Opinion: An indictment of American liberalism

For decades the Democratic party has been known as the home of those who label themselves as left-leaning, liberal or progressive, yet I am increasingly unable to agree with that sentiment. For evidence of this argument I turn to the recent events of the Syrian bombings of the past month, and the ongoing strife between members of the party. Following the April 7 tomahawk missile strikes members of both parties and the media were quick to praise President Donald Trump for his action. House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi (D) and Chuck Schumer (D) offered their tepid approval of the attack, and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared on NBC the night before beseeching the Trump administration to “take out” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s airbases, a position she had previously used to criticize then President Obama. MSNBC’s Brian Williams spent the night reporting in what seemed like a practical state of euphoria, ascribing the term “beauty” to the missiles that would strike and claim the lives of at least nine civilians and seven soldiers. What does it say when the most prominent members of the left condone this sort of interventionist military action? Can we still say we have a liberal party if they echo the neoconservative ideologies of the Reagan and George W. Bush eras?

This problem is exacerbated by the ongoing war between Democrats for the future and identity of the party. Progressives have found themselves increasingly in conflict with the rest of the party. Members of the party decry the use of big money in politics, yet most Democratic representatives have no qualms about accepting their own large corporate donations. The controversies over the DNC’s usage of superdelegates and active sabotage of the Sanders campaign demonstrate a disregard for grassroots democracy. The battle between the corporate establishment of the party and the progressive organizations has revealed what a hideous state the Democrats are in. This speaks to a problem our generation is experiencing on both sides of the political spectrum. Just as I, a self-described liberal, feel that I do not have a party that I trust or identify with, many of my conservative companions feel the same way about the direction of their own Republican party. What outlet then, does our generation have to express itself or vocalize when we increasingly feel marginalized by the parties that are supposed to represent us?

Written by Andrew Kristofick ’17.

1 comments

I’d be careful about conflating endorsement of the bombing as just “another in a long line of establishment democrats.” There is nothing about being non-establishment that prevents you from being a neoliberal. You’re obviously a fan of Bernie, but a lot of the farther-left members of the party (myself included) are consistently disappointed by his desire to both call for a tolerance of the xenophobic ideals intrinsic to the Trump campaign and re-conceptualize very basic Marxist ideas so as to remove any mention of racial intolerance and make them as palatable to whites as possible. As much as I like ragging on the DNC, I think this is a time to call for actual radical representation by prominent leftist figures, not shift our endorsements from Hillary to whatever neoliberal Sandercrat pops up next.

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