Apology for the Anti-Duopoly

In a follow-up to his anti-anti-duopolist satire, Doom and Gloom, J. Edward Tremlett responds to my summary critique of his indirect apology for the duopoly. I was wrong, he argues, in characterizing his own position as that of "cynical pragmatism and middle-of-the-road political defeatism." It was the following lines in the original piece which led me to this conclusion:
Obama’s not the second head of the single-bodied beast, but neither is he the savior of America. He is a politician. He is playing politics as he leads. That’s what always happens when we vote someone in. All we can hope for is that, at the end of the day, we’ve convinced him to do more help than harm.
Of course, during the last presidential campaign, it was none other than Hillary Clinton who pointed out that hope is not a strategy, to which we may add that change is not a policy, and that sloganeering is indeed playing politics. In his follow-up, Tremlett writes:
Traditional liberalism and progressive politics are neither cynical or middle-of-the road political defeatism. They are the engine that has made this country's greatest strides forward towards equal rights and freedom possible. They are what keeps us safe and sane when challenged by the worst excesses of the Right, both normal and loony, and, when used effectively, gets us closer to where we need to be.
Yet, self-described liberals and progressives, for whom the only thing holding us back from getting 'where we need to be' is the 'vast right wing conspiracy,' - in the words again of the former First Lady and current Secretary of State -, reveal the outlines of their own brand of conspiracy theorizing, one which is thoroughly beholden to the terms, categories and forms of duopolist ideology precisely because it is articulated from the perspective of the partisan Democrat.

Tremlett then reverses the charges, as it were:
The problem of the Duopoly-decriers . . . is that THEY are the ones who are being defeatist and cynical. Some of us are saying "things aren't perfect, let's fix them," but they are saying "things aren't perfect because the CONSPIRACY is making them imperfect, and there's nothing** we can doooooooooo!!!!!!!!"
Though I would not necessarily deny allegations of cynicism, a few glances around these pages would likely convince any reader that there are in fact many things that need be done, can be done and are being done by those of us who are interested in expanding political representation and breaking open a two-party system which maintains its hegemony by an institutionalized process of political exclusion.

No comments: