The Gun and the Libel II

by Leonard Pierce

Whenever I write about politics, someone I know — often it’s a well-meaning friend of largely the same liberal temperament as myself — will scold me about being an idealist.  We are, after all, discussing “the art of the possible”, and it does no good to refuse to face up to practical considerations, even if it means admitting that some of my pet causes are simply of no interest to the electorate.  Believe me, I am well aware of this weakness on my part.  As much as I would like to believe that if I just shout loud enough, the unions will stage a comeback and the working classes will shed two centuries of false consciousness, I know it’s not going to happen.  There is too much history against me; times have changed and powerful forces have been brought to bear against my vision of the world, and a new WPA is not imminent.  My entire political life, ever since I was a teenage communist, has been a struggle to balance my ideological vision with the practical realities of government, to translate my strongest ethical beliefs into reasonable ideas.

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