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This is what the “Green Tea Party” Doesn’t Seem to Understand about Being Progressive

While many on the left often criticize and mock our right-wing counterparts for being delusional, factually adverse, driven by hate and often fueled by conspiracy theories, the truth is, that sort of behavior isn’t limited to just conservatives.



The left has their own version of these people who many (including myself) have begun referring to as the “Green Tea Party.”

Most of the people who consider themselves members of the Green Tea Party claim to be liberals or progressives, but they’re actually neither. Sure, they’re extremely passionate idealists, but they’re not progressives.

You see, a big part of being a progressive is diversity (and I don’t just mean by gender, race or sexual orientation — I mean by ideas), and the ability to have an open mind while approaching issues rationally and logically. It’s about understanding that ten people might have ten different ideas on how to achieve similar goals and the smart thing to do is to work together to map put the best and most realistic path to achieve those goals.

However, what’s not progressive is judging anyone and everyone who you don’t deem “idealistically pure” enough to measure up to what you think constitutes a “true progressive.” There’s nothing progressive about shouting at and attacking people, many of whom have dedicated decades of their lives fighting for progressive causes, because they don’t pass your purity test.

That’s the mindset of tea party Republicans — not progressives.

There’s also nothing progressive about denying facts simply because they don’t support something that you want to be real.

Here we are, headed straight toward one of the most important elections in most of our lifetimes, and I’m still dealing with people who claim that the Democratic primary was “rigged” even though indisputable mathematical evidence shows us that the reason why Bernie Sanders didn’t win the nomination is because Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly won the minority voter.

Some people reading this might not want to believe that — but it’s true. If you doubt me, here’s a complete breakdown of the numbers from the primary.

And if you claim the primary was rigged after looking at those numbers then you have to explain how the DNC only “rigged” the election when it came to minorities. Because in all 50 states, the pattern was predictable. Bernie Sanders won 70 percent of states with white populations over 70 percent, yet lost 90.5 percent of states with an African-American population over ten percent. So, if you’re going to continue claiming that the “primary was rigged,” you have to be able to rationally explain why this “rigging” didn’t impact white voters.

If someone doesn’t like Hillary Clinton for factual reasons, that’s fine. But most of the people (on both the left and the right) who I’ve seen attacking her, resort to using rhetoric that’s complete and total nonsense or something that’s not remotely accurate.

I love being told by Green Party people that she’s “no better than a Republican,” while they ignore the fact that she was ranked the 11th most liberal senator (more so than President Obama) and voted with Bernie Sanders on the same side of the issues 93 percent of the time. So, if she’s “no better than a Republican” are they claiming that the difference between Sanders and a Republican is seven percent of a voting record? Furthermore, if she’s “no better than a Republican,” then based on voting records, that practically makes President Obama a member of the tea party.

But with most of these “Green Tea” folks, they don’t care about any of that. Much like tea party conservatives, the only “facts” they really care about are what they want to be real and they’ll reject any piece of evidence you present to them that debunks something that they want to be true.



Again, that’s not how real progressives act.

A real progressive bases what they believe on facts. This means if a real progressive is presented with factual information that contradicts something they believe, they change their mind.

As a progressive, I don’t want to be surrounded by people who completely agree with me on everything. But that’s what the Green Tea Party thrives on. It’s not a political party, it’s a far-left activist group that just happens to run candidates.

The other day when I asked at least ten “Green Tea Party” supporters to name one of their party’s candidates other than Dr. Jill Stein — none of them could name a single one other than her. I also asked them what qualifies her to be president, and aside from listening a whole lot of ideas she supports, none of them couldn’t actually cite what qualifications she has that make her fit to hold the most powerful office on the planet.

On a quick sidenote: Can “Green Tea Party” folks stop using the terms “neocon globalist” or “neoliberal”? While I know those are the words many of them like throwing around because it makes them sound “edgy,” “cool” and “anti-establishment,” when I hear them use these terms, it’s similar to hearing a Donald Trump supporter shout “Make America great again!” or “Build that wall!” — it just comes off sheepish and childish.

Would I like to be able to work with these “Green Tea Party” supporters? Of course. Despite their rabid insistence that everyone who doesn’t subscribe to their particular brand of leftist beliefs might as well just go ahead and join the tea party, the Green Tea Party’s goals and those of the Democratic party aren’t all that different.

Both sides want:

  • Universal health care.
  • To raise the minimum wage.
  • To protect women’s rights.
  • To protect abortion rights.
  • Criminal justice reform.
  • To protect the environment.
  • Education reform.
  • To overturn Citizens United.
  • To protect voting rights.
  • To protect gay rights.
  • To protect same-sex marriage.
  • To expand Social Security and Medicare.
  • To raise taxes on the rich.
  • To fix our crumbling infrastructure.
  • To keep religion out of government.

The list goes on and on. This is why I find it fairly ridiculous that so many members of the “Green Tea Party” act as if Democrats are no better than Republicans. The truth is, the real difference between the two groups is that the “Green Tea Party” is mostly comprised of fanatical idealists who seem to think “governing” revolves around telling everyone else “it’s my way or the highway,” while Democrats are more pragmatic and realize sometimes you have to compromise if you want to make any strides forward.

Many supporters of the “Green Tea Party” seem unable to understand that getting 60 percent of what you want is a whole hell of a lot better than getting almost none of it and even reversing progress on a particular issue. They can’t seem to comprehend that each time you get 60 percent, you’re moving closer and closer toward your ultimate goal while protecting the overall forward progress toward it.

But, personally I don’t view these people as real progressives. Not because I feel it’s my right to “define” progressive, but because a big part of being a real progressive is diversity of thought, being open-minded, accepting the opinions of others and basing what you believe on facts even if those facts don’t support something you wished were true.

Quite frankly, that’s not what the “Green Tea Party” is. At least not in most of my encounters with those claiming to be supporters of the organization. Many of these individuals are nothing more than the left’s version of the tea party. They’re often an extremely hostile, aggressive grouping of people who live in an echo chamber, blinded by “purist” fanaticism, who are often more than willing to buy into absurd conspiracy theories just as long as the conspiracy confirms their bias.

Doubt me? Feel free to check out the comments section of this article because I’m sure many of them will be more than willing to prove nearly everything I just said.




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Copyright 2016 Forward Progressives
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Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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