OK, I’m a grouch, a curmudgeon, a cranky old man. I’m very happy and proud to accept every one of those descriptions and to wear the mantle of each as a raiment of honor. I have long reveled in being all of them and if you have any more like them to heap on me, I’ll be glad to do the same. But above all, I’m a cynic. I don’t believe in some form of “innate goodness” residing in some deep well within the soul of each human being ready to burst forth in unmitigated beauty if only the person can be led onto the path of righteousness.
I’m not saying there are no “good” people in the world as measured by the commonly accepted yardsticks, although I would, if pressed, assert that they are a distinct minority. I simply believe that, given a choice, the average human being is always going to act in what he/she sees as their own best interests and then attempt to rationalize the crap out of it as having also been the best thing for everyone else.
Over the past year or so I’ve become… not exactly addicted to but certainly attracted to Twitter. As a shut-in, suffering from debilitating physical ailments, with few family members or friends who are able or inclined to drop by on any kind of a regular basis, I find that it provides me with not only a real time outlet for my own thoughts and opinions but also a direct connection with of other people of similar persuasions who share my concerns (along with many who don’t).
The insights into other people and the thought processes revealed by these little 140 character snippets have been nothing short of amazing. For example, had I not been actively involved in Twitter, I probably would have taken a lot longer to realize that in addition to the Republican party having been taken over by by the lunatics in the fuzzy areas way at the right end of the political spectrum, the Democratic party has been likewise largely taken over by those we would have called “moderate” right wingers in the old days and who have been displaced in the GOP by the lunatics.
Just as the Dixiecrats made their exodus to the GOP after the civil rights advances of the 60s, now we’re seeing a similar exodus of “true” conservatives to the Democrats… which pretty much results in the total marginalization of the actual left with the right of center Democrats proclaiming themselves the new left just on the basis of being to the left of the crazies. This marginalization appears to have now become the primary function of many in the Democratic party in addition to being universal in the GOP. For verification of this assertion, one has only to run down the first screen of my timeline.
To someone like myself who remains steadfastly in the same position he’s always stood in no matter which way the “spectrum” shifts and slides around and under him, this can be dizzying sometimes. I’m seeing these NeoDemocrats say and do things today that would have had the left from “my day” howling with outrage had they been said or done by Republicans.
Republicans didn’t coin the terms “prog”, “emo” or “professional left”. These epithets… I call them that because they’re used as epithets in much the same way the word “liberal” has been used so by conservatives for years… are applied by those people who claim to be the left today to distinguish those who are more than a degree or two left of themselves.
With the upsurge in almost cult like and extremely extremely easily manipulated belief in the infallibility of President Barack Obama… not in spite of his conservative leanings but more likely BECAUSE of them… It’s reached the point at which it is just as common, if not more so, to see the leaders of these NeoDemocrats spending more time bashing the “professional left” than they do the right even though the marginalization of the “professional left” is now so complete as to mitigate any threat they might have been to the corporate/conservative agenda. Indeed, some are building practically their entire Twitter presence around condescension and snark toward the left while giving the right a pass.
I’m not worried about the “professional left” says or does and haven’t been for a long time and it’s not just because they no longer have any real power. They don’t but my lack of attention to much they bring to any discussion is that I often disagree, if not with what they’re saying, then the way or the reasons they’re saying it.
What they DO have however, is just as much right not to vote for a Democratic candidate because that candidate doesn’t support their agenda as the NeoDems did not to vote for Mitt Romney. They don’t betray any one or any political party by not voting for a person or a party that doesn’t support them any more than the rest of us do by not voting Republican.
And there’s this: I’m not hearing anyone from the “professional left” proposing anything that would take food off my table, deprive me of the meds I take for life threatening conditions or remove the roof from over my head… the ONLY three things that really matter to someone like me. I’m sure as hell however, hearing people claiming to be part of TODAY’S left who are perfectly willing to compromise any and all of those things, quite often for no other reason than the administration has expressed a willingness to do so.
And when I attempt to point this out, all I get is some vague assed but always smug reference… usually from one of the wannabe pundit’s sycophants… to “emos” and “progs” or at best an assertion that I’m basically old and senile and easily frightened and therefore incapable of knowing how the system “really” works, which I’ll guarantee you is the wrong fucking tack to take with me.
As for you actual liberals… those people who make up what’s left of the actual left in this country… you’d better start doing whatever it takes to get your shit together and find a sack big enough to put it in. All we’re seeing right now is a clash between right wingers and ultra right wingers over who’s going to be running things when it’s all said and done and you can damned well bet that you having any say in any part of it is not on the agenda of any of them.
Liberals have one function and one function only as far as today’s Democratic party is concerned and that’s to take the blame when one of their guys loses because you didn’t feel like voting for someone who didn’t represent your beliefs just to keep the “other” side from winning. Keep letting them shove you into that shoe box and putting rocks on the lid and it means the end of any concept of loyal opposition and therefore democracy in this country.
Me, I’m just going to sit here doing what I can to protect what little dignity I’ve got left which, in this day and age, basically means being neither liberal nor conservative, neither Democrat nor Republican, neither left nor right, always taking each case based on its own merits or lack thereof and doing the right thing as I see it. I’m too damned old to start subscribing to anyone’s version of groupthink and have no intention of letting ANYONE give me a ration of crap because I didn’t vote for the person they think I should have.
For what it’s worth… I voted for PBO in 2008 AND 2012 and used my little blog and Twitter voices to support his reelection bid, working just as hard as anyone else. This does not mean that I’m going to put him on some kind of pedestal and try to rationalize every action or statement he does or makes that I feel is to the detriment of people like myself nor that I won’t hesitate to say something when and if I think he’s done so. If that bugs anyone on the Twitter machine, that’s why Twitter included an “Unfollow” button.
The common goal should be to defeat the right wing/Wall Street agenda. We can argue our own differences afterward.