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Thursday, November 17, 2016

This Side of Paradise

Berning Green

This Side of Paradise,
The Way Forward,
by Liviana (Giovanna L.)

"People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is.

"An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that’s out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.

"An idealist focuses only on the best aspects of all things (sometimes in detriment to reality); an optimist strives to find an effective solution. A pessimist sees limited or no choices in dark times; an optimist makes choices.

"When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie.

"Annoying? Yes. But, oh-so tasty!"

~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration (italics in original)

The Past

We could have had President Bernard Sanders, a Progressive Leftist in the White House.  Had Bernie been the nominee of the Democratic Party, he would have inspired people to get out and vote, and the Republicans would not now be dominant in both Houses of Congress.  Some establishment Democrats have mocked this claim, insisting that if Bernie could not even defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary, he could not possibly have defeated Trump in the general election.  Leaving aside for the moment the reality of the voter suppression and assorted other shenanigans engaged in by the Democratic establishment, the DNC, the Hillary campaign, and the main stream media to promote Hillary and undermine Bernie, these establishment Democrats are either stupid or attempting to bamboozle the voters, for Bernie Sanders had immense support among "No Party Preference," independent, and "third" party voters, many of whom could not vote in the primaries, due to partisan "closed primaries."  Their numbers are greater than the number of voters registered as Republican or the number of voters registered as Democrat.  Their votes could, nay, would, have easily put Bernie in the White House.

Instead, we were subjected to the worst Democratic nominee for President in my memory.  On top of her abysmal record and stances, to say nothing of the vast number of scandals associated with her, Hillary's campaign and her supporters attempted to guilt trip Berners into voting for her, tried to scare Berners into voting for her, endeavored to insult Berners into voting for her, sought to intimidate Berners into voting for her, exhibited massive condescension in the hope that Berners would vote for her.  They called us sexists, chauvinists, and misogynists.  They called us naïve.  They called us ridiculous.  They said we did not understand politics.  Hillary's campaign hired online trolls to harass Berners during the primary campaign and third party supporters during the lead-up to the general election.  Why they thought that these would be effective tactics remains a mystery.

Many of us stayed home, didn't vote for any presidential candidate, or voted for Doctor Jill Ellen Stein, the nominee of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).  A few even voted for Donald John Trump, the Republican nominee or Gary Earl Johnson, the "Libertarian" nominee.  I myself voted for Doctor Stein.

Donald Trump won the election.

The blame game started immediately, with establishment Democrats and their partisan followers, and the drones of Hillary, pointing their fingers at Bernie, at Berners, at Jill, at GPUS voters, at Johnson and those who voted for him, at Russia, at Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and even at Director James Comey of the FBI.  Some blamed racism, some blamed sexism.  One moronic spoiled brat blamed white women and said that they were guilty of internalized misogyny.  I have not seen or heard a single one of them express any acceptance of responsibility on their own part.  Most have not seemed to believe any of the information revealed by WikiLeaks, including the collusion of the Democratic National Committee with the Hillary for President campaign and the main stream media to promote Hillary and undermine Bernie.  They have continued to believe their own rhetoric to the point that one cultist even had the hubris to compare Hillary to the Goddess Athena.  I have seen videos of many of Hillary's supporters crying and expressing dismay and fear.  That was, of course, when they were not rioting in the streets, although there has been some suggestion that many of the rioters were bused in by George Soros and/or, to which Soros is a major contributor, and are therefore examples of "astroturfing."  Whether such suggestion be true or no, I do not know.  I have seen video of many buses parked on both sides of a street, but no verification of when and where the video was made, nor any evidence of connection to the rioters or any individual or organization.

Some have so bought into the Argumentum ad Hominem which the Democratic Party establishment, the DNC, and the Hillary for President campaign used throughout the election cycle that they sincerely believe that Trump is a Fascist.  If he be a Fascist, then so is Hillary, and demonstrably so, but these people have been unwilling to listen to any criticism of Hillary.  Instead, they have simply continued the name-calling which they embraced during the campaign.  They have refused to listen to the historical evidence that Trump is no more of a Fascist than any other Republican President since 1981, and they have refused to consider that their "Saint" Hillary is not a Leftist, not a Progressive, not even a Liberal.  No, they have insisted, Hillary is flawless and has never done anything remotely wrong.  The cult of personality surrounding Hillary has prevented any penetration of their delusion by logic.

Doctor Stein, whom I supported and for whom (as noted above) I voted, who was the only Progressive Leftist candidate for President who was on sufficient state ballots to have a chance to win the general election, received only 1% of the popular vote (as of the time of this writing, according to RealClearPolitics).

