Why, oh why, can we not focus on winning elections?
We can all agree that such concepts as “productive” and “unproductive” exist. We can disagree regarding application of said concepts to reality, but the concepts themselves are fairly well accepted. (Work with me, here.) All of us at times have self-indulgent or unproductive moments where we need to vent, of course, and I’m no stranger to that. I’m often the poster child for it. Sorry.
However, the orgy of condemnation of President Obama and all Democrats from those who claim to support progressive, Democratic, or “lefty” positions has reached levels that aren’t merely unproductive but actively destructive of all for which we presumably stand. And I’ve reached my limit in terms of listening to it when it takes purely critical, non-constructive forms. I commenced to outright ranting over the most recent weekend, and did a bit of unfollowing and blocking just to prevent myself grinding my back teeth to powder.
Entering the fray. Perhaps not a good idea, but what else is there to do? Knitting?
I posted many, many tweets under the username LibertyBelle4 to that effect of “It’s not all disastrous. Focus on the long-term result. We have to protect our candidates, because we don’t have any more on the bench.” between Sunday, July 31 and Tuesday, August 2. Drop into my feed nearly anywhere in that period, and you’re quite likely to find yourself in the middle of either calm exhortation or all-caps ranting replete with cursing. (Moods will vary, you know, depending on the severity of immediately preceding provocations. *wink*)
Here’s a sample. Some of it’s pretty loud. But some of it’s powerful stuff. Check it out or don’t. But you kind of need to, just for context. Humor me.
Of course, I cooled off a bit later. And became somewhat less a personification of my very own assertion that negativism is bad. I like to think I pulled my shit together for just awhile. Enjoy, here. Again, it’s a good idea to skim it, if only for context on what provoked the stuff coming down the pike, below.
Here’s the sort of thing I got in return. (See, I told you. the following is a response to what you didn’t read. So are you gonna, or what?)
Enter Very Angry Old Dude
Oh, yeah, I got some responses to the admittedly, chronically excessive tweetage. This, er, gentleman did not appreciate exhortation. Not at all. Fortunately, he merely amused me. I was in a great mood, had said some fairly productive, positive things, and he came out of the blue with quite an attitude aboard.
His self-stated mission isn’t so much supporting Democrats or advancing progressive causes as “fighting righties” which is not a particularly useful avenue of pursuit. Go to Twitter, wander into the #tcot hashtag, throw down, and find out for yourself. Really. Several days later, you’ll have red, tired eyes, have kicked ass because logical fallacies are aplenty over there. Yet the same people will be saying the same shit day after day with no apparent adverse, impactful effects of said ass-kicking. A bit intractible are the right-wing nutjobs. (Yoda says so.)
Enter Another Dude Disappointed That I Had Unfollowed Him
Said elder gentleman asked me publicly if I had left him. Yes, I had. Said so. We, too, had parted ways over whether supporting Obama was the act of a corporatist, Kool-Aid-drinking tool or someone who had pragmatism in mind. Guess which position I held. If you followed the above links, you already know. Not a mystery, you know. Stick with me, please.
He and I agreed to follow one another and to meet via direct messages this afternoon. We did. And here’s the course of…
The Discussion with the Freedom Fighter Green Dude with Ultimate Powah:
(Greetings are exchanged)
Me: So. What do we do now? You’re not alone in your views. Neither am I. And I want to win. But I’m tired & discouraged. *rueful laugh*
Him: I don’t see this as a contest, but rather more informational.
Me: Inform me, then.
Him: I guess I should begin by saying that I begin from a place where you may not begin. That may be the problem.
Me, thinking this is going to take awhile: I’m listening. Just keep going for a stretch, then I’ll respond. Deal?
Him (several DM’s, altogether): I see what is happening as a major battle in a War that has been raging for centuries. So this is not a confrontation between Republicans and Democrats. // This is a war between “THE PEOPLE” and “THE AUTHORITARIANS.” Or, as some might say, the tyrants and the freedom fighters. // Now, there are generally three groups. The tyrants, the freedom fighters, and the slaves or non-combatants. In wars, they are civilians. // Politics is just War by other means in this context.
At this point, I imagine the deep-voiced trailer-narrator guy saying, “In a world…” but I’m hanging tough, playing nice.
Me: (interjection) Fact: We must function within *some* system, and those who become part of it are still just people. // Despite the dream of it, there is no peaceful, agrarian, egalitarian society. Systems develop because they’re needed for function.
Him: The slaves are politicians who stay in the middle and carry out the orders of whichever side is dominant at any point in time.// All societies and tribes since the beginning have functioned in some system. That is nothing new. Ours just happens to be the best created.
