It’s fashionable among some lefties to talk about how awful Obama was. I guess he let a bunch of progressives down, what with not achieving world peace and universal health care and one thing and another, and he irked some of them even more because he supposedly got this free pass to be (gasp) moderate and escaped criticism because he was Black. Or something.

Yeah, that Black card can sure get you in the finest places.

Thought I’d share a little Obama story. A friend of mine is among the top dozen public health experts in the nation. She was in on the discussions Obama had when he was working on a health plan. I was dismayed at the time that O wasn’t kicking the insurance industry to the curb and I whined to my friend. “Doesn’t he support single-payer?” I said.

Yes, she said. He does.

“Then what…”

He can’t get it through. He doesn’t have the support.

What he had was the opposition. And, as you may recall, it was formidable. McConnell openly swore to obstruct anything Obama was for. And he had the votes. Obama did the best he could manage, and then tried to slip in that “public option.” It was smart. If enough people chose to go with the much cheaper public option, the insurance industry would crumble away on its own.

Politics is the art of the possible. But even the public option wasn’t possible. Not with the Republicans in there.

Well, the current narrative is that the Democratic National Committee cheated and shoveled in Biden when absolutely everyone preferred Bernie, who everyone knew would have won in a landslide, and doggone it, we’re not going to vote for the “lesser of two evils” this time around. Hell no. “You can’t change the system if you keep voting for the same thing,” they say. Here’s what else you can’t do. You can’t change the two-party system, or anything else you deride, by voting for a third party at the top of the ticket. What’s the plan here? Explain your mechanism; show your work.

Of course it’s pissing into the wind. Of course it will have no bearing on our future whatsoever unless it gets more Republicans elected. We’ve seen this play before, more than once.

We could have had a President in 2000 who, more than anyone, knew what we were up against with global warming. Who would never have invented an endless war in the Middle East to enrich his friends. He might not have been able to do everything he wanted–there would have been no end of obstruction. But now we’ve dug another twenty-year hole for ourselves, and we’re twenty years closer to the apocalypse. A third-party vote for President in a two-party system will win you a nice righteous woody, and zip-all else. Oh wait! Guess what else that vote got us! Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, followed closely by the Citizens United decision! That was the decision that purported to champion free speech, but instead favored very, very expensive speech. Way to stick it to the man and get that corrupting money out of politics, dudes. Thanks for that, hope you enjoyed the woody.

“But a vote for the Green Party will show the Democrats we can’t be taken for granted,” they say. Awesome! Maybe we’ll have another twenty years for that valuable lesson to sink in before the last iceberg sinks away. Really. Get serious. Work for change, and channel your rage into something other than a tantrum.

I know. You’re positive the DNC engineered the Biden win. You can’t prove it, but you suspect it, and that’s as good as gold in your cohort. But this wasn’t that long ago–we still remember. We had a stellar lineup of candidates. I had a favorite, but there were several I’d have been happy with. I thought Biden was washed up early and was dismayed when he reemerged the leader. I thought voters were missing a bet by picking someone so moderate when what we needed was someone that could fire us up. But an alternative to the sexy theory that the nefarious DNC did all this is the following: there were lots and lots of voters whose sole motivation was to beat Trump. They were scared to death. I remember the conversations. The virus was still in the future: Trump was doing fine in the polls. Plenty of people were sympathetic with Sanders or Warren but terrified that they’d be too easy to run against; that the “socialist” label would scare off too many people. And these people made a calculated choice in Biden. Real people voted for him. In droves. Some of them were being strategic; some loved him.

We’ve seen all those memes tearing down one Democrat after another, ginned up by the right wing and shared by the cannibal force on the left. Obama screwed us out of single-payer health care. Elizabeth Warren sold out Bernie by dropping out of the race so she could be Veep. Kamala Harris’s ancestors owned slaves (dude! The other name for those ancestors is rapists). Biden said something fifty years ago that doesn’t sit right today. Keep it up! The fascists have been churning out these shareable banners of bullshit for years, trying to cling to power by mining gullible people for votes. They appreciate your help, and by the way what can you buy for a few rubles today?

Biden is only the “lesser of two evils” when you really want the Archangel Michael and got stuck with Noah. But they’re both running against Satan. Get a damn grip.

You want to get any of your favorite plans going, you’d best get every Democrat you can find in office and then support the living hell out of them when they have to face down the Republicans. My God, we have so many fine people in the party now. All-stars. Plenty of our moderates and pragmatists will swing progressive if they know there’s support, and only we can give it to them. We’re the ones with the Green New Deal, not the R’s. We get behind these people and we push them and we show up at town meetings and we write letters and we march.

It’s not as easy as pouting, but that’s our plan.