Dark Days Ahead

The progressive movement must do some deep thinking

In a pre-election op-ed I wrote, I ironically advised my fellow progressives to “vote their conscience.” My faith in the judgment of my fellow citizens has been shaken by the outcome of this catastrophic election, which will be known henceforward as America’s “11/9.”

This historic moment calls for a sober assessment of the magnitude and scope of this cataclysmic loss in terms of the balance of power in Congress, the Supreme Court and the fate of federal regulatory agencies. This foreknowledge can help set up psychic blast walls for the painful coming demolition of the Obama legacy, climate-crisis denial as policy and the Republican Congress’ long-planned dismantling of the Great Society and New Deal social safety net structures to make budgetary room for tax cuts for billionaires.

The Trump administration will dismantle decades of patient scientific work by federal regulatory agencies like the EPA and the Department of Energy, rolling back decades of hard work by progressive activists and legislators.

Elections are not just about your own personal status needs and lifestyle preferences; they are a sober analysis of what is best for the body politic. I recognize that my political choices impact the real-world lives of many people, who often do not possess the privilege afforded a college-educated white male. We need to learn the distinction between voting as a civic act, instead of an act of individual branding to establish our political purity status. We need to perform a deep self-examination of the culture of the progressive movement.

Noam Chomsky calls the current Republican Party “the most dangerous organization on the face of the planet.” The GOP has now got all the guns, money and lawyers they need to hold American democracy hostage. Buckle up, kids, this will be a rough ride.

Ben Boyce is a community organizer, creator of the ‘Progressive Majority Coalition’ column in the ‘Sonoma Sun’ and a regular contributor to ‘
This Week in Politics’ on KSVY.FM.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].