I remember during the Bush years doing segment after segment on the way Republicans would support Bush no matter what he did. Whether it was sending troops to die in Iraq, or his plan to privatize Social Security, Republicans believed that it was their duty to agree with everything Bush did. They didn’t have the ability to disagree with him on a single issue. For Bush Republicans, it was all or nothing.
Sadly, Democrats today have fallen into the same mindset. To them, there are only two settings: Either someone is always right, or someone is always wrong. They can’t have an opinion that is different from someone without discounting everything that person has done for the entire Democratic movement.
Bill Maher is a great example. And the loudest criticism comes from UC Berkeley of all places as if they somehow have the high ground to criticize Bill Maher about controversial comments – while they are paying full professor salary to John Yoo, a vile murderous political Cheney thug who created the law that triggered the brutal murder and torture of Gitmo prisoners for a decade.
When Maher recently made comments about the Islamic faith, progressives went crazy. They were ready to write off every progressive advancement that Maher had made for them in the last decade. They forgot all the times that he went to bat for the medical marijuana movement, the labor movement, civil rights groups, voting rights groups, women, pro-choice advocates, healthcare reformers, and basically every other group within the progressive community. They were mad about one thing that he disagreed with, and nothing else mattered.
For a political movement – or any movement – to survive, they have to be unified. They can disagree with one another, they can even be wrong from time to time, but that doesn’t discount the work that they’ve done and will continue to do.
The attacks on Bill Maher hurt the progressive movement, and it undermines the work of a progressive icon. We need more people like Bill Maher out there who aren’t afraid to take on the corporate powers, who aren’t afraid to call Republicans on their lies, and who aren’t afraid of a fight. Progressives could learn a lesson or two from Bill Maher.