The Green party has long been anathema to any genuine progressive turn in American politics now for upwards of twenty years or more. Beginning with Nader’s undercutting Gore’s electoral chances and thus putting Shrub (the lesser Bush) in the office of the President, the Green party has done everything in its power to demonstrate its absolute rejection of basic logic (to say nothing of facts on the ground) in favor of an “ideology” that amounts to nothing more than self-absorbed infantilism.
And yes, I too have seen the strained fabrications that have self-righteously proclaimed that Nader did not cost Gore Florida in 2000. But like any person gifted with nothing more exotic than the mere abstract possibility of intelligence or thought, I recognize these exercises in childish excuse-making for what they are. This nonsense has even gone so far as to claim that Nader voters would have turned to Bush, had Nader not been running. Which is to say, Gore wasn’t far enough to the political left for such people, so in the absence of Nader they would have leapt even further to the political right. The only imaginable reason for doing so would be sheer, infantile spite which, given the nature of the Green party and its devotees, is actually almost believable. But I’m going to work on the assumption that Green party voters are merely stupid, as opposed to self-absorbed, narcissistic, intransigently petty, sniveling little cry-babies. If I am mistaken on this point, I apologize in advance.
While I’ve written on this theme a few times in the past, it is once again prominent in my mind as a Congressional race I am aware of is easily close enough that it might well be handed to the Republican extremist currently occupying that federal seat by a sincere Green candidate who has no chance of doing anything other than split the liberal vote – the only thing any Green candidate (at this point, at least) has any hope of ever doing. Put in other words, the only thing any Green candidate and any Green voter has any hope of doing is making things worse. At least a few of them that I am variously aware of are so pathetic and devoid of basic intelligence and decency as to be consciously doing this on purpose. I will again assume that this is not the majority, although that assumption does at times seem to be grasping at straws. In the case of the above mentioned Congressional race, it is close enough to me that the frustration I experience watching this self-same train-wreck go down – YET AGAIN – has taken on genuinely personal characteristics.
Perhaps this is a good point to recall the bald-faced lies that were the center-pieces of both the Nader and the Jill Stein presidential campaigns. Nader spewed the indefensible nonsense that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. But precisely how stupid would a person have to be to fail to recognize such an infantile canard for what it was? Stein, however, was worse, going so far as to insist that Hillary Clinton was even worse than Trump – bearing in mind that Clinton was probably the single most qualified individual to ever run for the office of the President, with decades of personal experience in law and in the executive branch, the 3rd or 4th most liberal voter in the Senate – demanding that we disregard indisputable facts in favor of fabrications, innuendos, rumors, and utterly transparent lies. Stein even went so far as to evidently claim that a vote for Clinton was a vote for war with Russia. (This while Stein herself was evidently playing cozy with the Russians, who were aggressively attacking our entire electoral system.) THESE are the people the Green party sets up for the highest national office.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Green party has no interest in making a real political difference, they only want to make noise and congratulate themselves about how perfect and pure their vacuous ideals really are. But their so-called “ideals” really are nothing more than vacuous mewling, since they refuse as a matter of their oh-so-very-important principles to take any of the steps they’d need to take if they seriously meant to become players on the national political stage. But such steps would require discipline and commitment, virtues that only ever manifest themselves in actual adults, as opposed to self-righteous children who’ve enjoyed more than a few birthdays.
To begin with, IF the Greens were actually serious about making a political change, THEN they would cease advancing political candidates for any national office immediately, and they would forego such idiocy for at least the next 20 years. Instead, they would spend the next 10 years (again, at least) doing nothing but cultivating young candidates for strictly local offices – city council, county treasurer, board of education, etc. This should be focused on locales that not only had the best chance for local success, but the best grounds for “mid-range” success. Because that mid-range would then be state level offices – state representative, state senator – where this pool of “young turks” could emerge as established players and successful politicians on the state-wide stage. Such developments would be the focus for the next 10 years (at least!!) Only then, only after a minimum of 20 disciplined, committed years of focused, adult effort, would it even possibly be reasonable to suggest one of these groomed and experienced individuals as an appropriate candidate for a national office. And even then, even after this hard, determined, grown-up work, it would only be under the most exceptional of circumstances that such an individual would be directed at so high a national office as the Senate.
Lest you think I’m being unreasonable, I would point out that this is the path that Barack Obama took.
“OH,” but the Green’s exclaim, hardly able to maintain their footing for the severe case of “the vapors” gripping them, all the while clutching at their chests and twirling their pearl necklaces, “but Obama failed to give us everything we wanted, exactly the way we wanted it, the instant we wanted it!”
Yeah – and if that is really your complaint, then you genuinely are as childish and stupid as I have been suggesting. If your standard is “Perfect or DAMNED”, then you lack even the abstract possibility of either intelligence or integrity. Obama made things a little bit better. Clinton (most qualified individual ever … remember that part?) would have made things a little better still. Not perfect, by any means. But medicare for all would have been closer to a reality. Two right-wing extremists, one of whom is a rapist, would not be on the Supreme Court. But praise be that your infantile ideals were nowhere tempered by reality, much less discipline or commitment.
Compartmentalization of facts and ideas, of intentions and realities, is a trait that Robert Altemeyer identifies with what he calls the “right-wing authoritarian.” Altemeyer also mentions, though he does not develop, the fact that this kind of authoritarian mentality is not limited to the right-wing of the political spectrum, but was merely that end of the spectrum he wished to focus on. I mention this to highlight the fact that Green party enthusiasts demonstrate many of the same collection of authoritarian thinking that right-wing extremists do, and in this instance especially compartmentalization. Normally intelligent, educated persons will not only blithely ignore, but rabidly denounce any mention of, say, Arrow’s paradox, and pretend that their viciously reality dissociated “idealism” trumps wholesale any and all logic and evidence.
Green’s must compartmentalize the fact that they have consistently done NOTHING but make things worse. They must ignore the facts on the ground in order to justify their self-righteous chest-thumping. They must disregard the fact that they’ve never made a substantive, committed, disciplined, long-term, grown-up effort to build a real, popular political base. This sort of compartmentalization takes a great deal of effort.
This is why it is not easy to be Green.