Monday, March 05, 2018

"idealism" vs. "realism" in politics

I have a simple rule, which is that ideas come before parties, and policies come before parties. When I read that Democratic politicians in "red states" have to conform to a "compromise position" to be viable, I think - how about those who elect them?
Of course, the "compromise centrism" case keeps getting tripped up both by political reality - centrist Dems seem very good at losing, as last decade demonstrates - and by common sense. To ban assault rifles you can't say, okay, lets compromise by not banning assault rifles.
You can't have universal health care by saying, let's first elect democrats who are opposed to universal health care. It isn't a matter of being an absolutist about principles. It is a matter of voting to make your life better. Parties are merely vehicles for justice. When they become the determinants of justice, when every compromise leads you further from your goal, best throw them away – or take them over.
Of course, from the p.o.v. of the +250 thou a year crowd who rule the Democratic party, the infinite compromising might be absurd. They can "compromise" principles without ever missing a lunch. But not for their voters: they are the ones voting to miss those lunches, to delay or cancel those visits to the dentist, to work at Walmart 40 hrs a week instead of retiring, to stress out their young lives trying to juggle child care and labor. Meanwhile, inequality keeps soaring, the trade deficit keeps soaring, the life style of the working class keeps decaying, the percentage of those passing through jail keeps the old apartheid system well in place.
When I see pundits put this in terms of "idealists" vs. "realists", what I know is: for the upper class, universal healthcare is an "ideal" b/c they already have healthcare. When you have great insurance, it might seem “idealistic” to make sure people who are out there – your servants, the people who make the things you use, who support your life – also have great insurance. The “ideal” has already happened for them, so it is the “real”.  But it is sheer realism for most peeps to have a system that works for them, instead of simply exploiting, exhausting, and rejecting them. Of course, the punditocracy, the moderate Dem, are the first to tell us that they are really for the “poor”. That’s why, for instance, we can’t have free tuition – that would be “welfare for the middle class.” And all the like bullshit. We can’t have free tuition, really, because the rentseekers wouldn’t get that interest from student loans and the “haves” would suddenly find their children rubbing shoulders with the “have nots” at good schools. That’s about it.

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