Enemies Among Us: An Open Letter to Those Attacking Senator Cory Booker
That's a funny word, progressive.
Within the word is the word progress, meaning a gradual improvement. Yet for some reason, many of you who consider yourselves to be progressives have consistently gone against legislation and candidates that support policies designed to do exactly this.
Most recently, you've gone up in arms against Senator Cory Booker, who was one of thirteen Democratic senators to vote against Senator Bernie Sanders' proposed amendment that would lower the cost of prescription drugs. Amid criticism that he is in the pocket of big pharma, Booker offered to explain his vote by stating his concern over a lack of consumer protections that he felt the amendment did not adequately address. The amendment itself fell 8 votes short of the needed 60 for passage, so Booker's vote was in no way the deciding vote. Yet, of the thirteen senators who voted against it, Booker had the highest profile so he became the prime target of your rage. For that, I have one simple two-word phrase:
Seriously. Just stop it. Stop riding your ideological high horse and rejecting all that doesn't meet your standards.
Because your standards show that you have no idea how government works. Are you really going to attack a man who just made history as the first sitting senator to testify against a colleague at their cabinet nomination? A man who in his testimony said he was against Senator Jeff Sessions because he "has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job – to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights, and justice for all." Is this the kind of man who is not "progressive" enough for you?
Because if it is then you need to stop calling yourself a progressive. If you're more concerned with a failed amendment for prescription drugs and not the civil rights for every single American over the next four years then you don't understand the progressive movement and what it stands for. By attacking a man who will be vital to the resistance over the next four years, you're giving free ammunition to a Republican Party looking to delegitimize any and all opposition. If you're going to attack every single Democratic senator for every single vote that doesn't mean your own warped version of perfect political progressivism over the next four years, then you're going to end up constantly attacking the Democratic Party.
But maybe, that's what you've always wanted.
Because perfect is the enemy of the good. The same is true in life as in politics. We don't have a perfect union in the United States, but we constantly strive to make it better. It's why it took us nearly 150 years to give women the right to vote. It's why it took us nearly 200 years to end institutional segregation. And it's why it took us nearly 240 years to implement full marriage equality. The United States gets it right...eventually. But that is the blessing and curse of a representative democracy. Change doesn't happen overnight. It often takes years, decades, and sometimes a generation or more to implement progressive change. Progressive heroes like John Lewis often spend their entire lives fighting for a cause and they continue to fight because they know that even with successes, there is still more work to do.
This is the message that you all will never understand. I know this because I know your type: you're the type of people who voted against the ACA because it wasn't single payer. You didn't vote in the 2010 midterms because President Obama did bring about the kind of change you believed he would instantly deliver. You didn't vote for your local Democratic senatorial candidate in 2014 because you disagreed with some of his or her votes. And in 2016 you supported Bernie Sanders and when he didn't receive the Democratic nomination, you voted for a third party candidate.
This preposterous search for purity doesn't make you a progressive; it makes you a phony. A faux progressive. A fake. A fraud. It shows you to be an ignoramus and a dolt who doesn't understand both the history of the progressive movement as well as the current state of politics in our country. You're officially the adult version of the middle school student who votes for the nominee for class president because he promised daylong recess and no homework and then gets mad when that nominee doesn't win. News flash: there's a reason why that kid in middle school lost just as there is a reason why Bernie Sanders lost. In the real world of American politics, you simply don't get perfect legislation or candidates. What you do get is candidates who make compromises, some of which you might not agree with. But, over time, these candidates' records speak for themselves and prove these candidates to be solid allies in the current progressive movement.
A True Progressive
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