Watching the Republican convention may have convinced America that never have so many white people gathered for such malevolent purposes. But, every now and then, the TV cameras pick up a dark face and zoom in. A handful of African Americans took the podium, as did a handful of Latinos, women, and a tiny handful of gays. This for a party whose avowed platform reeks of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and hatred. It’s legitimate to ask “Why?”
It’s also a good time to expound on the common political phenomenon known as “opportunism.” My glossary of political terms says opportunism is “Sacrificing higher ideals for personal gain. Specifically, someone within the progressive movement who profits by selling out the interests of others.” Judas Iscariot, who turned Jesus in to the Roman authorities for thirty pieces of silver, is a classic example.
In other words, some of those few African American spokespersons for racists are getting paid, as are some of those women and gays. Did you ever wonder if Clarence Thomas is on the Supreme Court because he’s a reactionary, or if he was a reactionary because he is on the Supreme Court?
Closer to home, you can see opportunism every day in your workplace. Almost all of us feel some solidarity with our co-workers, because they’re in the same boat we’re in. Yet, almost all of us would take a promotion into a management job if we got the chance. Once in management, solidarity is gone — even though nobody will admit that. Managers always claim to feel exactly like their employees, but their every action proves otherwise.
When somebody moves from worker to management, he/she is taking advantage of an opportunity. From the point of view of worker solidarity, he/she has also committed an error of opportunism. It’s common. Almost everybody does it or would do it if they had the chance. It’s just the way our economic system works. It turns us against one another.
American politics is filled through and through with opportunists. It’s tempting to say that almost all the politicians in our economic system are opportunists. All of them aren’t. But some of them would sell out their own mothers.
The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other. –Will Rodgers