When you’re safe from the social and economic depredations of Trump and the GOP, you’re free to wallow in privilege and ignorance. Tough luck for everyone else, though, right?
It’s been over a year since Donald Trump was sworn in as president. Since then, he has done more to damage to the democratic institutions of America than anyone dreamed possible. He has openly pushed an authoritarian agenda and emboldened the rise of white nationalism by giving it the presidential seal of approval. He has been working nonstop to undermine the free press, the judiciary, law enforcement, and anything else that stands in his way of ruling like an emperor. Trump, aided and abetted by the Republican Party in his attempt to reshape America into a lawless dictatorship, lives up to everything we understand fascism to be, is only constrained by the extremely robust system in place to stop exactly what he’s trying to do.
And yet, such is the mindless rage aimed at the Democratic Party by people pretending to be progressives that they can say, with a straight face, that Democrats are the real fascists and that both parties are the same anyway.
You’ll be unsurprised to find that the majority of these “progressives” are white cis men. You’ll be even less surprised to find how regressive they actually are even as they proclaim themselves “woke” and holier than thou.
Here’s the problem: The Republican Party is the party of white nationalism, misogyny, anti-LGBT bigotry, Islamophobia, etc. The Democratic Party, while by no means the perfect champion of all of the groups Republicans despise, defends them nonetheless. In many parts of the country, the Democratic Party is all that stands between a vulnerable population and cruel legislation designed specifically to hurt them. Telling those groups that the parties are the same because of something something “drones and the NSA” betrays a stunning level of arrogance. It reeks of privilege. It says that their struggles aren’t important; that they aren’t important.
Think of it this way:
- When a white cis male says that income inequality is more important than women’s reproductive rights, what’s the message women hear?
- When a white cis male says that police brutality is bad but we really need to focus on breaking up the big banks, what’s the message the black community hears?
- When a white cis male says that they don’t regret voting for Jill Stein while ICE tears immigrant families apart and Puerto Rico still lies in ruins, what’s the message Latinos hear?
- When a white cis male says that fighting Republican bathroom bills is a distraction and we have to get back to fighting Wall Street instead, what’s the message the Trans community hears?
The message is loud, clear, and exactly the same: Your problems don’t affect me so they are not important.
Worse, the privilege is so all consuming that when confronted with it, these “progressives” rail against “identity politics” as if their obsession with the “working class” isn’t identity politics for white cis men. After all, they’ll chew your ear off about how we need to reach out to the “working class voter” and understand their needs but the second you bring up an issue for a working class voter that isn’t about focused on white cis men they roll their eyes. It’s almost like they fail to understand that the “working class” isn’t limited to just white cis men. So much for being “woke.”
When challenged on the inanity of their attacks on the Democrats, they feign indignation that they are not allowed to criticize the party. This would be a heroic story of their valiant struggle to make the world a better place if that’s what they were actually doing. A legitimate criticism is how the party is under the influence of too much corporate money. Their criticisms are more along the lines of how the party is hopelessly corrupt, can’t be saved, and must be destroyed. Also, they’re the exactly the same as the GOP.
In no universe is that constructive criticism. That is nihilism; a desire to burn the entire system to the ground rather than put in the hard and tedious work to fix what’s broken.
These are not progressives. These are future members of the alt-right. As time goes by, the left is becoming more diverse and inclusive. The rabidly contrarian brand of self-centered and, frankly, bigoted politics of these not-so-progressive progressives will be eventually be rejected. And if there’s one thing that white men cannot handle, it’s rejection. They will blame the growing number of activist women and the growing power of the black and Latino vote and look for a way to punish their “enemies.” They already believe nonsense conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and rigged primaries and the evil American Empire, it won’t take much to slip over the divide from the fringe left to the fringe right. It’s amazing how little separates the anti-establishment extremes and they’ll find a welcome home where all of their grievances will be legitimized.
In the meantime, we’ll have to keep listening to their protestations of moral superiority and demands for political fealty to their profound wisdom that just so happens to leave the majority of the Democratic Party’s base in the cold.
Good luck with that.