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I mean, don't get me wrong, "President Trump" is like a Stephen King character or something. I don't like him.
On a personal note, though, I grew up in what was probably the most institutionally liberal place and time to ever exist - the East San Francisco Bay Area in the last part of the last century. I was raised with progressive values which I hold dear. However, I have seen over and over again how easy it is to twist those values into something that looks more like a conservative religion than a society with freedom of thought and conscience. So I have a real leeriness of what looks like entrenched dogma, and to me that was what Clinton and the DNC represented.
But you actually do speak to some of my hopefulness when you talk about the question of "permanent damage". Not that I want permanent damage! Let me explain:
I think Trump is doing damage, yes. However, I actually think that the benefit of it may be in its very impermanence.
As someone who wants systemic reform, I think this presidency is showing us where we are weak. Showing which systems are too easy to corrupt or destroy, challenging entrenched views, and exposing cultural rifts. If society is a social organism, then the function of pain is to indicate damage. And much of that damage was already there... Trump is just exacerbating it.
Barring the possibility that left-wing fervor drives the center towards the right in the next election, we won't have Trump for much longer. But we will have the legacy of being shaken up and shown what we need to fix.
The most truly lasting damage I think he has already inflicted is in diminishing America's presence as the global hegemon... but even in the case of things like climate change, this may drive other nations to take action of their own accord without relying on the United States, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
The hell do you want from me, anyway? You want me to say, "Fuck you, too"?
If I wanted that kind of interaction, I could just stay on Reddit.
You know why I came here? This:
What makes for a good comment?
The best comments are those that generate thoughtful, civil conversation. You don't have to agree with others, but be respectful. Good comments are not necessarily popular perspectives, but are well-supported ones.
If you assert a strong opinion, try to back it up with facts, or an insightful rationale.
If you want to hit reset and actually have a conversation, I'm willing. But if all you have for me is a steaming pot of "Fuck you," I'm not biting.
You should see my other comment above, because I talk about some of this there.
If the extremes are campus radicals and the alt-right, then Bernie is not that far left. He is also more conciliatory than party-line Democrats or Republicans.
I would also argue that what "moderate" (or perhaps more accurately "independent") really means in the modern context is not as simple as falling squarely between Democrat and Republican values on any given issue. I have views that go both left and right, at least as typically defined by people who disagree with them. I call my views "moderate" because it is easier to understand than saying that they are part of a coherent worldview that is not defined by our simplistic binary party system.
I don't think this is a term that should really need to be defined - it's not as though everyone who identifies as moderate is from Futurama's Neutral Planet.
Hey, thanks for chiming in because you demonstrate exactly what I am talking about.
You can come on here and curse and storm and argue for the annihilation of nuance and ethics in favor of blunt realpolitik, but at the end of the day this self-righteous edginess accomplishes nothing but alienating a potential ally.
If there is anything that this most recent election has proven, it is that you as a Democrat need me more than I, as a moderate, need you.
You are right about one thing, though, which is that I prefer short-term failure (from which we might actually learn something) to the long term status quo, which I sincerely believe would lead to ultimately more catastrophic failure when it would be too late to change.
Hi, as a fresh Reddit refugee, thanks for inviting me to expand on my view instead of meeting me with a self-righteous tirade! That knee-jerk hostility is the kind of behavior I am trying to get away from.
The first thing I should probably break down is that to me, there are important distinctions between "left" and "Democrat".
In that vein, the first thing to note about Bernie Sanders is that before running as a Democrat, he was the longest serving Independent member of Congress in the history of the United States. Just like any number of people who registered Democrat to vote in the most recent primary, Bernie partook of the Democratic Party in order to gain access to a discourse that has been dominated by the two party system. However, it doesn't necessarily make one a true Democrat.
So what about status-quo Democratic politics differ from the Sanders campaign? My key issues with the Democratic Party are that they have eagerly lined up behind Wall Street in support of the Neo-Liberal economic agenda, and are strongly biased towards entrenched, lifelong politicians who do not favor productive change. From my perspective, this is evidenced by the general lack of progress in most spheres of American politics during my entire life. By contrast, the post-election Sanders camp has been all about getting younger people with fresh perspectives into office, which I, as a fellow reformist, support.
As for the question of just how left Bernie leans, I'd actually like to talk about one of the major moderating influences on his politics: he is from Vermont, a relatively rural state for the East Coast. I grew up splitting a lot of time between urban and rural settings, and have come to view certain divisive political issues, such as gun control, as a largely urban vs. rural culture problem. So, I like that he is moderate on these issues because I see it as necessary to healing some of those rifts and uniting the political center.
I also support many of his Socialist leanings, if not all. Without totally going down the rabbit hole of every policy item, I think there are reasonable limits and requirements to be placed on social and economic systems. Quite a few of his proposals make sense to me on a rational, humanist level, and seem like they might actually work. So really, the matter of where his policies fall on the political spectrum doesn't even enter into it.
I'd like to offer a perspective here, in response to the title of the post.
I am what you would probably call a moderate - a member of the illusive "center" whose views defy total binary categorization into "Democrat" and "Republican".
I am driven away from either of the two major parties by the way they cling to their fringe elements. In appeasing the far left and the far right, both parties alienate me to a point where neither remains a viable choice for representative government, because simply put, they do not represent my views. Or perhaps more accurately, they choose to prioritize views to which I can not in good conscience give my mandate by supporting their candidates.
That being said, I registered as a Democrat to vote for Bernie Sanders. Even before the way the Democratic primary came out, however, I would not have voted for Clinton or Trump. I view this position as the result of my responsibility to vote with my conscience, as informed by reason and research... and furthermore as the result of my right as an American to a representative government.
I have read many opinions akin to the title of this post, particularly casting blame on those of us around the left-of-center mark for not knuckling under and voting for Clinton, as if that movement were somehow entitled to our votes. However, with all politeness, here is the thing those who sit solidly on the left need to understand:
You are not entitled to our votes. No matter how right you believe your cause to be, you cannot control how others think and act. You can only control how you think and act, with the hope that it will yield the desired result from others. I, too, yearn for compromise and solidarity, but it is a two-way street.
The realpolitik result of this (I suspect I was not alone in my decision) and other factors, is the Trump presidency. The long-term effects of this presidency are yet to be seen, though as long as the house is on fire, I hope we take stock of what turned out to be flammable.
That quote is an exercise in how logic can fail when it is based on fallacious assumptions. There are many avenues for discussion on this topic, but the part that catches my interest is the initially appealing sentiment of compromise.
When dealing with multi-issue, partisan platform politics, there is more than one kind of compromise to be had.
There are some topics on which both parties should learn to compromise... typically things of a technical nature like tax and economic policies, and other issues where ethical considerations and reason can exist on both sides, and where measured, careful change is healthy for the system as a whole.
There are some ethical issues where the impetus to alleviate immediate human suffering is strong, and the compromise should be more in the 2/3 variety. These are places where progress is necessary but fervor must be checked lest it run wild.
Then there are cases like abortion, where one party is the clear aggressor, and is typically motivated by irrational fear. The correct compromise in these cases is that the aggressor must simply give up on that issue. This is a give and take, however, and both of our major parties have issues that they should be prepared to drop if they ever want the support of the center.
This idea that giving in to the fringes to appease them would somehow move the parties to the center is, however, sadly misguided. History has consistently shown that the strategy of appeasement can only fan the flames of hatred.
The particularly egregious assumption in play here is the idea that savagely curtailing the rights of some is of equal value to appeasing the fears of others. Fear has no inherent moral quality, but freedom of choice does.