Now that Philadelphia’s district attorney race has been set and we know that it’s going to be a battle between Republican Beth Grossman and Democrat Larry Krasner, I have a confession to make.
I don’t care if I never hear the word “progressive” again.
In fact, I’m so tired of that word right now, if Flo the Progressive Insurance lady walked up to me, she might catch these hands.
A few weeks ago, in anticipation of writing this column, I asked folks on my Facebook page their definition of “progressive.” Most of them said that it meant some form of moving forward, of not staying put.
But to me, thanks to the last two election cycles, “progressive” has come to mean “person that I’m eventually going to have to block on Twitter because I’m tired of being called names for explaining how government actually works to them.”
Now, I know that every “progressive” who read that last sentence has already decided that I’m an evil Trump supporter/sellout/hater/idiot/shape-shifter (yes, I’ve been called that; no, I don’t know how Mystique from the X-Men fits in here), so let me clarify.
I have no problem with progressive ideas. In fact, I think that progressive ideas make the world a better place.
Medicaid for all? Yep. Sign me up.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program? Hell yeah!
Making sure that the air and water aren’t rendered unfit to drink? Let me grab my Chuck Taylors so that we can take to the streets.
And #BlackLivesMatter … all day, every day!
Like I said, I have nothing but love for progressive ideas.
“Progressives”? Not so much.
That’s because I have no tolerance for bullies, no matter what side of the political fence they’re on.
From the disrespectful (and, in some cases, racist) attacks leveled at Rep. John Lewis by Bernie Sanders supporters during the 2016 presidential primaries to the recent primary where — and I’m not kidding — I saw one Black man call another Black man a Uncle Tom for not supporting Krasner, “progressives” have made themselves look like a left-wing version of the Tea Party.
And in case you’re wondering, I don’t mean that as a compliment. Especially since some of you sound so ridiculous that I get headaches from rolling my eyes so hard.
When the perfect becomes the enemy of the good, it leads to people being afraid to question what’s being put in front of them for fear of reprisal. When that happens, we wind up electing a whole bunch of people who are more interested in power than governance and whining about it later, when we could have kept this from happening by talking things out and coming to better decisions.
(See Trump, Donald, President …)
Now let’s return to the subject of Larry Krasner and the folks who hope he becomes the next district attorney.
If what I’ve heard on the street is any indication, folks have questions about Krasner. They want to make sure that he’s for all of the city’s victims, not just the ones hurt by police. They want to know if he’ll actually lock someone up if it’s needed.
They want to know he’ll keep them safe.
Should Krasner’s “progressive” supporters throw the epithet “shape-shifter” at anyone asking these questions, that 7-to-1 voter registration edge that Philly’s Democratic Party has might not be enough, especially since no one is confusing Grossman with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.
So you might want to try keeping the hostility to a minimum.
Just saying …
Denise Clay has been a journalist for more than 25 years, covering politics, education, and everything in between. Her work regularly appears in the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Philadelphia Public Record, and has also appeared on the BBC, XO Jane, and Time.com.