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Facebook Essays - The Blame Game

Sometimes I just can't help it: I see a topic of conversation on Facebook, and I just have to write a long-form response.

Rather than allow my response to fade into the Facebook ethers, I prefer to save them. Here's my most recent one:

The Topic

This was a discussion on the McSally Take a Stand page. Someone brought up a poll that shows low approval ratings for the Democratic National Committee, which sparked a heated discussion between Democrats and Anti-Democrat progressives, somewhat revolving around the 2016 primary election.

My Response

This is an important conversation. I wish it weren't so bitter, but it's one we should probably have sooner than later. The sooner we can hash this out, the sooner we can start to heal the rift between progressives. And the sooner we heal the better--we've got to win next year, and that'll be much harder without some semblance of unity.

The first step, I think, is to step back from each other's throats and start listening to one another. So long as we continue to invalidate each other's perspectives--to mock and sneer at each other--we're going to remain at an impasse.

Here's my perspective:

First, I think the Democrats are absolutely past due for some introspection. A lot of people have lost faith in them. Why?

You can blame it on Russia or hackers or the media or whatever you like, but at some point the Democratic Party is going to have to accept that they have some responsibility for how they're perceived.

A year ago, as a Sanders supporter, I absolutely felt like many members of the Democratic Party held nothing but contempt for people like me; people who thought that someone like Bernie could revitalize excitement for a progressive movement in this country. What I saw as a promising movement, many saw as a threat.

I bet if you ask many progressives why they're disillusioned with the Democrats, they can trace their hesitance, not to a false news story or a hit piece, but to actual interactions with actual Democrats who repelled them with their contempt.

Do the Democrats want to be the party of the people? The party that listens? The party that represents normal people? If so, then attitudes need to change. Democrats need to stop telling people what they need. Instead they need to listen and let the people tell them what they need. They need to actively work against the stereotype of being the party of contempt and condescension.

And then, on the other side, let's be clear: Bernie or Bust was a mistake. Hillary won the primary indisputably. And then she lost the general in part due to lack of support from many people who should have recognized that, like her or not, she was a better option than Trump.

2016 is over. We've got to stop dwelling in the past and move forward.

You want the Democratic Party to be different? Good. Register as a Democrat today and start supporting candidates that represent a direction you’d like to see the party go. Be active. Speak up. Bring your ideas up for discussion, and be gracious as those ideas are dissected and critiqued. Politics is about collaboration and compromise, and that’s as true within a party as without.

Yes, some Democratic politicians are corrupt. Yes, some Democrats are assholes. Want to change that? Excellent. Let’s work to change it. Join up and be a part of that process. It won’t be fast and it won’t be easy, but I don’t think these problems are insurmountable.

In the end, political parties aren’t dark, shadowy organizations. (At least, not so much anymore.) They’re made up of people, and if you change the people, you change the party. And working from within sounds more productive than insults and ultimatums.

Compromise. Collaboration. Consensus. That’s how we push forward. We’ve got just a little over a year to find our common ground. The sooner we focus on the ideas that unite us instead of the past that divides us, the sooner we’ll have McSally quaking in her boots.