Trout Fisting In America #53 – The Democratic Party

To belong to the Democratic party in 2017, or to even have a rooting interest in the party b/c the alternative is so much worse, is to be trapped in the backseat of a car while the two people in front engage in a screaming bloodfeud over whether you should stop for lunch at McDonald’s or Burger King (or I guess, to be more ideologically accurate, lunch at $300 a plate bistro or a $7 a plate vegan restaurant). Meanwhile the car is almost out of gas, the oil light keeps flickering on every time the car makes a turn—and you’d better believe the argument over whether to turn left or whether to turn right is fucking fierce & exhaustive—and was that a pedestrian they just ran over at that last light? Holy shit, I think they ran over a pedestrian.

Which analogy should we go for here? Shooting yourself in the foot? Slapping yourself in the face? Kicking yourself in the gonads?

I suggest we go with the old standby: tripping over one’s own dick.

It’s one thing to trip over your dick, it’s another thing entirely to deliberately push your friend over their dick because they only agree with you, like, 90% of the time. It’s even worse when by doing so, you avoid tripping the fucking fascist bullies all around you in the process. The whole thing is a dick-tripping extravaganza. Trip over your own, trip up your intra-party competitors, take delight in their dick-trips while getting offended if they take delight in your own dick-trips. Two teams fighting against themselves forever, trapped in an ideological blood feud even though both sides share 90% of the same ultimate goals.

To make the metaphor plain, and get past the dick-tripping image, which unlike most figures of speech isn’t even possible IRL, as opposed to the way you could, I suppose, have two birds in your hand at once, or sew up a hole in your dress in order to avoid using nine times that amount of thread to fix an even larger hole at a later date. You can’t literally trip over your own dick. I could maybe trip over your dick, but you’d have to, I guess, be lying in some really tall grass or something, but even then I’m still pretty sure I’d notice you, and I’d especially notice your dick in my path, which I’m assuming would be erect and hovering slightly off the ground.

The point here is that thinking about the democratic party can create some strange thoughts. Especially for democrats.

Ever since the 2016 primaries, a feud has been going on within the party that’s blown way past ‘internal debate,’ or ‘hashing out of differences,’ and has now reached ‘you are everything wrong in america and I take comfort in knowing you will one day die.’. The two sides involved can be called, depending on how many big words you like to use, Leftists v. Liberals, or Democratic Socialists v. Neoliberals, or Bernie v. Hillary. Or Berniebro (despite his large numbers of female supporters, anti-Bernie folks target him and/or his supporters as racist/sexist) v. Hillarybot. (To Bernie supporters, anyone who supports Ms. Clinton is, in their eyes, a mindless automaton who has been programmed to support poor political candidates—note that ‘poor’ in this case describes the quality of Ms. Clinton as a campaigner as opposed to her cashflow). Liberals call the Lefitsts racist & sexist, despite the Left’s enthusiasm for Keith Ellison (black, muslim) or Jill Stein (female, whiter than a cloud at a Klan rally), and despite the fact that the opposing Left/Lib camps are more clearly divided by age (the olds like Hillary, the youngs like Bernie) than any other demographic. The Left advocates for issues of class while the Libs—a wealthier and more, shall we say, financially pragmatic—advocate for issues of identity. And while both groups might agree than gender is non-binary, when it comes to political issues democrats are very, very binary indeed. You are either on the bus or off the bus. Because nuance is for nincompoops and multivalence is for the servile multitudes.

Now you’re probably thinking that this is all history at this point, and how long can someone hold a grudge about a political primary, esp. when we’re currently living in a state of political/social freefall that threatens to erode our system of government, etc. etc. You, my friend, are a voice of reason. And as such, there is no place for you in the democratic party.

Of course criticism within a party can only make a party stronger. If it weren’t for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, there’s no way the democratic party and, their candidate would’ve integrated so many progressive policies into their platform (and said platform was the most progressive platform in recent party history, something that Leftists tend to conveniently forget). Not that Ms. Clinton made those policies the centerpiece of her campaign. instead she opted for Trump’s A Bigot And Won’t Someone Please Think Of Our Poor Daughters. And hey, everyone on the planet thought she was going to win so why villainize people you’ll have to work with in the future, etc. etc. But then every single thing that could go wrong for Hillary Clinton did, and every single thing that needed to break Donald Trump’s way did. The improbable happened, and people needed to figure out whose fault it was.

If you’re thinking neither side mentions voter suppression a whole lot, you are very, very correct. Which is funny because both sides accuse the other of being racist so often, you’d think the democratic party was made up of mouth-breathing racists (as opposed to, you know, college-educated racists).

The truth is, it was a lot of factors—some of them the Clinton campaign’s fault and some of them not. It’s complicated. But then the one thing both sides have in common is a turn-of-the-century Lavigne-like aversion to matters of ideological complexity.

But again, the Left and the Liberals have each taken the most extreme positions available (Left: all Clinton’s fault, Libs: not Clinton’s fault at all) and fiercely defend these positions today. Neither side makes any effort to compromise, or to hear what the other is saying. Because jesus christ do people on Twitter know how to pick a side and dig in their heels to the fucking bitter end. In online arguments we are all the Spartans and we shall not be moved. On Twitter this plays itself out w/all the worst aspects of online debate: willful misrepresentations, cognitive dissonance that you can’t tell is real or fake, ass-licking replies from followers, hyperbole & exaggeration on every side.  Temper tantrums, shouting, demonization, etc. Both sides are convinced of their own total righteousness, which is weird considering both sides have serious, and obvious, flaws.

Liberals are guilty of maintaining & perpetuating the worst parts of capitalism, doing little to nothing about economic inequality that has brutal real-life consequences for many of their constituents. And that’s partly their fault (who among us doesn’t love a few extra $$$ in our pocket?) but also the fault of the reality of campaign finance in the 21st century and the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That is to say that politics today revolves around the (perceived) need for as much raw cash as possible. And there aren’t many billionaire donors who are going to fork over money to a socialist party. The Democratic party’s embrace of neoliberalism is more the sad inevitable result of life under an oligarchy (rule by the rich, if you don’t feel like looking it up).

And yet Leftists have their own problems. They’re quick to assume the worst about anyone who disagrees w/their positions. They’d rather condemn someone than reach out and try to educate them. Their use of scorn & mockery puts their targets on the defensive and keeps them from listening. They emphasize purity—their own purity, their own perfection—to such an extent that it seems like their goal isn’t political change so much as signalling their own virtue.

All of which is to say that in a party where no candidate is acceptable, then it stands to reason that no candidate will be electable. Sometimes you have to wonder how many of these people within the democratic party, both Leftists & Libs, might be infiltrators from the right there to breed dissension & chaos.

As we turn the corner into 2018, the democratic party has become a circular firing squad so militantly short-sighted that it looks like they’ve lost track of who their real opponents are. Even worse, they seem to have lost track of the needs of their real supporters. The party might make huge electoral gains in the coming midterm elections. They may even recapture the White House in 2020. But if that happens, it will be more a case of people voting out republicans than voting in democrats. That is to say, once again the party will have succeeded in spite of itself. Because even if you trip over your own dick, you can still execute a perfect tumble-roll and come up smiling with your hands raised victoriously in the air.

Trout Fisting In America appears here every Tuesday unless the weight of being alive proves so crushing that we’re unable to work. We’re going to keep going until we reach #55, or until the Trout begs for mercy. You can check out previous installments HERE.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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