I know that those of us in the Fourth Estate (or hacks like me who pretend to be in that club) have been having a field day ripping apart the dumpster fire that is our president’s administration on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. I’m sure I will return to the subject of the criminal-in-chief who’s making Dick Nixon look like Little Bo Peep in a future column.
But I’m gunning for a different target right now: my beloved party. By which I mean my fellow Democrats but especially our party’s leadership. I’m one of the true-blue Democrats, through and through. I believe in almost everything in our party’s platform. I believe a well-regulated, big government is good. I believe in a fair tax rate proportional to one’s income. I believe in well-funded, creative approaches to public education with a level playing field for all communities. I believe in universal health care in one form or another. I believe in taxpayer-subsidized support of arts and literature in all forms. I believe in a progressive approach to civil and criminal justice. I believe racial and gender tensions should be addressed honestly, swiftly, fairly and transparently. I believe in full and vigorous support of equality for every gender identity, orientation, color and creed. I’m a liberal’s liberal, if I must be labeled. I wear it proudly.
But my party, one I have supported my entire adult life, is currently led by feckless cowards. I’m sorry. I’ve tried to be supportive. I’ve tried to make excuses. I’ve tried to obfuscate and rationalize and apologize. After two solid years of the drudgery of living in a world where the name Donald Trump is in the news every goddamn day, I’ve had enough. Democrats, I’m calling out mi gente.
Of them, I ask but one question: Why? Why are you sitting on the sidelines? This president has dragged the press, our party, his party, the Constitution, separation of powers, women, minorities, transgendered people, immigrants, the Justice Department, the CIA, our allies, our voters, his voters, veterans and veterans’ families, and the very unity on which Americans come together through the viscous, oozing, putrid mud of his wake. He has violated the trust of the American people, his constituents, his opponents, his staff, his family, and leaders around the globe. He has done it blithely and proudly. The ineffectiveness of their resistance to all of this is exactly what drives me absolutely bonkers about the Democrats.
You know what irritates the bajeezus out of me about conservatives? They’re effective. They’re really good at winning. Seriously good. They can lead their voters to water, make them drink, then convince the voter to mix them a Bloody Mary. They can raise money like yeast. They can create “truth” and convince a sizable majority of their base that they can make the Jack of Spades spring out of the deck and squirt cider in your ear. Normal, everyday conservatives have become more and more enamored with the narrative created for them and will jump at the opportunity to fly in the face of cold, hard fact if led to do so. Democratic leaders are often moderate, nuanced, patient, and interested in fair examinations of the facts. No wonder we’re so hopelessly outmatched. Fools.
Democrats don’t have to sacrifice fairness or truth. We don’t have to be inarticulate. We don’t even have to be mean-spirited. But we do need to confront ineptitude, ignorance, bigotry, and downright honest-to-God evil when we see it, and we have to do it at the top of our lungs. We need to call out every bad decision, lie and false step of this president and the even more feckless leaders of the Republican Party. We need to take it to the public in every way, with every megaphone, and with those same cold, hard facts that we mercilessly beat voters over the head with until they scream for the sweet release of death. We need to get off the mat and hand the party in power its head by beating it intelligently and with truth and with the moral values the GOP supposedly cherishes so much.
Get up. Get to work. Stop being so cowardly, so cautious, so weak. The other team is playing hardball and beating our brains out; I don’t care that we lose — I care that we’re not suiting up. Suit up. Get in the game.