Sunday, November 06, 2016

1.2 - Summing up: the role of the left

Summing up: the role of the left

In thinking of how to sum all of this up, I was reminded of something I wrote to a friend some years ago when he asked me what would be the role of left after the election. You can consider this a somewhat updated version of what I said then.

Because the role of the left - the real left, the true progressive left, not what passes for a "left" for most of the Democratic Party - after the election will be the same as it's been all along: arguing, working, and campaigning for our ideas and our ideals.

Bernie Sanders, for better or worse has been "the great progressive hope" in this election. But the fact is, he didn't create the American left. He didn't create the movement that threatened the establishment of the Democratic Party; indeed, it created him. And the left didn't cease to exist when the convention lights went off the evening after his speech.

All the things we've talked about, disarmament, health care, housing, environmental clean-up and protection, halting global warming, decent jobs under decent conditions at decent wages, an end to sexism, racism, homophobia, and all the other -isms and -phobias to which we're heir, an economy controlled by all for the benefit of all instead of by the few for the benefit of the few, and a society that values cooperation above competition and public good above private greed, all of it still needs doing.

And there will always be children to be educated instead of indoctrinated, communities to be cemented instead of walled off, and human freedoms to be protected by rigorous vigilance instead of proscribed by rightist vigilantes.

That we've not had as much success recently as we might has a lot more to do with us than with the conceptually warped, logically vapid, morally bankrupt frothings of the right. We've failed to advocate our beliefs either strongly enough or openly enough and have tended to - pardon the cliche - hitch our wagons to the harness of the currently popular Democratic Party star, whoever that might be. We did it for eight years with Bill Clinton, we've now done it for eight years with Barack Obama, we must not do it for four years or who knows maybe eight years with Hillary Clinton.

We have to petition, to lobby, to vote, yes, all of that. But we have to do more. We have to be loud, we have to be insistent, we have to be noisy, rude, impolite; we have to fill the streets and if necessary the jails.

It's time, past time, to stop holding our tongues; it's time, past time, to stop holding back. And it's past time that we realized that when you hitch your wagon to someone else's team, you spend your time following a horse's ass.

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