As a liberal I have seen that oftentimes my friends on the left are one of the biggest barriers to gaining ground. If it’s not perfect, then they don’t want it.
It reminds me of the movie Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks. It was a great mainstream movie that depicted a gay man dying from AIDS. It was an important step toward humanizing gay people and our plight during the AIDS crises. What I heard from those on the left was that it didn’t go far enough because they never showed the two men kiss. This had my liberal friends in a near-uproar, condemning the movie because of it.
The thing is though that at the time (1993) there was no way that mainstream America would have been able to accept the message of the movie had they been confronted with the imagery of that which they had been told was “wrong”. In hindsight, this movie went a long way toward normalizing gay people in the eyes and minds of those who had now been exposed to a gay character, perhaps for the very first time in their lives.
Politics and activism are no different. Politics is –for the most part– about compromise. We need to work together, even if we do not like each other. Sometimes we have to agree to less than we want in this battle and then make the resolve to continue to fight for our ideals in upcoming ones. On the left, we tend to look for traitors in our own midst, condemning those who are not a liberal as we are, or who share different views. This is really doing the work of our enemy, who just needs to sit back and watch us destroy ourselves as we share memes originally created by them and Russian bots.
Certainly there are some things about which there can be no compromise. Human rights and dignity, for one. But if we continue to expect that the politicians that we choose to represent us will align 100% with our own views then we are setting ourselves –and the movements that we claim to represent– up for failure.
We on the left need to find a way to work together. We will not always agree. Sometimes we will most CERTAINLY not agree. But we still need to come together to fight the bigger enemy. We can go back to infighting later, but right now there is a bigger demon to slay and we can only do that in numbers.