Monday, February 1, 2016

Dear Progressives: A Word Regarding Your Favorite Candidate

Iowans caucus today, and that means primary season has officially begun. Assuming you intend to vote, when it is your state's turn, do you know who you are supporting? If it's the most progressive candidate in the race, then I know who that is. He's the one that has been tearing it up on the campaign trail and making mincemeat out of the media. He’s the politician whose main funding doesn’t come from Wall Street, so he tends to say things that you normally can’t say if you’re a serious candidate. People love that. Progressives love that. 

That's why progressives love Donald Trump. 

If you consider yourself a progressive and are not totally salivating at the mouth for a chance to see someone like him in the White House, I have to seriously question whether you're a progressive at all. You should be thrilled at all of his plans for how he would make this country great again. 

A progressive is someone that has to close the Parking Panda app on his phone so that he can Tweet about how America produces nothing good. They typically experience contempt on a daily basis, and are strangely directing much of it at Trump himself. 

Right now, the far left is policing the far right, and vice-versa. Each officer in the respective camp is trained to be on high alert when certain words are spoken. 

So let me cut through all this silliness and break it down. Hopefully by the end of this, you’ll know whether “progressive” is a term you wish to use to describe yourself.

First of all, get over your need to criticize Trump. To most, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel anyway, and it doesn’t cost you anything. No one is going to accuse you of oversimplification, insensitivity or intellectual laziness and dishonesty if you describe an American businessman with bad ideas and an absence of tact as being another Hitler. You’re safe, and you know that. 

Second, stop acting like you have nothing in common with Trump. If you’ve ever used his name to grandstand and give a long speech about “the country,” you are probably related to him in some way.

For example, I actually had a co-worker say, regarding Trump supporters, “There’s a lot of stupid f---ing people in this country, it’s scary.” 

This kind of statement is par for the course, but it came right on the heels of another conversation about religion, in which he said, “All of the world’s religions are solely responsible for all of the pain and suffering in the world.” 

I’m sorry, but personally, that is a really dumb thing to say. I find that to be at least as offensive as anything Trump has ever said, and my co-worker probably believes it, too.

I’m glad he said it, though, because it made me realize: isn’t that what would happen if most of us ran for president? Wouldn’t all of us say some pretty ignorant things? Wouldn’t coffee-table politics be capable of ruining everything just like Trump, and isn’t that what we’re seeing? Would my co-worker be any less tyrannical than Trump, if he had his hand on the nuclear trigger, or at the very least, the Treasury? 

Let’s be honest, most of us have dreams of power and control that would be deeply disturbing to everyone if they were broadcast unfiltered. Most of us have said things along the lines of, “What they really oughta do is…” followed by some insane policy that would never work, and would never be considered Constitutional, reasonable, or even sane. 

And the more I thought about why so many people seem to be on the offensive with Trump, despite these lingering and deep-seeded desires for power, the more it made me realize that progressives should actually be in love with him. 

Sure, they may not like his rhetoric, but if they are being honest with themselves, they already love his policies. He’s a better Democrat than Hillary would ever be, and he is popular for the same reason Bernie is popular: he “tells it like it is.” (For more on why Trump is a lot like Sanders, read this and this and especially THIS)

If you are a progressive, then you probably don’t realize that he’s your best candidate. Just look at what he actually wants: a single-payer healthcare system (which Hilary has recently come out against); restrictions on trade with China and other countries in order to bring jobs back to America; higher taxes for hedge fund managers and no taxes for people making less than 25,000; fixing welfare programs, including social security, and encouraging wealthy people to voluntarily relinquish their social security benefits; a ban on assault weapons; and an end to certain attempts to nation-build in the middle-east. 

He doesn’t seem to care about social issues like gay marriage, and although he wants to defund Planned Parenthood, it seems to be more an issue of money than ethics. He’s been fairly pro-choice in the past, and probably still is.

He also supported Obama’s handling of the banking crisis, and has publicly disparaged some forms of excessive greed in the private sector. He doesn’t like the trend of rising CEO salaries and thinks the whole board room system of business management is “disgraceful,” and would keep some form of corporate tax in place. 

Indeed there are plenty of reasons a liberal progressive should want to support Trump, and the only reason they don’t is simply the fact that he’s just plain mean. There really are no other distinctions. 

