On the Chris Hayes show tonight (Hayes is the most palatable of the opinion jockeys on “news channels” these days) he had two guests who, I think, represent two different ways of approaching the cause of progressive politics. Michael Moore was the first guest and, as always, was his bombastic self, a self appointed voice for the left who spouts prolifically a vision that is but that, his vision and hardly anything resembling a real agenda for making things better. He promised tonight that “we will win,” basically told the opposition to watch out because now is but a “blip” and when it has ended, watch your asses because we are coming for you! The democrats are the really smart people and smart will eventually win out because the smart will outsmart the not so smart. Hayes caught Moore advocating that the good guys adopt the bad guys approach that, according to Moore is not a bad thing at all because it means good wins out. I am not sure he understand that what is problematic in this day in age is the way people go about getting what they want at least as much as it is about what they want. In fact, how people go about getting what they want in a democracy is what democracy, a process, is all about. I kind of like wise-guy comedians, but it is hard to stomach wise-guy politicians and Moore was politicking tonight and not at all funny.
The second guest was Bernie Sanders, as always, straight forward and absolutely reasonable, not at all bragging about how “bad” we are (in the good sense of being bad), nor outrageously optimistic, like Moore, the latter intimating justification for his smugness in the failure of republicans to immediately kill off the ACA. Sanders is a teacher and not a preacher; he offers up a perspective on reality that he backs up with knowledge and then goes forth to offer up an agenda that he makes make sense–a logic. He, like Moore, calls for revolution but, unlike Moore, his revolution is to be fought on the democratic plane, with logic rather than sarcasm or braggadocio. Where Moore smirks, Sanders scratches his head, pausing long enough to get a good beed on what is sensible, then speaks wisely. He knows that the revolution, a sensible and sustainable revolution will not be won by defeating an enemy but by convincing people who support bad ideas to change their minds.
I think the difference between the two is the difference I see in the messages people send me on Twitter and Facebook. Some are brash, verging on snarky and usually tinged with arrogance, a sense of superiority unearned because they really do not explain their thinking believing that everyone who reads what they say will agree because, well, they only care to be heard, agreed with by those who already agree with them. And, too often, instead of posting ideas and reasoning that might win over those who they know would disagree, they post quotes from others with whom they agree and with whom they believe their constituency will agree.
Moore is politics as pop culture. This is not to take away anything from his achievements as a film maker but, yes, even in these works, he makes points for people who already believe in the points he is making. He is a reinforcer for his audience of what they already know, think, and believe.
We need considerably more Bernie and not necessarily less Michael, but Bernie for what he is and Michael for what he is. Fine. But either pretending to be what he is not, asking for authority were authority should not be granted, is a farce and a dangerous diversion for both are talking about doing what is necessary to bring about meaningful change and between the two, only Bernie offers a good sense process to get at a good sense plan to bring about a good sense revolution in the context of democracy.