Apparently, I would make a terrible lackey.
Today has been trying. In the fraught atmosphere of the current political moment people have chosen to call me names, ranging from the profane to the contemptuous to the dismissive.
I don't care.
I do not care whether you approve of me. I do not care whether you like me.
I care about reality. I care about the reality that will be in place for the generations that come after me. That is why I teach. That is why I am a scholar. Senator Clinton, Terry McAuliffe, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean: their priorities are different. By virtue of being professional politicians they must think in cycles of two, four, six or at at most eight years.
Yes, I care about the short term. But I care about the medium and long term more so. Yes, my job, as a tenured academic, gives me that luxury. But if nobody pays attention to the medium and long term than all energy goes to short term gratification. In some contexts, immediate gratification is what matters.
Not when it comes to the trajectory of political and civil society, however. What matters for the body politic is the longer term. This is why we cannot excuse fraud and deceit in the name of short term "victory". We have to fight the hard fight, the real fight: for a better, more honest politics.
I refuse to accept the conclusion that such a politics is impossible. That is what people keep telling me: that I must accept a Democratic presidential candidate just because of his label - Democrat - because we cannot do any better than this.
I refuse to accept that. If Senator Clinton or President Clinton or Terry McAuliffe or my heretofore close friends accept it, that is fine, that is their view. It is not mine. I am cut from a different mold, one more like that of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. More like Alice Paul, more like Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I do not care for present popularity; I care for what is right.