Friday, April 28, 2017

Unity, Not Compromise

Conservatives used to sneer at liberal "open-mindedness" by pointing out that an open mind lets your brains fall out.  

They were wrong.  But now I say that a too-open tent that lets your enemies in is suicidal.

People who fought for the other candidate in the Democratic presidential primary are not our enemy. 
People who want to deny our basic human rights are our enemy.
  • People who think it's OK for cops to shoot and kill unarmed black people with impunity are not our allies.
  • People who think women are mindless wombs who must be forced to give birth are not our allies.
  • People who think it's OK to treat non-cis, non-straight people like criminals or sub-humans are not our allies.
  • People who think it's OK to discriminate against somebody else's religion but demand special favors for their own are not our allies.
  • People who think workers are drones who don't deserve a living wage or a union are not our allies.
  • People who descended from immigrants but think all other immigrants should be deported are not our allies.
  • People who think torture works are not our allies.
  • People who support the death penalty are not our allies.
  • People who think climate change is real but we need fossil fuels so there's nothing we can do about it are not our allies.
  • People who think for-profit corporations can operate public services like schools and water and parks better than government can are not our allies.
  • People who think rich people need more money are not our allies.
  • People who think poor people are lazy, criminal drug addicts are not our allies.
  • People who think health care is a privilege reserved for those who can afford it are not our allies.
  • People who think the War on Drugs is a great idea are not our allies.
  • People who think marijuana is worse than heroin but alcohol is not are not our allies.
  • People who think war is the answer are not our allies. 
  • People who think that some people shouldn't be allowed to vote are not our allies.
Open the Democratic tent to everyone who shares ALL our values.  And no one else.

Political Animal:
The issues that suddenly divide us? Apparently whether we, as a party, will be unyielding in a woman’s right to choose. Taking a page out of the right’s playbook, Jane Sanders called fighting for that right “political correctness.” I see it as core and just as central to who we are as a party as the bullet points above. We’re apparently arguing over whether economic equality would keep immigrant families from being torn apart by immigration authorities (it wouldn’t), or keep African Americans from being shot in the streets and killed in jail cells (it wouldn’t), or keep Donald Trump from grabbing a woman’s pussy (it hasn’t).
From there Markos discusses where he sees the current divide.
It is interesting to me that these are sometimes referred to as “cultural issues.” But if you are a woman whose economic survival is threatened by a pregnancy, I’m sure that the right to chose can’t simply be relegated to a cultural phenomenon. Same would be true if your family’s survival depends of what an ICE officer decides to do with his time, or if you are a black man in the middle of getting pulled over by a police officer. In all of those instances, these are life and death matters. That is why women and people of color react so strongly to being told that speaking up about them is divisive. It is actually the other sides trampling of their lives that is divisive. We need to be clear about that.
A lot of this discussion was reignited when Bernie Sanders chose to endorse a Democratic candidate who was openly anti-choice. I tend to think about that this way: would I vote for an anti-choice Democrat if the only alternative was the mini-me Trump that is my current representative? You betcha I would! That is what politics is often about in a two-party system.
On the other hand, this morning I read an article from Politico about why the Christian right is so thrilled with Donald Trump’s presidency and have become the one constituency he can rely on. It is all based on what we call “cultural issues” – and that is overwhelmingly about the steps this president has taken (and promised to take) to strip women of their right to chose. So let’s be honest…these are the battles we face right now. Any backing off from fighting them will destroy decades of progress that our predecessors fought for so valiantly.
The challenge Democrats have always faced can be summed up with questions like this:
  • Are men prepared to fight for a woman’s right to chose?
  • Are white people prepared to fight against racism?
  • Are citizens prepared to fight for those who are undocumented?
  • Are white collar workers prepared to fight for unions?
  • Are the wealthy prepared to fight for the middle class?
  • Are those who have good health insurance through their employer prepared to fight for those who don’t?
  • Are members of the upper and middle class prepared to fight for those in poverty?
  • Are the middle-aged prepared to fight for seniors?
  • Are seniors prepared to fight for young people?
I could go on, but perhaps you get the point.
Whenever the answer to one of those questions is “no,” or when the message is sent either directly or indirectly that “my issue is more important than yours,” the divide widens. That is what makes the challenge more difficult for Democrats than Republicans. We can’t afford to play a zero-sum game. We have to care about people who aren’t like us because that is the definition of what “liberal” means.
Marcos ends his piece with a powerful quote from Australian Aboriginal activist Lilla Watson.
If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
The over-arching goal of liberalism is that “your liberation is bound up with mine.” That is what it means to form a coalition. That was Bernice Johnson Reagon’s message way back in 1981 and it is what Rev. William Barber is talking about when it comes to “fusion politics.” It is the only path forward for Democrats.


wjbill said...

and what do we do with those elected dems who have been whole-heartedly supported by the party establishment who have always violated this premise? Or are thing different now?

Ed said...

Now remove the government guns from the equation and see how much of what the other thinks matters one iota.

Yellow Dog said...

Anonymous: Repost your comment with a name and I'll release it. Yeah, the bros and the hilarybots both suck but carrying that primary grudge into 2018 is a recipe for not just failure, but a fascist/Dominionist regime that will destroy what is left of this country.