I got to this one late, but Milt Shook makes some great points regarding the “Professional Left” and their Wile E. Coyote-esque approach to politics:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it, because it’s an important fact; we live in a democracy. And whether you like it or not, the only people who actually get to make decisions about policy in a democracy are those who get the most votes. To use the vernacular, they are “elected officials.” Oh, I know, some officials are appointed, but they are appointed by elected officials.
I know. I can’t believe I have to make this seemingly elementary point, but apparently I do, because some on “the professional left” can’t seem to grasp the concept. You can have all of the “correct progressive positions” about human rights and corporate power and all of that, but if you’re not doing what you can to influence the electoral process, it’s all in vain. Once in a while, that means electing the right people to office, but sometimes it means unelecting the wrong people. Both are important.
Marches and protests didn’t give women the right to vote; legislation did. Blacks didn’t get equal rights (on paper) because of marches and protests; they got it through the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and affirmative action statutes. Title IX was a law, not the name of a branch of the SDS. Medicare wasn’t created by a voice vote by “we, the people.” The Vietnam War didn’t end because of marches and protests; it ended because the American people tossed out the elected officials who started that mess, and elected new officials with the courage to end it.
It works the other way, too. If the wrong people get elected, we lose things we fought hard for. I’m sure you’ve noticed that workers’ and union rights have been severely weakened, and the right to vote has been under attack for years. I hope you’ve noticed that we’re probably about 1-2 steps away from severe limits on reproductive rights for women. And I know most of you have noticed that we finally got the beginnings of a universal health care system, but that it was far weaker than it had to be. Well, that’s because of a bloc of 40-41 Republican Senators who were using procedural rules that they created when they were in the majority to stop any and all legislation that might have helped people.
Yet, “the professional left” spent TWO YEARS trashing DEMOCRATS, calling them “spineless.” The Democratic House passed hundreds of bills (here’s a sample of some of them) that progressives would have loved, but 40-41 Republicans blocked them. The solution was fewer Republicans, yet “the professional left” spent all of 2010 trashing Democrats.
Doesn’t anyone wonder why they would do that?
Why yes. Yes we do.