So, last night we were sitting around talking about nm’s question from yesterday, “What can you do if you feel like the Democrats in this state think ‘Democrat’ means ‘Just Like the Republicans'”?
And one of us was saying that you can not love state Democrats but if we don’t vote them in, it’ll just get worse and worse and worse.
And I disagreed. I think when you have half of the state Democrats signing on to an amendment that denies a fundimental citizenship right to women (no, assholes, abortion is not a fundimental citizenship right. The ability to control what happens to your body and to be free from the state inflicting pain and suffering on you is.), it’s about as bad as it can get.
But it’s freeing to know that it’s a lie when folks say “As bad as the Democrats are, the Republicans are worse.” Worse how so? Because only the Republicans think the State owns a pregnant woman’s body? Nope. Democrats think that, too. Because only Republicans think that gay people shouldn’t be able to adopt kids? Nope. Democrats think that, too. Because only Republicans put forth “Women are lying bitches you need to be protected from” legislation? Nope. Democrats do that, too.
For most folks who have Democratic representation in this state, if they were to find themselves with Republican representation, they would see no difference.
Does that mean you should just go ahead and succumb to dispair and vote Republican? I say, if they’re cute enough, yes. Ha, no, that’s not actually what I say. I say unqualifiably in some cases, yes.
Say you live in a place with high unemployment and let’s say that your three top concerns are:
1. Equality under the law for all Tennesseans, regardless of gender of sexual orientation.
Well, if your Democratic candidate doesn’t support number one, we’re now in a position as voters where sending him to Nashville just in hopes of boosting the Democratic numbers hoping that means that other Democrats come through on one doesn’t have the weight it did. And that’s just the truth of it.
So, if the Republican candidate seems to have really good ideas about how to bring jobs to your area, I’m not going to sit here and blame you for voting for him or her.
That’s just the truth on the ground.
I would encourage you to continue to vote for Democrats. I’m going to continue to vote for Democrats. But I’m going to stop lying to myself about the importance of voting for Democrats as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong. I follow politics, and I get how the game works. I get that we need a lot of Democrats so that the Democrats I agree with have a shot at doing the things I’d like them to do. I get that redistricting matters. I get that being able to send Democrats to Washington under a Democratic administration matters.
But I’ve thought that for a decade and at the end of that decade, I ask you Democrats, where are we? I voted for Democrats over and over again and yet… and yet… here we still are.
And last night, I was depressed about it. But I got up this morning and I realized, no, no matter what the truth is, it’s always better to know it. You can make the decisions you have to make based on the truth.
And the truth is that most Democratic politicians in this state do not deserve my blind loyalty. Nor do they deserve yours.
So, what’s that mean?
I think it means two things.
1. There is no Democratic base in Tennessee. It’s broken. Voters and volunteers have held that puppy together as long as they could and while we were busy on our hands and knees with duct tape, the politicians were busy dancing on our fingers. It’s time we stand up, wipe the dust off our clothes and let the politicians decide what they want to do. If having a Democratic base in this state is important to them, they’re going to have to take some time away from pretending to be Republicans and attend to things here at home. There have been some positive motions in this direction, but for every positive motion, there is an opposite stupid motion. Doing one good thing and then one terrible thing is not going to cut it. There’s no progress there.
2. We can rethink this whole idea that our representatives are the people who represent our district. If wanting women to have rights is important to you, well, we learned the names of twenty-one folks yesterday who deserve our support. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t “our” representatives. Right now, they ARE our representatives. And that’s the truth. And that’s how we have to start behaving–like every race is our race and every candidate potentially someone who deserves our support.
I know that, as a practical matter, we need all the Democrats we can get. So, I think that people who are suggesting primarying sitting Democrats are wrong. But I also think that, as a matter of survival, we have to start actively supporting the folks who are doing right and openly chastising the Democrats who are not. They need us, but they have demonstrated, repeatedly, that we cannot count on them.
Business as usual has landed us here. We need a new business.
I don’t know what that will look like, but I believe it starts with Democratic voters changing how we do things.