Democrats remain the bulwark against losing what freedoms remain—like it or not!

If not Democrats, flawed or not, then who defies the menace of reaction, advances America, and even confronts climate change with serious, systemic reforms?

Image Credit: Pablo Delcan

The ‘cabal’ driving today’s talking points: Ideologues, connivers, trolls and realists

Thanks to the terrifying clarity of extremism at the barricades, voting choices now for sensible centrists should be a slam-dunk, vs. that time past when two intellectually-defensible parties held sway. I recall voting for anti-Vietnam War Republican Pete McCloskey when I lived in San Mateo, CA. Once, the party of Lincoln and TR spawned honorable, evidence-driven voices. Upwards of half-dozen, principled dinosaurs remain at large (though far less committed to human rights than forebears).

Most of my family, political correspondents, and lucky devils on my email notification list have mixed feelings about what naysayers criticize as the monolithic Democratic “Party.” As Will Rogers quipped, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Me, too, half of the time, and that’s because I forego any delusions that perfection exists on this plane. Who buys the perfect house or the perfect car? A how many churches fall short of perfection for true believers (thus, innumerable Protestant denominations)?

On point, the hatchet job that the single, adult, reality party, however mangled by wealthy donors, is no more than the “lesser of two evils” represents a moral and intellectual cop-out. Except for my wife, nothing approaches perfection, certainly not I. The real-world options for aware earthlings demand separating wheat from the chaff, even sometimes eating modest fare to live. My favorites like Shakespeare, Homer, and Owen Parry (my populist nod) falter at times. When has the most trustworthy politician (doctor, professor, scientist or theologian) delivered perfection? So, let’s bury that canard tossed off by partisan debaters. Such skeptics need not go for Democrats, just transcend reductive terms of morality at odds with the messiness of politics. 

Such imprecision populates today’s public discourse. While national stability hangs by a thread, thinner even than in 2020, our talk fest is populated by ideologues (right and left), connivers, trolls and few of us grounded realists loyal to what is real and viable. Between noise making and idiotic fabrications, we must all endure the fascist Trumpist ideologues who decide, in a mockery of the simplest logic, that any election they lose brims with(Democratic) fraud. Would that Dems could pull off such moves! So much for having to win elections—or for election-stealing fraudsters to ever concede defeat—or facts or trustworthy ballots. Thus do attention-craving wackos directly batter reality, so full of conspiracy hokum a generation ago they’d all be tarred and feathered, then committed. Really, are cannibal pedophiles limited to the Democratic Party? Indefensible nonsense, reckoned by the creeps at Madison Cawthorn’s madcap parties. 

Ideology, meet connivance

When deranged Trumpers cravenly “believe” in alternative realities, delusions turn to professional connivance, funded by fat cats who care less about cultural divides than low taxes and lower state interference. The ideologue-conniver (minority) alliance demands power because they “know better,” despite failed governance that staggers political scientists. McConnell and McCarthy lead the visible schemer parade, but dozens of hot doggers craving attention turn fixation into farcical connivance. The only righ-twing qualification: never let nuance, knowledge, complexity or truth interfere. This thuggish, elected brigade then horns waggles the online, trollish base to demonize all perceived opposition as malicious, deluded, and uncivilized. Flush with gripes, wild hyperbole, blame heaped on others, personal attacks, deflection, and willful misunderstanding mark the ideologue/troll: disagreement with them exposes one’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy. 

Left-wing ideologues are not immune. Take Ukraine: instead of history, complexity, and dictators on the march, certain leftists cast the war as the logical (if vicious) response to a western taking of ordained“Russian” space. Some (right and left) think Ukraine “belongs” to Russia because Putin says so, that icon of fairness. The war is all about the meaner, more powerful west bullying the militant bully. Or take democracy, some claim, so badly corrupted because both parties have obliterated it, only keeping the trappings to discourage more insurrectionist rage. That Trumpism poses a singular threat to what passes for democratic elections is pooh-poohed as liberal mushiness, a carbuncle on the backside of a broken system in its last throes. Why even vote and keep the torturous delusion going? After all, Democrats are worse than Republicans because they better cover up what hypocritical, power-hungry predators they are. Such alienation, cousin to cynicism and disdain, facilitates lawless minority government, per Trump’s 2016 Electoral College-only victory and thus loading the Supreme Court, as if extremist judges never make decisions that impact these cynics’ lives, choices or freedoms. Dream on. 

Likewise, the calculated brouhaha over procreative rights weaponizes what is only a moral, pragmatic and medical matter by which the ideological fundamentalists parade their righteousness by warring against women, minorities and poor (with zero Biblical backing, invisible here until the 1980’s). What now, a return to back alley quacks, with inhumane outcomes? Thus do religious fanatics turn connivers, moralistic missionaries funding misinformation that ends up denying women the elemental promise of America: the freedom to decide their own destiny and choose when to procreate. Ideology turned connivance is so potent the nation is split down the middle: one side understands that undeveloped fetal tissues (unlike corporations, Sen. Romney) are not people vs. the fixated side that demands protection for whatever constitutes human cells, even when as newborns they may be doomed, medically compromised or the result of rape or incest. Thus do forced births oppress unwilling parents for decades. 

Poised in middle space 

Then comes the adult realists, easy to spot, holding the middle space between reason and emotion/ faith alone, between ideology and real-world freedoms, between zealotry and the essentials that foster a diverse, open secular democracy. Besieged on all sides, realists honor complexity and diversity of views, knowing that logic and reason won’t win the day, but do support the best decision-making. Only the collective “belief” in a viable, democratic consensus addresses human differences (offsetting fear, prejudice, resentment and ignorance). Respecting science and consensual truth, expertise, and the fragility of democratic institutions, adult realists walk the tricky tightrope that balances what is plausible, what is legal, and what can improve life in America. Compromise in the service of consensus matters: who gets all they want, especially perfection? 

Realists span the philosophic gamut, from fact-driven conservatives (the surge of ardent Never Trumpers) to less involved centrists (busy elsewhere) to prudent liberal/progressive/leftists who favor human advances, battling against racism, for equitable taxation, optimal opportunities, and government to equalize the playing field. Realists seek to link decency, values, policies and legislation with the startling state mandate for “life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Not magic but the arc of justice. Being grounded, pragmatic, and rights-oriented adults, realists lean Democratic not because they ignore the many hypocritical blunders, even cowardice, but because they recognize historic advances that define civilization. A flawed party in a flawed world is a justified default, especially when forceful, progressive membership serves common humanity. 

Not without dented idealism, realist adults draw the line at moral indifference, especially to children, those punished for race or color, desperate immigrants fleeing horror, or those for whom basic food, medical care and housing offer life-giving blessings. Alas, today realists must waste inordinate energy challenging the most blatant, indefensible nonsense, whether conspiracy lunacy, fake news, Trump lies or self-serving gamesmanship. Bottom line: either a certified election has absolute closure or representative government (whether by elected fools, crooks, or philosopher kings) dies, along with the majoritarian sovereignty of “We, the people.” Thus, most realists welcome (even insist) on numerous indictments against those treasonous to legitimate, majority rule, to law and to elemental justice. Is it too much reality to demand of the Democratic Party power structure again looking hard for direction, genuineness and identity? If not Democrats, flawed or not, then who defies the menace of reaction, advances America, and even confronts climate change with serious, systemic reforms?


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.