Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mid-Life Political Identity Crisis

Reading the @ replies on Adam's tweet, and on Amanda Marcotte's, got me about triggered, as my son would say.

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I've identified as a liberal progressive since I registered to vote. Democrat, natch. (That's thirty-odd years, so no blink of the eye.) That self-ID started faltering during the Obama years, and pretty much collapsed during the 2016 campaign season.

The old saw goes something like: you're a heartless bastard if you're conservative when you're young, and a naive hippy if you're a liberal when you're old. My experience has been: you're a heartless bastard any time you're a conservative; you're naive and soaked in capitalist ideology as long as you're a liberal.

So, here I am, approaching fifty-years-old admitting I still have so much to learn ... but I can't abide Democratic hypocrisy any longer. I'll remain a registered Democrat, for now, but I won't throw my vote away on a centrist Dem again. They'll get my vote when they run candidates willing to fight for Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage ($15 is the bare minimum), criminal justice reform, abortion rights, and an end to perpetual war. I have absolutely zero confidence this will happen in my lifetime.

The label "progressive" doesn't carry the weight it used to, but I'm not ready to stop using it. Until we finally achieve socialism, we need to make progress in curbing the excesses of capitalism. I doubt we can get to socialism incrementally, it's going to take revolution, but my sense is revolution can only happen after the workers and the poor have come together and won several smaller battles, and the fight for those ameliorating measures like the Fight for 15 and for single-payer or what I'm calling "progressivism" in the meantime. There's no revolutionary party, the (ahem) proletariat are divided and unorganized. The unions are on the ropes and enthralled to the Democratic party and organizations like the DSA and the Green party remain marginal players. And "marginal" feels pretty generous, more like marginalia on the footnotes.

Man, though, if I hear "brocialist" one more time ... these performative accusations of racism and sexism by folks who blithely dismiss progressive women and POC because they don't meet donor-class approval criteria reek of projection. I'm a sexist/racist for not falling in line behind Kamala Harris because of her actual positions, but liberals who bash Ellison and Lee using right-wing smear tactics are somehow not? Fuck that. And fuck them.

Liberal, give me a straight answer on how you can support Bain Capital employee Deval Patrick before you get on my back about blaming Harris for her failure to prosecute banksters. You want to go to the mat for Cory Booker? Suit yourself, but you know where he stands and you're going to wind up in bed with unsavory, big money goons and you know it.

How is it I support Elizabeth Warren more than you when push comes to shove, despite your Nevertheless She Persisted chatter? It's because despite her foreign policy failings, a problem she shares with Bernie, I actually support her when it comes to reigning in Wall Street. I'll vote for Warren if the Dems run her in 2020, will you? What if it was Ellison? What, oh my, what if it's Bernie? What if the most popular politician in America wins your party's nomination? Will you practice what you preach and hold your nose to vote for him over Trump? Or will you sabotage him every step of the way and stay home on election day? Or worse, like nearly 1 in 5 Hillary supporters did in '08, vote for the GOP?

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