I’ve been seeing a lot of “time to unite the party” posts about the eventual Democratic nominee for president. Last night, in a brief moment of silent reflection, I remembered. I remembered a Democratic Party I believed that was a steadfast champion of the middle class and working families. I remembered a fiery Barack Obama delivering his oratory masterpieces that filled an entire generation with hope for change. I remembered an impassioned Bill Clinton in 2012, rallying the party and introducing our incumbent president with a statistics-laden endorsement sure to make wonky leftists like myself proud to have ever supported the President. In that moment of silent reflection thinking about the time to unite the party, I remembered FDR, and Kennedy, and the numerous social advancements made throughout the last 100 years in the name of progress.
Quietly, however, I also remembered 2014, and losing control of Congress behind the DNC leadership of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. I remembered when Dems had misplaced their initiative then, fracturing and disowning the Progressive message. I can’t help but think under Schultz’s leadership in 2016, and those in the establishment rallying behind Schultz’s ally, Hillary Clinton, we’re eagerly rushing headlong to make those same mistakes all over again. And in that moment of reflection, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “why?”
Why would a party be so adamant about losing its way and deviating from the core principles in which we so strongly believed? Why would they try and stifle national debate, debate about issues of paramount national significance – issues like climate change and the outright of purchase of elections? Issues like stagnant wages, and corporate tax evasion, which robs billions from necessary investments in social programs for education, childcare, infrastructure, public works, the arts, and science every year?
In that moment of silent reflection, I wondered why Democrats would allow themselves to become distracted by the circus side-show that has become the Republican primary: a literal dick-measuring contest between a myriad of dangerous candidates actively threatening crimes against humanity, while bearing a sickening resemblance to a reality TV show. A farce. Right now, the Democratic Party is losing the conversation about the most important issues facing all of humanity in the 21st century to a goddamn farce, and it is doing it on purpose – by consciously ignoring the only candidate willing to talk about these issues, and the millions of people rallying behind his campaign.
It is doing it by ignoring the growing unrest seen not only at home, culminating in protests on the Capitol and hundreds of arrests with Democracy Awakening, and by strategically marginalizing the dozens of nationwide protests each month for social justice, and economic reform, but also ignoring that movements like these have been happening with increasing frequency around the world since before the economic collapse.
How is this happening? How have they so completely managed to tune out millions of people? How are they failing so miserably to win the hearts and minds of independents, young people, and Progressives? In the words Jeff Daniels’s character of the Newsroom, “if liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?”
Quite frankly, Democrats lose by acting like Republicans. By acting like hypocrites. By continuing to take millions of dollars from dangerous lobbies even though that fundraising strategy has proven itself fatally compromised. By allowing its candidates to benefit from voters suppression and gerrymandering. By succumbing to rationalizations and cognitive dissonance in the face of legitimate specific grievances. And most dangerously, they lose by refusing to admit our own shortcomings and legislative failures or costly capitulations.
And now we are at a crossroads; a defining moment in American politics, not just for Democrats, but for the entire country. Do we fall through the now-gaping cracks in our broken democracy which have gradually been exposed over the past 40 years – the corporatism, hawkishness, and greed that has coalesced into a shrunken middle class, monumentally disastrous foreign policy decisions in the name of the empire, and the least democratic election(s) of our lifetime? Or do we resolve to change? Do we resolve to stand united against the forces that are seeking to divide us into smaller and more easily-conquered factions? Do we, as citizens of a country and not members of any political party, finally put our collective footdown and say enough is enough?
If the the answer to these questions for voters is Hillary Clinton, then the answer to these questions is a resounding no.
People are right to want see their country unite, but they want to see it unite behind values, not any one person. Values… lasting values, core values… The values we unite behind will be here far longer than any candidate. The values we unite behind as a nation will stay with us for generations to come.
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