Every once and a while an article comes along that just strikes the right nerve; one that makes everyone that reads it have some sort of visceral reaction, whether that reaction is to celebrate it’s existence and the truth it tells, or to scorn the very person that wrote it and their parents for creating them.
Jeet Heer’s recent article is not one of those articles. Generally, it’s just bad.
Heer’s article is framed around the podcast Chapo Trap House, more specifically the phrase used by Will Menaker: “bend the knee to us”. In context, Menaker is referring to the centrists and liberals currently at the head of the Democratic Party, commanding us on the left from on high to put aside our distrust of them and unite to defeat the obvious threat of the GOP and Donald Trump even though their methods and ideas on how to fight back the darkness have obviously and humiliatingly failed to the detriment of us all.
Heer’s all-too-brief moment of clarity in the article is him pointing out that the quote, taken out of context, has been used by people critical of CTH and their ideas in order to smear the entirety of the Left that is hostile to the established order in American politics. Yet, Heer goes on to excoriate CTH and those who think like them of impropriety, that by openly mocking the liberal elite and their tactics we on the Left prevent ourselves from gaining allies and convincing people of our ideas. The old “attracting more flies with honey than vinegar” canard.
I can’t buy this for even a second. Neither should anyone else. Think about what has transpired the past two years. We have a candidate in Bernie Sanders that, despite his obvious flaws in foreign policy, had really great ideas, the ability to get young people excited and enthused by a campaign, and was polling better against every Republican candidate than Hillary Clinton was during the primary. Cue the behind the scenes rigging of the primary for Clinton by the Democratic party establishment, media hitpieces calling Sanders an idealistic old doddard at best and a malicious , and Sanders eventual defeat due to a horrible super-delegate system that needs to die a quick death.
Did the Democratic Party establishment follow Heer’s advice and come to the Sanders contingent of the party in kindness and compassion to convince us to get behind Hillary? You already know the answer; we were presented with insults, condescension, smugness, and browbeating, screaming at the top of their lungs that the only path to heaven was through them, that the only way to stop Donald Trump was to get behind the out-of-touch former Secretary of Drone Strikes who made use of prison labor while in the Arkansas governor’s mansion.
Then the impossible happened, and the senile racist gameshow host won the Presidency, defeating the supposedly “most qualified person to ever run”. People were rightly shocked, confused, despondent even. What happened after the initial terror? They decided that this defeat was everyone else’s fault but them. It was the fault of Berniebros. It was the fault of Stein voters. It was the fault of Johnson voters. It was the fault of the media that didn’t challenge Trump enough. It couldn’t possibly be the fault of their awful unpopular candidate who has since the election become more unpopular in the polls than the complete baying moron currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On top of it all, when the Left asks for even a single proposal to be on the table in 2018 and 2020 like single payer healthcare, they tell us to stay out of their way as they put forward unelectable laboratory experiments like Jon Ossoff.
So no Jeet, I’m not going to play nice with the elite that would rather see this country drown in a sea of boiling water amidst a totalitarian state than even move slightly to the Left. Individual people who aren’t in the leadership of these institutions however, can absolutely be reasoned with without resorting to insults. Discourse can be instructive and possibly convincing to the average centrist or liberal. Not to the elite institution leaders though. They have vested interests in never changing. There is delicious donor money to rake in. There are elbows of the Wall Street aristocracy to rub at expensive fundraising dinners and parties, sometimes those elbows belong to your Republican colleagues. Who cares to the proles who wallow without livable wages or affordable housing or even the bare concept of health insurance?
We’ll be fine.
No matter what happens, we’ll be fine.
So please excuse me if I have an unkind word to say about Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Jonathan Chait, or the rest of the establishment Dems. After all, they’ll be just fine.