Canary in a Coal Mine

A lot of good people don’t like Debbie “the Sane Progressive” Lusignan since she takes no prisoners and yells a lot. Still, while her completely uncompromising stance dismisses even personalities like Bernie Sanders as an establishment sell-out (after originally supporting him before he made some – at least partially questionable – compromising moves), her ability to sniff out flaws and potential problems in political strategies and personalities strikes me as unmatched. And while a canary’s chirping may get on your nerves, that chirping bird is still tremendously valuable, since – if you wait to notice dangerous coal mine gases yourself – it’s usually going to be too late.

Therefore, even though I myself still consider Bernie Sanders a valuable asset to our 2nd American Revolution — because the revolution we need is really up to us, not a single champion on a forlorn post, and what similarly popular politician is completely free of political flaws? — I think that Debbie the Sane Progressive is always good to check in on to find out what she has to say about the current situation. Those things she rants about are always worth mulling over. Seeing the pitfalls and principles to which she alerts us means not flying blind. And that is highly recommendable.

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Congress Seeks Criminalization of Divestment Protests”)

Here, by the way, is a sensible (I hope) response to Debbie’s critique of Bernie Sanders: If Bernie, deep down, really is just another establishment politician who only tells us things we want to hear while secretly selling out to the moneyed interests, just like Obama and Trump, you nevertheless cannot deny that our conversation has evolved a lot during Bernie’s presidential campaign, and in the time since. Things which in the past you might only have heard on Moyers and Company, or the progressive portion of Book TV, we now regularly get to hear on alternative (and sometimes even corporate) media, and out of the mouths of a growing number of political candidates and representatives — still only few, but a growing number nonetheless!

While Obama promised us a few crumbs and some main-street rhetoric, Bernie has brought our wealth and income inequality, the toxic money in politics, our education rip-off, and healthcare as a human right center stage in our growing public discourse. We owe him greatly for this, and he could do even more before he retires or expires: namely give us the parting present of a functioning people’s party.

I, personally, doubt by now that he can do this by reforming the “Democratic” Party, which to me seems – just like the Republican Party – corrupt beyond repair. It looks pretty obvious to me that his attempt to reform the DP from within is failing (as Debbie would surely agree). I rather think he should help to get started a new party with which to carry the political revolution forward. Once that is done, he could actually retire from politics and let us fight on without him. Debbie considers him disqualified by his flaws, and I can understand her principled position better than some people. She resents his not exposing the election rigging against him in the 2016 primaries, his somewhat war- and empire-friendly foreign policy stance, and his rather long-lasting “Democratic” Party alliance.

Personally, I am thinking strategically about this, in the following way: I suspect that Bernie won’t be around all that much longer, so his flaws would not really matter when he gets the ball rolling. Forming a true people’s party would be his greatest legacy and something for us to be forever thankful for. Let’s hope he manages to see it this way, too, and that his valiant efforts to reform the “Democratic” Party will become nothing more than the prelude of a starting a people’s party from the “Democratic” Party’s ashes.

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P.S.: A brief note on the Green Party: I have supported the Green Party and Jill Stein before and will surely continue to do so. The reason I currently favor the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party approach is that all currently existing third parties, including the Greens, are unfortunately held back by a public stigma of being considered as eternal losers or simply too small to ever amount to anything. The Green Party might overcome this stigma by growing into a tangible force on the state and local levels nationwide. But, until this happens, we probably have a better chance of resurrecting Abraham Lincoln’s new-party-creation-recipe, since it has proven itself to work before, can better address the credibility issue, and because Bernie’s 2016 campaign built up a slick team and many millions of supporters, as well as public acclaim and a yuuuge schism in the “Democratic” Party — perfect ingredients for the Lincoln recipe. This looks to me like the most hopeful among our strategic possibilities. And it will help the Green Party, as well, because – as we succeed to reform our national politics this way – we can implement electoral reforms like ranked choice or scored voting, public campaign financing, elimination of gerrymandering and our numerous practices of election fraud and voter suppression, and thereby give third parties like the Green Party their place at the table, so we can all benefit from a richer range of political debates, positions, ideas, and implementations. It’s all part of us breaking the chains of our current system.

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