Thursday, February 8, 2024

Codifying Your Disappointmnet

 This one’s for the  young idealists.

Here’s the thing. As someone who’s political leanings cause you to vote for Democrats, there are certain issues where you have to be prepared to be perpetually disappointed. That’s part of the bargain. These issues are, in decreasing order of how disappointed you’ll be, are:

  1. Immigration
  2. Israel
  3. Dropping Bombs For Freedom
  4. Crime and Policing
  5. Finance and Corporate Regulation
  6. Everything Else
Those are the big four. Maybe it’s decades of inculcated subservience to how they think the Old White People In An Ohio Diner feel. Maybe it’s innate to the mechanisms that put Democrats in positions of power. Kinda doesn’t matter. 

End of the day, the Democratic Party will always be more anti-immigrant, pro-Israeli government, pro brown-bombing, pro-cop, and pro-business than you or I want them to be. 

And if you’re feeling disappointed now, wait ‘til I tell you that the answer is not, and never will be, your Tulsi Gabbards, your Andrew Yangs, your Marianne Williamsons, or any of the other people who’ve staked out, at one point or another, a leftist or pseudo-leftist position during the Dem primaries and attracted the perennially disappointed with an appealing stance on one or more of the above issues.

This includes Bernie Sanders.

Does this suck? Absolutely. Are many of the people and group of people I listed above grifters who’ll change allegiances at the drop of a hat once one group of marks dries up? Absofuckinglutely, with the nigh-sole exception of Bernie. And that also sucks.

But what it doesn’t mean is that the two parties are the same. “Both disappointing” and “equally disappointing” aren’t synonyms, for one thing. And for another thing, the “Everything Else” above covers a wide range of policies and a much wider disappointment gap between Democratic candidates and Republican ones. Like abortion. Or LGbTQIA+ rights. Or a general attitude towards racial equailty, fascism, and how many good ideas Adolf Hitler had.

I’d love a different system. I’d love a viable leftist party at the presidential level. But you’re not gonna get one without a viable third party at the congressional level. And you’re not gonna get THAT without a viable third party at the state level. And you’re not gonna get THAT without a viable third party at a bunch of different local levels. 

If 2017-2021 proved anything, it’s that the idea that “the Dems will lose and they’ll see how bad things can get and the public will see how bad things can get and this will provide the mainstream support for the massive structural changes our society needs” is bullshit.  Because it turns out that you can’t hit a point that bad without driving past “fascist dictatorship that refuses to give up power” and suddenly the structural changes you’re getting are VERY disappointing indeed.

This doesn’t mean “give up on your idealism”. We’re never going to fix the Overton Window without strong voices pushing for leftist ideas and getting them out there in the public discourse. 

All I’m saying is that the disappointment you feel is natural and warranted, but also exists in a context that is unfortunately and repeatedly incredibly dangerous to ignore. A context that took decades to establish, is a context that won’t be turned around in a single, top-down, magical epiphany because the guy who talked about UBI got six percent.