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A Critique of Leftist Rhetoric: Part 3

“Here’s the deal: No matter how you look at the map, the only way Democrats can hold power is to build on their coalition, and that will have to include more rural white voters from across the country. Democrats are never going to win a majority of these voters. That’s the reality. But the difference between getting beat 80 to 20 and 72 to 28 is all the difference in the world.”

-James Carville, Vice

Take a second to think about all of the absolutely bat-shit world-shattering events and realizations that have occurred within your own memory. We have run out of time on climate change, the Republican party pulled a coup on the Capitol, close ally of the former president and current representative of Florida’s 1st Congressional District is currently being investigated for sex trafficking, and so, so, so, so, so much more. Where are we talking about this? Where are the songs, the slogans, the bumper stickers calling attention to the evil and corruption and death plaguing our all-too-short lives? 

During Obama’s last year in office, a Supreme Court Justice died in his sleep. Justice appointments are life-long and given by the president, so Obama set to work finding one. However, the Republican Senate told him that no matter who he nominated, they would not confirm it. They would literally not hold a vote. They would not do their job. In cases like this, the traditional Democrat says “they go low, we go high.” But what does the high road look like in this situation? Is it waiting for the next president to appoint someone? Or is it appointing someone so completely non-controversial that there is no way the Republicans would disapprove? Obama did the latter, and the Republicans announced that: 1. They would not be holding a vote and 2. If a Democrat won the following election, they would hold the seat vacant for however long it takes to get one of their own in power.

Obama could have, if he wanted to, bent the rules like the Republicans literally just did and nominated a justice without the Senate’s approval. But, “they go low, we go high”. Obama did exactly this, which in this case was nothing. The following year, the Republican party won the election and nominated one of their own. Shocker.

While “taking the high road” in many situations appears as if it is the right thing to do, it is an empty moral argument wholly concerned with the preservation of image and ambivalence to the lives of actual working people. We cannot move on. We cannot forgive. Not without reform or, at the very least, change. Republicans have known this for a long time. They do not care if they are painted as obstructionists because they advertise themselves to be exactly that. They dwell on every single thing representatives of the Democratic Party do, no matter how unimportant. Frankly, we should be doing the same.

There is a twofold effect if we were to employ this on a mass scale. First, trust in the Republican Party would deteriorate. The second effect is less direct. Americans, excluding Congress, are not as ideologically opposed as our masters would like us to believe. Of course, there are lots of nasty, evil people out there but according to the Brightline report, for the most part, you and the Republican likely share many of the same beliefs. This means that there is room for party distrust. 

I know I am preaching to the choir. If it were a perfect world, leftist pundits would read this and get their act together. However, a change in the way we talk and think starts small. Dwell on the failures to act. Bring them up in conversation, in writing, in art. Taking the high road only gets so far. While we forget what the Republican (and the Democratic, but that’s for another piece) Party have done, the effects of their actions still ravage the lives of normal people. Getting a Republican to realize that much of what they despise is the effect of actions by Republican pundits and donors is a first step to building a stronger coalition.

Take, for instance, the Sackler family. The owners of Purdue Pharma, with a $13 billion net worth and the producer of oxycontin, pushed the drug into practically every rural community in America, leading to the destruction of these communities through addiction and overdoses. Every rural voter in America, at the very least, knows somebody whose life has been ruined by this family. Now, I am not making any accusations but the family is a huge donor to the Republican party and last September, the family was granted “global immunity” from Judge Robert Drain. Why are we not dwelling on this? 

The evil that has been done cannot be forgotten. We cannot take the high road and move on. We must dwell. We must bring up these evils constantly, especially to those who have forgotten. But we must give hope. We must be clear about our solutions, about the process of reform. Without dwelling on mistakes, they will never be addressed. Without hope, there will never be progress.

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