This train of thought began with Briahna Joy Gray's observations (below) on the OH-11 special election about which I blogged earlier this week. The replies were full of Democratic loyalist trolling, which is typical for one of Briahna's Tweets. After all, she has actively campaigned to get Senator Not a Real Democrat (I-VT) nominated for the presidency. Normally I avoid wading into such an environment; however, the trolling included some abuse of the term "progressive" that I could not leave unanswered.
It chaps my whole nether region when I see centrist, incrementalist Democrats referred to as "progressive." It irks me even more deeply when that leads to McCarthyite tropes hurled at anyone to the left of Nancy Pelosi, as happened later in the thread.
The question in my reply had a twofold purpose:
My reply made no reference to the Green Party itself. But of course my Twitter bio is quite candid regarding my partisan affiliation. So, relevant to nothing in particular, up came the "What Has the Green Party Ever Done?" line of argument. To that I replied (not shown below), "Far more than a single Tweet can encapsulate" and promised to put a complete answer on this site later. Well, more complete anyway, because I'm sure that my bulleted list below leaves out some important achievements.
One downside to viewing the world and art through progressive eyes is that it spoils a lot of otherwise entertaining movies.
Last night, after returning from our weekend getaway to the Piney Woods, Kayleen & I watched her DVD of "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007). I hadn't seen the movie, and Kayleen hadn't watched it in quite a few years.
Oy. It's both highly enjoyable & deeply disturbing. Tfw when the screenplay & the performances are excellent but you get that bitter aftertaste of pro-war propaganda.
Lufkin native Charlie Wilson represented TX-2 back when that district was farther north than today, and back when a Boll Weevil Democrat could still get elected in Deep East Texas (we might call them Blue Dogs today).
Director Mike Nichols and writer Aaron Sorkin had to give in to the CIA getting its grubby paws on their creation. The result:
While Wilson certainly doesn't represent ALL Congressional Democrats, or even all centrist Democrats, the film still stage-whispers that Dems in DC & Hollywood are OK with US-funded proxy wars. This is cleverly personified in Wilson's top aide Bonnie Bach (Amy Adams): Witness her transformation from conscientious progressive-ish to starry-eyed cheerleader for Operation Cyclone.
As I said above, oy.
This morning, Greater Houston was wrapped in a fog thicker than I've seen in years. In fact, I don't recall seeing fog this thick since leaving New London CT 28 years ago; I may be wrong.
But today's fog is only slightly thicker than the fog that beset the entire month of November 2018. Now, in December, when the post–Election Day fog is clearing, all those Progressives giddy about a new Democratic majority in Congress are seeing that even candidates who campaigned left are now lurching to the right before they're even sworn in.
Recently some Progressive wonks (including Yours Truly) have taken to Twitter to remind fans of Beto-Bob O'Rourke that their El Paso matinée idol is no flaming lefty. Even O'Rourke claims not to know whether he is progressive, prefer to eschew ideological labels. Some of us know the answer to that.
Fact is, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. O'Rourke runs with the New Democrat Coalition, a group of staunchly pro–Big Business Democrats who prefer working with their Republican colleagues to working for working people.
Another fact is, as Jimmy Dore reports in the video above, his replacement in TX-16, Veronica Escobar, has also announced that she is joining the New Democrats. So are two Texas Democrats who defeated Republican incumbents last month: Lizzie Pannill Fletcher in District 7 (West Houston) and Colin Allred in 32 (North Dallas). They join Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez, and Marc Veasey as NDC members of Texas.
Nick Cooper, the sine qua non of the jazz-funk-reggae-klezmer/etc. collective Free Radicals, is a writer and activist here in H-Town. For 20 years or so, I have admired and respected him for his skill with words and ideas as well as with drumsticks. (The musical kind of drumsticks, not chicken legs or ice cream confections.)
Today, he posted something on Facebook in response to a nauseating and patronizing picture (folks call it a meme, but that's a misuse of the term) from Occupy Democrats. Sorry for the redundancy.
