That Same Old Straw Man

Scarecrows

Scarecrows (Photo credit: MrGiles)

Every once in a while I hear it. Now and then some Democrat apologist whines about the left implying that there is no difference between their chosen party and the Republicans. This is the latest iteration of that tired straw man. Never mind for a second that so much of what is said in that “article” only tells us what Democrats believe and not how they act. Also, let’s forget for a moment that it also commits that straw man fallacy with Republicans (seriously? You think Republicans believe helping the middle class is wrong. They may not be as committed to helping the middle class, they may have bad policies for doing so, but both parties trumpet their love of that vanishing class.) Do really believe the left does not know that one party is far worse for progress than the other?

Obviously Republican ideas about austerity and huge tax breaks for corporations are worse for the overall economy (and therefore the middle and lower classes) than the Democrats’. With their Tea Party caucus the GOP has been unabashed in its devotion to corporate hegemony. It has bent over backwards to paint all government as bad and has been behaving in deliberately inept fashion to prove that point. No real progressive believes they are not worse than the Dems.

There are some important similarities in their behavior however. They have both avoided changing policy to undo the deregulation of the financial sector. Yes the Dems talk a good game about it, and then offer no ideas, no motivation and hence no actual laws to protect us from the worst excesses of an industry that by its nature behaves like a sociopath. They take the same money from the same corporations as their Republican rivals, and therefore leave themselves just as beholden.

The Democrats have the same “drill, baby, drill” attitude toward the fossil fuel industry. Again, they talk the talk about renewable and green energies, but still are willing to hand out 65% of all government subsidies to he oil and gas industry. The President is committed to natural gas development, a “solution” that  requires we engage in the odious practice known as fracking. He supports, or at least has supported, the Keystone XL pipeline, which will transport particularly toxic petrochemicals across our country. If we invested even a tenth of what we do on fossil fuels on renewables we would not even have this issue, but the Democrats have lacked the backbone to make that happen.

Hey, I know and appreciate that there are differences between the parties. I acknowledge that on race, gender, and LGBT issues the Dems have it all over the Republicans. I also get that just talking the talk does help the narrative. What does not help the narrative , however, is giving them a pass for not walking the walk. If you really want progressive change you need to call the progressive leadership for not stepping up to the plate. And if you like fossil fuel “exploration” and tax cuts to “create jobs” well, we’re going to disagree but more to the point, in a few years, when there is a Republican in the White House, if you beat them over the head with those ideas, we will call you out as a hypocrite. It’s up to  you to decide if you want real change (you remember that hope and change stuff) or just the illusion of it to make you feel like a good person while maintaining a status quo you feel comfortable in.

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