We’re all hypocrites, right? I don’t know a single person who isn’t. I know tons who will swear on a god or nothing-at-all that they live up to their own code, but these people are almost entirely full of shit. But what does hypocrisy have to do with Progressivism? And what the hell is a Pregressive? I’m glad you asked, me.
What’s a Progressive? To me, it’s somebody with a specific political ideology and worldview. Somebody who believes intrinsically in the good of the world, of people, and strives to make the world a more palatable place. They live, breathe, and exist entirely with these big ideas in mind. In short, being a Progressive ain’t easy. It’s hard to think about every element in every situation you encounter and how best to meet that chance. If you’re like me, it makes for a lot of silence. If you’re a Pregressive, it makes for some pretty entertaining soapbox preaching.
Pregressives don’t consider themselves as such, they’re totally Progressive. And they’re on their way, they’re getting there. But they’re also fucking up HARD. And there are TONS of ’em. More Pre than Pro. On a recent road trip, we came across a mom who boasted about her son being homeless in Barcelona.
“Oh yeah, he’s living on the streets. What an experience!”
Now, first things first, dude ain’t homeless. Proud Mom can buy him a flight back to Denver any ol’ time his poverty tour takes a turn for the “too real”. I never met this dude, but from what I was told, he’s a Pregressive. Live that lie, fella! Ain’t it hard to be privileged in another country and pretend to be poor? Ugh, it’s just the worst, isn’t it? Go back home, you’re embarrassing us.
Know some people with “Coexist” bumper stickers who laugh at people with social problems and transgendered folk, “wow that surgery didn’t go well. She…he…still has facial hair!” Good times.
It’s all over the U.S. It’s right here in NJ. I’ve met people (a younger me included) who swear up and down they’re trying to live some purified, elevated existence in this harsh realm. No labels, no GMOs, no child/slave workers! …but every one of ’em wears, says, and/or does something to directly contradict their half-hearted code. Everyone of ’em has an Apple product, built out of some pretty shitty working environments, but let’s not bring that up about the bitten apple. I’m sure you’re stickin’ it to the Man on your own terms. Why be harsh towards Apple, bruh? Everyone of ’em is unknowingly wearing something produced in a sweatshop, but thank God they don’t know it is. Blind purchases get a pass because, well, how was I supposed to know? Truth is, most don’t know what their code is, let alone how to live by it. It’s a parody. It’s insanity.
Pregressivism heads down a dark route when you talk about history, statistics, culture, or practically anything politically-minded. A week ago, a grown-ass man asked how long ago slavery occurred in the U.S. That’s a problem. I’ve met people who absolutely believed they were “over race”. Another problem. We’re only remembering elementary school stats on slavery, race, and if we’re lucky, genocide. It’s a problem because we’ve forgotten something. It’s a problem when we pretend things don’t exist…like culture, or an entire people. These horrible things occur as soon as they’re forgotten. Louis C.K. has a joke about slavery occurring deeper into history every year that passes, “Slavery? That was like 500 years ago or something, right?” And take a look around; kinda looks like some politicians are pushing for segregation laws again, right? They are. And they’re not hiding it–Jim Wheeler, a Nevada lawmaker said that he’d vote for slavery if the constituents wanted it. And we kinda helped by not knowing/forgetting something that really never ended. We helped by allowing it. By caring from a distance instead of doing something to prevent these people from running things. Oops. Our collective bad. What’s stranger is that these same people will argue against forgetting, they’ll say something like “I know that! We haven’t come far at all! I know this! This isn’t about me! Fuck a Jim Wheeler!” They’ll shout because they’re supposed to. You’re right, things haven’t changed (and about Jim)! At the risk of sounding condescending (this whole post is, really), how do you think things haven’t changed? Why? Or are you stumbling into the truth because of a Mother Jones or Huff Post article? You’re on the right track, that’s fine, now just read something off the rails. Read the radical. Read the burned books.
When I got serious about acting out my “code” (after biting a bullet and buying an iPhone; don’t worry—I adequately hated myself after buying the dumb thing) I downloaded tons of apps that told me whether clothes were ok to buy. One app updated me on every. single. shitty thing happening in the world…in real time! Nothing was getting past this guy, man. I was gonna KNOW (and who knew H&M treats their employees pretty well? Not me). I filled my phone up with awful apps and every day I swallowed a bitter pill known as “this terrible world we live in”. I’ve since deleted ’em. This spaceship game I got is so much more entertaining.
Do I think I live out my code? In some ways yeah, in others definitely not–I don’t claim to be a Progressive, my nerves can’t hack it. But I do what I can, when I can. Little, medium, maybe one big thing. Is my conscience directing every purchase I make? I’d say half the time. But what I say, I do. What I do, I believe—in the present, at least. And it’s that simple. I’m not apologetic about how I act because if you’re holier-than-thou and shittin’ things up, politically aligned or not, I’m calling it out.
Wanna live a peaceful life, coexisting and shit? Don’t fill the air around you with venom. Want kids in the 3rd world to smile more? STOP BUYING SHIT FROM FOREVER 21. Want world peace? Do your part in your corner of existence. Don’t tell people to be a part of something you’re almost entirely divorced from—even though we all swear that we’ve gone through and know shit; that we can help others just like us!I have faith, you can do it, but right now you’re a parody, Pregressives. Young and old alike. Pretending to be aghast over the latest D.C. B.S., following the latest news with applaud-able disdain so you and your friends can pat yourselves on the back for keeping it real is ridiculous. Fortunately, some Pregressives grow out of the adolescent “caring from a distance” phase and into a tougher, more comprehensive person: an adult. Other times they continue in their disillusion of slummin’ it up for experience points or whatever, livin’ one way and preachin’ another straight into the grave.
It’s all just a tour, like the lost boy in Barcelona. We can come out of tough thoughts and back home to our mostly cozy realities, free from the nonsense of the world whenever we want. It’s a privilege in itself to be Progressive. Keep it in check. We can overuse water while half of Detroit runs dry. We can look at pictures of Gaza while buying made-in-China keffiyehs in support of Palestine. Lay down on our feather pillows thinking of just how awful it must be to be an African child right now. Talk openly about the Capitalist machine while we idle ours in front of a Chipotle (they’re Pro Gay Marriage, it’s cool guys). Just as long as we collectively feel bad. Then something will happen. Then something has to happen. Right?
It already has.