The Clinton-Sanders Axis

“He said – she said” is a piss-poor paradigm on which to make judgements about political candidates. Why should I care about what the candidate said, when I can look at what he or she has done?

Two qualities of Democrats and so-called progressives that I find particularly annoying are:

  • No loyalty, neither to the brand nor to the candidates
  • No patience, no willingness to work on a long plan to achieve goals

One reason conservatives can hold the line, even when they hold positions deeply unpopular within the public, is that they remain committed to the party brand, and to each other as bearers of the standard. The hidden benefit to the Tea Party rampage is that its members have broken the line; the brand loyalty, and the solidarity of shared sacrifice are breaking down on the right. However, because the Left is equally disloyal, and uncommitted to its brand, it can’t take advantage of the breaking apart of the enemy ship.

For as long as I have been voting, which is a pretty long time, the Democratic Party, and especially its liberal base, has focused on and looked to the national government as its base for implementing social change. This probably is an outcome of the civil rights struggle, the legal aspect of which had to be fought at the national level. But, the national victory was based on local struggle. The bus boycott, Selma, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Riders, and the like, were the foundation on which the legal scaffolding was raised.

The conservatives regrouped after the losses of the 60s and early 70s. They looked for another way to get their policies into power. That other way was through local government. At the outset, they probably had no idea that liberals would simply roll over and take a nap, leaving the small potatoes to the conservatives because they thought owning the big potato would trump all that little stuff.

We are now 40 years into the process, and conservatives fairly well own the country. The only piece of the political pie which the Democrats have been able to contest successfully in the past 30 years is the Presidency. And that may be on the brink, what with so-called progressives in the Democratic Party again playing the old “I’ll take the ball and go home, if you don’t make me QB” theme.

Tired of compromise? You’re tired of government. The essence of government is that you don’t get your own way all the time. I’ll tell you what. The other side is tired of compromise, too. And they’d like nothing better than for you to forfeit the game, and let them have complete control of the government. Which will then rapidly cease to be government and become the state of fear and repression.

Democrats have been, for four decades, the gold medal champions of Own Goal sports. The rights and liberties of the whole nation have been dribbled away by single issue voters, behaving for all the world like old men with weak streams, pissing on their own shoes and down the legs of their trousers. On the right, the single issue voter has nothing to lose. He will gladly surrender to theocracy, or any system that will reserve rights to his own particular group. On the left, ostensibly, the single issue voter has been contending for the rights and liberties of all Americans. Events have shown us that such is not the case — and that the contention is for the top spot, the QB, the Big Chair — who gets to decide what’s important, and who is left to ask politely for favors.

I don’t know that the party, and what it stands for, can be saved. The ability to work together, as a team, to accomplish concrete and recognizable goals, is key to the success of any political and social movement — just as it is to any other undertaking. The ability to see the connections between all the disparate members of a set of goals, and work them into your plan for success, is key to the leadership of the team. Even Hillary Clinton, who to my mind is far and away the most capable candidate on the floor today, has the vision to see the goals, and at least some of the connections; but not the vision to communicate the connections to the party.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

— Theodore Roethke

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