In many ways I get the Bernie Princesses who are petulantly never Biden to the point of feeling justified in “punishing” Democrats by voting for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. They believe that Sanders has the magic elixir that will solve all of our problems and if the rest of us weren’t so thick, we’d see that. By casting the issue of not supporting Sanders as a character flaw that the rest of us have, they feel even more justified in abusing us. After all, it is human nature to ostracize those that display significant differences than the normative behavior of the group. Don’t believe me? Just ask any high-functioning Autistic person.
Oh, hello! Happy Autism Awareness month!
Election 2016 was the Great Civics Lesson for the American electorate. It is a gift that keeps on giving. This week’s installment is the lack of understanding of how democratic governance works as displayed by the Bernie Princesses. To be fair, only about 25% of Sanders supporters qualify as princesses — the policy pea of a Medicare buy in option under their mattress is just too much for them to vote for; better to have a 7-2 conservative SCOTUS majority and a single-party pseudo-democratic GOP dystopia than have anything less than Medicare for all. That’ll teach those centerists!
What the Bernie Princesses don’t get is the role of a politician like Sanders in our national politics. The best he could hope for is what he’s achieved: shifting the Overton window leftward. He’s made democratic socialism and a national healthcare system possible. The concepts are now part of the national dialogue. It’s on the table and seriously being considered. And, mot importantly, we’re compromising with him by not just proposing improving the ACA, but by improving the ACA by allowing a public option.
As I’ve said in posts past, the heart of democracy is compromise. If you aren’t willing to compromise no matter if your Smitch SmcConnell, Gnewty Gringrinch, MAGAts, Tea Partiers — my how far Ted Cruz has fallen that he doesn’t even make the list of never-compromisers any more — or Bernie Princesses — then you aren’t a democrat. You are not an adherent to and believer in democracy.
Because of the necessity of compromising with the minority, democracy is inherently centerist. Policies and laws are constantly being pulled towards the center from the extremes. By moving the extremes — the Overton window — we move the center. It’s not sexy or dramatic, but that’s the way it works. And, Sanders has proven masterful at picking his time and executing his electoral politics. He has maximized his influence over the Democratic Party’s platform. You’d think his supporters would be ecstatic.
Okay, maybe ecstatic is a little too much. Proud? Pleased? Happy? And, they might be if they had a better appreciation for how democracy worked.
The Repubes have already rejected democracy and are working as hard as they can to create their GOP dystopia and disenfranchise the rest of us. They’ve already poisoned the well by injecting it with hyper-partisanship: when every decision, even those about social distancing, for example, are tinged by partisan politics, there is no social trust. Once we lose trust in each other and our institutions, then we have a greatly weakened society. It’s what the Repubes are banking on. They want to use the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and now COVID19 as a wrecking ball on the norms that prop up our culture, so they can fill the vacuum with a corporations and profits first fascist regime.
I hope that the left does not get similar ideas. Democracy is a less than perfect system of governance, but it is preferable to the more authoritarian alternatives. The only way we keep it, though, is by understanding the way it works: compromise with the minority, elect people of integrity to office, follow our rules, norms, and traditions, and be informed on the mechanics of democracy, the government, and issues we face.
If we can keep our democracy — and that’s a big if after SCOTUS’ Wisconsin decision — we just might end up with a stronger democracy. But, we’ll need everyone — including the Bernie Princesses — to be out voting blue no matter who.
The image was found using a Creative Commons search. It was found on Flickr. Little Boxes Princess and the Pea Bed was created by Sesi Ackland. It was posted by Torley. It is licensed as Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.