Ezra Klein’s post putting the fight for health-care reform in the context of a larger campaign to achieve lasting progressive influence and power illuminates the danger of an activist left that refuses to accept that there are real limits to what progressives can accomplish in government in the short term, even with large congressional majorities, a pragmatic but left-leaning president, and the winds of change at their backs. Short term activism is merely unproductive protest. Thinking long term and accepting frustrating defeat along with incremental progress is all in the game if you want to change the status quo.
This is a huge part of the reason I haven’t written a whole lot about political issues lately. There’s a phenomenal disconnect on our side of the fence. I might elaborate on this, but I think that many people thought that we’d be able to forcefully enact several pieces of our agenda out of the gate, mostly because they misremembered how Republicans governed the country this decade.
This false memory – combined with a refusal to accept that even incremental steps forward are steps forward towards a progressive America – is what I think lies at the root of progressive disenchantment.