As a lifelong progressive who really, truly wants to live in the greatest country in the world, I find both the progressive movement and the country at a crossroads. There are two fundamental questions that we as a movement must ask and answer if we are to finally be successful. Think about it; how can we create the country we’d like to be, if we don’t know what that means?
What sort of country do we want to be?
And what are we willing to do to get there?
If your answer to the first question was “a progressive country,” you really need to sit down and read this series because you don’t know how politics works. You’re the reason the progressive movement has had problems for a generation. This may come as a shock to many of you, but there is no single definition of “progressive.”
It’s time we decided on a path for the country. Just as importantly, it’s time we decided on what we are willing to do to get where we need to be. And no, unicorn progressives, I am not going to get into the weeds with you and talk about specific policies that you have decided are the keys to creating a progressive country. If you can look around you and think that’s an important thing to do, I have to assume you’re wearing political blinders. After all, you’ve been doing that for 50 years and where has it gotten us? As usual. I’m talking about the basic philosophical question we all should answer;
How do we envision the “land of the free and the home of the brave“?
In other words, do we want to live in a country that puts people first and does what it can to make lives easier for anyone? Or would we rather live in a country where everyone has to fend for themselves and it’s every man for himself? As a progressive, the answer seems easy, but is it? If the answer is so easy, then why are we so goddamned inept at politics? I mean, since 1980, which is almost 40 years now, we have stood by and watched as a major political party with no moral standards and absolutely zero principles has taken over the entire federal government and a majority of state governments. Meanwhile, a small-but-loud group of progressives running around like Chicken Little, warning the electorate of all sorts of dire consequences for electing scumbags to government, yet doing nothing to make sure the best possible candidates win and the worst lose. They spend all their time calling the only sane major political party, the Democratic Party, all sorts of names and trash their candidates, thus making it more likely Republicans win. Then, after they sabotage Democrats, they blame Democrats for their loss, taking zero credit themselves. Not only that, but they also proclaim themselves psychic, as in “Bernie would have won.”
Sorry, but no, he wouldn’t have. And if you sincerely believe he would have, then you are irredeemably clueless about how politics works. That’s why I am writing this; it’s for you. Read and learn.
Right now, the current Republican Party is running hundreds of governments at all levels into the ground, which is only possible because they run almost the whole show. Because of that, millions of lives have been rendered absolutely miserable. And for what? So that professional lefties and unicorn progressives can massage their own egos by portraying Bernie Sanders as a saint and Hillary Clinton as the devil incarnate.
Think about it; when you listen to the professional left and the unicorn progressives, they portray themselves as more righteous and more principled than us. However, what principles are they playing to when they allow an asshole like Donald Trump to squeak into the presidency, aided and abetted by majorities in the House and Senate? They like to whine about the unfairness of the “two-party system” and long for a third alternative, and yet, 50 years after they broke from the Democratic Party, they have yet to make a serious try at creating a viable third party.
But I digress. Again, what kind of country do we want to live in? And what are we willing to do to get there?
It sure as hell can’t be the government we have now.
Consider; the previous government, which apparently didn’t count because it’s leader was a Black man, promised children who were brought here illegally but grew up here as Americans that they would never have to “go back” to a country they never knew. Now, the leaders in the Republican Party have suddenly reversed course and told them they can no longer stay, after all. I don’t care if it’s technically legal or not; it is purely immoral to kick Americans out of the country for the perceived “sins” of their parents.
The government of this country has to be truthful, if nothing else. If one government acknowledges the rights of people living in the United States of America, a later government has to honor those promises and shouldn’t be able to withdraw its support because it doesn’t fit into their ideology. We have to be a country that is honest, that tells the truth and keeps his promises.
We also cannot live in a country that praises itself as “the greatest country in the world” and encourage people to come here to find freedom, and then turn around and kick them in the ass when they try to come here. People who have lived here as Americans have been blocked from re-entering the country because of questions about their status as “real Americans,” as if that’s a thing. Just because the immoral Republican Party thinks their “base” wants that.
Consider: With this latest GOP Tax Scam, we are once again the only country in the world that doesn’t provide health care to anyone who needs it without having to worry about going bankrupt. Thanks to the current Republican Party, throughout 2017, people who finally were able to find affordable health insurance after decades of being denied, had to worry that the Republican Party would take away their insurance and make it unaffordable again.
