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.