The following essay was written by D. Pearce SSC. He received his Masters in Applied American Politics & Policy from Florida State University in 2015. Before enlisting in the US Army, he worked for the Democratic Party as a public relations specialist, and now runs an eponymous YouTube channel, which you can find here.
Have you had the pleasure yet of someone calling you a Bernie Bro, even after you have already sworn off your political allegiance to Bernie Sanders?
Throughout the 2019-2020 Democratic Primary the Senator from Vermont and two-time failed Presidential hopeful repeatedly Russia-gated himself, played unity games with the DNC and stifled his own movement by refusing to leave the defensive crouch position. Eventually Bernie Sanders bought himself a sturdy pair of kneepads and went on to full-throatedly endorse Joe Biden for President. For many, like myself, this was too much. People who thought in Sanders they had a real fighter in the ring for human-centered political aspirations have had to renounce their support of the Sanders, whose legacy will now forever disappointingly boil down to being more a pressure-release valve on the American Left than any kind of progressive Mike Tyson. Up-punching corporate overlords silly for the sake of passing Medicare For All and ending wars seemed too much for the old man’s heart. Albeit mediocre, Bernie’s final moments in the political spotlight will still nonetheless perhaps lead to 60-75% of his supporters “voting Blue no matter who.” I wonder what Bernie’s going to do now with all those millions of leftover cash from his contributors, now that the General Election is coming up…
When you think about it, Bernie Sanders has turned out to be quite the feather-in-the-cap for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
You, reader, may have watched the 2020 Primary and had Sanders and others you thought progressive violently dash your hopes of a better future arriving sooner rather than later. The ship of Americans awaking to the reality that is their collective American political nightmare and voting themselves into a better world, closer to less militarism and debt-free education/healthcare, has crashed onto the shores of neoliberalism in 2020.
You, reader, may have also believed in and kept faith with followers of other prominent American public figures… Noam Chomsky, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, etc…only to have these “fighters” too throw their sword and shield aside and embrace Democratic Party orthodoxy inside their mouths.
Along with the prior list of names, you, reader, have turned your back on Bernie Sanders for not adequately fighting against Big Power, for the sake of you, your countrymen, foreign lives and the species as a whole when you think about American unipolarity.
Your political frustrations with a violent, corporate American polity are understandable, so you wished (maybe even prayed) for a fighter. Fast forward to the present, Bernard didn’t come close to your aspirations. He wasn’t the man you thought he was. You’ve been left with the feeling that, after drawing you in with hints of what may have been quite the revolutionary climax, Bernie early-finished on himself, put on his slightly ill-fitting Senate uniform (that familiar suit of Western authority) and left you in bed unsatisfied. On his way out you could have probably caught him making that stupid, deer-in-the-headlights face he’s made so often in debates and interviews when challenged on an issue, that face revealing the internal calculus of a man trying to appease both the elites of the Democratic Party and disaffected voters simultaneously.
Now that Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and the rest have left you with no release, you might not even want them back, though. The disappointment was, and still is, so great. Yet, to those with lower aspirations and a diet consisting of 100% Kool-Aid, you are still a “Bernie Bro” somehow! You are still a Russian bot! You’re still a trojan Trump supporter! It’s unfathomable that you may actually have 2-3 guiding principles more important than the latest round of forced diversity and political theatres you are unwilling to compromise on, like publicly-funded elections or decriminalizing marijuana (you know, issues that would lead to major specific, concrete positive shifts for our nation), so you deserve a label! In America, all of these aforementioned labels are pretty much just another way of calling you a political nigger.
Don’t recoil at the word. Watch Mehdi Hassan’s interview with Noam Chomsky, where a man whose writings and words many of us have admired throughout the years is asked by Hassan what he thinks of “the very online LEFT, the #NeverBiden movement”. Putting aside the egregious manufacturing of consent for validating neoliberalism for this upcoming election and the future from Noam-fucking-Chomsky, you see in Hassan’s face and hear in the way he says the words “the Left” a truly mocking and annoyed attitude. Surely he’s referring to some group of uncultured, uncivilized savages, with the way he’s so unnaturally stretching and coarsely pronouncing his those words, no? The way Mehdi Hassan sees progressive leftists in general can be translated to the way the Democratic Party sees you, reader: a political nigger.
