This Election Season

Confessions of a Progressive Socialist

Satori Dog | Friday 28 October 2016

I don't like it when people tell me what to do or how to think, and neither should you. Everyone's entitled to their opinion in a free and open society, especially when it comes to politics. So here's mine...

I am a Progressive Socialist, which I define as follows:

  • Progressive—Update the laws and political structures of society with the changes and improvements in knowledge and technology, keeping everything locked in sync to the continual improvement of the common good and increasing freedoms of, and for, the people.
  • Socialist—Make sure that everyone in society has a job, housing, education, health care, clean water, electricity—all the basic necessities of life—and then whatever is left over can be used by those who only feel good about themselves when they have more material things than others.

So, obviously, I have never identified with any U.S. presidential candidate that the major political parties have put forth in my lifetime. Hence, I have never once voted.

I got pretty excited about Bernie Sanders this year, I will admit that. He is the only popular U.S. politician who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the people, who was not just paying election season lip service, saying the things that people like to hear, with no intention of ever enacting anything once he got into office.

The closest I came to voting was on election day in Detroit in 1980, when I heard that the Jimmy Carter campaign was paying people to distribute flyers door-to-door. So me and my friend Dan hopped in his Chevy Chevette, raced over to the local Carter headquarters, grabbed a big pile of flyers, and made a beeline to my grandmother's house, who lived nearby, and stuffed ourselves silly with Polish chrusciki, paczki, and other powdered-sugared delights, which she always seemed to be making non-stop, washing it all down with copious cupfuls of delicious Sanka.

After we left, we threw the flyers in a dumpster behind the Krogers and then waited what seemed like a reasonable amount of time to have passed to go back and collect our money, $50 if I recall. (Oh Greg, how could you? Jimmy Carter is a fine, exemplary human being and public servant. I could not agree with you more. But this is the same Jimmy Carter who, only five years after the end of the Vietnam War, resumed the draft registration for fresh out of high school kids like myself so he could look "tough" politically after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. That's how I could.)

In the good old days, Detroit voted with its fists and with baseball bats when important change was needed. It was a tough town, with tough nationality types like Italians, Poles, and the Irish, and the whole place was old school, brick building churchy religious. Clutch Cargo's was my church, with traveling pastors like Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and Fear coming to town and preaching their sermons for the Saturday night youth guitar mass. (Please open your hymnals to hymn 44, "I Don't Care About You, Fuck You." O! Praise the Lord!)

Why do you try to cheat? And trample people under your feet
Don't you know it is wrong? To cheat the trying man
Don't you know it is wrong? To cheat the trying man
The Wrong 'Em Boyo

For me, The Clash were the most articulate and poetic of the preachers, the absolute pinnacle. I was never a card-carrying anarchist or communist, just a free thinker, but I liked the way The Clash were so damn bad-ass while singing about the rights of average working class people, about freedom from slavery and violence and abuse from our so-called leaders. Count me in for any candidate with that agenda any election year.

The Detective and The Pumpkin (1966)

To my mind, people in public service should be the best and brightest and most compassionate among us, not the most corrupt, nasty, and vengeful. The whole of the U.S. political process has been swallowed up by power, lies, and corruption, with every player on both sides stealing pages left and right from The Nixonian Dirty Tricks Playbook, using them even within their own parties. These are the people we and our children are supposed to look up to? These are our heroes?

So it's every man for himself and God against all. Do whatever you have to do to win. That's the American Way. That's what it's all about: personal ambition. We are told to laugh about it, shout about it, shrug our shoulders, hold our noses and vote. Good plan, Michael Moore (net worth: $50 million, plus my $5).

But good luck to everyone. I hope your favorite candidate wins. I hope your candidate keeps a promise once they get into office. Heck, maybe they'll even keep two promises, wouldn't that be extra special. As for me, you can, once again, count me, and my vote, as "out."

Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound, then jump on the Facebook bandwagon and sign up for my mailing list! Love, Greg