One of the first blog posts I wrote here was titled “No True Progressive,” which looked at the ever-shifting goalposts used to determine just who (or what) was “progressive.” I said back then that
You can see this on various left-wing blogs, if you look at the posts and comments. “President Obama is not a progressive, he hasn’t” – fill in with whatever the writer thinks is the progressive stand. “Senator (name) voted for this bill, they’re not a progressive!” When it’s pointed out that on other issues the given politician is progressive, the goalpost will be moved to a new position which excludes that particular issue. “No true progressive” would do/vote for/say this!
I was reminded of that reading a recent post by Milt Shook over at his blog, “This is why we lose, Progressives.” He’s taking on a Daily Kos diary that supposedly takes to task some Senators for not being “Real Democrats.”
In the South Pacific, there’s a set of beliefs which are known as “cargo cults.” While they may seem ridiculous at times to Westerners, they make sense in terms of a society attempting to explain something in terms of that society.
Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors. These goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake. Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.
Many of the rituals mimic what they saw during various times, particularly World War II. There are “airfield,” “control towers,” and so on, all designed to influence the gods to redirect the cargo to them. So what does that have to do with politics?
Over the past week since the election, I have seen a number of political blogs talking about various progressive ideas that are favored by “the majority” of the American people, and they’ll cite various opinion polls to back that up. Want a higher minimum wage? Immigration reform? Equal pay for equal work? Those are just a few of the topics that opinion polls will tell you that a majority – sometimes a large majority – of the American people support. It’s comforting to see, but then you have to look at the actual election results. Republicans, who have been stridently blocking action on any of those topics, and in many cases are actively against them, just got handed a majority in the Senate and increased their existing one in the House. There’s a reason for that: Only about 36% of the eligible voters actually showed up.
As regular readers of this blog may guess, I haven’t been too fond of “progressives,” or “The Left,” as they call themselves. Back about 5 years ago, they got tagged here (and a few other places) as “frustrati,” “emoprogs,” and “purity trolls.” Why have I been so … irritated … by them? It’s not their ideals. It’s not even their anger at the lack of progress on some fronts, or even their disappointment with some (or all) of the Democratic Party. Surprisingly, I sometimes share them. What irritates me is they aren’t doing anything to change any of that except to bitch about it, and even worse, assume that every place in the country is just like where they live.
What always manages to astonish me about various “politically aware” people is their failure to recognize that there’s an election every year in many parts of this country. They seem to believe that only the presidential election years matter, or if they’re stretching a bit, the even year House races. Yet it’s the “off year” elections that have more impact on people’s daily lives which are ignored. This year, many states are having their local elections. We’re going to be selecting mayors, and town and county officials, along with (in some states) judges. Various propositions will be on ballots, which will impact your local and state taxes as well as its direction. All the things which you tend to take for granted: Street lights on; road plowed; water and sewer systems work; police and fire departments are there; and what the schools are like will all be determined by who gets elected.