You may want a better world, but in the context of American party politics you’re barely 3/5ths a person. You have no political representation or agency within the current electoral framework. You’re better off speaking to and convincing the people around you about war and workers (seriously, you are), because unless you leave this nation for another, when it comes to the American political Overton Window, your views make you an untouchable.
You’re kind at heart, and you eventually figured: “politics is important, right?” Like the protagonist from the movie Get Out, you’ve entered a home you thought was safe. With the naïveté of someone newly entering a relationship with a soon-to-be-revealed psychopath, you registered as a Democrat and wanted to fight the good fight against the corporate Republican Party’s latest rebrand of white-ehtno-state religious-fascism! Good for you! But with the passage of time and your autonomic senses of self-preservation adjusting to the intoxicating levels of dopamine, you started noticing that this white girl is on some other shit.
Like I have many times in my work around the industry of American electioneering and Democratic Party political communications, you may have found yourself “feeling black” as a Bernie supporter. For me it was at the many fundraisers I attended, exactly of the kind people who make fun of out-of-touch political yuppies imagine. It wasn’t because I was black; it was because I would be constantly surrounded by Democratic Party orthodoxy supporters who all fancy themselves quite cultured and urbane, and who sometimes knew a thing or two about the local community. I still remember some of the incredulous yet polite smiles some of my fellow coworkers and superiors would give when I would often say I liked Bernie over Hillary because he seemed “more human.”
To return the focus away from my experiences, doing quite well for myself (but very lonely) in my previous life in the Democratic Party ecosystem, to you, reader, perhaps you too may have felt over the past few years that your sincere beliefs for a better world have only earned you having your fellow countrymen and even some of your once-closest acquaintances throw you into the political Sunken Place?
I want you to remember that your ideas are rooted in ideas that are difficult to scale—not due to issues of practicality but because of inherent biological flaws of our species. Yours are ideas that are difficult to scale, but rooted in a very moving sense of macro-kindness for the species. I want to remind you that you are nonetheless a minority. This isn’t about race. My politics are very much more rooted in critiques of class, media and militarism, I just think the word “nigger” is apt for the moment. I look how Democratic Party officials and Clinton/Obama loyalists look down on progressive leftists and I see that our toxic America polity has brought us to the point where “Bernie Bro,” “Russia Bot” & ostensible “Trump Supporter” are just the new niggers of Team Blue.
Nothing new. Dehumanizing labels are par for the course for all of humanity. One could point out that progressive-leftists do their fair share of labeling neoliberals too, but the difference here is that upon examining our ideas and theirs, our are clearly superior—although that matters less than the influence of a corporate media that can be used as a wide-reaching microphone. We are tribal by nature. Without justifying our inherent tribalism as fine, we are as species more of what we have been for a longer time on this planet and are less of what any positive modern moral indoctrination can persuade us to individually evolve towards.
If you take a look around you can see how little US unipolarity, let alone our politics, maximizes for the safekeeping of a sustainable path for the species. Ponder the absence of anti-war members in Congress and in the Senate. Look at the disquietingly irregular shape of congressional districts around the nation. Turn on the television and tune your radios to the most widely viewed and listened-to shows in the Union. Our “leaders” and the predominant share of Americans are either willing or unwilling mouthpieces for the State. Most of our countrymen are sports fans cheering for one of two teams. The mundane Red vs. Blue politics is the new religion, and you stand out amongst the pious as a dirty atheist. That’s not to say you are a wrong. In fact, as progressive-leftists we are probably the most correct. But make no mistake, we are not wanted in this establishment. The rubes wish to continue watching grown men play with their balls, they do not want to hear that Obama and Trump are not gods. They would rather call you a nigger and kick you out of the bar.
I brought up the aforementioned indicators of American democracy simply so that as you are ordered out by the mob you may take a look at the shabby state of the restaurant you are being kicked out of. My intention is that once outside you do not feel ashamed of your beliefs which have gotten you exiled, but rather feel them as sunshine on your skin. This in contrast to the mediocre gloominess inside, which Democrats are constantly trying to convince you is the real vitamin D. Their skin burns under the best disinfectant.
CNN & MSNBC have, at this time of writing, covered the #NeverBiden movement a grand total of ZERO (0) times. We are in the Sunken Place. The #NeverBiden (sometimes also styled #NeverBidenNeverTrump) may plan to vote Third Party in protest, but they are thrown into the zone of non-being by the wish-casting media. Progressive Leftists are to be safely ignored by media elites when 40% of voters actually bother to cast votes come Q4 2020. In the absence of necessary clarifying context, an election margin of 5% or more between the two major parties will be enough to declare “an overwhelming mandate from the American people” or something similarly goofy, even if the total vote percentages for all Third Party presidential candidate nominations nationwide reach interesting levels.
