These comments were written after reading articles (on Counterpunch and Facebook, 26-30 March 2016) by sanctimonious leftist “anti-imperialists” (Paul Street and Eric Draister, in particular), complaining about Bernie Sanders, who they see as not being a “real” socialist, and of ‘certainly’ being another pro-US military imperialist and pro-drone War On Terror adherent.
These writers find the many enthusiasts for Bernie Sanders to be naive and simplistic for being distracted from organizing “real” and “authentic” anti-war and social justice movements, by the excitement and drama of the Bernie Sanders campaign and by their participation in American electoral politics in general. Presumably, those yet-to-occur authentic socialist anti-war movements would recognize the authors of these articles as essential mentors and leaders of those virtual movements of higher vision for the greater good.
On the other hand, maybe these snobbish blowhards, enamored with the loftiness of their visions, the superiority of their acumen, and the goodness of their secular holiness, missed what is obvious to millions: the Bernie Sanders campaign is the authentic mass movement in America for social justice, and against war and imperialism.
Empire abroad has its domestic reflection in colonialism at home. Democratic socialism at home has it projection abroad as a more diplomatic and internationalist-collaborative foreign policy. No political leader, including Bernie Sanders, is “perfect.” The issue here is to recognize reality, and to take advantage of a historic opportunity in the here-and-now of our imperfect country in an imperfect world, to make some tangible changes in the near future for the better, for the real lives of real people (millions, perhaps billions of them). “In a land without sheep, a goat is a prized possession.”
Nitpicking the color scheme and appointments of a lifeboat plucking you out of the ocean after a shipwreck, or of a firetruck arriving to hose down your house that has burst into flames, or of Bernie Sanders’ misalignments with your personal vision of a worthier “foreign policy” despite the current reality of US foreign policy (of a Clinton-Kissinger and Obama-Reagan variety) is definitely the symptom of a self-righteous snobbish elitist sense of entitlement: “I am holier than thou (y’all simple-minded clods) because I am the most refined gourmand of utopian political philosophies, and I polish my halo and pedestal thus (as I shall school you in my erudite sermon of complaint).”
This nation has too damn many spoiled brat privileged white boys and girls, from the over-educated under-achieving, self-important anti-imperialist internet leftists who can’t bring themselves to vote for an “imperialist” Bernie Sanders, and who don’t have any concept of what a minimum wage raised to $15 an hour means to tens of millions, or of what a revolution that would represent in this country. Also, we have too many self-absorbed high-earning white female “feminists,” who want to safeguard their “right to choose” but don’t particularly care if their daycare nannies earn less than $15 an hour (minimum wage in South Carolina is $7.75/hr., unlicensed daycare workers get “whatever”) or gain socialized healthcare. They have to vote for Hillary Clinton, regardless of the consequences, because Hillary is just like them: vapid and entitled.
Realistic revolutionaries take the favorable opportunities that history may surprisingly offer them at a propitious moment — with gratitude (easily felt if you have a family or cultural memory of oppression) — and then subsequently try to eliminate the blemishes of these imperfect gifts of historical quantum jumps of liberation, after the revolution is established.
People are people, they are imperfect, they will never be perfectly agreeable, so politics never ends. Peace is an endless continuing process, it is not a static finality; there is no perfect politics, no perfect state, no utopian terminus to actual human societies.
Get real, and stop complaining that reality always fails to match your ideal — it never will. “In politics, the choice is never between good and evil, but between the preferable and the detestable.” In the reality of America in 2016, Bernie Sanders is by far the preferable. Don’t waste my time with your vain navel-gazing and halo-polishing.