Criticism for what is missing is not criticism for what is present
A brief rant on pressing back on inadequate policy
Hi. This is your friendly neighborhood leftist. Contrary to popular opinion, most of us will compromise. Many of us are pragmatic. You tell us we don’t know how policy is made or are too rigid, are idealistic. That last one is quite funny. I think many of you just don’t know to what extent leftists and many independents are already compromising and how it is basically non-stop.
Far too many of those that view themselves as liberal or progressive are quick to speak about prog-leftists and leftists as if we are children that “didn’t get our way whaa” and yet we have compromised (and many of you have as well though often not with the same sense of exactly what is on the line and what is being sacrificed) and we have sacrificed, are asked to sacrifice, are gaslit about what we must give up, are in fact forced to sacrifice nearly every principle or goal of mitigating suffering and improving our world.¹
Yet somehow this isn’t enough. Apparently, leveling criticism at powerful figures that try to avoid doing even the bare minimum to not be total monsters is the equivalent of wanting Trump in office. It isn’t particularly new to be subject to such fragility, but it does seem louder and more intense than ever before.
This COVID bill has some good things in it.² And it also had many failures along the way. I didn’t expect it to be adequate, but I had hoped it would be more adequate than this. And people get to criticize and be frustrated with its inadequacies. We get to be frustrated and critical of the way in which liberals, and if the past several months are anything to go on, progressive justice Dems fail to wield power. Those that do wield it exclusively use it for “conservative” purposes (see Joe Manchin) because unfortunately they know how to wield it, are willing to do so, are not afraid to alienate some people, and consolidate it.
Of course this may tell us something about governance based on hierarchy rather than governance by the agreement of all at all times — but then that would mean we have a lateral democracy without basing power on uneven legalization of violence. But if this is true, then why take part in electoral politics at all? Why continue to support the status quo and our government? If wielding power belongs to authoritarian conservative types or to revolutionaries, then is this system, such as it is, worth salvaging in any way. Or is it time to revolutionize. All evidence appears to indicate that reform is not adequate. All progress we have made has always *always* been in spite of our government and system, not through it. It has happened through rebellion, through willingness to alienate some, willingness to risk liberty and life, the willingness to shift how the oppressed are trained to think. It happens through direct action and often to great cost to those fighting for any modicum of egalitarianism on any level.
I don’t believe most justice Dems are bad people. This is not an attempt to toss them out of the bath. It is concerning, however, that as a block or as individuals, they hesitate to wield the power that they definitely have. That power doesn’t come from the elders, the political nobility. Or the legacy media nobility. It comes from the “unwashed masses.”
Those few you are afraid to displease are not where your power is derived. It is from us. It is a different kind of power. Dare to alienate the media and political nobility elders. Who are you worried about here? Those groups are at an all time low in popularity and trust. The other option is alienating voters.
Notice how popular every single prosocial parts of this bill are. Across the board. How many things do 80% of Americans agree on. They really agree on being sent money to help them out. For that matter that $15 you could have fought for has an approximately 67% approval rating (and hey who knows; maybe you’ll push for it in some other way and it will be magic and happen no problem.) This is the easiest thing in the world to fight for. Push back. It *is* inadequate and it is right to demand more. Criticism of what isn’t there is not criticism of what is there.
P.S. Undoubtedly these will look better as I go on, but for now stick with me as I bumble through publishing.
- I become ever more certain with time that many liberals and moderately progressive folks are not aware of the distance between our positions. There is no tenable and functional tent that covers this distance. I plan to discuss this specific subject in an upcoming series.
- See; always with the caveats, in order to specifically mitigate bizarre accusations.