“Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.”
– Dick Gregory
I remember the exact moment that I discovered politics. It was the lead up to the 2000 presidential election. I distinctly remember watching all of the primaries and debates and learning the process of how American presidential politics worked. I liked the mechanics. The details. The gritty nuts and bolts of everything. CSPAN was my jam that summer. I was completely enamored. I tried to read Locke and Tocqueville; I studied the Constitution and tried my best to correlate my understanding of American democracy with what I was hearing from the politicians on the TV. I spent a great deal of time thinking about and trying to process the world around me through the lens of political thought. I was trying to develop a political identity – a set of ideas and responses to the world around me based on morals and values through which I could extrapolate meaningful; resourceful, efficient, and egalitarian rule sets to develop a prosperous society that could be built and maintained from that foundation.
Ok, so, it wasn’t exactly that well thought out then, but you get the point.
For whatever reason I was primarily focused on the Republican process. I don’t remember it having anything to do with ideology. It probably had everything to do with me finding my dude. John McCain. He was my first when it came to politicians that I truly felt represented something worth following and paying attention to. I couldn’t tell you anything about his stance on anything from 18 years ago now though. I do remember standing with way too many people in a packed aircraft hanger for hours to hear a brief stump speech by Mr. McCain on a school night. I kept the campaign sign I snagged for years. It traveled with me from house to house, party to party, ideology to ideology. I bring this up only to illustrate that my political awakening began when I was around 16 or 17. I’ve been following this stuff for the entirety of my adult life. I’ve voted for Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. I’ve identified as conservative, liberal, an anarchist, a libertarian, and a wide swath of the “I-couldn’t-give-a-shit-less-you’re-all-lying-crooks” camp.
I could spend hours dissecting and theorizing how we got to such a tumultuous, unnerving, confusing, and utterly ridiculous state of political discourse in America. If we’re being honest with one another, I’m more dumbstruck than apathetic in my inability to synthesize the data and present a theory for your consumption. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to understand this stuff. I have an expensive and useless degree in Political Science sitting in a box around here somewhere. I really have no clue what’s going on. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t know what the fix is. I don’t know how bad it’s going to get. Everyone needs to keep their hands and feet inside their Dumbo at all times until the ride comes to a complete stop.
It is customary in these times for a person like myself, whether for show or a legitimate attempt at intellectual honesty in their forthcoming argument to preface everything they say with recycled platitudes or a catchy non sequitur. I’m not going to do that here. I do not feel that it is even remotely necessary for me to point out the many troubling aspects of the modern conservative political machine, the President of the United States, or the Republican party as a whole. That shit is self explanatory and doesn’t need to be examined here before I turn my ire towards those we loosely label liberals.
The left has no message. They have no plan. They ride the wave of Trump absurdity assuming that they will be handed power simply because he and his administration are a complete and utter train wreck. It’s not true. You have your own slimy skeletons to deal with. Just because the checks your candidates cash are from Goldman Sachs and not the National Rifle Association doesn’t give you any sort of moral superiority. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean that normal everyday people don’t see right through your bullshit, same as with the other fellas.
The left is not a victim in our discourse. They are an equal participant. And when you cross them they will attack you and destroy you with the power of 1000 suns. At least Trump, or the ‘right’ at large, will be up front with their viciousness. The left is a snake eating its own tail. Their soapbox is teetering on a flimsy foundation. It’s sad to watch. It’s sad to watch both sides of the political machine deteriorate into such childishness and blatant self destruction.
I’m picking on the left here because they have been handed a once in a generation opportunity to completely upend their own party, and rewrite American political discourse; to be a true savior to a country in crisis. But they are fumbling the ball. It’s 1st and goal and they are going to turn the ball over on downs. I pick on the liberals because I feel that on most issues they are on the right side of the argument. It’s hard to watch them regress into the same ideological pitfalls as we see with our brothers and sisters on the other side. Now is the opportunity to do the hard work. The introspection. The data gathering. The rewiring. The work. Now is the time to do the work. Now is the time to do the work. NOW is the time to do the work! But you won’t. You aren’t. You’re going to continue to be outraged and appalled and upset and offended. You’re going to let the greatest political opportunity in history slip through your fingers.
Maybe its naive for me to think that there still resides in us the ability to work together. Maybe its naive for me to think that one day the legislative apparatus will not be bought and sold by a handful of mega multi-national corporations. Maybe its naive of me to think that our country could take the possibility of a foreign government tampering with our electoral process to such a degree that it sways the outcome seriously, and with somber due diligence. Maybe its naive of me to think that folks should be able to see that a president killing with drones is just as gross and worthy of critical analysis as a president grabbing women by their pussy. Clearly its naive of me to assume that we should and could operate outside the hyperbole of Twitter and Facebook.
So, I accept their scorn with open arms. I have been let down. I am too naive for modern American politics.