The Democratic Party intellectual and political scientist Ruy Teixeira is promoting a new book that counters the current mood among many of us: The Optimistic Leftist: Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think. I have not read it and likely won't ever get around to it. But he offers a synopsis of some of its points in an excerpt at Vox.
Some parts of his argument ring true to me: after all, I'm a Californian who has seen that the rise in voting strength of people of color communities and of a younger set have wrested the state from the death grip of frightened old white people. That something similar is painfully progressing in the rest of the country looks obvious from the Left Coast.
Other Teixeira themes seem not so self-evident. I just can't buy that economic growth is always good and that such growth will compensate for the dislocations that globalism imposes on some people and some communities. Either we're all in this together or we're not. People who get left behind and left out naturally demand to be heard and cared for. A left which is not paying attention to them is not worth much.
But I resonated deeply with this part of Teixeira's argument:
In my experience, the further "left" someone considers themself to be, the more likely that person is to insist that the only truthful assessment of our situation is that everything is FUBAR- Fucked Up Beyond All Redemption.
We cannot ask people to struggle for justice from that standpoint. Being normal humans, they'll recoil. There are always elements of hope.
The job of progressive activists is to identify hopeful paths and help others to do the same -- and help each other to follow where those insights lead.
There's quite enough to do. Resist and protect much.