The Present

So here we are, a week and two days after the election.  The Liberals and pseudo-Liberals have continued to behave hysterically.  Some partisan Democrats, members of the Democratic establishment, and Hillary supporters have called for the Electoral College to ignore the way their states voted and instead install Hillary as the President.  The level of political immaturity necessary for such a petition is rather stunning.  The hypocrisy is even more stunning, in light of the use of "Super Delegates" by the Democratic Party, whose pledged votes were constantly reported during the primary campaign season (even though those votes would not be cast until the Democratic National Convention), in a bid by the main stream media to promote Hillary and undermine Bernie.

Hillary supporters, the rank and file supporters, are angry, sad, afraid.  They seem to honestly believe that Trump's presidency will be a disaster.  I have no doubt that it will not be remotely like what I would prefer, but I also recognize rhetoric and propaganda for what they are.  We survived eight years of George Walker Bush and Richard "Dick" Bruce (Darth) Cheney.  We will survive four years of Trump and Pence, and so will the democratic federal republic which is the United States of America.

In a little more than a month, the Electoral College will vote to confirm Trump as President-elect.  To do otherwise would be to invite chaos on a level which would far surpass the recent rioting by Hillary supporters.  Trump's supporters have firearms and assorted other ways to make the pro-Hillary/anti-Trump protests look like nothing more than a high school dance.

Some Berners who went Green for the general election have been considering returning to the Democratic Party, while others have expressed their intention to remain affiliated with the GPUS, and a few have spoken of leaving the country.

The Democrats, for their part, have named Charles "Chuck" Ellis Schumer as their Senate Minority Leader, seem to favor Howard Brush Dean III for the Chair of the Democratic National Committee (although both Bernie and Schumer have supported Keith Maurice Ellison, who is widely believed to be Progressive, but supports the "No Fly Zone" over Syria which was favored by Mrs Clinton and opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and which would inevitably lead to provocation of, and likely war with, Russia, which is something no sane person wants), and have floated the idea of Timothy "Tim" Michael Kaine being their preferred candidate for President in 2020.  Schumer is a Neoliberal, Dean would be a continuation of the same failed policies which characterized the position when Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile held it, and Kaine is a man who loves deregulation and describes himself as "conservative."  If that were not bad enough, Schumer also named Joseph "Joe" Manchin III to be "Vice Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee."  Manchin has been described as "moderate to conservative," and his record is anything but Progressive.  Schumer also named Elizabeth Ann Warren as Co Vice Chair of the Conference.  Warren was widely regarded as a Progressive champion before she endorsed Hillary Clinton for President earlier this year, apparently lured by the notion that Hillary would name her as running mate, which did not happen.  Further research into Warren's history reveals that she voted Republican until 1995, at age 46.  The other Vice Chair of the Conference named by Schumer is Mark Robert Warner, who is said to be a "moderate" Democrat, who voted for the extension of the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act in 2011, was a member of the "Gang of Six," has been hesitant regarding minimum wage increase, and whose campaign contributors include JP Morgan Chase.  None of these things support any idea that the Democrats have learned anything from this election cycle.  Schumer did name Bernie Sanders to be "Chair of Outreach," which is, according to The Washington Post, "a junior role in his [Schumer's] expanded leadership team."  As Chair of Outreach, Bernie will be in charge of public relations for the Democrats.  Schumer's choice of Senator Sanders for this position is itself an attempt at public relations, but a junior leadership role is less than Bernie deserves, and I am concerned with what sort of "outreach" the Democrats will expect him to do.

We are still on this side of Paradise, and perhaps further from that ideal than we have been before, although that is a matter of debate.

The Future

Where do we go from here, then?  What is the way forward?  For Progressive Left-libertarians, several options have been being discussed.  Some believe that we should join with or go back into the Democratic Party and attempt to reform it and steer it toward Progressive Left-libertarian ideals.  Others have argued instead that we should start a wholly new political party.  A few have suggested that we should go into one of the smaller Progressive Leftist political parties, and a few others have spoken of a desire to leave the USA and move to Canada or Europe.  Still others have proposed that we establish a coalition of Progressive Leftist political parties to work together.  And yet others have argued that we should remain with the GPUS.

From my perspective as one who recognized, in early 1994, the trend which has come to dominate the Democratic Party since 1993, and based on the just past election cycle and the post-election behavior of the establishment Democrats, I cannot see any value in going into the Democratic Party, nor any hope of it ever being reformed.  Although even the International Monetary Fund has declared that Neoliberalism is a failure, the Democratic Party establishment seems to be intent on continuing to push policies based on that dystopian economic philosophy.  Indeed, the establishment Democrats are now more like the Republicans of the 1980s than the Democrats of that decade.  Some of them have even embraced Neoconservative foreign policy (interventionism/imperialism) and unconditional support of the nation of Israel, which were prominent among Republicans in the 1980s.  They have learned nothing from the failed Clinton-Kaine campaign, and they therefore see no need to reform.  They remain in control of the party and its apparatus, which would make any effort to reform the party a steep uphill battle.

