There is something about appearing to “fight” that seems to appeal to many “progressives.” It’s gotten somewhat pathetic, if I’m being honest. It’s pathetic because their impression of “fighting” is almost as bad as the right wing’s. Do you realize why so many Republicans who objected to Donald Trump “in theory” voted for him? It was because they believe he will “fight” for them. That’s because they see him as enormously “tough.” Look back at the campaign rhetoric. In the right wing mind, they see someone who yells and screams and “talks tough” as being very strong. This is the biggest wussy to ever run for president. This is a guy who has the thinnest skin ever. If someone says something unflattering about him on Twitter, he literally can’t resist responding with a middle-school-level insult. To a right winger, that’s an example of his “toughness.”
Pretty pathetic, isn’t it?
Of course it is. And yet, our side does pretty much the same thing. The professional left post-mortem on President Obama’s administration has started, and I am appalled at the number of lefties who think he was some sort of naive wimp, based on his terrible crime of making an attempt to try to work with the Republicans who ran the rest of the government. There are many ways of “fighting,” and most of them do not require screaming and yelling at anyone and they most certainly do not require screaming “the Sky is Falling” every chance we get. Obama fought his ass off for us, as did all Democrats, and he got a lot of shit done in eight years, despite the most obstructionist bloc in US history. What the hell is wrong with us?
For example, during his first two years, he worked his ass off to get a lot of things done, like health insurance reform and a record-high jump-start to the alternative energy industry – the largest one in history, by the way. Do people realize what he and the Democratic Party did? Apparently not, because the professional left spent the entire 2010 campaign telling everyone what a disappointment he was. I actually had to laugh my ass off in 2014, when so many unicorn progressives and the professional spent that entire campaign complaining that Democrats weren’t sufficiently “embracing” Obama, since none of them had “embraced” him during his first six years. Not to mention, that would have to be the lamest reason in the world to not vote for ANY Democrat over ANY Republican in modern times. You’ve all seen my list of Obama accomplishments; unfortunately, nearly half of them came as a result of his efforts in his first two years. But dammit, he did a lot. And he did it all while fighting against Republicans, who represented a solid bloc against everything he wanted to do. And he did it by fighting smart. Yes, that’s right; there are ways to “fight,” politically speaking, that are more effective than simply screaming and demanding shit. Imagine that.
For example, did you notice that he got rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? It’s completely gone now and can never come back. And that’s because he fought smart. During his first term, the professional left was demanding that he just ignore the law, because they saw some soldiers being kicked out of the service for being gay. Remember Lieutenant Dan Choi? He came out while serving in the Army, in order to challenge the law. However, if you’ll recall, the professional left demanded that President Obama simply ignore the law and reinstate Lt. Choi. They berated Obama for his decision to enforce the law and then demand that Congress change it. Now, here’s the question; which “fighting” strategy made the most sense? The answer is obvious. If Obama had simply defied the law, reinstated Lt. Choi and anyone else who subsequently was kicked out wrongly and left things as they were, the law would still exist, which means Trump could start throwing people out of the military starting January 20 at noon. In other words, Obama’s way took longer, but he got the best possible result. The law is gone now and LGBTQ people can serve openly without being forced to lie. Two ways of fighting were available and Obama took the one that did NOT require screaming and calling names and he won.
There are many ways to “fight” for something and few of them actually require screaming and yelling and demanding shit.
I wonder how many professional lefties even realize why President Obama so often reached out to the Republicans? He did it for the progressive movement because he is one of us and he wants to see the country move forward, too. He reached out to them so that we would have plenty of ammunition to use against the GOP. Yes, that’s right. He was hoping that we would take the fact that he reached out to them in a bipartisan manner and they bit his fingers off and run with it. He wanted to show everyone that the Republican Party has no concept of “good faith” and they don’t care about the country. If he was naive in any way, he was naive about the professional left, not the far right. Look at the number of times pro lefties referred to him as a “disappointment” and insinuated how “naive” he was for thinking the GOP would accept his overtures. They demonstrated no clue that he KNEW they would reject his overtures. He expected us to take their rejection personally and to use it against them. As a result of the pro left’s actions and their abject stupidity, the momentum we progressives had in 2006 and 2008, was wiped out in a single election and finalized in 2014, when we just handed the government over to the Republican Party. Now, we have to look at a Trump Administration for four years, in part because the childish definition of “fighting” held by many on the professional left is remarkably similar to the one held by the right wing, which results in too many people staying home from the polls.
It’s easy to figure out why that’s the case, if you really think about it, but it really takes some thinking. First of all, the way we “fight” looks incredibly negative and negativity doesn’t work for us. In fact, negativity works for the far right and against us, and it doesn’t matter which side that negativity comes from. If someone on the street is screaming at the top of their lungs, how likely are you to walk toward them and listen more closely to what they have to say? Your mind tends to shut them off, even before you find out if they’re right or left, or before you find out if you agree or not. That’s what we look like too often. No one gives a shit if you think you’re right; we all think we’re right about every opinion we hold dear. It matters less that we’re right than if we can get a majority of voters to see things the way we do.
The problem with the way most of the professional left, and unicorn progressives in general, see “fighting,” is that it’s all about looking like we’re batshit crazy, not winning elections. And if we’re not winning elections, we’re obviously not fighting smart. President Barack Obama has been fighting smart for eight years and we would do well to follow his amazing example. Consider the aftermath of the disastrous election we just went through. The professional left is running around and shouting “The Sky is Falling” and proposing nothing in the way of preparation for the imminently disastrous Trump Administration. Instead, they were screaming and demanding that the Electoral College snub Trump (something that has never come close to happening and wasn’t likely to happen this time) and not they’re shouting “impeachment,” a full month before he and a majority Republican House and Senate take office and get to do anything.
Meanwhile, look at the measures President Obama is putting into place, that we can point to and actually fight to keep in place. (I’ll be adding them to his list this week, along with a few other accomplishments I have had technical problems adding lately.) That is how you fight; you look at the long game and play to win it. We can’t play personality politics and win. We can’t advocate for a quick fix for our election year stupidity (and yes, we hold as much blame as the Russians. All of the pro left whining about Hillary had at least as much to do with people staying home as cheating and voter suppression.)
Instead, we have to learn to fight smart. Trump is not the problem, he’s a symptom. The Republican Party has been breaking for more than a half century and they have been broken since at least 1995. The entire Party is a problem, not just individual politicians. Therefore, focusing on Trump, or McConnell, or Ryan will be no more successful in two years than our purge of Gingrich, Armey, DeLay, et al, were successful in previous elections. What has to go is the entire Republican ideology and everything that party stands for, including white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia. But more importantly, fighting smart means embracing and supporting their opposition to the point that Democrats win everything and Republicans win exactly nothing.
Looking like you’re fighting is only impressive to ignorant people. We on the left have been shadow boxing for too long. It’s time to fight smart. Put it this way; the great Muhammad Ali never won a fight by mouthing off about how great he was. In order to actually become “The Greatesr” he had to develop a strategy for each fight, and he had to train and actually throw punches at the right time.
It’s time for all progressives to fight smart.