I look at the labels affixed to Progressive Leftists, labels earned by mostly kind but more-so incredibly pissed-off humans, for simply wanting the productive human energies/resources of the most powerful nation on the planet, now devoted predominantly to war, sanctions & corporatism, to shift to focusing on healthcare, education and staying the summary executions of Palestinians. Hear and see the labeling of us as the Bernie Bro, the Russia Bot and the Trump Supporter and witness the new racism, an unwanted minority.
What kind of stagnant, immoral and unethical nation would allow for such a political system that encourages such intellectual laziness? Indeed, rather than maximize for goodness, we seem to have arrived a political system that maximizes for corporate control of everything and everyone, even foreign lives. How could the majority of the inhabitants of a country with this system be convinced that THIS dung is the chocolate of democracy that every Chinese, Russian & Cuban must have a taste of?
Are we supposed to just continue ignoring the blood of foreigners, blood shed for the continued preparedness-training & fit-to-fight supremacy of our US Special Operations forces? Their would-be counterparts are not in the same constant state of training on live subjects. In their dismissal of the small demographic of their countrymen-and-women who want to speak for the value of the lives of people they will never meet, the average American voter in this democracy shares in the drinking of blood from Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Yemenis, Libyans, Syrians and including also those we are harming & killing through sanctions. Because we are so uncivilized a people we cannot prioritize how war is impoverishing us all by shrinking the possibilities of production through resource redirection, in nations developed and otherwise. War is subsidizing the worst businesses and providing a de-facto pension for the Abrams, Pompeos, Cheneys, Kissingers, Obamas, Clintons and Bidens of the world. You hear about the agent of Russia and the bro of Bernie from the corporate press and you always hear gaslighting lies about our allegiance to Trump and vitriolic sexism, but those lies serve only to obscure the fact that many of us Progressive Leftists have actual political aspirations, not simply satisfied with a change of rhetoric and the curtains at the White House changing from red to blue and back every few years.
By positioning myself against America’s form of democracy for the moment, my goal isn’t to be or seem anti-American. We could do productive things, instead of destructive things, for one. Considering trends larger than our own lifespans, for the good of our children’s children and the species as a whole, we could reorient the direction of unipolar US power towards a direction that most likely and intentionally avoids Thucydides’ Trap, while simultaneously caring for our own people and foregoing the rape and plunder of other nations. We could even work ourselves in the future to the point where we offer a helping hand to the nations we are currently, actively destroying as reparations.
But none of this seems possible soon within the context of the current American political Overton Window. Increasingly one looks at the Democratic Party and, for its lack of providing a meaningful contrast to the spiteful politics of the Republican Party, it is just as culpable for the sorry state of American democracy. Don’t debase yourself with this pageantry for the rich, comfortable and morbidly obese.
I meant what I said earlier, keep speaking. If you are younger all the better. Off-Twitter is probably better than on-Twitter, but hey, if you have a decent following, convince others to start speaking. Conversations aimed at facilitating others’ understandings about war and the true face of American politics may not be as satisfying as dunking on neolibs, boomers, neocons, Karens, blue checks and donuts, but THEY aren’t politically homeless in America — YOU are.
The totality of these more productive conversations will keep us busier in a fashion more productive than seeking what little satisfaction can be gained from winning an argument with a racist rube and if it doesn’t change the world at least you might convince one more person to break away from the Matrix. Start working on the creation and dissemination of our own forms of positive propaganda-for-progress and independent media. Keep learning about the world around you and keep practicing the disciplined use of your voice.
Come to terms with the fact that American democracy’s flaws may not be bugs, but features of a system that seeks your participation with the two major parties to validate its own legitimacy, with the underlying assumption that your duty as a citizen happens only every two years under very narrow bounds of political choices. Many of those who are reflexively “against” us are actually just confused people that don’t know about war because they are lifelong Kool-Aid drinkers who (perhaps unintentionally) have never heard narratives outside of those officially approved by the oligarchs. Find the young and popular among them, avoid the old who are entrenched in their own inescapable personal mediocrity. Like the issue of race relations, in our nation but also in all other nations, the best moral and ethical aspirations for the species start with new growth once the boomers are fertilizer.