Of course #tcot folks are erupting in glee at the visible, audible split which happened between these two camps – the economically-oriented social democrats like Sanders and O’Malley and the socially-oriented “social justicists” like the #BlackLivesMatter and DREAMers movements, the latter of whom were disappointed by the social democrats’ economic answers to the concerns of racial, LGBT and immigrant justice. What was one going to expect from those who use the word “nut-roots” as a catch-all disparagement?
But I wonder about this split, not because of “disunity” among the attendees supposedly equaling “disunity” among progressive, liberal and social-democrat voters for the Dems in 2016. I wonder about this split because it portends of a disenchantment among those who ally with the left and center-left of American politics for the barest weathering of top-down material disruption – the ravages of the free market, the decline of PoC-dominated inner-city neighborhoods, the lack of grassroots control over the distribution of resources, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, etc. They’re disenchanted because those ravages have happened under both Democratic-endorsed mayors and Republican-endorsed governors and presidents alike, and the socio-economic conditions which MLK Jr. had decried in the last years of his life remain with us.
When liberals point to the likes of “Fightin’ Bob”, FDR, and other folks who set the tone for the socio-economic populism of today’s Democratic Party, or point to the New Deal in the 1930s, the power of labor unions in the 1950s, and the social safety net of the North and West of the earlier 20th century, they are pointing to a time in our history in which African-Americans and Mexican-Americans were scared for their very lives, LGBT people were prosecuted into prisons and sanitariums, and women were finding out how little power they had across the board over their daily lives.
So if the point of reference is all sorts of irrelevant to the growing body of non-European-descended, non-male, non-cisgender, non-heterosexual – OK, we’ll just call us the “non-traditional American voters” – then what would be the best point of reference? For progressives? For liberals? For social-democrats and democratic-socialists?
Maybe this is what separates the current wave – those who are both disenchanted with the purely-economic reforms + the silence on intersectionality of the 2016 Democratic candidates and angrily disgusted with Republican activists’ antagonism + over appeal to traditional privilege.
The Non-Traditional American voters want something that cannot be given by the current American political frame: security (in most senses) against all ravages, some foreign and most domestic, which beset the Non-Traditional American and their communities at home and their related peoples abroad.
Without this security, on all fronts and in all respects, these varying sectors of American society are disengaged from the political process and are won over to other countries’ (and entities’) interests. They were excluded for so long from this process, their need for security only being recognized within the last 150 years of our country’s history (in delayed increments).
Liberalism serves the purpose of liberalizing the status quo to allow for more sectors of people to enter politically, progressivism democratizes the political structure, and social democracy democratizes the economy. But none of those solutions, as much good as they have done, address the personal and communal security and justice of the sectors. Neither liberalism, progressivism nor democratic socialism address past wounds which persist among the previously-oppressed diversity of sectors, nor do they seek for their full communal security.
This is where terms like “#intersectionality” come into play. This is where “don’t pull up the ladder” comes into play. This is where #BlackLivesMatter comes into play. It goes to the heart of just how well these “non-traditional” sectors of society fit into an equitable society. Their security – of mind, of body, of resource, of community – is a great concern. And only a few of those securities are explicitly protected in our laws and institutions.
And so many of us are feeling less than secure right now. African-Americans, Meso-American immigrants, Women, LGBT+ people, disabled people, and so on. College students, service workers, cannabis users, ex-cons denied reintegration, sufferers of pedestrian gun violence and tyrannical police are feeling insecure, as well, but so are those who are dealing with historical and present wounds which have impacted their communities and cultures in adverse ways. How will we address the injustices which face us when we don’t have a proper frame of reference for what our security should look like?
Security comes before Justice, so even “Social Justice” doesn’t cut it. We need an Intersectional Security, and we need it in our lives, our homes, our community, our country and the Free World. This is the security which needs to be addressed by all candidates for political office, not mere “identity politics” or “class politics”.
Sanders, O’Malley, Clinton, or whoever should recognize the need for Intersectional Security at all levels and facets of government. The “Founding Fathers” never envisioned the need for such security, and our government is ill-fitted to accomplish the job. And when our structure of government or society can’t do it, we need leaders who will replace and/or repair that structure.
This Intersectional Security is about our structure. Let’s make it happen, and prepare ourselves.