I do not agree with the idea of starting an entirely new political party, either.  That would take, at minimum, 20 years to grow to a point at which it might be able to put forth candidates for US Senate, US House of Representatives, and US President who might have a chance of winning office.  The amount of time, effort, and money necessary to accomplish such a thing would be enormous, and having to wait that long would be a setback which none of us actually wants.

While there are a number of small Progressive Leftist political parties in the USA, none of them has the membership numbers or sufficient organization to be a contender without time, effort, and money comparable to what would be required to build a totally new political party.  Again, such a setback would be extremely undesirable.

Leaving the country would accomplish nothing;  the USA would likely continue down the path to dystopia, and eventually become a menace to any nation to which we might emigrate.

Working to build a coalition of Progressive Left-libertarian political parties sounds good, but partisan politics is as much a quagmire as religious sectarianism.  Each group believes its way is "the" way, or they would have already merged together.  Still, this has promise, if we could successfully overcome the sectarian separatism of the distinct parties.  In order to accomplish this, however, we would need to have a strong presence in at least one such party.

I believe that our best option is to remain with the Green Party of the United States, and work to build it up, to get the message of the GPUS out, to inform the citizens of the actual numbers of the independent/NPP/"third" party voters, to register the unregistered eligible voters, to educate and promote the GPUS platform.  The GPUS presidential candidate in this past election was on the ballot in 44 states and the District of Columbia, and eligible as a write-in in three more states, for a total of 48, which is more than enough electoral votes to have won, had Jill won in enough states to get those electoral votes.  While she only got 1% of the popular vote this time around, that is a significant improvement on the 0.36% which she received in the 2012 election.  If we start NOW, instead of waiting till 2019, we can increase that percentage even more.  The Greens are found in several nations, and so have international recognition.  The GPUS has organization and apparatus which we would not have to build from scratch.  They are the largest Progressive Leftist party in the United States.  They have name recognition.  Many Berners went into the GPUS after the Democratic National Convention this year.  Progressive Left-libertarians thus have a decent presence in the party already.  We can ensure that the GPUS continues to stand for our ideals and selects candidates whom we prefer.

You may say I'm a dreamer of an impossible dream, but I'm not the only one. Someday we'll find the end of the rainbow, the lovers, the dreamers, and me, all of us under its spell.

Even if the Democratic Party were receptive to being reformed and to Progressive Left-libertarian ideals, that would not resolve the challenges which we face.  The entire electoral system must be reformed.  The Democratic Party must dispense with "Super Delegates."  We need to eradicate the "two" party system itself, which has brought us to the point at which two widely disliked and distrusted candidates were put forward as the two major parties' offerings for the office of President of the United States of America, and that will only be possible if we are in a "third" party.  We must get rid of "First Past the Post" elections and replace them with "Ranked Choice Voting" and Proportional Representation.  We need to take control of the debates away from the bipartisan Committee on Presidential Debates, and put it in the hands of an authentically non-partisan body.  We must reform campaign finance and restore the Fairness Doctrine, making it stronger than it was before.  We need to amend the Constitution to declare once and for all that corporations are not people, and to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission.  We cannot accomplish these things from within the Democratic Party, for the establishment of the party would never allow us to do so, and they have no intention of empowering the members of the party, for doing so would remove their power.  They are elitists who believe that they know what is best for us, when they are not merely Machiavellians intent on getting and keeping power and wealth, or pimps for the corporatist oligarchy.  #DemExit must be permanent for all those Berners who left the Democratic Party, for the establishment of that party has no intention of allowing the party to be reformed;  they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.  Those Berners who took part in #DemExit must go Green and stay Green, if they hope to ever see the future which all of us who are Progressive Left-libertarians long for.

We are still on this side of Paradise.  If we wish to draw nearer to that destination, the path toward it is clear, and that path is through the Green Party of the United States.  It's in our hands.

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 24;  episode 24 overall;  production code 25.

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  1. Great blog post! I agree--re-inventing the wheel by creating a new third party of progressives would take time and a lot of effort. We simply don't have the time with climate change and other pressing issues facing us. It's time for progressives of all stripes to come together under the Green Party banner and work hard to create a stronger party with a bigger media presence in our elections.

  2. I shared this essay to my contacts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.