The provincial syndrome in U.S. electoral politics

If there’s one sure thing in politics, it is that as people become more conservative (not necessarily related to aging), they begin to retreat from concern about international problems. They may still do rah-rah for union or community stuff but they pay no heed anymore to war or Palestine or immigration. Sometimes their minds even play tricks so they can pretend there is no antiwar movement.

That conservative, provincial syndrome gets played out big time in US electoral politics. The prophets of lesser-evilism, who come out of the woodwork during campaigns, ask us to put aside solidarity–the very bedrock of social transformation–& accept Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric like it was good coin & not counterfeit populism. Well that’s just one of those accommodations that can’t be made. Solidarity with the people of Palestine & elsewhere is not some cheap, feel-good sentimentality. It isn’t something we can drop during elections because it’s in the way & then pick up again when the damn things are over. And that is exactly what we’re being asked to do by Bernie Sanders supporters.

Many people in this country are shackled by an inability to see others as our brothers & sisters. But the great freedom fighters of human history weren’t talking through their hats when they said solidarity was the sine qua non, the absolute imperative of social transformation. So no thank you to Bernie Sanders; we’re sticking with solidarity because that’s the way forward for all of us.

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