Bernie Sanders fought for a social revolution with the goal of economic prosperity for every American. Instead, we got an economic revolution with the goal of greater prosperity for wealthy Americans and the global oligarchy, and motivated more by a need for power for some than a call to serve all.
That revolution is led by Christian conspiracists Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, who belong to a “first rule of Fight Club is you don’t say anything about Fight Club” kind of group the Southern Poverty Law Center once described as:
“…an important venue in which relatively mainstream conservatives meet and very possibly are influenced by real extremists, people who regularly defame LGBT people with utter falsehoods, describe Latino immigrants as a dangerous group of rapists and disease-carriers, engage in the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theorizing for which the John Birch Society is famous, and even suggest that certain people should be stoned to death in line with Old Testament law.”
Our new dystopic reality is also supported by billionaire Robert Mercer and other well-heeled idealists and “extremist” supporters. Oh, and these religious zealots are represented by Donald J. “Golden Shower” Trump.
Their revolution was successful. Our revolution is regrouping. Why?
It’s ridiculously petty and simple. First, we have to understand what a political revolution is. It’s people coming together and passionately pursuing changes to a system that, either out of ignorance, malice or design, isn’t meeting their needs.
But there is another thing about revolutions, particularly in our country, that people forget – revolutions never end. Alexander Hamilton layed that out directly in the Federalist Papers (28). In the United States, when “rights are invaded by either” the state or the federal government, we “can make use of the other, as the instrument of redress.”
The right to redress means those who govern us are not infallible and can be challenged. There is no heresy in a society that has free expression as a pillar, and revolution is expression.
“How wise will it be in them by cherishing the Union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prised!”
So what happened to Sanders’ progressive revolution this election cycle? It was stopped in its tracks, held at bay by a stubborn, tone-deaf, risk-averse establishment that assumed the status quo was good enough to win the election. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, even President Obama – who should have known better – had blinders firmly affixed to their temples and their fingers stuck deep into their ears.
It’s similar to the conventional wisdom about the difference between a conservative and a liberal/progressive: the conservative wants to conserve, to keep things as they are; the progressive wants there to be progress, an exponential growth in social justice and economic opportunity. But this election, the so-called progressive party, the Democrats, were the conservatives, the don’t-rock-the-boat-keep-things-as-they-are party, whose only message was things are good and getting better, but they won’t be if Trump and the Republicans win.
That’s the attitude that lost the House of Representatives in 2010 – the fear that bold action, when that’s what we sent them there for, would cost them the next election. Although the Affordable Care Act was a heavy lift, it shouldn’t have precluded the Democrats of the 111th Congress from moving forward on immigration. minimum wage and other important social issues. Sure, they may have lost anyway, but at least they would have accomplished things that they knew the Republicans would never take on. Instead of going to Capitol Hill to serve, they are more concerned with getting reelected.
The Democratic establishment always thinks they know better, but their way doesn’t work anymore. The new Congress doesn’t get it, either. With all due respect, if they did, they wouldn’t have reelected Pelosi as minority leader.
It’s time to fight the Republicans with a revolution of our own, one with the bold vision and audacious hope of young progressives, many of whom, according to a column by a 22-year-old in The Nation, the other day, are not afraid to embrace a more socialist agenda.
“[W]hile Trump has dominated the headlines, there is still plenty of momentum around the socialist ideas that Bernie used to inspire America,” wrote Julia Mead, whose first presidential vote was for Obama, in 2012.
She said that her generation doesn’t have the anti-socialist, Cold War bias that was part of her parents’ and grandparents’ generations:
“When I heard Bernie say, out loud, that the billionaire class was ruthless and exploitative, that sounded groundbreaking. Not only did he name the right problem — inequality, not poverty — he named the culprit. I didn’t know you could do that. To me, and to hundreds of thousands of my peers, Sanders’s… socialism doesn’t feel antiquated. Instead, it feels fresh and vital precisely because it has been silenced for so long — and because we need it now more than ever.”
This isn’t sour grapes surrounding the allegations that the Dems’ political actions screwed Sen. Sanders. I don’t know if he would have beaten Trump, but most thought Chief Small Hands Pussy Grabber couldn’t win, either.
Quite a few years ago, I learned the value of commitment to a cause, how it must continually be reviewed and renewed. Time doesn’t stop. It keeps moving, and the victories (or losses) from actions taken yesterday must be set aside for the work to be done today.
In a country where free expression and the right to redress/revolution are guaranteed, we cannot rest, for our lives can change in an instant. Time doesn’t stop and neither should we. She is as constant as nature.
“You cannot say, ‘I will not fight.’ Nature [karma] compels you to.” – Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita