Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Progressive Dilemma

A Stand Up Guy makes his pitch

Hedges and Reich
It was an interesting debate I witnessed this morning on Democracy Now between Chris Hedges and Robert Reich. It's obvious that there is as much dissention and conflict on the left this morning as there is among their right wing counterparts. Reich, a former official in the administration of Bill Clinton, had come out early as a supporter of Bernie Sanders. When it became sadly obvious this week that Hillary Clinton would be the 2016 Democratic nominee for the presidency, he publicly endorsed her. Hedges, on the other hand, is of the opinion that all true progressives should commence with a third party uprising that, although it might put liberals "in the political wilderness" for a few years, would pay off big dividends in the long run. Reich called these notions "insane".
I wouldn't go quite that far. Chris Hedges is a writer I respect and admire, and I do sympathize with his motivations. If there is anyone out there whose writing is more on-target and revealing about the American train-wreck, I'm not aware of it. In fact, there are few people in public life whom I have more admiration for than both of these guys; it was unsettling to see them so vehemently opposed to one another. That being said, it is with much reluctance that I have to side with Robert Reich on this one. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt in a speech she made to the Democratic National Convention seventy-six years ago, this is "no ordinary time".
If the Republican nominee this year had been George Pataki or Susan Collins (the only two I can name that aren't bat-shit crazy) I would be quite agreeable to Chris's idea; it would serve those moronic Democrats right. I might have also been open to Hedges's idea had the candidacy this year been a repeat performance of goofy old Mitt Romney's quest for the White House four years ago. But this is something entirely different; this is sick, ominous territory we've wondered into here. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" has this year nominated a candidate so vile and deranged, comparisons to the rise of Adolf Hitler eighty-three years ago are not only not over-the-top - they're unavoidable (from the blatant racism all the way down to the stupid haircut). In this humid summer of 2016, we have found ourselves standing at the edge of the abyss.

You think I'm being overly alarmist? Fine. Let's all vote for Donald Trump this November and see what happens.

The person I feel the sorriest for this morning is Bernie Sanders. His revolutionary campaign today lies in ruin. Had the main-stream-media and the Democratic National Committee not been in confederacy against him (as I believe they were), had every person who desired to cast their ballot for him been allowed to do so, he would today be the nominee. I also believe that he would have cleaned the Donald's clock on Election Day; every poll had him doing as much. As it stands, Ms. Clinton is now barely neck-and-neck with the guy. What the hell does that tell you?

A lot of Bernie's supporters are livid at the man for "going over to the dark side". This is something he absolutely needs to do. This an example of a person falling on his sword for the greater good. The stakes for this country are too high for him to be throwing a monkey wrench into the process. Ralph Nader's third-party-candidacy sixteen years ago was a noble cause - but its grim aftereffect was eight long and depressing years of the George W. Bush White House. Bernie Sanders loves his country too well to destroy it by being a sore loser.

Did you ever think that you would live to see the day where the United States would become this completely weird? It really is an interesting spectacle to witness.

We have no other choice than to throw caution to the wind. Hillary has gone as far as an American politician can possibly go. Maybe she is through kissing the plutocratic butts she has been forced to kiss these many years to get to where she finds herself today. Maybe if she gets to the White House (not a foregone conclusion - stop kidding yourselves) she'll finally govern as the true progressive she has always claimed to be deep in her heart, and not the wishy-washy, right-leaning moderate she's always enjoyed playing on TV. Unfortunately we have no choice but to cast our lot with her. I know what you're thinking and I agree: This is unfair. That's the way it usually works in politics. A Donald Trump administration would set the progressive cause in this country back two-hundred and forty years. What other choice do we have - Dr. Jill Stein? She's a decent, intelligent person, but you're dreaming if she is your idea of a viable alternative.

I was stricken to my senses recently visiting with friends who are not only voting for Trump, they took me to task for not supporting him. I need to emphasize to you that these are not ignorant, uneducated hillbillies I'm talking about, these are intelligent, otherwise-reasonable people who live in the "sophisticated" Hudson Valley of New York state! That encounter had me tossing and turning for most of the night. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you this. I literally had a hard time sleeping, even after several helpings of vodka and vegetable juice.

The supporters of Bernie Sanders (and don't forget that I am one of them) need to take a deep breath. We'll live to fight another day. The result of four years of Donald Trump might very-well mean that there will be nothing left to fight for.  And as far as the Clinton campaign is concerned, they need to avoid complacency. They've got one hell of a steep hill to climb between now and November. The sooner they understand this the better.

No ordinary time indeed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to watch Bernie Sanders delivering his speech to the Democratic National convention of the night of July 25, 2016. This is as good as it gets' folks:

Bernie is one of our greatest living Americans. I don't care if his campaign is over, I'm still going to feel the Bern. Can't help myself!


At 7:59 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

All comments going back a month have been inadvertently deleted.

Sorry about this.


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