“But wait…” you’re thinking, “what about all that xenophobia, and stuff…”

In the case of Trump, xenophobia is a red herring. His policies are progressive, and his reasons for supporting them are immaterial. Interesting how that works with progressive policies, isn’t it? 

If you think his authoritarian approach to crime and national security makes him different, you would be wrong. There is no right-wing progressivism and left-wing progressivism. It is the same thing.

For instance, the notion that the government should never have the authority to take a human life cannot be regarded as a progressive idea. It is a classically liberal one (i.e. Libertarian). Therefore, when Trump throws his support behind capital punishment, he is merely signaling his approval of yet another government solution. 

I know some of you probably won’t see the parallels between right-wing progressivism and left-wing progressivism, but that’s cool. I know that cognitive dissonance is a hard thing to deal with, so let me give you a few more examples. 

When Trump says that the way to handle the riots in Baltimore is to send in the National Guard, he is thinking like a progressive. When he talks about surveilling, raiding, and shutting down mosques, he’s thinking like a progressive. 

When he uses (and abuses) eminent domain for the sake of “urban renewal,” he’s also thinking like a progressive. He’s admitted that there would be no Trump without eminent domain. This is one that Democrats really like to take advantage of, as most major cities in which this sort of thing is commonplace are run by Democrats. If your city has ordinances banning or restricting the homeless, as well as certain breeds of dogs, it is also probably governed by Democrats. Them Dems love progressivism!

And finally, when Trump talks about immigration, he is super duper progressive. He talks about it like it is a big central planning project, saying, “it would take 18 months to 2 years to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants with ‘really good management.’” It doesn’t really matter if some Trump supporters love these policies because they are xenophobes, or because they are just ignorant. Folks like the very hispanic Marco Rubio have recommended much of the same fence-building, business-babysitting policies, and the idea of Rubio being a xenophobe (on immigration, anyway) is something I just don’t buy.

When local governments fail, send in the big dogs. It’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to use whenever justifying policies that often destroy lives. That is the path of progressivism. 

It doesn’t stop there, though. If you consider yourself one of those liberal progressives I’ve been talking about, listen closely because I’m about to blow your mind. 

If you take progressivism to its logical conclusion, it necessarily leads to war. It has to. Once you accept that force is a legitimate tool for change, you open the door for it.

Why wouldn’t you? You would feel like not going to war was the inhumane thing to do. 

If you really believe that there is so much injustice in this country and you need to use force to fix it, not going to war for humanitarian reasons with other countries that are guilty of human rights violations would basically be akin to those Nazi enablers who chose not to get involved. Wouldn’t you be a hypocrite for not wanting more war? 

Wouldn't you feel morally obligated to go to war with as many countries as possible until they all stop being cruel (or until we run out of taxpayers to plunder in order to pay for it)?

History actually proves this to be true, especially for liberal Democrats. In fact, most of the wars the U.S. got into during the 21st century were started by Democrat administrations. Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia and both World Wars were started by Democrats. The Republicans had the Gulf War, and later Afghanistan and Iraq, but even though no administration has had the decency to wait for an official Congressional Declaration of War since WWII, the Republicans at least had those wars authorized by Congress. 

Sorry for the history lesson, but it’s kind of important that you see this connection that I’m about to make. 

The narrative of the left during these later wars was a mish-mash of “war… what is it good for?” and “no blood for oil.” Those are two different narratives, but in reality, no one on the left really seems to care about the first one unless a Republican is in office. If you don’t believe me, grab your nearest liberal friend and ask them how many countries we’ve bombed since Obama took office. 

The answer is seven, and your liberal friend probably doesn’t know that. 

None of his friends care that Pakistani children have nightmares that the next drone strike will “accidentally” hit their house, as has happened many times. They probably don’t even know about the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Commander-in-Chief bombing the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders, and they would probably dismiss it if you pointed it out.

So why is the left so hush-hush about all of this bloodletting being carried out by the president they supported? Are they simply being partisan? I think not.

Deep down, war is completely legitimate to a progressive. It’s simply another manifestation of the skewed perspective progressives have about what justice and human rights looks like. 

Progressives will keep quiet about it, so long as it’s their guy doing the warring. They will learn to be silent about it, just like they suddenly became silent about warrentless wire-tapping and meta-data collection, along with many other things that seemed to have had them at wits end during the Bush years. 

They’re ok with these things now, because they always were.

So if you’re a progressive, you should learn to love progressivism, no matter which party. It’s all the same thing.

So you should support Trump.