An Open Letter to the American Left
The Left in America has become like a girl who is way too easy to seduce. First there was this guy who promised us the light of the moon, and then, once he had us, delivered on some halogen lamps. His extended version, recognizing our disappointment (you could tell we were disappointed, see, because we pouted and whined quite a bit), sat down with us recently and assured us she understands our concerns. Now we, so pathetically atwitter at this proximity to power, are crooning as though we are so relieved; she is one of us, after all, and surely we can count on her because she said all those things we really long to hear. Though she really did not.
What is this?!
I once asked one of the finest nonprofit activists in America, someone who has done more to advocate for the world’s poor than probably anyone else, to tell me the difference in his working relationship between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. His response? “The Obama administration returns our calls.” That was a very chilling answer, because it means one thing: There has been no difference at all.
I’m over the conversation about the spinelessness of certain leaders, and more concerned now about the spinelessness of the Left itself. One can only assume that after Hillary’s sit down with Leftist leaders the other day, she high-fived her strategists as they toasted their success at chalking that one off the list.
How did the Left so de-juice itself? It wasn’t because of the Koch brothers, it wasn’t because of Sheldon Adelson, and it wasn’t even because of Citizens United. It’s because we, ourselves, have become too soft, too easily won over by the mere hint of a politician maybe, kinda, sorta understanding how we feel, to the point where our approval or disapproval means little to nothing in political terms, and they know it.
So, Hillary can continue to champion GMOs, and we’re okay with that. She can say she wants a constitutional amendment to get the money out of politics, yet the amendment she supports would actually just demand transparency. She can say she understands our concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership, but say we really need to just wait and see whether it provides worker protections. And we don’t even laugh. She pretty much has us at, “We need to look very carefully at that.”
This is all so wrong. And I will tell you whom it wrongs the most: It wrongs Hillary Clinton. Because while we are soft balling her, the Republicans are starting to rough each other up. And their nominee, after their convention, will be rough and ready for the combat of the post-primary campaign. Maybe the Left is willing to go easy on Hillary, but the Right would do no such thing.
And if she — should she be the nominee — doesn’t have the strength to take it or the ability to overcome it, it will be in part because those who should be toughening her up right now are refusing to do so. Perhaps because we aren’t tough enough ourselves…
If this continues, we will get what we deserve. And it isn’t pretty. Gently accompanying Hillary to her nomination is bad for her, bad for us and bad for the Democrats in 2016.
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