I originally posted this piece on Righteous Anger.
The concepts of “bipartisanship” and “reaching across the aisle” are exercises in failure. I remember reading an article in Counterpunch or ZNet several years back, around the time when the Tea Party first started taking hold. It talked about how the Left in the U.S. is tepid, while the Right is rabid. It discussed how you win hearts and minds through righteous anger, not a “let’s be friends with the other side” approach. (And you don’t often find the Right wanting to “reach across the aisle”, anyway. They use their own “righteous” anger and moral outrage to gain support on a large scale.) I firmly believe that is true. You need to have the logical parts of your argument shored up. The facts need to be in a row. However, facts alone don’t get things done, because people are usually moved to act when they see something they believe is beyond the pale. Spectacle. Anger. Visibility. Those things get things done.
The reason the Left is viewed as “tepid” in the U.S. is that most of the Left is invisible. Those of us who use moral outrage as a central tenant of our beliefs are invisible. What is left behind is the bow-and-scrape Liberal, the one who uses the word “progressive” to hide the fact that there really isn’t much progress happening. The one who only cares that there’s a Democrat in the White House, not that this Democrat is doing deeds every bit as evil as any Republican. It’s time for those of us on the Left to stand up, to get angry, and to be every bit as rabid as the right.