Shorter Salon: So What About the Dead People, Let’s Concentrate on My Ego

I thought we had this argument in 2000, and 2004, and 2008, and 2012, you solipsistic prick: 

A Hillary presidency, we believe, would do very little to address wealth inequality, and the situation in the middle and working classes would continue to deteriorate. Republicans would have another villain to turn their base against — maybe even a better villain than Obama, if such a thing is possible — and a means of escaping accountability yet again. Maybe they’d win the next presidential election, and if not, they’d at least stir up enough hatred and backlash to maintain their ironclad grip on Congress and state-wide offices. When 2020 came, they’d gerrymander the hell out of every district in the country to ensure another decade of legislative dominance. It’s status quo all the way, and the status quo doesn’t work.

But! If Hillary lost because progressives abstained from voting, it’s possible that Republican incompetence would be laid bare, and that they’d run the country into the ground over the next four years. If that’s what it takes to show the people that a leftist political revolution is the only viable way forward, it will have been worth watching Hillary bite the political dust. Come 2020, we could be looking at a landscape where progressive politics can finally gather enough momentum to sweep the country, and usher in a new era of FDR-esque reforms.

We tried that with Bush. Three thousand dead soldiers and a hundred thousand dead Iraqis and everybody and everything that is on fire in the Middle East called, and they’re glad you’re still alive to push this dumbass fucking oldmeme.

I love it when some comfortably situated jerkoff who will not suffer a single thing as a result of a Republican presidency likes to talk about using that Republican presidency to teach the rubes a lesson! Sure, I mean, some women might die from lack of decent health care, and some kids might starve if their food stamps get cut off, and some old people might just have to put on four sweaters and turn the thermostat down again, and a couple of bridges might collapse, and we might send another few goddam thousand kids to die in the sand, but hey, at least progressives will be proved right for once!

Is there a name for this genre of commentary? You know, like when a columnist wishes for poor people to learn from their poverty or imagines a natural disaster to inspire people with lots of awesome death? Or when a politician compares people on unemployment to stray animals who’ll return to the site of their handouts and breed? What do we call this particular rhetorical tic? I feel like it needs a name so we can see its practitioners coming.

Once and for all time, politics is not a game and its consequences are not imaginary for many, many people. Salon columnists may always have a job no matter who is in office, and let’s face it, so will I, but there are people who will not. Who will be fired, turned away from clinics, denied help, denied food, denied their rights under the law, as a result of decisions being made by voters. Real people, who have real lives. They’re not bargaining chits to be used to push a presumably somnolent country to some kind of spiritual epiphany.

And by the way screw you, dudebro, for assuming everybody’s asleep. Plenty of people are working hard to elect Bernie Sanders to fix this country and plenty of people are working hard to elect Hillary Clinton to do the same goddamn thing and nobody but Republican primary voters and Sunday show bloviators think Republicans would be a better choice than either of them. Spare me your Bernie-bro whining about what you think America needs. You haven’t got the slightest idea.

In the end, there is something that feels viciously self-defeating about voting with a defensive mentality. We keep hearing from centrists that the time for progressive change lies somewhere in the rosy distance, and that for now we have to settle for whatever dubious compromise Hillary Clinton represents. But you can only be told to bide your time so often before the message begins to ring hollow, and those visions of a progressive future look increasingly like a mirage designed to keep us complacent.

Those are the terms. Will 2016 be the year when a revolt is justified? For now, I remain undecided.

Well, as long as it’s all about you, pal.

Let the Republicans win so everybody can see how right and righteous you are? Because that’s worth the life of even one woman, one man, one child? Your being proved right? That’s what you’re saying here, and it’s far more repulsive than the prospect of a Republican presidency.


18 thoughts on “Shorter Salon: So What About the Dead People, Let’s Concentrate on My Ego

  1. In a country with this many veto points, whose legislature is conservative by structure, change like he wants will never happen. Change takes a generation of moving forward with bottom, not presto change-o from the top

    1. Exactly. Even if President Sanders had a House majority, a fillibuster-proof majority in the Senate (which will not happen), that wouldn’t be enough, since some of those Dems would be Blue Dogs opposed to his platform. And yes, change starts from below, not above.

