To Progress or not to Progress
Back when I started the second phase of this blog, I wondered if I was a Progressive. I didn’t even know what a Progressive was – although I have since read two definitions that I did not understand.
Well, I now have my answer.
No, I am not a Progressive.
I came to this realization at the town hall held by Senator Ed Markey in Boston last Thursday night.
This was only hours after Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement.
Markey talked about this travesty which I’m sure was devastating for him. He has been a strong advocate for the environment and has been shouting from the rooftops (well, Twitter and national news broadcasts) that it would be a grave mistake to leave the Paris Agreement.
He also talked about the horrific implications of both Trump’s budget and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
After highlighting these topics as well as a few others – and getting several digs in at Trump – he opened up the discussion to questions.
I quickly picked up on the fact that the Boston crowd was different from the Lexington crowd where I had last seen Markey.
Questions from the audience included:
- Why aren’t you advocating for single-payer healthcare? You aren’t being proactive.
- How could you possibly have voted for the Iraq war? War is immoral under any and all circumstances.
- This was asked before, but why don’t you support single-payer?
- How about pushing for a negative income tax? Get creative.
- Someone else asked this question, but how come you aren’t behind single-payer?
To each and every time he was asked about single-payer healthcare, he said he would like to see a single-payer system in the future, but right now the Democrats are in the fight of their lives to protect the ACA. All of their resources need to go into that.
He couldn’t have been more clear. And Niki Tsongas had the same response in Andover. Why is this answer so difficult to understand or accept?
In response to the question regarding the use of military force in Iraq, Markey provided his reasons as to why he cast his vote the way he did and stated he felt his vote had been misrepresented. I got the gist of what he was saying, but not to the point where I want to try to cover it here. However, I did a little looking on govtrack.us. I believe the vote that the questioner was asking about was on H.J.Res. 114 (107th): Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
Yes, a single vote from 15 years ago. When he was in the House of Representatives. And where 80 other House Democrats also had their reasons for saying “yae”.
I’m a little more interested in what he is thinking and doing now rather than the reasons why he cast one vote 15 years ago. And what he has been doing lately is pushing for sanctions and negations over military action in places like Syria and North Korea. And asking the executive branch to at least consult with Congress about military actions.
When given the suggestion to push for a negative income tax, he said “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Okay, maybe that wasn’t really Markey.
Maybe that was the voice in my head screaming over Markey’s more inclusive response which was more along the lines of “Have you heard about Trump’s budget? The one I just talked about a few minutes ago?” Okay, I’m still paraphrasing.
At one point during the evening someone yelled out “Just answer the question!” and others piled on.
Yes, one of the best Senators in the United States Senate, and they were rude to him. (Certainly not a majority of them, but enough.)
All I wanted to do was go up on stage and hug him.
And I’m not a hugger.
Do Progressives realize we are in a crisis?
I’ll even go so far as to call it an existential crisis?
Yes, the Democrats are currently the Party of No. And some of them may be flawed. And the Democratic Party needs to get their act together.
But many of them, including Markey, are doing everything they can to stop the bleeding during this existential crisis.
Now’s not the time to nitpick. Now’s not the time to demand visionary ideals that have absolutely no chance of success during this current crisis. Now’s not the time to be rude to those who are fighting for our rights with everything they have.
So, I’m not a Progressive.
I’m a liberal who thinks Democrats like Markey, Warren, Tsongas, and Healey are our only hope right now.
And we need to get behind them.