By Ryan Rogers
Another Pop Dem (popular Democratic Party-leaning) speech another contentious debate.
“Joe Kennedy III was inspirational.” “Sounds presidential.” “This is what I needed to hear after that Trump garbage fest.” “Oprah 2020!”
“Joe takes bribes from big Pharma and votes accordingly.” “They just said platitudes without substance.”
On and on and on it goes. The saddest part of these moments is that they reek of desperation. Have we been so wounded by Trump that every person who can speak well is crowned resistance champion of the week? What is so wrong with looking critically at the person, their funding, and the message to see if they are worthy of such praise?
While I am critical of all public figures as a default, I can get where the excited people are coming from. It’s nice to hear someone say unequivocally about how they care about women, POC, LGBTQ+ issues instead of the exact opposite. That they want Dreamers to stay in America. The Wall is terrible. Women need to be believed as a default when talking about any abuse of any kind suffered from anyone in a position of power.
I love those points. They need to be said loud and proud. Repeated over and over again. These issues aren’t identity politics, they are central to the Democratic Party and its DNA. Someone like me cannot remember a time when many of those statements in the preceding paragraph were too controversial in the Democratic Party. Literally the only new position to change since I really started paying attention to politics in 2002 is the support of LGBTQ+ persons. Even then we have been that party since about 2008 or so.
The reason I am critical of Pop Dem moments is that I don’t feel it’s super brave to do or say things that are expected. Like a Disney Princess, I yearn for more. To go to infinity and beyond. I want to take the fight to the regressives and flank them on issues that force them to be on the defensive for once. I want the party to not only win, I want them to keep winning. To make lasting positive change for the American public. To end, in a happy manner, the constant battleground issues of “identity politics” and shift the Overton Window of American politics away from horrific questions like “Shall I deport this scapegoat minority?” and “How can I criminalize this lifestyle that doesn’t affect me at all?”.
Any progressive worth their salt will never throw any marginalized group under the bus for political points. By my definition, that removes you from being allowed to call yourself progressive. It’s just the same as if you don’t fight for vast change in an economy where 60% of Americans can’t find $1,000 for an emergency. We can do both. We can protect and expand the rights of any marginalized person while also improving the financial lot of the great American melting pot of the 99%.
Due to my desire to win, I make no apologies about looking into financials, past positions, and general weak points of anyone whom gains popular support to represent me. It’s my duty as an American to make an informed choice. If that’s a purity test, so be it. I call it vetting.