      Besides the narcissistic wankery in these “Hillary is icky!” rants, there’s a fundamental ignorance of American government.

  2. “Is there a name for this genre of commentary? ”

    How about – Peter Arnett syndrome?
    “We had to destroy the Democratic Party in order to save it”
    I hear this kind of “burn it to the ground and start over” shit over at Freeperville all the time, and it’s nothing more than I’ll-take-my-ball-and-go-home whining from the Purity Police.

  3. The other thing that terrifies me about that thinking is the easy complacency that in that fantasized “worst case GOP win” by the current crop of proto-fascists would even allow a two party election in 2020. He postulates America getting lessoned, but ignores obvious historical lessons of the past.

  4. Nailed it again. I’ve been shaking my head over the decilne in Salon for the last year. This isn’t the only piece of purist there but it’s one of the worst. Lefty dudebros are the worst and Salon has become dudebro central.

  5. My favorite part of this is “we’ll teach the DLC a lesson for once and for all!” with zero comprehension of the really, really high cost such a lesson would impose on so many vulnerable people.

  6. At a transgender support group hosted at my church yesterday, there was talk about the presidential executive order that gives protection from sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination for government contractor employees.

    Two participants are completing college degrees in December and this protection from discrimination is important for them.

    I mentioned that this protection comes from an executive order and the 2016 election is very important if we want to keep this protection in 2017 and beyond.

    I’m guessing that bro-gressives haven’t thought the consequences in the 2016 presidential election.

    1. “I’m guessing that bro-gressives haven’t thought the consequences in the 2016 presidential election.”

      Obviously not. They also didn’t remember the consequences of the 2000, 2010, and 2014 elections. Fuck ’em.

  7. I blame history and civics. No, really, I do.
    Social change and progressive reform as the results of Magic.
    One day, some colonists don’t have any stamps, toss some tea then Washington wins and America.
    One day, Abraham Lincoln mumbles something about scoring 7 points and the slaves are free.
    One day, something something, 40 hour work week.
    One day, Tom Hanks almost gets blown up and Hitler dies.
    One day, Rosa Parks gets arrested, then LBJ signs the Civil Rights Act.
    One day, T minus five, four, three, two, one. Louis Armstrong plays the banjo on Mars.

    or world history –

    One day, the Parisians heard about cake and then went to get some but the road was blocked. And a prison, or something and Napoleon’s white horse.

    One day, John Lenon stood on a box and pointed at something and then Ratatouille or something and Disney made a princess movie about it.

    The staff magician at Chuck E Cheese needs to do a better job for eight year olds than this. But, not the historian or social studies football coach.

    So, by all means. Heighten the muther fucking contradictions. Teach us all a goddamned lesson. ‘Cause that’s how you get shit done.

    It sure as hell doesn’t require taking a shower, shaving the hipster j crew scruff off every Monday and putting on a fresh shirt and tie every goddamned morning, work, and planning, and organizing, and campaigning, making three phone calls for every one you answer, writing seven e-mails for every one you receive and sleepless nights, and patient alliance building and bad coffee and church basement meetings on your afternoon off ’cause that’s when this one lady could get there, and constant discussions with NEW people around a specific set of principles and possible courses of action within a specific timeframe, and Meeting notes and minutes and phone trees and contact lists, and Council meetings to make a limited, feasible and documented argument to the Council (all of the members of which you have discussed the issue, personally, at length (see meetings, bad coffee), and agendas and brochures, and listening to some old fart talk about Cesar Chavez and another wondering who took the last apple fritter he was hoping to take home and the hipster fuck who shows up late, apple fritter in hand and tells us all to Fuck Hillary and Heighten the Goddamned Contradictions!

  8. I don’t remember seeing you on the FairPoint picket lines, but I do remember seeing Bernie there.

    1. I love the utter lack of logic here: “Some Brogressives are calling for a stupid and politically illiterate protest vote that could destroy the lives of thousands of people, but don’t point that out because Bernie’s cool!”

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