So I got into a little twitter spat a few weeks ago. One of the people I follow made the following statement:
Some bloggers feel it’s better to be principled than in power.
Naturally, I objected. The conversation turned into one of those us v. them tropes. Us, in the case of this twitterer, being progressives. Whatever that means.
We have to stop the conservatives. We have to choose between “2 years of investigations about birth certificates, or trying to inch forward with our agenda.” (I’m not sure what “our” agenda is. Mine doesn’t include assassinations, American citizens or not, or massive bailouts to hedge funds.)
More importantly, it’s a false choice. You don’t have to compromise your principles to have power. You only have to compromise them to have the kind of corrupt, coercive power that has gotten us into this craphole. Didn’t Martin Luther King have both power and principle? How about Gandhi? Emma Goldman? James Baldwin?
The people whose power lasts are those whose power comes from their principles, not from selling their principles out. It’s not naive to think that people shouldn’t sell their principles to power. It’s naive to think that someone in power who has sold their principles can do us any good.
And now the progressives/democrats/liberals/whatever are out bemoaning their loss of congressional seats. And they wonder why. Hello out there! People know when you are willing to sell out your principles and they generally don’t like it.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the actually tweet that started this all was referring to the five bloggers that Peter Daou thinks are “bringing down the Obama presidency.” I thought I must have somehow made a mistake, that I was misunderstanding. I mean surely it was not being suggested that the media should become a cheerleader for the democrats. Guess it was my turn to be naive. The twitter convo is below. A third party jumped in. He actually quoted Macchiavelli – - fucking Macchiavelli. I kid you not.
And these people wonder why they keep losing.
Me: I don’t understand. You think Greenwald et al shouldn’t write about those things?
Shoq: I think they can be constructive critics without threatening to tear down any progress we’ve made against a rabid right. In fact, it’s helping to drive us farther off a cliff.
Me: They aren’t working for the democratic party. That’s not their job.
Shoq: I don’t work for them either.
Then this guy jumps in:
JeffersonObama: Greenwald, Olbermann should help the Dems by posting voting info and supporting all Americans opposed to Teabag sycophants
Me: Journalists/Bloggers jobs are to tell it like they see it, to give people info to make informed choices…Despite what Fox may have people believe, it is not their job to be partisan hacks
JeffersonObama: Fox News is the reason their voters are organized to vote on election day..they have maps, sites & work with 501s, 527s & GOP
Me: So just our side and their side, leave your principles or honesty at the door. Win, win, win..no thought to what you win?
JeffersonObama: Our bloggers tell our voters to hate Obama, our values and then fold up and run. Bloggers are Cowards. Some of us are fighting
Me: I’ve never heard Greenwald say people should hate Obama. Being in lockstep with dems when they are wrong is not brave.
JeffersonObama: Simply, as Machiavelli writes, “The answer … it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.” Stand up & fight
Me: LOL. The only thing people seem afraid of is being principled even when it means giving up their “we’re the good guys” bs
JeffersonObama: Bloggers like you hate our party more than GOP. That’s fine, but at least don’t discourage our fighters to take on GOP-Teabags
Me: You miss the point. I don’t hate. And I definitely don’t make life out to be a football game btwn 2 teams of 9 yr olds
JeffersonObama: I’m not talking Football. I’m noyt talking low brow slogans..I’m talking about winning in politics..not meant for some obviously
P.S. In case you missed it, Glenn Greenwald took Daou and the rest down.