Political Rant: Enough With the Bashing

Two weeks ago, I read a very thought-provoking, impassioned, provocative
article: “SANDERS DEMOCRATS” DON’T OWN THE LEFT by Melissa McEwan (http://www.shakesville.com/…/sanders-democrats-dont-own-the left).  I hope that y’all will look up the whole commentary yourselves and read it. This has inspired a rant of my own.

First of all, I’ll say out of the gate that I am an admitted Bernie supporter. I think Bernie-bashing, including negatively over-generalizing about his supporters, is just as divisive and pointless to do as bashing anyone else running against Trump and his ilk. It saddens and frustrates me to see this back-and-forth Bernie- and Hillary-bashing, and now bashing of others like Senator Kamala Harris, Deval Patrick (my former governor), et al who are being bandied about as Democratic contenders against Trump. And I mean “bashing,” not thoughtfully criticizing. I made it a point to not bash Hillary on Facebook or other social media and I ended up voting for her in the general election, even though I held major disagreements with a lot of Clinton’s policy positions, approaches, and strong ties to the corporate establishment. And, I think we Lefties really need to work on making good use of the corporate establishment in as many ways as possible while also aiming to change said establishment. But, that is a whole long discussion unto itself, I realize. Okay, back to this bashing for a moment: We can do better. We don’t need to blurt out stuff, including posting obnoxious memes, on social media without thinking first just because we can and it’s our leisurely right to do so. That’s behaving like haters of any stripe, such as some of Trump’s supporters at their most extreme.

This divided, in-fighting on the Left is troublesome to me when so much is at stake. However, I also know that such division can be productive towards deepening thinking and understanding, clarifying strategy, and ultimately bringing more people around to a viable consensus. At least, that is my ultimate hope. To that end, can we please raise and keep the tone of discourse to a respectful level of exchange? I’m just asking, friends and family. And I’m heartened to see a lot of respect too, btw. Let’s just have even more of that, please. Let’s channel our anger productively and in the correct direction: outward— to those holding office who really need to get booted out and replaced with more humane humans. Let’s band together and be for good causes, like for stopping global warming, for GLBTQI rights, for strong labor protections, etc.

Getting back to the corporate establishment for just a bit, the DNC comes to mind here for me. We do indeed need to pressure the DNC to be more inclusive and progressive and not so reliant on big donors. Bernie has spoken up quite productively about that, even if his tone has sometimes been harsh (nobody’s perfect). Robert Reich has also been thoughtfully critical about the DNC. But, we don’t need to completely kill that organization, or do we?? If so, replace it with what exactly? (I’m open to input about this.) Killing the DNC and having no actual, viable replacement for it seems nihilistic and not practical at all in my book.

As a child of well-educated, creative West Coast hippies who taught me to think critically and question authority, I hold a deep sense of Left-wing idealogical “purity,” and proudly so. However, I do think that being white and well-educated has helped enable me to hold onto this “purity.” Others don’t have the luxury to do so. Hence, I’m also a pragmatist and will support others who take practical, more incremental approaches to both protect and make progress while not agreeing with me on everything 100% of the time. (Good luck finding that with anyone anyway.) I’ll have more to say over time, including in response to others here (if anyone comments) and elsewhere.

Onward with the Resistance.

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