Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Tale of Two Progressives

Okay, so then THAT happened.  And I'd be lying if I told you I was among those who saw this coming.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.  From the defeated camp, two narratives seem to be emerging.  Mainly because the defeated camp is be no means united.  Which is why they were the defeated camp, after all.

One of these camps is showing itself to be sadly predictable.  As boilerplate in its lack of self awareness as it is in what passes for its ideological content.  "I'm not shocked by any of this," began the tweet that the HuffPost described as a "Nightmare Election Night Summarized in 1 Bleak Tweet" - "People hate women for more than they hate racists."

Yawn.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm no fan of Trump.  I have grave reservations about his capacity to govern, given his glaring lack of political experience, among other numerous flaws and blemishes.  I do not condone his racial insensitivity nor his boorish attitude towards women.  But any kind of evil Hitler agenda will have to get through Congress first - which though in Republican hands, is so only by a margin, especially the senate.  And it's not like the G.O.P are solidly behind the Donald in any event.

HuffPost Canada did no better: "Hate and Fear Won!"  This saccharine article goes on to say, "When I think of my friends and family in the US, I genuinely fear for them. I fear for women, for minorities and people of colour. I fear for their professional and personal interactions, their reproductive rights and their right to basic safety and security. I fear for the legitimization of identity politics. I fear for climate change and the EPA."

Hate and fear won?

So too has irony.  In a paragraph laden with identity politics - "I fear for women, for minorities and people of color", the author goes on to say that she fears for "the legitimization of identity politics."  Oblivious to the irony, apparently.  And this is the deeper problem with this narrative: its comical lack of self awareness.  Hate and fear - of the uneducated white male working class got us here.  The legitimization of identity politics - for the exclusive charmed circle of feminists, minorities and people of color - also got us here.

Hate and fear of unemployment?  Hate and fear of terrorism?  Specifically, Islamic terrorism?  Hate and fear of the horrors Europe has been dealing with during its migrant crisis?  Nowhere in sight, apparently.

These articles are but two of a countless number cropping up everywhere online, including all of our Facebook news-feeds, since news of Trump's victory was announced.  Baskets and baskets full of deplorables turned loose on our streets.  Pepe the Frog on our computer screens!  Evil Hitler on the rise!

Can we really claim that racism drove so many to put Trump in office when the same electorate so recently handed a black man two terms in the Oval Office?  Was a vote for Trump really a vote against a woman president and for Trump's locker room boorishness?

Maybe.  I honestly hope not, but in some cases, people no doubt voted for Trump for the wrong reasons.  Or maybe it's an insult to all but a tiny handful of glaringly sociopathic voters to assume they had such dark motives.  Which is really part of the deeper problem.

Or maybe it was a vote against an obviously corrupt and Machiavellian DNC establishment candidate who willfully weaponized identity politics for use against Bernie Sander's basement dwelling supporters, and enjoyed considerable DNC favoritism in her race for the candidacy right from the get-go?

Or maybe it was a vote against Hillary's support of welfare reform while her hubby was in office?

Or maybe it was a vote against support for NAFTA, the TPP and other job killing trade deals?

Or maybe it was a vote against her hostility to union rights?

Or maybe it was a vote against the war on drugs, or against the war in Iraq?

And perhaps, most significantly, maybe it was a vote against an overarching sense of entitlement.  Hillary Clinton was not entitled to sit in the Oval Office.  Was she better qualified than Donald Trump to do so?  Quite probable.  But it doesn't work that way.  Hillary Clinton was not owed the White House.  Not because she is a Clinton.  Not because she is a Democrat.  Not because she is a woman.  Not because she is a progressive or a liberal.  And screaming "dat raciss!" or "Muhsogyny!" at anyone who won't vote for any of the above is just compounding the problem.  Shut up and get some self awareness before you drive progressive politics back into late 1980s levels of obscurity and political toxicity.

And this leads us into the second narrative to come from the other side of the defeated camp.  A narrative that is quieter and more introspective.  More level headed and frankly, more intelligent.

A narrative that wonders if it's such a good idea for progressive media to keep beating the rest of the country over the head with aggressive anti white male identity politics and political correctness?
A narrative that wonders if it was so wise for the DNC to screw the best candidate from a genuinely progressive perspective that they've had in decades, out of the nomination?
A narrative that wonders if the white working class who feels left behind and shut out by changes to the global economy aren't the kinds of people progressives should be reaching out to, rather than simply condemning as racist rubes?

I won't go as far as to say that the Democrats completely brought this on themselves.  Okay, who am I kidding?  They brought this completely on themselves.  With a still popular outgoing two term president - a remarkable achievement - they've quite suddenly stooped to levels of lacking political acumen that we've not seen from them since the bad old days of Gary Hart and Michael Dukakis.  An even more remarkable political achievement.  This was a very, very winnable election for them, and they lost it to their own glaring lack of collective self awareness.

Two different narratives from two different progressive mindsets.  One wants to tell you what to think or else you're a racist and a muhsogynist.  The other wants to listen to you and take your fears and concerns, including of racism and misogyny, seriously.  One of these has a political future.  The other does not.







2 comments:

  1. This is right on. Someone was going to break up the status quo. I hoped it would be Bernie. They thought they could shit on working class white people and win. The smugness of the daily show liberals is what got them here. Their supposed superiority that they know whats best for the proles as they destroy their lives with neoliberalism and them repudiate them for their insensitivity to ghetto thugs and trannies. Its fun watching those pampered women's studies assholes get their come uppance. But it's going to be scary as fuck. The most deadly swords usually have two edges.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is right on. Someone was going to break up the status quo. I hoped it would be Bernie. They thought they could shit on working class white people and win. The smugness of the daily show liberals is what got them here. Their supposed superiority that they know whats best for the proles as they destroy their lives with neoliberalism and them repudiate them for their insensitivity to ghetto thugs and trannies. Its fun watching those pampered women's studies assholes get their come uppance. But it's going to be scary as fuck. The most deadly swords usually have two edges.

    ReplyDelete

Why That Guy Got Defensive Over Your Me Too Hashtag

Why "That Guy" Got Defensive Over Your Me Too Hashtag, and Why he Really Shouldn't Have I'm writing this as if my reader...