False Narratives: It's not just for NeoLibs, anymore....
In the aftermath of American Voters rejecting the False Narrative of "Madame President", which had been spun by MSM, the DNC, and Neolib Establishment for several years now, I think it worth mentioning that a danger exists for the Progressive Movement to fall victim to the very same dynamic.
Because while it would have been great to witness, post-Election, a ‘coming clean’ or ‘circling of wagons’ from Progressives, what we are witnessing instead is something far less promising (albeit America is still in its Shock stage, trying mightily to express everything from rage to Shaudenfreude and doing so in fits and starts).
But as Bernie Sanders suddenly steps back into a spotlight, a False Narrative is developing which is really no less dangerous and disempowering than the failed one which the Clinton-Obama Neolib Machine tried to pull off:
Using the conduit of a Rehabbed, cleaned-up Dem Party…Bernie is BACK, and shall lead us all into battle for Real Change, the Colonel of the Resistance.
Before the Left, or even Center (if there still is a Center) accepts this premise, I think some explainin' of things is necessary. However, many minions seem to be in quite the forgiving mood, and care not for clearing the air; but rather are more than ready to Forgive and Follow.
But consider for a moment: "our" Bernie (as well as the so-called Progressive punditry) has done some deeds which require a serious conversation, rather than just the usual American “that’s the Past - Time to Move Forward” Placebo.
We witnessed a candidate who called the masses to Revolution ...exposed Americans to the hypocrisy and almost Big Brother-esque control which the Corporate Plutocracy has over America... then, at the key moment when the Revolution he had created needed the necessary move; at the moment when the Establishment was caught unprepared for the prospect of People Power….that candidate capitulated entirely to that Establishment.
Then repeated this thru the Fall.
So, the Movement was left without its leader. The Greens tried to fill that slot, but Americans (like all humans, perhaps) are very susceptible to the Cult of Personality…and most Progressives were unable/unwilling to disconnect Purpose from Person. As a result, most acquiesced to the Lesser Evil Gun to the Head.
But in order to "bring back the ‘good ol’ days" of pre-Unity Rally 2016, Progressives must buy into the False Narrative.
(But perhaps Dorothy really can't go back to Kansas anymore).
DNC was soooo mean to Bernie, yes ! - but what ELSE could he DO other than endorse ? He was a victim, and thank goodness he has come thru it intact and can now pick up the flag and lead the charge again. Bernie has always told the truth, he remained a Man of his Word; there is NO reason to be critical of him now - there is NO reason not to trust him now. He has nothing to explain.
It’s a beautiful narrative - it contains all that is Good: Fatih, forgiveness, confidence, commitment, hope.
But numerous Progressives have a problem with this narrative, myself included.
The cornerstone of it (that Bernie has always been honest and done exactly what he always said he would) is contradicted by at least two rather Battleship-sized facts:
1) He promised a contested convention , and...
2) he repeatedly insisted he was in it to win it.
We know what happened to 1).
2) was something supporters were willing to believe despite signs to the contrary all during the campaign. Therefore we rationalized the entire “forget the damn e-mails” thing as Bernie taking the High Road. We rationalized his silence on the obvious vote rigging, his campaigns complete unwillingness to request a bona-fide recount in any state - by telling ourselves “he doesn’t wanna rock the Dem boat, as he still has a chance for the Nom, etc”.
He made little of the NV Convention fiasco when he should have blown the MSM misrepresentation of violence out of the water and stood up for his state delegates there, in no uncertain terms.
The experience of followers witnessing the (ostensible) Leader of the Revolution doing nothing whatsoever to defend his own supporters from the fact that their votes had been stolen, flipped, or simply tossed in the shredder….or that state Dem or Election rules were changed or ignored in order to disempower his supporters, in state after state….was always rationalized with a wink-'n'-nod: “pssst…he’s playing Chess”.
