This is a hard cold fact that Democrats have trouble hearing… the Democrats and Republicans have lead together. To-gether. Not one and then the other, not in combat, but together.
When people say that Democrats are just as bad as Republicans, this is not just about both being equally bad… that is not the real gist of the problem. Given a comparison, the Democrats have long been better.
The problem is the partnership, it is, exactly, a “good cop bad cop” system. Did Carter distance the US from the Shah?
Recently, elsewhere on the net, one supposedly moderate but hawkish conservative reacted to my perspective on torture (it’s not tolerable) with a very blunt answer… they believed me, and they would rely on people like me to fix the mess and back off of a pro-torture policy when the time came. Meanwhile, it’s cowboy.
From a petty political perspective this is similar to a prediction that the US will sicken of these practices… it will wise up and choose a civilized path again. But no, it means that we progressives are just one side of America’s mouth. There is only one thing to think about such an approach, we are the carrot, they are the stick, and we cannot pretend we are not a part of this system where liberalism and conservativism are nothing but two sides of a behaviorialist approach to oppression… we’re the cop that gets the suspect a glass of water, but we don’t stop him getting beat, and we don’t turn down the pay check, and we don’t create progress, not that way.
I see the real task for progressives as breaking this cycle. I don’t want to be the guy America can point to and say “see… this one doesn’t want to kill you all” just long enough to convince the world to extend some trust again and then again it’s back to the bad cop.
This is what really leads my most activist friends to have no hope for Democrats… it’s not that they don’t realize the benefit of Democratic policies, but they picture their role perpetuating the overall system. They see their role softening and making palatable practices which might create a violent reaction if not softened this way. We are here to let steam off the oppressure cooker, and there is not much room to deny that, I’m sad to say.