Most likely I’m addressing only progressive activists, since I don’t listen to anyone whose cause is not based in sanity, i.e., facts.
So, progressives who do TV opinion stuff, let me first reassure you: I’m not threatening to abandon your cause(s) because you’ve been yelling at me. Your causes are my causes, and have been since I first developed a set of high human ideals. Which was a long time ago.
Every idea you propose I agree with. I sit here listening to you and say, “Sure.” Some of your innovative ideas I find exciting. “Why not?” I think. This is what government is for: trying things out, things which will benefit people pursuant to the not-yet-fulfilled promise in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
And I thoroughly understand the passions that drive you to yell. Because we are indeed in extraordinary times of mind-boggling extremes. I was once your age, the age at which yelling is necessary for self-expression because everyone else is yelling and it’s the only way to be heard.
I’m not condescending here, not patting you on your heads with a “there, there, dear ones.” Thing is, the way I now look at things is on a straight continuum from the times when I first developed my ideals. I haven’t forgotten what it was like and, since my ideals haven’t shifted, I can’t consider myself “wiser” than I was. I’m more layered, maybe, but not wiser.
I repeat: everything I hear you say, every human and political ideal you proclaim as righteous…I agree with you utterly, I agree with your every word.
Yelling those words at me can’t cause me to agree with you in any larger sense. I’m as large on this as I can get. Nor can you irritate me into changing my ideals to the opposite, just to spite…well, I’d be spiting my own powerful belief in rights and wrongs ,which would be so screwy I don’t even know what to call it. (Trumpist, I suppose. That’s what I can call it.)
So you don’t have to yell at me.
But when you do yell, please realize that while I accept what you loudly insist must happen immediately, I’d like additionally to hear a realistic path for making it happen and a rational time line. I mean, a path I recognize as concordant with the complex laws, rules, history and personalities I view as part of life.
For instance, you might pause…
Insisting that Chuck Schumer (and Nancy Pelosi) get balls, Joe Biden learn from LBJ and beat a few people up and twist their arms in some back room somewhere in Texas; Joe Manchin be hanged, drawn and quartered.
I understand the desperate rage. But. We both know Chuck Schumer can’t banish or alter the filibuster by himself and Biden has even less power to affect the filibuster. The bully pulpit can’t alter the rules of the Senate. It’s deeply unfortunate that millions of voters elect senators you and I despise. But they did and we’re stuck with the numbers until 2022. That’s the downside of democracy.
If you’re demanding something other than the rule of law be applied, you’re tacitly asking for a Strongman, for an autocrat, for actions outside the rule of law and democracy. We just finished with that, I hope for good.
Yelling that Stephen Breyer must must must retire from SCOTUS now, immediately. To be replaced by another, younger judge of most likely similar, equally profound views about the Constitution but it’d still be a 6-3 court. (And at my age, I sort of resent the attempts to insist brilliant elder statespeople should give up their seats. I’m much more for going after Kavanaugh who deserves it.)
Please don’t yell that Merrick Garland isn’t radical enough in restoring the DOJ to legitimacy unless you know enough about law and the DOJ to understand fully what the DOJ is up against post-Trump. In Greek mythology, it took a superhero, Hercules, to cleanse the Augean stables by re-directing the flow of a river. That was myth.
If you want to yell because your ideas of instant perfection have not been met, yell at William Barr and Jeff Sessions and the multitude of other bad people who polluted our government. Root for indictments and keep in mind building strong court cases against multitudes of rotters takes time.
Speaking of perfection, recognizing that outcomes will not be perfect does not make anyone a craven coward, or compromiser. I hold onto my heartfelt ideals until the time when only some of them become enacted. I then take a few breaths and re-compile my not-yet-fully-enacted ideals for the next go-round. There will always be a next go-round.
Meanwhile, I do everything I can to support the essential civil and human right to vote as easily as I do.
I’m with you. No need to yell at me.