Admittedly, Cooper attributes something to Occupy Democrats and other liberals in his remarks (below) that the picture doesn't really say and only kind-of implies. But that does not make his observation less poignant. Click the Read More to view his words and my analysis of them.
Thus quoth the prophet Kermit: "It's not easy being Green." Certainly, to be marginalized or persecuted for things you can't help—ethnicity, gender, orientation, age—is a far heavier burden. But, as with atheism, what with atheists' poll numbers lower than used car salespeople, persecution on matters of conscience or philosophical orientation is still persecution. It's un-American, but it still happens in America.
This year in Texas, for the first time since 2008, we of the Green persuasion have no candidates politically aligned with us. There may be a few Democrats with progressive reputations and policy positions, except for those one or two positions that are deal-breakers. It's difficult to find anyone on the ballot, at any level, who explicitly favors
Yeah, most of these are issues that candidates for Land Commissioner or Justice of the Peace would find outside their purview. Candidates for any office in Texas can still take a soundly progressive position on matters germane to that office. Whether they can expect to win the nomination in a Democratic Party with those positions is another matter.
Speaking of positions on issues, this would be a good time to remind folks heading to the polls the peek at the League of Women Voters guide, available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Recently it occurred to me that it was time for an exhaustive summary—if such a thing is possible—of why I and others like me don't just fall in line and vote for the lesser evil. This is my attempt. Covering all the points will require separation into multiple entries. Because I take this topic very seriously, I will try to maintain a serious tone, resisting the temptation to call public figures by silly or satirical made-up names like "Beto-Bob."
In advance, I wish to apologize humbly and profusely for any phrases you have already read and heard dozens of times, especially if you have read and heard those phrases dozens of times from me.
Lastly, before we start digging in, I don't presume to speak for all Progressives, Greens, Socialists, or leftists of whatever category. But please know that I am not alone, that millions of US residents share my opinions on most of the topics addressed below.
I'm Not Great at Analogies, But...
Friends with good intentions will tell us lefties that voting for, e.g., Beto O'Rourke is a no-brainer. In multiple ways Rep. O'Rourke is the preferable option to incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. The way he speaks, carries himself, campaigns, and raises funds, as well as the policy positions he has adopted, make O'Rourke an obvious choice for a thinking left-of-center voter, right?
In my pre-teen and early-teen years, quite a few of my male friends loved to ask this question of each other: "If you were sentenced to be shot, and you had a choice of in the head, in the heart, or in the nuts, which would you pick?"
Bruce A. Dixon is scratching his venerable head over this, and I share his puzzlement. He and his comrades at Black Agenda Report looked at the websites of 31 Congressional primary-winning candidates endorsed by one of three post-Bernie progressive advocacy groups: Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, and Brand New Congress. They found that 21 of those 31 websites' issues pages say literally nothing—or at least nothing markedly progressive—about international policy or issues of war & peace.
Since I have found Dixon to be a reliable source of information and progressive commentary, at first I figured I'd just take his word for it. In his article, he includes the URLs of those issues and platform pages, but does not include hyperlinks to them, and I was feeling to lazy to copy and paste them. Then curiosity overcame laziness, and I checked a few of the 21. Sure 'nuff, these sites are conspicuously and eerily silent on those topics.
Why Such a Big Hole in the Platform?
Dixon speculates as to the reasons for this silence, as well as the Sanders-esque omissions of these topics on the sites of OR and JD in particular (numbers in parentheses mine):
There are only two possibilities. Either (1) two thirds of our progressive Democrats running for Congress this year really are true believers in the US right to make up its own facts, to declare offshore law free zones like Guantanamo, to invade other countries at will, killing millions and wreaking incalculable havoc upon their infrastructure, societies and ecologies like in Southeast Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and just don’t want to say it out loud, or (2) our progressive Democrats don’t believe it but imagine they need to remain silent and pretend to be true believers in the US empire to get elected. Either way, two thirds of the new blue wave of progressive Dem congressional candidates believe they can get away with silence on foreign affairs.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.