I don’t know who I’m writing this for. In all likelihood, it’s probably just going to upset everyone because I have a thesis that doesn’t really make anybody look great. But I’ve come to realize that I’ve never, not once, had a singular original experience. There is always someone else out there who is going through the same thing, and maybe they’re just waiting for someone else to say it out loud. So, here we go.
I don’t feel at home in leftist spaces anymore.
Despite being a lifelong Democrat. Despite the fact that none of my views have changed. I still feel politically homeless.
Where do you go when your own political party doesn’t feel like home anymore, but the other one is untenable to you?
The thing is, it seems like these days our biggest issues, politically speaking, are with each other — the constituents. Because let’s be honest, NO ONE in Washington D.C. is doing their job well. Or, at least no one in D.C. is doing their job to protect our best interest. On both sides of the aisle, the narrative seems to follow a similar script. Politicians make their appeals to the super-rich 1%, along with a handful of special interest groups, those that contribute handsomely to their campaigns and offer a favorable public image. There’s an unmistakable air of theater to it all. They walk the halls of Congress with an air of concern, pledging their commitment to the ‘Everyman.’ They battle it out when the news crews are around, then head to the pub for beers after they’re gone.
I say this with my full chest: they are all corrupt. Even the ones on “my side.”
So, my sense of political homelessness doesn’t come from what’s happening in Congress (that is a separate and far graver concern). This sense of lostness, this disconnect from the party I’ve grown up with, comes from people like me.
The political left has forgotten what activism is, replacing it instead with its lazy cousin performative wokeness. It doesn’t feel good to parrot a talking point that has been used to delegitimize true progressive activism by talking heads in D.C., but it’s the truth. Platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and even Instagram have incentivized an insidious brand of “activism” that involves no actual work on behalf of the “activist.” Instead, this brand of activism exclusively involves telling everyone how woke you are without ever having to actually demonstrate it.
It’s a low stakes game. It costs literally nothing to tell someone else they’re doing it wrong, saying it wrong, performing it wrong. And while it costs nothing, there is plenty to gain! Praise, Likes, Follows, pats on the back, the acknowledgement from your community that you “get it.” This incestuous echo-chamber has created a world in which everyone on the left has lost the ball. Very few seem to be engaging in real activism — the things that spark political, economic, and cultural change. We’re all just … arguing on Twitter. And almost always, the purpose is purely to set ourselves apart from the “other leftists,” the bad ones who aren’t as woke as we are.
While we are so busy being “allies” to literally every community to which we don’t belong, we sometimes make mistakes. We over-step. We misrepresent. We cause offense. When the communities we claim to support tell us about the harm we have caused, we lose our god forsaken minds. Rather than humbly accept the correction and vow to do better, we lash out at the people who corrected us. We claim we are being bullied. We say things that reveal our true intentions all along like, “You shouldn’t treat your allies this way!”
In short, the way we perform our progressive values is narcissistic, bombastic, intrusive, and destructive.
And I just don’t know how to identify with that anymore.
Are there other politically homeless leftists out there? While I’m at it, are there politically homeless Republicans out there, too? Ones who have watched helpless as your own party ran off the rails? I feel like there are more of us than we think. We just keep getting drowned out by the loudest amongst us.
I want to find my home.