicks our asses every election, which means your anti-Democratic rhetoric would seem to be at cross purposes. And you there, you with the petitions, well… stick them up your ass.
It’s time for the entire progressive movement to take some time and think about things. Everyone’s motto has to be “Sit down, shut up and LISTEN” for a while. Then, when it comes time to be an “activist,” if your strategy doesn’t involve winning elections for Democrats, you should realize that you’re not an activist, you’re a masturbator; you’re not pleasing anyone but yourself. If progressives are to have political success, those who think they alone have the definition of “progressive” and that everyone who doesn’t fit into that definition should be shunned. Those who think that being “activist” means never shutting up and thinking about the political consequences should be shoved into a corner somewhere so that they can’t continue to screw things up. It’s time to change the entire progressive movement to the model that Barack Obama put forth in 2008, in which our movement is one of hope and positive development. “Everyone sucks because they don’t do what I want” is not a political movement that will ever be successful. At some point, we have to make people like us.
I know, some of you think that people liking us is “selling out,” but you’re too stupid to listen to anyone about anything. You’re the types of morons who think that making the term “progressive” so exclusive that it takes a secret handshake to join is an effective political strategy. Such egocentric behavior as the “Bernie Stans” engaged in over the past two years has no place in a successful political movement. I know you think shouting “No more war!” at the Democratic convention was cute and brought you attention, but you would be wrong. I know you think your hashtag #NeverHillary marks you as a “maverick,” but again, you would be wrong. In fact, I’m curious; given that the Democratic Party, which is the only major political party that will even listen to us, has only had cmplete control of the federal government for two two-year terms since 1980, why would anyone listen to the professional left about anything? When do you people notice that your way stopped working about 50 years ago? When progressives worked WITH the Democratic Party, we accomplished great things. Since progressives started working against them, more and more of those great things we did have been coming apart.
We need a new image. It shouldn’t be hard. Being a liberal should be a hopeful movement, since we are looking to make everyone’s life better. Yet, look at the so-called “progressives” that serve as our voice right now. I mean, for Chrissakes, if you didn’t see similarities between Trump’s and Bernie’s “movements,” you weren’t looking very hard. Both of them portrayed America as an economic hellscape. You would swear that we had 30% unemployment, that everyone in the country wore rags and little girls were selling matches on street corners so their family could buy soup. There is a “yuge” problem with that. That type of vision works great for people who would happily vote for someone like Trump, but it works against progressives and anyone more liberal than the average right wing talk radio listener. How do I know this? Nearly 8 million fewer voters showed up to vote for president in 2016 compared to 2012. Again, Trump didn’t win, we lost.
Put simply, “hope and change” works for us, while “oh my God! The country is falling apart!” works for the far right. Take your “we have to organize!” and shove it. Take your “we have to fight” and shove that, too. And you really have to take your “I blame Democrats” game and shove it so far that you’re forced to puke. Democrats showed up to vote; progressive “independents” did not.
It’s time to sit down, shut up and LISTEN to what’s happening in the country. And we have to work to change our political fortunes. There are TWO viable political parties in this country and one of them is irretrievably broken. And yet, it stays in power because we attack the only functioning party in a way that mirrors the right’s attacks on it and causes increasing numbers of voters to stay home. Again, if both parties suck and both candidates suck, why would you expect people to vote in droves, you dumbasses?
Stop being strident, progressives. We’re not smart enough, politically, to be so strident. It’s time to work FOR something and stop working against everything.