In Defense Of a Combative Liberalism

JFK Cigar

Welcome to the moral basement, folks.

For those of us who keep up with news (and in this case, even most of us who don’t), the images and audios of our collective failure at the border have, in recent days, come home to roost. To turn on CNN last night was to stare into the face of moral chaos. Endless scenes of children – some still just months old – being forcefully torn from their family’s arms, as they clung, cried, and reasonably failed to understand. And who could fault them for it? Madness has a habit of evading understanding.

To turn on CNN last night was to listen to the Secretary of Homeland Security lie to the faces of the American people. To bullshit, to muddy the waters, to avoid uttering anything and everything that could even possibly be construed as accepting responsibility for the catastrophe we’ve wrought. And I say “we”, because it was we, as a society, who allowed for such deranged individuals to seize the reins of our decision-making institutes. It was we who either joined them, failed to stop them, or simply thought it best to look away as they rose to power, here — in America. Or rather, in a country that was once known as America. I can think of a few more fitting names for us right now.

As we know, what’s occurring at the border this week merely constitutes the maraschino cherry on top for Trump’s regime. It’s the Muslim Ban on steroids; it’s the bottom. It’s the worst. But it’s also the tip of the iceberg that is our current political predicament. That iceberg is wide, and it runs deep. Indeed, the extent to which the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans have poisoned our political climate, betrayed our most basic, definitional values, and otherwise ran battery acid through the veins of the American experiment can genuinely not be overstated. And in the middle of it all, Trump’s approval rating has improved.

Border child

Yet somehow, here we are. We’re all still here. In spite of every crisis whatever twisted puppeteer who runs this simulation hits us with, regardless of whichever God has thus far failed to save us, we remain. And because we’ve weathered this much shit so far, we are left with the question of:

“What now?”

Well, we know what doesn’t work. The kind of whiny, tattle-tale liberalism that’s been in vogue for many Democrats does. not. work. Is that to take an ideological position, on my part, to say so? No. It’s a conclusion born of a reasonable and sober assessment of the past two years — arguably the past eight. If liberals continue down the current path, I will not be shocked when Trump wins reelection. And if we think that things are bad right now, in a time when our economy is booming, just wait until Trump’s second term when the economic shit of his policies finally begins to hit the fan. That is a scene that no one wants to see.

To prevent us all from seeing it, though, we liberals must evolve. The stifling effects of political correctness must be shedded on the topics where that gesture hurts us most; facts must take priority over feelings. And as much as conservatives love to champion that very idiom, the truth is that they’re hypocrites. Conservatives are the biggest snowflakes around — they think and move to the beat of their emotions near exclusively. That’s why most of their policies don’t work. But perception is everything, and right now, liberals are perceived as being weak in a time that calls for strength. Even the faux-strength offered by Republicans is more appetizing to voters in an era of uncertainty and fear.

In order to reclaim the mantle of rationality and emotional sobriety, our emotions must drive forth our policies, not give rise to them. Passion is a drug, and these days, damn near everyone is high. We need to get clean. We need to get the facts straight first, and stick to them, and then we need to take off both the gloves. We need to start calling out Republicans for what they are: Fascistic ideologues, with no moral high ground, no exclusive claim to who and what counts as “American,” jailers of foreign 5 year olds, abject failures at governance since the turn of the century, and agents of democracy’s erosion.

They say never to wrestle with a pig in the mud. Thankfully, it’s elephants we’re wrestling.

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