What do we mean when we say we are political?

The biggest issue with Democrats, that I see, is the capitulation to the insidious creep of neoliberal worldviews into everyday life. Like students are taught to operate within “the real world” as if it were something that they cannot engage with and change, politics is presented as something that exists outside of our everyday lives. We are taught that there is no particular point in individually engaging our institutions, and instead we must survive within them. This is materially trivial advice. Are there some things that can’t change? Yes. But often we are led to believe that our economic, social, and political systems themselves are an unchangeable nature of this sort, when they are clearly not. We are told that we are an individual that must operate within this “nature” and never try to reach beyond, and that forces beyond us have total control. To work against such a system is futile, since as an individual you can do nothing. This unnecessarily but purposefully restricts us. It provides the excuse for apathy that drives us to selfishly cling to our own situations without the realization of others’ (myself included.) When every individual believes this, then organization is made that much more difficult. It importantly instills in children and young adults that there are certain ways to politically engage with the world, namely voting and occasionally begging representatives to not throw us under the bus. We are taught that democracy is not a part of our schools, not a part of our workplace, and not a part of our environment, but is a separate institution in itself that we periodically participate in. If we are taught to act as an individual, then we are not taught to seek our fortune together. These shadowy institutions and greedy ghouls that we are up against certainly do have power, but there have been many times in history where even this has not saved them from the will of the people. This is not always done by voting or by floods of postcards, but it certainly happens by democracy. In the same way, bringing it back, we are given candidates by the Democrats that don’t imagine a better world, but instead imagine a world within which they can operate: a restricted world. This is why compromise and half-promises are made, and also why they often fail to fully deliver. We are given solutions to work within the system, to wait for the long term benefits of doing so: a horizon ever far. This ideology is then reinforced in those voters who identify as Democrats, that they must absolutely support whoever is put forward who will win “based on the system.” We can’t end perpetual war: that’s reneging on our agreements, no matter who made them. We can’t have universal healthcare: It’s just not feasible, so here’s a market-based proposal. We can’t have free education: Here’s some internship proposals and voucher programs instead. We can’t defend our transgender community: That would alienate voters on the other side. Any discussion that the positions and worldviews of these people change is immediately quashed with appeals to “realism” and “the reality of politics.” To step out of line is to be “divisive” and unity is triumphed above all, even though it is always the left that must capitulate to liberal demands. We are thus not deciding but are given an option: a subtle difference. We are often not given a hopeful vision but a constrained, lackluster realism. To operate in a different manner than simply trying to win votes is not the politics they envision, which is one that needlessly appeals to compromise and civility, as if those mean anything when the problems are dire. So, we are again told to engage politics as an individual, not as a group, no matter how much the veneer of organization is provided. Those who identify as Democrat don’t really make any of the real decisions within the party, and much of the worldview is whatever the DNC, top Democrats, or whatever candidate that is up for election say. You are expected to engage this external institution as an individual. What is the vision of tomorrow? To win. For this, your purpose is given. But what about after that? How many compromises until we get what we need? None, if we realize our lives are political, and that we do not need the permission of our institutions to effect change.

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