Maybe it’s all those years I’ve lived in places where I’ve been represented at the state and federal levels by some truly embarrassing public officials.
The ones I dutifully voted against, as a point of moral witness.
Note that I still voted, even when it often felt like a losing cause.
You can imagine my elation on those rare occasions when my candidate actually won office.
The U.S. representative who proved most satisfying was Kweisi Mfume, who was elected from my district in Baltimore shortly before I headed to New England. He was about as unlike me as you could imagine, apart from his voting record, and then he and I were in delicious harmony.
What I’m getting at is about my exasperation with those who insist they won’t vote unless it’s for somebody they agree with 100 percent.
At the moment, that means those in the Bernie camp who can’t accept anything less, except maybe Elizabeth Warren. Some of these are people I love dearly and respect, apart from their belief that it’s time for the entire system to crash and burn so it can magically resurrect in what they call “revolution or else.”
I hate to tell them this, but crash and burn rarely if ever leads to something better. There’s no Phoenix or Firebird. Look at Rome after the Visgoths and Huns. It was never again the same without the full Roman Empire, not that I’m a big backer of Caesar in any form. My sentiments are more in line with the Jewish resistance, not that it matters.
And, no, I definitely don’t believe in unicorns.
I know how hard it is to start an enterprise from scratch or even to turn an existing one in a new direction.
I heard a similar crash-and-burn argument from some who voted for Trump the last time around. Yes, they hated the way things were at that point, but they weren’t differentiating between crucial differences. One wanted something other than an entry-level job. I doubt she has even that now.
Me? I knew I’d much rather have someone in office whose positions meet me half of the time than one opposed to mine 90 percent of the time … or more. Take environmental protections or the independence of the Internet as current two examples.
I also knew I want someone who’s a problem solver, working with verifiable facts, than a problem maker, spouting off lies and superstitious gossip.
And I want someone who’s not in the pocket of the lustfully super-rich and their lobbyists. You know, money-sex-power, those who have it want more of it all … now.
I remember all too well Ralph Nader’s role in giving us the eight years of W that were so detrimental to progressive legislation in this country and its judicial benches, and also how Nader refused to acknowledge his part in undermining those positions. I’m also among those who chide Bernie for undercutting Hillary Clinton’s campaign as well, especially as we look at the devastation that’s followed. Look, I voted for him in the primary and have come to regret it.
The reality is that like dating and courtship, we’ll never find someone who can fit into everything we desire. As I’ve learned, a clone of myself is a very imperfect match. A successful working relationship is something quite different. A candidate who fully matches my stands would never, ever, get elected, not even if I lived in a lefty outpost like Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berkeley.
Yes, I’m all for a revolution, but that’s within existing realities and resources, the way the call of ’76 turned out to be.
Anyone else have a soundtrack of “Hamilton” to play now?