When Hippies Punch Hippies
Q. What is a hippie?
A. Generally, a hippie is an annoying, useless. [sic] Actually, less than useless, as they are not happy until they prevent other people from being useful as well. In fact, Scientists have determined that the only evolutionary purpose of a hippie is for punching as a stress release for productive members of society.
Q. Are there any other uses for hippies than punching them?
A. No, there are no other uses.
Q. What are the benefits of punching hippies?
A. What aren’t? It gives you exercise, increases your intelligence and sexual prowess, helps the economy, defeats terrorism, and helps orphans find families. Also, scientists say that each time you punch a hippie, they get one step closer to curing cancer.
Q. Just to be clear, are you talking about physically striking hippies or are you talking metaphorically about “punching” hippies through rhetorical means or through your actions against narcissistic hippie ideals?
A. Can’t it be both?
That FAQ could have easily been written by Valerie Jarrett, the DLC, or the Limbaugh.
There has always been this assumption that the biggest enemy of those on the left are from the right. I am sad to say those days are over:
Don’t even get me started on what goes on at the “Orange Satan.”
This isn’t good, people.
We have met the enemy, and it is us.
At least when we debate those on the right, the debates are about policy issues. Obviously, their ideas aren’t clearly thought out, and at times are whacked out lies, but at least we stay somewhat on topic. Whether it be finreg, economics, or LGBT issues.
But what on earth are we doing amongst ourselves? FDL may be a bit of an exception, but lately it seems like we waste too much time fighting over little issues with frequent ad-hominems, while fortifying our own little fiefdoms.
Remember the public option debate? Neither do I. There was no debate about it’s merits versus Medicare for all, between the progressives & centrists. It was “shut up & sit down; you’re lucky we’re even patronizing you at all with this PO nonsense.”
The mortgage crisis? “shuddup hippies, no cramdown for you.”
Af-Pak? “Either you’re with the President, or a sellout.”
Tax cuts? lol
In my life I have never seen such a chasm between members of the left, and members of the not-so-left. It’s clear there needs to be some debate between the two, but at best one side gets ignored, and at worst we get ad-hominem hippie punching, and don’t even get to the real issues of the day. And this is before we even get to the right wing debates.
How else can we move forward, if we can’t even debate amongst ourselves in a coherent fashion? How can we find a unifying message to rally around?
One of the key ideological foundations of the left is the concept of dissent. It makes us intellectually curious, it spurs debate, and pushes us to find new ideas and solutions.
What it does not do, is make us politically powerful. No, that requires the opposite: unity, discipline, and sometimes stubbornness.
The hippies understand the former. The punchers understand the latter. The former wants solid policy. The latter wants power.
The perverse effect of this is that our leaders, the ones in power who are typically toward the center, consider our greatest strength to be our weakness. Further, the pettiness of the last year or so is not unifying us. In fact, it’s destroying our ability to debate and persuade, which should be our biggest strength!
A great man from Illinois once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” It seems clear that we either need to come together, or part ways. The punching must stop one way or another. The mainstream left of center crowd needs to stop punching the far left, or what little remains of it, and centrists need to stop punching both.
Good luck w/that.