You Say You Want a Revolution

imagesCan we all please just stop saying “revolution”?

With apologies to Bernie Sanders, no true revolution can take place within the American political system—or any other.

Revolution does not avail itself of the political process. Revolution is the violent overthrow of political process. (Not mere regime change.)

Though such movements may find fertile soil in the putrefying remains of outmoded ideologies, they are not part of their vital functioning. If they are said to spring from them at all, they do so as paroxysms of conscience, not as logical outgrowths of thought.

The closest Mr. Sanders could come to effecting a “revolution” would be to run as a third party candidate—no great repudiation of the system itself, though a rebuke of the false choice between Clinton and Trump.

He will not. Why? It may be that power has a certain gravitational pull, as Barack Obama can surely attest, that alters one’s course. Perhaps Mr. Sanders has also peered over that event horizon so few of us ever approach, and gazed into the abyss.

To envision revolution is to envision oneself on an historical plane that transcends the personal, the sentimental, the practical.

For now, we are to satisfy ourselves with reshaping the party plank. Not the great takeaway Mr. Sanders promised. Rather, the acculturation of another generation of voters to the realpolitik of life.

Those that say they did their part to change history, that they are not responsible for what the world wants . . . the hard truth is they are now more fully implicated in its operation.

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