Progressives: Save The Burning House

I’m a progressive because I value human rights and want our tax dollars to raise lives instead of battle flags (old and new). Like many other progressives I’m disappointed that Sanders and Warren didn’t make the cut. Unlike quite a few of my fellow progressives I also recognize a few things.

1. The United States is a moderate/centrist country. Us progressives are a vocal minority and so Biden beat Sanders. We can rail about how the DNC neutralized Sanders, but the reality is the overwhelming majority of Democrats (and Americans) are centrists and moderates and Biden won the nomination.

2. Progressives will NEVER get their candidate until we are no longer a minority. Until then we have to do what we’ve always done: push for change. We, as a movement, have made changes. Just look at how much has changed in the past couple of decades regarding LGBTQ rights, marijuana decriminalization & legalization, bringing trans issues to the forefront, fighting for immigration rights, the passing of the Affordable Care Act (as flawed as it was, it was a step toward the progressive healthcare), etc. Look at how many candidates have changed their minds or shifted left on issues because of our pushing. Even Obama and H. Clinton were iffy on gay marriage until progressives pushed and they changed their minds. Almost all progress attributed to liberals over the history of this country was because progressive members of the liberal side of America were pushing: not the centrists. So keep fighting. Keep pushing. Keep speaking out. Keep shouting for justice & equality and fair playing fields.

3. The United States is a house on fire (or a sinking ship, whatever metaphor you want to use). I realize that my progressive ideals are ways of home improvement and you can’t improve on a home when it’s on fire. You have to save the house first. Yes, medicaid for all will have to wait. College debt relief will have to wait. Other home improvement projects will have to wait. Right now we need to put out the fire. Then we can begin repairing the damage to the frame. When the fire is out and we are rebuilding the frame, we can push for improvements in the frame and in the rebuild, but we have to put the fire out first. Bush and Reagan and Nixon didn’t set the house on fire. They damaged it, for sure, but they recognized the intrinsic value of the frame itself. Trump does not and he will burn it to the ground if allowed to do so.

4. POC overwhelmingly voted for Biden because historically POC have voted pragmatically. POC as a voting block are majority centrist/moderate: not progressive. That may change in the future, but it’s the reality on the ground right now. If the people dealing with the systemic racism, police brutality, and unequal justice that I’m railing against are voting for Biden, then I need to listen to why.

I will vote for Biden/Harris because right now we need to save this house from burning to the ground. If Trump wins it could be the last free election held in this country. My progressive ideals also include saving Democracy, even if that means I have to put aside my wish list in order to make sure the basic needs of so many are met first.

I won’t have to hold my nose when I vote for Biden/Harris. I will pull that lever, punch that chad, or mark the tablet with my finger with empathy for those suffering in the burning house right now, knowing that putting out the fire is first priority. Getting rid of Trump so that we can put it out, begin repairing the damage, and once again go back to pushing for progressive ideals.

“How can you hate someone for their beliefs or politics?”

“How can you hate someone for their beliefs or politics?”

I was fiends with conservatives about a decade ago. We disagreed about policy: how to fund the Department of Education, what changes needed to be made to immigration laws, gun control laws, what the DOD budget should be, how much should we be isolationists versus how much we should protect others around the world, how do we fix the trade deficit, etc. Policy issues didn’t define our friendship, but highlighted how we viewed the world differently. Those differences were a non-issue.

Over the past 10 years (starting with their visceral reaction to Obama and the racism it generated), things have changed. We’re not talking policy anymore. We are talking about morality and ethics and basic human rights.

If you don’t think LGBTQ should have equal rights and think they should be actively discriminated against, why would I want to be your friend? Back in the day, most of us stood against the Westboro Baptist Church and their “God Hates Fags” signs. Now my old conservative friends are espousing the same nonsense Westboro Baptist Church has been doing for decades.

If you don’t think people of color are dealing with systemic racism or you support or espouse racist or white supremacy views, why should I be your friend? Back in the day most of us despised the men and women we saw in old photos shouting at black protesters who sat in Woolworth’s. Most of us despised the people who shouted at the young black girl going to an all white school in Alabama or Arkansas. Now my old conservative friends are behaving exactly like those white people from the 50’s and 60’s. The photos of them yelling at BLM protesters is the same look of the angry mob of white people yelling at Vivian Jones as she tried to enter the University of Alabama in 1963 or yelling at Elizabeth Eckford (Little Rock Nine) on the sidewalks of Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Policy is nuanced and we can disagree in every friendly way about that nuance. The conservative downward spiral that led to those still backing Trump has led to a failing in morality and ethics: once again being on the wrong side of history. The current Trump-supporting Conservative mindset is the same one that led Conservatives to be on the wrong side of every moral and ethical issue this country has faced, from the end of slavery, women’s voting rights, desegregation, minority voting rights, labor laws, anti-discrimination laws, etc.

Nope. I will not be friends with them. I have no doubt in my mind that their downward spiral would have them yelling at the protesters in Woolworth’s, standing on the school steps yelling at Vivian Jones, screaming at civil rights protesters, and rooting for the police beating the marchers as they crossed Edmund Pettus Bridge.

I cannot be friends with someone who fails the moral and ethical judgments and rails against the human rights of others. This is no longer about policy. It is about human lives and my old conservative friends have failed the morality and ethics test big-time.

I am glad to see moderate Conservatives starting to rise up and speak out. Their voices are desperately needed in this fight against a morally bankrupt administration and its cult-like followers.