Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Andrew Sullivan extols a pre-Trump past that bears little resemblance to the grotesque reality of American society."

But these rose colored glasses
That I'm looking through
Show only the beauty
'Cause they hide all the truth

Andrew Sullivan’s Delusional Dreams, by by Emmett Rensin (Jacobin)

Andrew Sullivan extols a pre-Trump past that bears little resemblance to the grotesque reality of American society.

... I am not disputing Sullivan’s anxiety, nor the anxiety of those who read his passage and identified with it. But it is a curious idea, this notion that just one month ago, “many people” did not need to think about politics at all.

Who are these “many people”? Surely they are not the millions afflicted by homelessness and joblessness and pain, the Americans harassed or murdered by our criminal justice system, or those for whom daily hunger is an inheritance. If the achievement of free society and a stable democracy is its citizens’ capacity to devote themselves to “passions” and “pastimes” and “loves,” free from “those who rule over” them, then “many people,” many Americans, have never lived in a free society in a stable democracy.

Perhaps the extent of the present depravity is reflected in the fact that even the “many people” who make up the professional and upper classes find themselves suddenly subject to the instability and malevolence of our politics, but they are the exception. The “markedly less free” nation existed long before last January, and “many people” have been living there since they were born ...


 ... I share Andrew Sullivan’s desire to live in a nation where people are free to lead their own lives, participating in politics where necessary but confident that their interests will not collapse without their constant involvement.

But in order to achieve that desire, our immediate ambition must be more political consciousness, not less. We must continue the work already carried out by countless left organizations, from the Moral Mondays movement to our socialist parties, the difficult and often tedious work of real politics that go beyond takes and tweets and #resistance in the form of endless faith in the Democratic Party. We must organize our poor and oppressed and incarcerated, our unemployed and our exploited workers into a political class, aware that their situation is not immutable, and committed to transforming the United States not just back into the depraved caste society of decades past, but into a vehicle for common prosperity, where no citizen goes without food or medicine or shelter and no one is subject to the capricious violence of the upper classes and their laws.

The alternative is defeat, both moral and political. The alternative is barbarism.

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