Most human beings do not thrive in an environment where they feel despair and powerless. In fact, there will come a point when they will grasp anything that at least gives them a sense of empowerment even if that sense is based on their imagination, faith and wishful thinking. It is sad, from a humanistic point of view, to observe any human being in despair, but it is even sadder when they get emboldened by what sanity informs is a fantasy. Of course reality is painful, but pretending it does not exist and investing in fantasy is never going to relieve their pain or prevent them from being EmoProgs.
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they are imagined, or might be hoped to actually exist. That concept of reality is related to another idea, pragmatism; a concept that completely eludes a great number of Americans on one side of the political divide.
In case the word is alien, and it seems to be, a pragmatist is someone who is realistic and focused on reaching a goal without unrealistic emotion getting in the way. For example, a pragmatist comprehends that in America’s political climate, there is no possible way conservatives, Republicans, or their religious acolytes will ever support any policy or agenda not founded in religious fundamentalism, corporatism, or fascism; the past six-and-a-half years bear out that fact.
There is hardly anything Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said in his political career that is worth repeating, or acknowledging is true, but in 2015 he made a statement that many on the left need to have reverse tattooed on their foreheads so they have to read it every time they look in a mirror; maybe then they will embrace reality and get pragmatic going into a general election that entails more than electing a president.
It was just a few months ago that McConnell said, “We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like. The way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.” It bears repeating, but every American with an eighth-grade education certainly had it drilled into their heads till it hurt in junior-high school.
That simple reminder of how America’s government works, and how laws are enacted, may be the only thing a Republican has ever said that some on the Left need to comprehend as the gospel truth and embrace it with religious fervor; and they better do it soon. Because based on the increasing flood of silly petitions, emails and politicos claiming Republicans are terrified, devastated, or reeling because of this candidate’s speech or the DNC’s fundraising success or some alleged “brand new agenda,” it is sickeningly apparent that Democrats are on pace to repeat the electoral debacle of 2010 that allowed maniacal conservatives to take control of Congress and many, many state legislatures.
A president’s power is not without limits, and although there are many ways to use executive action to great effect, something President Barack Obama has mastered, real power lies in the federal legislature and the Supreme Court; another concept taught in junior high school. Since Republicans took control of the House after many disaffected “EmoProgs” decided to punish Barack Obama for not fulfilling promises he never made and refused to vote, America has suffered. The results made the first two years of his Presidency’s obstruction look like a minor annoyance. In fact, without the President’s deft executive actions, and unwillingness to be held hostage by Koch Republicans, America would be a damn dark corporate fascism with theocrats legislating morality.
However, this is not about President Obama, it is about reality and not empty promises and false hope; something that just keeps gushing from Liberals and Democrats who are virtually impotent due to being in the minority. For example, Democrats in Congress promised to fix the Voting Rights Act after the racist conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted it for the benefit or racist Republicans in the former racist Confederacy. Despite the racist conservatives on the Court writing that Congress had the authority, and their blessing, to fix the VRA, absolutely nothing has happened. See Mitch McConnell’s statement above.
The same Democrats who have valiantly support and protect women’s reproductive rights promised to correct the Hobby Lobby ruling after the Vatican-affiliates on the Supreme Court empowered evangelicals to control women’s reproductive health rights. The Vatican-5 even advised some easy fixes Congress could enact to protect women. However, despite several brilliant executive actions to “defang Hobby Lobby,” and a couple of visits and another case heading back to SCOTUS, absolutely nothing has happened in Congress; see Mitch McConnell’s statement above.
For over five years now, Democrats and every liberal organization in America has pledged to overturn Citizens United after the Charles and David Koch High Court gave Mitch McConnell his dream-come-true with a ruling virtually wiping out campaign finance laws affecting the rich and their corporations. Still, nothing has happened and besides revisiting Mitch McConnell’s statement above, concerned Americans should peruse the U.S. Constitution for the lengthy and near-impossible process of enacting a constitutional amendment to overturn a Republican corporate Supreme Court ruling.
Consider the number of times Democrats and liberal organization pretend that signatures on myriad petitions, or fiery speeches, will convince a Republican legislature to overturn Citizens United or affect any change liberals demand. Or consider how monumentally ineffective the calls from Democrats and various “rights” advocates to change a ruling by the High Court have been, or how many times Republicans have passed President Obama’s or Democratic legislation, or abandoned their deep-seated corporatist ideology and belief that a religious text is the law of the land. A petition has never been sent to the President’s desk as legislation, or overturned a Supreme Court ruling by passing a constitutional amendment; that is Congress’ job to send to the states.
Now liberals are being promised that a new Democratic president will single-handedly do what President Barack Obama has asked Congress to do for over six-and-a-half years; raise the minimum wage, raise taxes on the uber-rich, fight income inequality, create millions of living wage jobs and rebuild the fading middle class. Add to that a pledge to implement single payer healthcare, overturn Citizens United, break up the banking industry and bring tens-of-millions of American jobs back from overseas. The chance of getting even one of those agendas enacted is an EmoProg wet dream without a super, super, super-majority Democratic House and Senate; see McConnell above and ponder that Republicans have only gained power in Congress and the states since 2010 and will likely control the House, and federal spending, for another decade.
Look, President Obama had a super-majority Congress for two years and was barely able to get a health insurance reform law passed because minority Republicans convinced enough “conservative Democrats” and “liberal Christians” that their political lives and their immortal souls depended on opposing anything the Black man in the Oval Office supported; a fact that is beyond refute. Still, many ‘Emos’ are convinced that President Obama threw them under the bus and could have enacted all of their fantasies if he only did like their hero du jour and hold rallies, rage and ram “single payer” through Congress, and push his agenda during his annual State of the Union addresses; something he has faithfully done seven times. And regarding “holding giant rallies” to convince Republicans to pass federal legislation or the conservative Supreme Court to do anything reasonable; get real.
Consider the non-results of the lengthy and massive nationwide movements like Occupy, pro-union rallies, strikes for higher pay, protests after Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice were shot to death by cops, or the rallies to end gun proliferation. The list could go on forever, but the point is that as liberals “We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like. The way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.” For the past six years, this President has had to sign laws passed by a Republican Congress; no new Democratic President will change that simple truth.
Is that simple truth comprehensible enough for Democrats, progressive, and liberal organizations to stop with all the meaningless petitions and false assurances that this Republican leader is afraid, or that billionaire is worried because Democrats hit a fundraising goal, or proposed legislation Republicans will never allow in a committee? Going into a general election season is not the time for fantasies, petitions to Congress, appeals to corporations, false-hope and empty promises; it is time to register and engage voters, friends, co-workers, and family with facts and truth. It will be depressing of course, but it will be monumentally more productive than silly petitions and EmoProg fantasies that a Republican Congress will ever acquiesce to cooperate with and endorse the proposals of any Democratic president. Embrace that reality and have a Happy New Year!
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.