Me: Well, if you wanna do away with the politician, what are you proposing in its place within the system? Seriously. // Quitting the system isn’t an option, because we’re still subject to it. Participating in it, using smart tactics seems the only doable option.
Him: I have never said that we should do away with them. I just acknowledge their role and what they are. Slaves or tools, if you will.
Me: Yeah. That’s delightfully theoretical, and I’d love to live in the world of Platonic forms. Meanwhile, there’s work to be done. Ya know?
Him: I have never said anything about quitting the system.
Me: Well, IMO, anyone who proposes tossing Obama in favor of a “purer” spirit is barking up the wrong tree. Massive footbullet.
Him: There is a great deal of work to be done. But it can only be done through education. // My point is that Obama is a tool to be utilized. Right now, Obama is in the hands of the opposition. We have to take possession of him.
Me: In the meantime, the practical, pragmatic, determined spiders on the right will have you caught in a web. // We can talk, talk, talk, talk all day, but if it doesn’t result in a vote that moves us, however slightly, to the left, it’s pointless.
Him: Freedom fighters are the opposition. We are always fighting them. We are never “caught.” We either live free or die.
Freedom fighters. “Never ‘caught’”? “Live free or die”? I am losing patience, despite myself.
Me: My heart is with you, but seriously, this is the talk of the perpetual real-life losers who claim MORAL victory, no results.
Him: I can see that you are having trouble understanding me. // The only real victory that anyone ever has in this world is a moral one. // You must conquer your own fears before you can truly be free.
Me, trying like hell to be nice, really: I see your heart. I see what you’re saying. But when your moral victories fuck up my real ones, we’re done. Fuck that. Seriously.
Him: That is where your perception is faulty. You believe that Obama’s victory was your own. But it can only be your victory if you make him YOURS.
Me: This is frustrating me. Can we just agree to disagree? Because he’ll never be mine or anyone else’s. This is dreaded “THEORY.”
Him: Boehner is owned by the Tea Party. But you do not own Obama. Remember, you have the power over him, IF, and only if, you are prepared to use it. // There is nothing theoretical about POWER. You have seen the POWER of this small TEA PARTY. Size is not the source of power. It is WILL.
Me: Yeah, yeah. So how much power are you exerting, because I’m not seeing it. Really. Show me an outcome. One. // Oh, so you wanna be the fanatical lefty counterpart to the Tea Party? Just as unreasonable & inflexible? Then you’re the enemy, too.
Him: It is the failure of Democrats to have the WILL. That makes them weak. You saw that in the vote on the debt ceiling.// I have a lot of power because I am a GREEN and I vote my WILL.
Me: You have zero power and you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. You didn’t show me any power at all. None.
Him: Someday, your choice will be to choose between Bernie Sanders and a Republican. Not Barack Obama and a Republican.
Me: Bullshit. Even if that choice ever comes, Sanders will lose. he doesn’t have what it takes in this world to win. Period.
Him: He has WILL, INTEGRITY, HEART, and VALUES. People will ALWAYS select those over other things. // That is how we got our greatest presidents. They all had those things. It happened in my lifetime with JFK.
Me: Honey, I hate to say it, but you and I are gonna have to part ways. Because I don’t have time for this. It’s insanity to me.
Him: Well, I am sorry you feel that way. But if you think I am insane, I must absolutely agree.
What. The. FUCK?
No way, no how could I possibly have remained civil throughout that discussion, which struck me as so pie-in-the-sky as to seem batshit crazy, without engaging in a bit of side commentary.
Being practical? Not really. (laugh)
For all the talk of me trying to be practical, I should have been doing some private, paid work at home, or sending out resumes in preparation for a pending job change. Just goes to show how passionate I am on these subjects and how utterly impractical I can be. Which means that if I find this guy off in left-left-left field, he really, really is. Freedom fighters? Oh, please. I’m just trying to help like-minded, reasonable, generally liberal people standing for election get into office. And yeah, I’ll count that as a win, because policy doesn’t come out of mere moral victories. It comes out of committees and bodies politic that are full of candidates who won the damned election.
The Moral of the Story
I’d love to say I’m done having these stupid, useless, looooong discussions with people who don’t have realistic goals but are full of romantic notions of freedom fighting to get Bernie Sanders on the top of the ticket. I will probably keep doing it.
But it will be useful, to an extent, to have THIS here, so I can just link it and say, “All THAT. Now leave me alone so I can get out the vote, you idiot.”
Sheesh. (shaking my head) People are weird.