Friday, November 1, 2013

On Politics (And Russell Brand)

I had two pieces up at The Good Men project recently that were sparked by current events but really just touch more on my ideas about the nature of democracy. In the first I’m talking about why Terry McAuliffe is probably going to be the next governor of Virginia. And what drove me to write it is how McAuliffe’s impressive performance is being mocked by liberals all over the internet who seem to see him as a Clinton/plutocratic stooge. I’d hardly call McAuliffe my political role model, and yes he is winning in no small part because the GOP nominated a unreconstructed bomb-thrower who really, really wants to bring back Virginia’s unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws, but I think there’s some more to this than that.

Simply put a lot of liberals and progressives throughout the Obama years have treated complaining/criticizing the powers that be in the Democratic Party as being action. But while that sort of things can be fun and seem like political action, they really aren’t. McAuliffe was easily beaten in a three way Democratic primary back in 2009, but now he’s on top. Why? Well because he actually did the work necessary to win in 2013 while progressives in Virginia couldn’t find anyone to run instead of him. We could be electing a much different Democrat this year in Virginia, someone more like Tim Kaine, but since a lot of liberals didn’t do anything in this race we won’t be.

Good progressives don’t get elected into high office because they’re nice, when they win they do so because a lot of people worked really hard to get them there.

The other piece is about Russell Brands latest political diatribe(s). I personally think this type of “revolutionary” rhetoric is pretty pointless all things considered. And I basically lay out my reasons why in the article and comments, so go check it out if you want to see why calling for total revolution is silly if you can’t even be bothered to vote. But if you want a simpler version of it I’d just say something along the lines of this: when you call for a “revolution” do you mean literally a revolution as in an actual overthrow of the state? Or do mean a figurative “revolution” as in a lot of political and social change? If you want a literal revolution I will say that you will almost certainly fail and a lot of people will get killed in your attempt. And even if you succeed the order you create in the aftermath of destroying the old one will probably be worse. Even revolutions that go well, like the American Revolution, have problems. Our revolution gave us independence but it also resulted in slavery being legitimized in the Constitution, which in turn almost certainly assured the Civil War. So yeah, in "The Game of Revolutions" even when you win, you lose.

If you mean a figurative revolution, like say the expansion of marriage equality in the last five years, well then you mean an organized political movement to change laws and things like that, which means you need to engage in politics, which means you need to do a lot of hard work. Voting is just the start of that and if you can't even be bothered to do that when you start calling for revolution you are just acting like an all around clown.

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