Protester at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Dear Liberals: It’s Not Us, It’s You [Opinion]

Dear Liberals: the problem isn’t Trump, and it isn’t us, it’s you.

In the age of “Trump Resistance,” few things are more frustrating than the feeling that we are helpless to stop anything. As the GOP sets its sights on healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, environmental regulations, and immigration, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people have taken to the streets with signs, bullhorns, and chants to voice the public’s discontent.

But perhaps even more frustrating is the fact that whenever a Liberal brings up how awful something that Trump or his administration or the GOP-led Congress is doing, they’re met with examples of that exact same sort of thing happening under Democrat’s watch. But it’s true – every single thing that Trump has been doing that has everyone so enraged and upset was built on a foundation set down by his predecessors. Trump is not exceptional, and the policies he is enacting are not really out of the ordinary.

And that’s really what hurts the most. We have a right to be angry about the things that the Trump Administration is doing. In fact, we have a patriotic duty to be upset with our government. To question it. To demand change. That’s what the United States was built on. But, now that Trump’s election shocked us out of our sleep, we are beginning to realize that we should have been angry for decades.

Climate Protest March in Chicago
A Climate March in protest of the Trump administration’s environmental policies – Chicago, Il, April 29, 2017. [Image by Nam Y. Huh/AP Images]

Protesting Trump and the things his administration and the GOP are doing is important, and we should absolutely continue. Realistically, we need to do more of it, louder and bigger. Now more than ever it’s important to push back against these policies that do not have the best interests of the U.S. Citizenry in mind. But we also need to take a moment to realize exactly why we are exactly where we are.

The buzzword “NeoLiberalism” has been thrown around an awful lot over the past 18-24 months or so. It isn’t a difficult word to understand, so long as we have an understanding of the root words “neo-” or “new,” and “liberalism”, which many make the mistake that it means “Democrat”. It doesn’t. If we look not at the ridiculous “Left-Right-Center” spectrum that Americans believe we are limited to but rather the actual political compass, Liberalism falls right directly in the center. Some see it as a way to “bridge all gaps” and come up with the fairest compromise for everybody. In practice, however, Liberals just sit on the fence and attempt to keep everyone happy by not taking an actual stance on anything.

But life isn’t like that. Liberals are not going to be able to appease corporations and the working class. There is no magical sweet spot that will find a perfect balance between the ever-growing wealth inequality and the corporate need for ever-growing profit margins. But that is exactly what NeoLiberalism is, and what Liberals attempt to do. It takes classical Liberalism and embraces free-market capitalism. So, basically, Liberals are just Conservatives that pretend to like women, minorities, and members of the LGBT+ community.

A Political Magician uses smoke and mirrors and distraction to make us think he is pulling off some wonderful feat - but it's always just another trick.
“Watch me pull the working class out of my hat!” [Image by nuvolanevicata/iStock]

And that is how we got where we are. Everything that Trump has done or tried to do has been a result of the Centrist corporatism that has been espoused by decades of NeoLiberalism masquerading as Progressivism. Liberals laid the groundwork for a Trump presidency and everything that comes with it. Sure, there have been a few victories for the Progressive wing, but every single one of those victories has been marred by multiple defeats. And those defeats didn’t only come from Conservatives. They came from Liberals that didn’t fight hard enough for their voter base.

The ACA, with it’s “public option?” The one that was being fought for by a Democratic supermajority? Oh, that’s right, there was no public option, because insurance companies donated record amounts of money in 2008, and what we ended up with was mandated participation in a bloated and overpriced market. Forced capitalism. And Liberals let it happen.

Remember when Obama banned drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Northern Atlantic? That was real nice, especially for Americans. But this is the same person whose EPA Director rubber stamped approvals for drilling companies to dump fracking fluid into the Gulf of Mexico. Where was the Liberal outrage?

And it was a great day of celebration when Obama won that Nobel Peace Prize. Who could be more deserving of it than a man who dropped a record number of bombs over his tenure? Apparently, Liberals love war just as much as Conservatives.

Obama speake with 2016 Nobel Prize winners
Even Obama wasn’t sure why he got a Nobel Peace Prize… [Image by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images]

But Obama isn’t in office anymore, and we can’t do anything about those things now. And it wasn’t just Obama, but decades of Liberals letting Republicans walk all over them because their corporate donors demanded it. We can’t change the past. What we can do is fight back, and we’re going to be so much better at it now that our eyes are actually open and we see what’s happening. But until we understand exactly how we got to where we are, we will be doomed to repeat this horrifying nightmare until we either get it right or we all die in a Nuclear winter.

We can’t allow Centrist Corporate politicians to pretend that they are the “voice of the people” any longer. We can’t go to the ballot box every two or four years, vote for our chosen Liberal, and then sit at home watching our favorite sports team or reality show and ignore everything else that’s going on in the world. We have to act. Democracy is a participation sport, not a spectator sport. So, if you are angry, that’s great. We need that.

But, it isn’t enough to be angry at Trump. We can be angry at our elected leaders and expect them to change. But until we are angry enough with ourselves to change our own ways, we will continue to make the same mistakes, and we will continue to elect people into office that do not work for us but for their donors instead.

Money is the only ballot that most of our politicians care about.
Usually, the only vote that our politicians care about is the one with the dollar sign attached to it. [Image by erhui1979/iStock]

Liberals like DNC Chair Tom Perez. Liberals like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Like new DNC CEO Jess O’Connell. Begging for “unity” as they toe the same old party lines and bow to their corporate donors rather than the people who elect them. This is not progress, this is spinning in the same old circles.

And, so, Liberals, it is with a heavy heart that we come to the point where we must part ways. You may find friendlier ground with the Republicans – you have far more in common with them anyway. And always remember, no matter what, dear Liberals – it’s not us, it’s you.

[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

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