To liberals and progressives: know the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies

Calling out bad Democrats and illiberal liberals is fine. Confusing imperfect allies with actual enemies is just mystifying and inexcusable.

Such has been and continues to be the case with some on the left.

Despite the stranglehold that Republicans have at every level of government, some on the left are doubling-down on the inexplicable idea that the way to reform the Democratic Party is not by joining it in order to move it to the left from the inside, but instead to remain outside of it and demanding purity and fealty first before they will grace the Party with their ideas, their efforts, and their votes.

That makes absolutely no sense to me.

For the record, I’m a life-long liberal. Until 2015, I was registered Non-Partisan. I registered as a Democrat that year solely for the purpose of voting for Sanders in the closed PA Democratic primary.

Let me be clear. I believe it’s fine – and necessary – to call out “bad” Democrats. I’ve been doing it for most of my life. There’s plenty of recent evidence in this blog site. Just search for words like ‘liberal’ and ‘Democrats’. You’ll see.

But to my fellow lefties who can’t seem to hate Democrats enough, let me say that for you to go on demanding from the outside that the Democratic Party change to your liking while also criticizing the idea that liberals and progressives should join the Party in order to actually change it from within is not only illogical, it puts you into a category of people who can’t seem to tell the difference between an imperfect friend and an actual enemy.

Democrats are not the enemy. No, they are not perfect. No one is, but they are the only major Party that represents progressive and liberal ideas and policies. No, not enough and not strongly enough for some, including me, but they do represent them.

When it comes to discerning friend from foe, don’t take my word or the word of someone on Facebook. Look up your favorite antagonist at GovTrack.us to see what bills they sponsor and support, how they vote, and where they are on the ideological spectrum.

Here’s the chart for recent Angry Buster target, Cory Booker.

Cory Booker

That grey dot on the extreme left is you-know-who. That’s right, no one is left of Sanders.

That doesn’t make everyone else in blue an enemy.

So, I ask anyone who thinks they can change the Democratic Party from the outside these questions.

What if all the “calling out” actually did force out present-day bad Democrats, what then? Let’s say you get your wish. Who replaces them if not members of the Party?

And, seriously, do you expect all the rank-and-file members and all the leaders to simply throw up their hands, fall to their knees, and exclaim, “Hallelujah, you are right! We are evil and wrong and bad. We abdicate! The Party is yours! Thank you for saving us!”

It just makes no logical sense to go on believing that somehow the Democratic Party will change if only enough people outside of the Party screech long enough and loud enough about how terrible the Democrats are.

I’ll add this. It requires an ego that rivals Trump’s to think that all that screeching will eventually convince enough people to also join up in throwing away their votes in battleground states because that “sends a message” to Democrats to be more like them, or else.

I have bad news for those folks.

No political party cares what 1% of the total electorate thinks.

The Democrats aren’t trying to figure out how to win 100% of the 1% who voted for Stein. They’re trying to figure out how to win more of the overall electorate in districts and states where it matters.

So, here’s my advice to the Greens, liberals, and angry Busters who hate Democrats and the Democratic Party:
If you want the Democratic Party to change, become part of it; otherwise, you’re leaving the Party to those who are part of it, and they’re going to go on without you and your ideas.

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Painted by the Trump brush

Among his many reprehensible traits, Trump is a racist.

Everyone knows that his “shit hole countries” remark was only the latest bit of evidence of that fact.

More than anyone else, those of you reading this who still support him need to understand that this latest demonstration of unacceptable and repugnant behavior, at the very least, paints you with that brush. He makes you and all of his remaining supporters look like racists, too.

That may anger you, and maybe that’s a good thing. A reasonable person who doesn’t consider themselves to be a racist probably should get angry when they are lumped in with or seen as being supportive of racists.

And, you can insist – and you’re welcome to do so below – that you’re not a racist. People who know you will likely agree that they hadn’t thought of you as a racist before, but here’s the thing.

As a Trump supporter, you are supporting a racist. You cannot escape that.

The only reasonable conclusion anyone can come to is that you are at least tolerant of racism and racists. The same, btw, goes for his misogyny and bigotry.

The ends never justify the means, so even if you believe that every one of his policies are the best for America, you are supporting the policies of a racist, bigoted, misogynist……. who, as all we all know, incorporates those hateful ideals into his policies, so, yes, they are hateful policies that you support.

As a Trump supporter, you cannot escape this realty and you cannot excuse it away as the unfiltered ravings of someone who isn’t a career politician who has the courage to tell it like it is. He’s “telling it” like a racist, bigoted, misogynist.

This is how you are thought of, too, by those of us who can’t understand how any thinking or caring person like you could still possibly be in support of Trump as a person, let alone as president.

The Art of the Lie

Jane Mayer wrote Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All in The New Yorker on July 25, 2016.

Trump back of head in art frame New Yorker
“I put lipstick on a pig,” Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter, says. He feels “deep remorse.” Illustration by Javier Jaén

I remember reading it then, and I read it again today thanks to a link to it shared to me.

It’s posted here now for everyone to read.

It’s not so much for Trump’s detractors. While there’s a lot to be learned about Trump’s character and behavior and relationship with the truth, it’s going to be revealing more so for his supporters, especially those who have elevated him to worshipful cult figure status.

He’s never been whom his supporters think him to be. Never.

And the longer his worshipers cling to their false prophet, the greater will be their disappointment when he inevitably self-destructs.

That is if he does it to himself before he does it to the rest of us.

“People are hard to hate close up, so we should move in.”

This 1A.org podcast, “Brené Brown: The Quest For True Belonging And The Courage To Stand Alone (Rebroadcast),” is my “holiday gift” to everyone who will see this.
It’s well worth the time to listen to the entire piece as context is important. In case you don’t have time, here are some of the takeaways for me….
 
“When we truly ‘belong’, we’re never asked to change who we authentically are. Belonging demands that we be who we are.”
 
“Fitting in is a very hollow substitute for belonging.”
 
“Our level of belonging can never exceed our level of self-worth, our level of belief in self, our level of belonging to self. And when we have that, we carry belonging with us in our heart.”
 
“When you have leadership – both sides of the aisle; when you have a citizenry that is uncertain and afraid; and you have leadership willing to deliver an enemy to you so that you can deposit your fear and your rage, that is always a very, very seductive formula.”
 
“People are hard to hate close up, so we should move in.”
 
“Speak truth to b.s., but be civil.”
 
“Empathy is not about shared experience, it’s about shared emotion…..Empathy is connecting with an emotion that someone else is experiencing….It requires emotional fluency….There are 30 emotions that we need to be fluent in in order to be truly empathetic, and the average number that people recognize in terms of emotion is three; happy, sad, and *beep* off.”
 
“The number of friendships is not relevant <to belonging>, it’s the depth of a relationship that matters….If you picture belonging as a posse or a squad or a crew, that’s mythology; that’s a commercial for beer.”
 
“Stop walking through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong because you will always find it. You carry belonging in your heart, you don’t negotiate it externally. And, no one belongs here more than you. We just have to stop looking for evidence that we don’t.”