We have to acknowledge healthcare as a civil right and make sure that everyone has easy access to doctors when they need one, without having to worry about losing everything they have worked for in their lives. And no, that does not mean “single payer.” It CAN mean single payer, but then, if we create a single-payer system and the current GOP wins another election after we do, guess what will be on the chopping block when they’re in charge?
Consider: One of our two major parties – the Republican Party – has lined up behind a two-bit millionaire amoral grifter whose cult following just happens to be made up of their base, even though dozens of women have accused him of sexual assault and he has admitted to sexual assault on a national TV show. He even bragged about it. A large portion of their “base,” Evangelical Christians, have supported him from the beginning, despite the fact that everything about Donald Trump lines up opposite everything Jesus stood for.
That same Republican Party was so desperate to hang onto one Senate seat in deep red Alabama that they lined up behind and fully supported an amoral man who has been credibly accused of taking sexual advantage of teen girls when he was in his 30s. I mean, the man was banned from a shopping mall; do you know how depraved you have to be for that to happen? He’s also been kicked out of his judgeship twice and he thinks his version of the Constitution supersedes any other version, including the document itself. As of now, there are at least 3-4 Republicans in Congress who have sexually harassed or assaulted women, and the current GOP refuses to do anything about them because they have decided votes and winning are more important than the soul of the nation.
Is it too much to ask that our politicians and elected officials uphold a moral standard that the rest of us have agreed to as part of the social contract? They represent us; is this who we want standing up for us as our surrogates in government? Isn’t it time we started upholding basic standards of decency and decorum? I actually feel bad that I supported Bill Clinton after he admitted having sex with Monica Lewinsky because our quiet assent made that kind of thing okay. It’s not okay. Grown men dropping their pants and showing their genitals to everyone else in the room should not be a difficult standard to uphold and yet, these days, it seems to be. And yes, people in both parties do it, but Democrats who do are shamed and lose their careers, while Republicans who do the same are never addressed.
It’s time to being a sense of decorum to government and society, but more importantly, we have to treat everyone in the workplace equally and with the same level of respect, regardless of any physical factor. It doesn’t matter if they are a man or a woman, gay or straight, black, brown or white; everyone should be entitled to a basic level of respect until such time as they prove unworthy by their behavior.
Consider: the entire Republican Party has been running the country as if the only demographic group that deserves rights are straight white males. The key word there is “straight.” They have always wanted to make being gay illegal and they believe that a store owner’s non-existent right to not serve gay people is more important than the gay person’s right to be served. Current Republicans don’t think women should have the same rights as men and they scoff at the very idea that unarmed black men should have the right to not be shot and killed by police. They don’t even believe black NFL players should have the right to kneel in protest during the national anthem, although they seem to have no problem with white athletes who are accused of domestic violence.
In this country, rights should be sacred, but the sanctity of rights is a balance. For example, while current Republicans treat the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as optional, they treat the Second Amendment as if it was a holy relic that no one should ever question. The result is, five years after 26 people, including 20 small children younger than 7, were gunned down at an elementary school in Connecticut, the right to obtain a gun and use it any way they want is safer than ever, while no one else is safer. In fact, the man who gunned down those children was mentally ill, and the Republican Party has made it easier for mentally ill people to get guns. For that matter, in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Democtratic president brought forth a few mild changes to gun policy to make a repeat of the tragedy less likely, and it was summarily rejected by the GOP. A bill that would have expanded background checks on gun purchasers, which was supported by NINETY-TWO PERCENT of the American public, including a large majority of gun owners, was nevertheless rejected by the GOP.
That is right; in reality the major party Republicans represent EIGHT PERCENT of the American people, and yet, they keep winning elections because professional lefties and unicorn progressives would rather fight over the imperfections of the Democratic Party and the perceived “flaws” of Hillary Clinton than actually make the country a better place.
This country should be a relatively safe country, where no one who is mentally ill should be able to acquire an arsenal and an unlimited supply of bullets. The right to be able to walk or drive down the street or attend a concert or a museum exhibit with a minimal chance of being shot and killed, should be at least as important as the right to keep and bear arms, which is actually not as absolute as the current GOP pretends. Every other industrialized country in the world has mastered the balance between protection and safety, which is why our gun homicide rate is far higher than any major country on the planet.
The question is,
What do we want this country to be?
In the next segment, we’ll talk about Middle Class Rot, which has been caused solely by Republicans, aided and abetted by unicorn progressives and professional lefties.
Also published on Medium.