I talk directly and indirectly to hundreds of people every week. Right-wingers troll me ad nauseam. Recently, something strange has begun; I find conservatives trolling my trolls in my defense as I continue to expound our progressive mantra. Many are open for a dialogue.
It is clear to me from my experience in my own community, people who stumble onto my radio show Politics Done Right, and from a recently attended Bridge Alliance Conference that the fever is breaking. People yearning for dialogue need a path to spaces.
I think one of the biggest mistakes we as a society make, irrespective of ideologies, is allowing the plutocracy to use these differences to maintain and increase their power. If we are fighting one another we give those who are inflicting the damage on us all a pass. We take our eyes off the ball. Progressives and conservatives have a genuine fear of each other. I think it is irrational but it is by design. If you watch Fox News you would fear progressives as well.
This week a caller to Politics Done Right made several points. She first made it clear she was on the right. But then she explained that she came to the realization that it was less about the parties and more about class. More importantly, she realized that “others” are instigating. If we are fighting one another we cannot fight those responsible for our ills.
I remember discussing what a healthcare system could look like if it were humane with a very attentive white conservative woman. I bring race up because in my area there are false preconceived notions that I initially had to break through before she became a very deep listener. The thing is, I never used the word Medicare for All, I just defined the process and fair method to pay for it. She was loving it so much she began adding to the narrative. I started to feel a bit guilty. I knew this woman was very conservative who likely thought that because I was in that Starbucks I was likely a conservative. I finally told her I was very progressive at the very left of the spectrum. She turned red, looked me straight in the eye and said, “But you are so nice.” Suffice it to say our conversation continued and I encouraged her to have lunch with “Liberal Ladies Who Lunch.”
Democrats are going to win in 2020. The right, while trying to delude themselves are losing sensible people. I believe the response to polls on the Republican side but strongly believe it is just a tribal abstraction. Enough people will switch which will provide a solid win for progressives. That said, Democrats can have a landslide of monumental proportion if they add empathetic engagement on the right. I am not talking about asking them to be either progressive or a Democrat. I am talking about creating the narrative that you are tolerant of their Republicanism and conservatism. But at the same time ask them, for the sake of their children, their families, their friends, that in the privacy of the voting booth, to do what is best for their personal economies. Speak our values in their language. This humanist uses Jesus a whole lot.
Many consider engaging the other side is either a fool’s errand or undeserved engagement. The thing is, this isn’t about being nice. It is about being necessary. We need more than fifty plus one for transformational change.
It is important for everyone to understand what is happening in this blogger’s opinion. Many of us love to love our politicians. Hell, many of us love that Obama blew the door open and showed how a president must behave. Trump further dissociates the “presidency” from the silliness of “race” as he continues to deface the office.
That said, after his recent statement Obama proved that he is not immune to Wall Street, the corporatocracy, the plutocracy, or the oligarchy. In fact, the plutocracy understands that we could be at a flex point for a huge progressive takeover. This puts their continued pilfering at risk and they have all the puppets trying to temper wins by trying to use fear to force the acquiescence to centrist candidates.
There is no better time for a progressive surge. The uncertainty supply-side economics along with bouts of centrist policies that have allowed its survival have brought to Americans is palpable. It was thought by too many that Trump would have filled that vacuum of fearful uncertainty. He definitely is not. A credible candidate personalizing progressivism with progressives and conservatives alike is the answer.