Every morning, usually during my morning poo, I check my Facebook “On This Day” tab. Partially it’s to see the cool photos from past adventures, and pictures with friends and family. But another part is the masochistic craving to see what dumb shit I used to post on social media. But yesterday I saw some political commentary I posted a year ago that didn’t make me retch with embarrassment.
I posted this analysis of Bernie Sanders and expressed my support for him:
“As individuals, we are only as progressive as the ideals of the current population; some people are a little further ahead, some a little further behind. My goal, as everyone’s should be, is to anticipate, understand, and empathize with the progress we will make as a society in the oncoming decades and try to not get left behind. History looks at those who cling to antiquated beliefs pretty unfavorably, whether it be with respect to slavery, civil rights, gender equality, sexual equality, etc. But no matter how hard any of us try to anticipate what is right in the context of our generation, we’ll never get anywhere close to the foresight of Sen. Sanders. I’m telling you with total confidence, history will paint him in an extremely favorable light. And when my great grandkids are reading about him in the way we read about FDR, Lincoln, and Washington, I want to know that I supported him. With what I’ve seen from the footage of Trump rallies, I anticipate that our country as a whole may not be ready for him (I sincerely hope I am mistaken), but I guarantee you his opinions will be the norm within the next couple decades. And then in 50 years we’ll look back and wonder why we were so blind to the progress coming.”
I’ve been reevaluating that thought of attempting to anticipate progress and follow where I see the world going. Not because I don’t believe it, but because the regression I’ve witnessed in the Trump administration makes me wonder if moderation is not simply more reasonable, but more fair and tolerant too.
I had a debate with a girl from undergrad a few years ago about the answers being in the gray, and things not being so black and white. I learned later that this is a common fallacy known as argument to moderation, but at the time I had to think about it to debate it. She disagreed with me on nearly everything, from existence of a higher power to detox regimens. For me, everything comes back to the evidence. For her, it wasn’t that simple. In reality, the truth for her likely lay somewhere between the evidence and emotion. At the time I was going through my brutally rational, spock-like phase with a dash of persecuted atheist along with it. I thought evidence was the solution to everything and if people were more rational then the world would be a better place. I’m not sure that’s incorrect, I’m just not so adamant about it anymore.
So the relevance of all this, in my midnight rant, as any good writer knows, you should get to the point at 500 words in, no sooner or you’ll risk making your post make any bit of sense to the reader. The point is Bernie Sanders was too progressive right now. It doesn’t make him wrong. I’ll stand by that in 20 years Sanders will look moderate and he’ll look completely and utterly, at risk of using a meaningless word, right. Trump will no doubt be seen as a tantrum prone infant in the light of history. But how will Clinton look, a relative moderate who was not quite progressive enough for large portions of my demographic, but too liberal for the other half.
I think Clinton succeeded where I would have failed. She knew what was right, but was willing to compromise to the more emotional other half. My question that I guess I’m still trying to formulate is whether traditionalism is wrong and progressivism is right, and in what context they are right and wrong in. But even that question somewhat misses my point. Part of it is the question of do we have to somewhat appeal to emotion when considering policies because humans aren’t simply rational beings. And another question is fundamentally is there such thing as right and wrong, are policies comprised of zeros and ones, or is the gray area not only more reasonable and appeasing to the majority, but also potentially somehow the ‘right’ answer?
I may be attempting to oversimplify it, or I may be just asking questions when I don’t need to be. Donald Trump is fundamentally a scumbag. And I hate that his emotionally charged, testosterone infused, hypermasculine, hypersensitive voting population is making me wonder if there is some semblance of truth to the bigotry that now defines that party. But I have to wonder, was Bernie Sanders right in a historical or future perspective, but actually wrong for the population today?
Whatever the case, we’re stuck with a high school bully for president and lost friends and family who are as incapable of seeing it from my perspective as I am of seeing it from theirs. It’s late, I’ve got finals coming up, my dog just ripped a rank fart, and politics is the last thing I need to be thinking about after this last miserable election year. Goodnight.