As someone who is independently liberal, and vocal about it, I get the question in the headline a lot, and have for many years: why focus on criticizing the Democratic Party when the Republican Party is so much worse? Political conventions time – a routine stop along the way in what passes for “democracy in action” – is one of the moments when more people pay some attention to “politics,” at its scripted entertainment best/worst, and so one of the times the criticisms of my criticisms increase for a few days. And that’s fine with me. Differing ideas and perspectives are healthy.
Anyway, my Inbox has seen an increase in, “If you’re really a liberal, you wouldn’t be criticizing the Democratic Party, especially at a time when the Republicans are so horrible” kind of stuff. I also do get some messages from those who agree with me, or at least say they understand.
Given all of this, I all but cheered when I read a post from Bruce Dixon, at Black Agenda Report last week, a commentary he delivered on Black Agenda Radio. I’m excerpting liberally, in more than one sense of the word. I’ll forego bolding the whole thing, but as far as I’m concerned, it could be.
Why We Don’t Spend As Much Time Denouncing Republicans As We Do Democrats
We know who and what the Republican party is. Back in the mid 1960s, when Democratic president Lyndon Johnson, under relentless pressure from the Freedom Movement embraced enforcement of the Voting Rights Act in the South, Republicans opened their doors wide to welcome the exodus of white supremacist voters and politicians who’d been Democrats until that time. The modern Republican party re-made itself into the permanent white man’s party not just in the South, but across the country, the party whose brands are rancid racism, pretentious piety, monstrous misogyny and shameless warmongering.
When you match Republican brands against those of Democrats … the difference isn’t black and white, but it’s clear enough. The Republican brand is odious and deeply scary, easily more frightening than that of Democrats.
In today’s political ecology, the job of Republicans is to provide political camouflage to right wing Democrats like the last two Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama, by moving still further rightward, even past the boundaries of lunacy. …
The fact is that 120% evil Republicans offer the only justification for our support of 100% evil Democrats. And with the dissolution of what used to be the black consensus for equality, civil liberties, full funding for public education, and opposing war spending and corporate privilege, Obama-era Democrats continue to flee rightward toward war, privatization and austerity.
This deformed puzzle is not the political logic of free and responsible people. It’s the cramped and twisted reasoning of someone trapped in a box urgently trying to convince himself that it’s not really a box, that pragmatic acceptance of the box as the whole of the great and free universe is really all that can be hoped, struggled and strived for. It’s not. Only a beaten, cowed and enslaved people can imagine their forbears sacrificed and struggled for them to choose among greater and lesser, but both still monstrous evils.
We at Black Agenda Report spend more time denouncing Democrats because they act like and enable Republicans. We don’t spend as much time denouncing the party of white supremacy because Republicans rarely bother to pretend to be anything else. …
That’s what choosing ‘lesser evils’ has earned us. It’s time to chuck the fake choice between evil Republicans and slightly less evil Democrats. It’s time not just to think, but to climb outside the two-party, lesser-evil box, to breathe the free air and get ready for something new.
The Republican National Convention will produce the only thing it can: more of the same “how far Right can we go and get away with it” marketing. Basically, that’s what the Democratic National Convention will do, too, knowing all they have to do is stay somewhat Left of the GOP, even though they crossed over the “middle” into Right territory years ago.
Basically this post is: what Bruce Dixon said, and in the American Extremists comic above, what Vast Left said. Along with a growing number of other people.
(American Extremists comic via Vast Left on FB).