(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
A sense of identity has been lost, of common cause and belonging. What we, as liberals, are being asked to accept, is what is called pragmatism irrespective of any other value.
There is a tendency, adopted from Republicans, of disliking what they call “pessimism”, of what liberals might call acknowledging the problems confronting us and not only vowing, but actually doing, better. Optimism grounded in an idea that any disease, any fault, any depredation can be summarily cured. Cured by a religious faith, hope and belief, that despite what we were before, we can be better than we are. Bt that hope, that betterness, has to be grounded not only in a vow or a desire, but a practice of different approaches, of different values, of not accepting what always has been, but what could be.
What value optimism, without these things, this vow, this indomitable conviction to start today? What use, exceptionalism without substance and change grounded in “not today”?
To Republicans, pragmatism is all. To neoliberal, faux-Keynsian economists, pragmatism is also a holy value, but this is often reframed as incrementalism. It has gotten a bad name, this incrementalism. Justifiably so. What is incrementalism, the idea that things might get better in a world we can scarcely imagine, next to our deaths and the gradual death of the whole world?
Republicans are, we have been told, the devil.
But if Republicans are the devil, the people who use progressive rhetoric and turn tail and enact polices the Republicans might adore, are the deep blue sea.
What is incrementalism, but a house of dogs, where rats drink in the reek, and the brats roll on the floor among their dogs? What are my civil rights worth to me, when I am dead, when everyone I know and value is gone?
I did not get into political discussion with people, if nothing else, to talk about change that might take 100 years.
There are 7 billion people on the planet. These are people, in many cases, to whom untold misery is the choice of every day, and people like me, who can momentarily distract themselves with their Wii, are hyperaware that their momentary giggle, as of a child, is indeed the mewling of a child. We have been told about our pony, we know it, deep in our bones. We want to run naked in the fields, in joy and in health. But what we have been told is not only that wearing a little underwear in our romp through the reeds might be appropriate, but that we cannot do that romp through the reeds right now. Perhaps we can do it at the next electoral cycle. Or maybe, if we are heterosexual and deign to have children, they can do it, in a world we can not imagine nor comprehend.
At work in this analysis is the held out hope of the Deep Blue Sea. And, in all this, in the political Machiavellian-ness that is held out as the art of the possible, where, I ask, is the human? Where is the humane? That which talks about the pragmatic has scarce little impact, for me, when talking about a young lesbian who hung herself in her own bedroom because of an unkind word, borne out of homophobia, on the blogosphere. It has scarce use to talk about progress in 2014, when I might be dead in 2012, where, I worked myself to death, but despite this, I get no vacation, no time to talk to the birds, but my productivity is valued above all. And of the others, who their very willingness to work itself is not valued, who are told there is nothing for them. That they are deitrus, meat puppets, to die on sidewalks.
Are you going to talk to me of horrors beyond my wildest imagination? I can see a lot. Human suffering is unimaginable and brought to us in unimaginable terms. I can imagine me, mine, and all my cohorts being burned in furnaces or gassed in ovens. There is a worse thing, though, which is to be left without any water for the spirit, any dignity or acknowlegement, for generations. Gas me, then, kill me and all like me, for there will be more. You cannot scare me with the boogeyman, you cannot extinguish my hope for a better way in a sea of false choices.
But the sea, heretofore blue, is literally turning black. When will we turn back? When you offer me the deep blue sea, as a retreat that might mean my personal extinction, but hope for the future, it better be blue.