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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party

Do you remember the Democrats, dearest motherfuckers? Not the neoliberal, gutter capitalist, Clintonista kind or even Bernie’s brand of drone-strike socialists, but the peace loving hippie kind. The doves who tried to end the Cold War and marched against the draft and stuck flowers in the barrels of National Guard rifles. The liberal lions who took on the war machine, who made love not war, who couldn’t hug their children with nuclear arms, and braved the perils of grassy knolls and brainwashed Arabs to bring just one ounce of sanity to Capitol Hill. Sure they were corny and preachy and a little grabby in cocktail party coatrooms but they had character and cojones and conviction. What ever happened to those liberals, before their bleeding hearts were eaten whole by those nasty neos? Where have all the flowers gone? Tell me, dearest motherfuckers, do you remember the Democrats?

Yeah, me neither, and here comes another one of my famously merciless reality checks. With the exception of few fantastic McGovern hiccups, they never actually fucking existed. The Democrats have always been a war party, even back when the Republicans were still Lindbergh worshiping isolationists. Don’t get me wrong, the Dems were always big on that Feed the World-style, Kumbaya charity shit, but there chief staple was usually more white phosphorous than whole grain granola. Both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam; all started by Democrats. Even the Republican crusades in the Persian Gulf initially passed with broad Democratic support and lingered into holocausts with broad Democratic indifference. Much like the Republicans relationship with putting America first, the Democrats only get in touch with their hippie-dippie side when it serves their partisan needs, with Yemen as your latest rule-proving exception.

Lately, though, it seems to be getting worse. Since the Sixties, the Dems have at least generally payed lip service to ideas like detente and diplomacy, particularly atop their ivory soap boxes of the legacy media. But if you turn on NPR or CNN these days, you would be forgiven for believing you were interrupting a less than clandestine meeting of the John Birch Society. According to such bleeding brains as Rachel Maddow and Wolf Blitzer, Vladimir Putin is responsible for everything from Hillary’s biological unelectability to the ravages of climate change. Donald Trump makes the rare intelligent decision to simply meet up with Kim Jong-un for pho and playful banter and he’s appeasing the Axis of Evil. John Bolton throws a monkey-wrench into the goddamn thing and suddenly he’s the latest neocon “adult” to be proclaimed a progressive folk saint. The Donald firebombs an orphanage in Crimea and he finally becomes a “real” president. OK, I made the last one up, but these are some sick sick fucks.

Certainly, some of this hysteria is the result of Trumpsanity, a kind of geopolitical lupus that causes opponents of Trump’s oh so special brand of slap-dash fascism to attempt to try to out-fasc their nemesis. We certainly see this with the frighteningly broad progressive support for the epic purge of free expression on social media. I personally suspect that the only reason they haven’t gotten me yet is because gagging a confirmed tranny is technically still a hate crime in the SJW handbook.

But much of this Orwellian aping is actually a return home for most Dems, like chickens to the roost. As I said above, this kind of guns and butter uber-statism is an integral part of the DNC’s DNA. Only now they’ve resorted to hijacking the good name of socialism in a perverted attempt to lure today’s debt besodden youth into Chuck and Nancy’s windowless van with promises of puppies and free tuition. With the brilliant exception of that glorious hijab-clad boss-bitch, Ilhan the Great (my second favorite bitch after Miss Chelsea Manning), most of the new “revolutionaries” of the Lower House don’t seem to see world peace as a priority for their lukewarm insurrection. This creates a serious dilemma that goes well beyond the question ideological purity.

Not to sound like my asshole 12th grade econ teacher, but there really is no such thing as a free lunch. People like Bernie and AOC want to hand the government the keys to every major industry from Facebook to Big Pharma but don’t propose anything in the way of the kind of major government cuts that would make this morally questionable endeavor economically doable. They bandy about the reputation of Scandinavia’s social democracies without acknowledging the fact that the only reason these nations can afford their level of cradle to grave welfare is that they don’t fight any goddamn wars. Many of them barely have standing armies.

Sweden prospered during the heat of the Cold War because their maverick PM, Olof Palme, rejected this imperial pissing match entirely and embraced neutrality and detente. This is how he fed and clothed his nation. As an anarchist, I find that level of even altruistic government intrusion to be suspect, but I’ve always admired the late Prime Minister for his consistent conviction. This was a man so devoted to the concept of pacifism that he had his citizens trained in non-violent resistance in case of a Soviet Invasion. Olof Palme was a socialist. The embattled Jeremy Corbyn is a socialist. I don’t know what the hell Bernie and his pets are but they dishonor the title of socialism greatly by using it to demand that America gets more stuff while we carpet bomb the rest of the globe in the name of diplomacy.

America doesn’t have a major modern peace party, at least not a consistent one, and we never really have. All we really have are myths that paint warmongers like FDR and JFK in the heroic colors of comic book superheroes. But these are simply lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night, safe from the long forgotten screams of Dresden and Da Nang. The point has been made that you cant lead a revolution in a counter-revolutionary party. Good point, but I would take that observation a step further and suggest that you can’t lead a revolution in a counter-revolutionary government. This is why true socialists like Ilhan Omar and Jeremy Corbyn will always get crushed by there own while wolves in doves clothing like Bernie get sainted by the system they pretend to reject. Even a real life saint like dear Olof couldn’t save his top-down government from sinking back into the malaise of crony-capitalist austerity once some mystery bastard put a NATO bullet in his back on the way home from the cinema.

You don’t vote for a revolution, dearest motherfuckers, and it can’t be given to you by some politician or party. You have to fight for it. You have to take it. You have to reject partisan mythology and plant those flowers with your own two hands, even if it means getting those hands dirty. Better dirty hands in the garden of peace than a dirty conscience in a lesser war party. And so I invite you to say farewell to those fictional Democrats, but don’t mourn them. Sometimes dreams burn down. It’s good for the soil.

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Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find him online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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