Making the argument that your candidate was "In it to Win It".... in light of the revelation that he had made a specific 'non-aggression' agreement with his opponent's camp...ain't that strong an argument.
What fighter enters a match agreeing to have one hand tied behind his back ?
Against an opponent who surely is already equipped with weighted gloves ?
The much more likely explanation is, in fact: Bernie's campaign never really intended to Win It. Their 'place' was to excite the traditional Dem base and draw/register more voters to the Party.
"He is a man of his word", “he made agreements and he stuck to them": again, good, moral explanations. However, is it not fair to argue that perhaps the events which unfolded throughout the '16 Primary…might trump some of those agreements and moral contracts ?
Is it arguable to say that the assurance that he would support the Dem Nominee might be reasonably challenged by the fact that said Nominee stole the Nomination from him ?
Is it arguable to say that any non-aggression pact might be rendered MOOT by the revelation that the DNC installed moles into the Bernie camp ? By the confirmation that DNC colluded with MSM to deny his campaign exposure? Or by the fact that Comey’s findings indeed did illustrate illegality, pathological lying, and gross negligence ?
Is it arguable that such ‘agreements’ or ‘pacts’ might be eclipsed by the fact that as the campaign wore on, it became more and more apparent that Clinton had only disdain for the Progressive Agenda and its supporters (whom she never failed to ‘dis given the opportunity) ?
In a nutshell, every leak, every election day ‘irregularity’, every canceled exit poll, every exposed corporate-lobbyist superdelegate, every statement from the FBI…made Shillary a far, far weaker and more reprehensible candidate than anyone might have imagined in January of '16.
Now, was Bernie truly “powerless” to do anything other than endorse ? It has already been revealed a number of times that the pretenses presented by many Berners post-“Unity Rally” (i.e. - by DNC rules, he HAD to endorse or be stripped of candidcacy or delegates - one or the other depending upon which version someone was spinning) had no basis in any written DNC rule.
Because, of course, there was no such rule. (Ask Gary Hart. Or were he alive today, Teddy Kennedy).
So the notion of Bernie having ZERO leverage (I would posit that 60% of the eligible voting population - Dem, green, Indies, and Reps - represented just a wee bit of leverage, myself) and ZERO alternatives other than his robust endorsement of a candidate who’s history and agenda was antithetical to his own….is more an example of the Classic Democratic trait of "Learned Helplessness” than it is one of "All Options Exhausted".
So..we find ourselves, post-election, in an interesting situation: HAD Progressives listened to Bernie (and Shaun King, Thom Hartmann, Noam Chomsky, Robert Reich, Josh Fox, Ben Jealous, etc - all supposed ‘rocks' of the Progressive Movement)…we would find ourselves under a NeoLib Presidency where the remnants of the Progressive Agenda would continue to be diluted, divided-and ultimately snuffed out in short order. Just as Bernie’s career would be gently and politely put out to permanent pasture (following in the path of many Prog Dems before him).
So, the irony whuich is most definitely NOT lost on many: a Trump Victory has actually SAVED the Prog Agenda, and allowed Progs to coalesce with purpose -whereas a Shillary victory would have spelled an end to that Agenda, and Movement.
But before we allow the aforementioned Personalities just turn 180 degrees (again) and pick up the flag to lead the charge, I would like to suggest that there is a Necessity for all of these folks have a little come-to-Jesus with the Progressive community, and actually acknowledge: between July and November 2016, something went VERY wrong and THEY do bear some responsibility for this.
At the moment, in the COMPLETE absence of this, what we are witnessing may well be this: a Bernie Sanders, consummate insider, continuing the deal he struck with the DemParty back in Winter 2015: to energize the left base, swell the DemParty membership, and bring those members under the (now-tatttered) Dem umbrella with promises of significant change (which the Dem Establishment has no intention of ever pursuing).
Just an Alternative Narrative for your consideration.
As always, thanks for reading. Comments always welcome.