During the past few weeks, there’s been a dramatic upsurge in media chatter — social media as well as corporate news media — essentially conveying the message: ‘Well, even if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination, he will be a force to be reckoned with from now on. He’s changed the tone and direction of American politics for the foreseeable future. In a sense, Bernie has already won.’ Or words to that effect. It has come from numerous pundits and media talking heads — including some sources that are ostensibly progressive, i.e. Salon, Slate, etc. Increasingly it has even filtered into the dialogue between and among members of Bernie’s own tribe.
I have no problem with the content of the message per se. It’s just about as demonstrably true as anything in politics can be. I have a serious problem with the context and the timing.
Friends, I think we need to wake up and realize where this message is really coming from, who’s behind much of it…and what it’s actually intended to accomplish. It’s not what you might think.
There’s a compelling case to be made that the Number One adversary of Bernie’s (i.e. our) progressive revolution isn’t Hillary Rodham Clinton, nor the corrupt Democratic National Committee, nor the obsequious, Establishment-loving corporate media. It is our own complacency, disillusionment, doubt and fear.
We all are well aware of the psychological warfare being waged against us at this time — all day, every day, 24/7 — attacking our faith, perseverance, commitment and group cohesion, by targeting our doubts (‘Bernie can’t win’), our fears (‘Beware the Trumpenstein!’), and our disillusionment (‘Hillary has an “insurmountable” lead. Time to give up. It’s over.’) Because we understand the true motivations and purposes of these tactics, we can to an extent defend ourselves from them and counteract them, i.e. largely by ignoring them, taking righteous satisfaction in Bernie’s accomplishments, then rededicating ourselves to the hard work of getting Bernie nominated, then elected.
It is the appeal to our complacency that has me concerned right now. It’s only natural that we would take considerable satisfaction in how far Bernie has come in such a remarkably brief time, and that we would revel in the deep and lasting impact that he’s likely to have on the Party and the country for a long time to come. But it doesn’t at all address our immediate situation, nor the things that urgently must be done for the campaign right now. In fact, it has the potential to become a real distraction — and a real drag on the energy and momentum of the campaign. I would argue that this is precisely its intended purpose.
Think about it: Who stands to gain if Bernie’s supporters become so preoccupied with finding gratification in political clout and influence that hasn’t even fully manifested yet…that they fail to fully throw themselves into realizing the historic game-changing opportunity that is before us at this very moment? The answer, of course: the Clinton campaign and the entire corporate, MIC Establishment. Whether they drag us down with doubt and fear, or flatter us into settling for premature satisfaction with a less than optimum outcome, the ultimate effect will be the same: To sap the vitality, focus and effectiveness of Bernie’s volunteer army — from within. It is this deeply deceitful quality of the flattery that makes it arguably one of the most insidious psychological warfare tactics of all.
It’s worth noting that most of the mainstream media articles and opinion pieces that praise Bernie’s profound impact on the Party also contain some variation of the phrase: “Of course, we all know that Bernie won’t win the nomination”. It’s the equivalent of a poison pill…embedded in a piece of gourmet chocolate. If you’ve bitten into the chocolate, whatever you do, don’t swallow. I implore you to spit it out (then drink a nice glass of fresh carrot juice), and get back to work! We have a Democratic nomination to win for Bernie!