by Nicole Nichols
You say you are a “Progressive.” Just what the hell does that mean? You claim to be a liberal. Define liberal. Don’t just give me some mamby-pamby bullshit answer about being for the little guy, or being pro-choice, or standing for equal rights. Define those terms as they relate to you. Do some introspective detective work. Ask yourself the really hard questions. How liberal or how progressive are you, really?
The liberals and progressives that I used to know had some balls – you know, cajones! Big brass ones! They really did stand for something, and they never caved on their beliefs. Never! No matter how beat down they were, no matter how much ridicule, or opposition they encountered, they just kept getting up and coming back at you. They knew who they were and they fought until the very last gasp had escaped them.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe we have taken our last breath. Maybe we are in the throes of the death rattle.
Right now, as I ponder this, we are at a major turning point in history. Progressives and true liberals have an opportunity to turn this country into something that it should be – or, we can send it right into the arms of the Grim Reaper. Given the current state of affairs, and the current tide of castrated liberals who inhabit the so-called left, I’m inclined to believe that the latter will be the choice of day.
On a daily basis we take to the internet and bemoan the current state of affairs. We lick our wounds and beg for a Band-Aid, hoping that we will also get a pat on the head and a hug from our online friends. Meanwhile the Republican “clown car” chugs along picking up all sorts of steam. What the hell happened to us? Where’s the fight? Where’s the do-or-die attitude? How many times are we going to roll over? Maybe we just got tired. Maybe we just threw in the towel.
Now, we finally have something to get excited about. Now, we have a real shot at showing the world what we know to be right. Now, we have a voice. But only if we are willing to fight. Instead, like a herd of geldings being led to the slaughter we whinny and whine – and we settle. We just acquiesce and tell ourselves it’s the best we can do.
On the one hand, we have a 2016, presidential candidate who cozies up to Wall Street and big corporate money. Her ties with Monsanto and the bio-tech industry are in glaring contrast to the values and beliefs of true liberals. She is hawkish and a good friend of the Military Industrialist Complex. But, that’s okay, because she’s better than any of the GOP candidates.
While that is true, what does it say about the liberals and progressives who sing that song?
For so long, we have felt that we had little choice in selecting our political candidates. How many times have I heard the complaint, and said the same thing myself, about having to hold our noses and vote for the lesser of the two evils? Then, of course, there are those who choose to “make a statement” by not voting, or voting for some obscure party or candidate who might be on the ballot in five states. That works out real well, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, we have a candidate long admired by liberals and progressives for his strong stands against Citizens United and the corporate take-over of America. A candidate who is the guardian of the middle class. A candidate who truly believes that government should work for the people. A liberal. A progressive.
Yet, the reaction of those on the left has been one of utter contradictions and defeatism. While the large majority of liberals agree and lament that he will never get the nomination, there is also a contingent that will work tirelessly towards the insuring their prophecy comes true.
What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the fight? Where’s the determination? Where’s the heart?
There are those who claim that Bernie Sanders cannot beat Hillary Clinton, but that his candidacy is a good thing because, at least, there will be a national dialogue about the issues that liberals hold dear. Seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? Is that the most we can accomplish? We can talk the talk – but whatever happened to walking the walk?
Others think that even though it’s a losing battle, at the very least, he will pull Clinton further to the left. Really? Has anyone been paying attention? Have we slipped so far into that black hole of despair that we actually believe anything we say, or are we just trying to appease each other with platitudes and tepid hope?
Sure, the “dialogue” and the pressure might cause Clinton to emerge from that Republican-light cocoon that she is all wrapped up in, at least, for campaign purposes. But, what about the long haul? Does any true liberal or progressive honestly believe that her emergence would be long-lived? Do you, really? Dig deep, friends. Do you honestly believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton would relinquish her ties to corporate America…to all of that money…to all of that power that she has been immersed in for so long, to suddenly become the beacon of liberal America?
Are you a liberal? Define liberal. Are you a progressive? What the hell does that even mean? It used to be that most people who identified themselves as such affiliated themselves with the Democratic Party for voting purposes. That was before the Party morphed into a right-leaning monolith of conniving deception and way before the corporate coup that has crippled the nation. Today, however, the Party has found its comfort zone in capitulation and submission to the radical right-wing, thereby rendering itself ineffectual in liberal or progressive movements.
In short, they are impotent. Castrated. Also, apparently, they have taken a goodly number of previously left-leaning, courageous, and stalwart liberals with them.
It’s a sad day in the United States. We are inundated with religious right-wing bravado and rhetoric. We have allowed the Wall Street tycoons to lull us into docility. We have been “fixed.” Neutered. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the nominee for president because we, quite simply, gave up. As one Facebook poster so aptly predicted:
“The Democrats…will crush the Left into submission, sacrificing it on the Altar of Plutocracy at the Church of Lesser Evils.” (Johann Ivan)
Are we liberal, or progressive, even wise enough to do the right thing? Or, have we been conditioned into fatalistic acceptance of the status-quo? Are we courageous enough to fight back, or have we lost all semblance of that tenacity and fortitude that has always been our hallmark? Are you a liberal? Are you a progressive? Are you really?