A Tale of Two Choices

One of the biggest, most harmful myths in political science and sociology is the myth that there are only two choices. Once individuals accept this lie, they retreat to their corners and attempt to shout down the opposing corner. There is no movement towards consensus, no commitment to compromise, no reason to look towards the future/progressive problem solving. The goal is no longer to resolve issues that have been presented—but simply to win. Consequences to winning are ignored. Beating those with opposing, different opinions becomes the only goal. Thinking becomes all or nothing. With us or against us, sound familiar?

And this is how we end up in a situation where we have to choose between Trump and Biden, Zionist or ignorant of historical facts, Iranian deal or nuclear war with Iran, Black lives matter or Blue lives matter, proud Jew or Dyke Marcher, “the Squad” or “Trumpers”. This is how progressive social movements get hijacked. This is how oppressive forces win and why there are still Nazis running rampant in the 21st century. This is why we have American politics where Trump is “a good leader” simply because he makes some pro-Israel statements and pro-Israel actions and why Trump is a horrible president because he practices overt racism and sexism unapologetically.

Although I believe there are definitive answers to the opposing sides presented above, right and wrong answers, this article is not about that. It is about the first step, which is that there are more than two choices and sometimes both answers can be true. Both Trump and Ilhan Omar/Rashida Tlaib are bigots—I do not have to take one side over the other and just because one is “bad” that does not make the other “good.” Just because free-market capitalism thrives on the exploitation of human labor and natural resources that does not mean that communism is the answer. In fact, it can be argued that communism also thrives on the exploitation of humans and the environment.

Unfortunately, for progressives who stand for Indigenous rights, this sometimes leaves us alone on an island, without a movement to support us. We cannot stand with “progressive” movements like the Woman’s March because of its ties to regressive figures like Linda Sarsour and Farrakhan, and we are not welcomed into movements where members openly chant, “the Jews will not replace us.” This encourages me to radically accept not just that there are more than two choices, but that sometimes intersectionality is not helpful nor is it needed. Sometimes being between a rock and a hard-place makes people and movements stronger.

About the Author
Brandy Shufutinsky is a social worker, with a MSW from the University of Southern California and a MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego. She hopes to utilize her advocacy in social justice on a global level, working towards making education more accessible to immigrant populations. She has previously been published in The Forward. Brandy is working on a doctoral degree at the University of San Francisco in International Multicultural Education.
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