Wednesday, September 19, 2018

About that "Family Feud" in the Democratic Party

Sometimes labels are very effective in helping us wrap our minds are things. Sometimes not so much.

Labels like Liberal, Conservative and Progressive generally do simplify things when one tries to think about or discuss what happens on the American political scene. I do find these labels or descriptors to be helpful.

I want to give you my take on what's happening among those of us who use the term progressive to describe our way of seeing the world.

I'm progressive. Unlike some who would also use that term to describe their way of presenting themselves to the world, I'm comfortable with the Democratic Party. Though it may seem funny in light of what I just said, I also embrace the labels of mainstream or moderate when I think about being a proud Democrat.

And I've got a pragmatic streak a mile wide. That's a very big deal.

Let me enlarge on that a bit: although my views are way, way to the left of most of my Democrat friends, I understand that change and progress is incremental and the U.S. is not ready to embrace the flavor of flaming socialism that I'd love to see.

In the election of 2016, we Democrats had a blow up, a clash between a moderate or mainstream faction and an insurgent progressive faction. Well, "faction" isn't the best term to describe those of us who consider ourselves to be moderate or mainstream, as we make up the majority of Democrats.

Here you may recall the joke that was frequently heard around the time of the DNC: "I come from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party." That one always brought a smile to my face!

Now, it would be a mistake to paint everyone who might have identified as a part of the progressive faction with the same brush. But I will for the sake of this post.

Die-hard supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders were at the core of this movement. It's interesting to note that the insurgency did not die once it was clear that Hillary was the nominee. It actually became stronger and definitely more strident.

Do I think the Bernie or uber-progressive faction went too far in the pursuit of progressive issues?

Yes, I do. It's fine to advocate for a single payer system, for free universal college. I support those things. I think they're absolutely necessary for America to thrive and survive.

But what some never did understand is that trying to push the party to the left or to get some of these issues prioritized in the party platform was never the objective. (I'm not saying this is true of everyone who considers themselves to have been a part of that faction while the fight was raging. Not at all.)

The objective for many of them was to burn the Democratic Party to the ground. And many of them said so.

This is why so many of us who identify as mainstream or moderate Dems--even though we might also embrace the progressive descriptor--resisted this insurgent movement.

And yes, most of us were Hillary supporters.

I am not unsympathetic to the argument that my party is too cozy with big business and Wall Street. It's true.

I share the skepticism of many of my leftist sisters and brothers who feel the Democratic Party is not a perfect vehicle to achieve the kinds of changes we feel we need to move forward. Yes, our party has many flaws.

But I have nothing but contempt for anyone who truly wants to harm, weaken or destroy my party. I am your enemy and I will resist you at every turn.

Keep trying to reform the Democratic Party? Keep trying to push it in a more progressive direction? Sure, I'm on-board with that. One hundred percent.

But those of us who make up the majority of our party and who've worked very hard to sustain her and move her forward are going to go on defending her from those who wish her ill.

In the next post, I'm going to talk specifically about why I have a hard time trusting my more progressive friends as we move forward.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

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