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Perfect Symbol for Green Party: A Patiently Boiling Frog

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I don't like to write about political trivialities--like the Green Party. Too much of America's limited mental bandwidth is already monopolized by the utterly trivial "idiot wars" between Obama's clueless liberal supporters and his even more clueless right-wing detractors, if not (what's worse) by "Dancing with the Stars."

(Sorry, that's deeply unjust to right-wingers. At least they grasp--for all the wrong reasons--the crucial insight that Obama IS Satan.)

Besides, it's dangerous to write about the Green Party. Wasting even one article on that political nonentity is as sure to cost an author readers as joining the Green ticket is to cost a candidate votes. But beyond the risks of lost readership, there WILL be reprisals. Hell hath no fury like a Green scorned; and self-righteousness, you see, is the Green Party's special stock-in-trade. All the pent-up self-righteous Green energy that's clearly NOT spent in designing viable electoral strategies is reserved (and then some!) for fellow progressives who dare criticize Greens for not designing them. Just respond to those vituperations, and you'll find yourself enmeshed in an "idiot war" involving far fewer drooling cave-dwellers, but ultimately as futile and stupid.

As a progressive who's dared recommend strategies involving--Goddess forbid--the Democrats, I speak, you see, from chastened experience.

So why am I writing this article? I can only hope it's not from deeply ingrained progressive masochism. As should be pretty clear by now (especially "under" Obama), we progressives gravitate pretty naturally to the "preached-to" side of the missionary position, and let's not even mention prison sex. So becoming "b*tch" for the Greens--the GREENS, mind you--would be about as low as you can go in the progressive masochism limbo. When what we progressives URGENTLY need is to man up and grab the whip.

So why, having admitted chastisement by past experience, do I write this? Brutally shoving the masochism hypothesis aside--what REAL man wastes precious time analyzing his motives?--I simply embrace as real my conscious, macho superhero motive of wanting to save the planet. For we live in such "interesting times" that the timeless comic book staple of having to interpose heroic, superhuman force between our Big Blue Marble and its hyper-imminent demise is now the ONLY plot in town. Stan Lee & Co. just somehow failed to imagine that we ourselves would be the planet's foremost enemy and POLITICS the only superhero weapon capable of forestalling planetary doom.

Which brings us back to the Greens. As Kermit the Frog reminds us, it ain't easy being Green, and genuinely liking many Greens as fellow idealists, I hate to compound their difficulties. But there is a planet to save, and frankly, I find the Greens as capable of saving it as the pimpled nerd-boy holed up in his Batcave with his stack of the latest. Or in fact less so, since our pustular geek may indeed, like his Big Bang Theory avatars, spend his remaining hours mastering the very real forces of chemistry, biology, or physics. Whereas Greens master, as best I can tell, the not-so-deadly arts of choir preaching, political play acting, ideological purity, and general "pwog" self-righteousness. Not so deadly, that is, except to one's own prospects of political effectiveness.

For those not attuned to snarky 1960s left-wing political lingo (being too young then, I had to look it up myself), "pwog" equals "prog," itself short for "progressive," which left-wing immigrants from Eastern Europe apparently had trouble pronouncing. Used as a term of derision, it struck me by its rhyming with "frog," and by its being precisely the croaking sound the Green Party frog would make from its ultra-isolated political lily pad. "Pwog, pwog, pwog, pwog, pwog, pwog."

I acidly jest, but I jest in earnest. As one of my musical heroes, Bob Dylan, puts it in his menacing, genuinely apocalyptic song "All Along the Watchtower" (and for the gazillionth time, Hendrix DIDN'T write it), "Let us not talk falsely now. The hour is getting late." With Barack Obama on the verge of approving the Keystone XL pipeline--and when has he ever opposed any corporate or plutocrat incursions on human well-being or democracy?--we're going to need genuine resistance (both street and electoral) to resist this unconscionable attack on human and planetary well-being. So, who's gonna deliver bona fide, painful political consequences to politicians who back Obama? Or, to put the matter even more tellingly, to politicians who don't disavow Obama as the Uncle-Tomming piece of political toxic waste he genuinely is? If you expect this necessary infliction of political pain from the Green Party, I have some lovely Arctic ice caps to sell you--better buy fast! As we well know, the Green Party won't even try to inflict any type of pain, EXCEPT on fellow progressives--especially Democrats--who criticize it for not so trying. "Pwog, pwog, pwog."

So, if the Green Party's such a useless nonentity, why am I so bitter towards it? Why? Because the Greens represent a small but solid bloc of incorruptible voters--incorruptible, that is, except by their own self-righteousness--who, where issues are concerned, are right about virtually everything. See, the Greens, like the Pharisees of olden days, come by their self-righteousness naturally. As it took the acute moral penetration of Jesus to perceive, nothing is perhaps a greater danger to character than getting things primarily right. Jesus, after all, never disputed Pharisees' rectitude in keeping the Law; he questioned rather, in their punctilious keeping of its letter, their steadfastness to its SPIRIT--and such is my gripe with the Greens. The point of being a POLITICAL movement is not simply having the right views, but ensuring that they get widely shared and enacted, and in this regard I can only regard the Greens as a distinct failure--a bizarrely righteous case of the politically damned.

So whether the Green Party frog is destined to burn in political hell, or boil to death (under unstopped climate change) in the waters of his own patient self-righteousness, waiting forever for others to see the Green light, is irrelevant. The point is that poet Emily Dickinson (perhaps too reclusive and sensitive to noise) got it wrong. It is NOT a question of "How public like a frog/To give one's name the livelong day/To an admiring bog." The bog in question here is VERY private, and only fellow Greens are admiring. Until Greens learn to work and strategize with their fellow progressives, especially Democrats and progressive independents, the likeliest scenario is that they'll continue their soliloquy of "Pwog, pwog, pwog"--until we all croak.

Consider joining a young political movement that at least tries to MOBILIZE progressive Democrats and independents--True Blue Democrats. Check us out at .



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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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