Michael Saenger
Michael Saenger

The NFL, Israel, and Progressivism

James Brown was very good this morning talking about racism in the NFL. Basically, he said that the league is a microcosm of society, and that it should fire people, like Gruden, but that we should not just use “NFL” as a new code word for everything we like to feel is wrong with society, because it’s not just the league, and it’s not just Gruden. There has been a similar tendency to stigmatize Israel as inherently opposed to everything “Progressives” believe in.

Moving forward, there are a few key subjects that the Democrats need to wrestle with, not because there is a battle between moderates and progressives. That’s how many people bill it, but really, it’s a conflict about what leftism is all about — a conflict about what “Progressivism” means. Several questions:

Are Progressives going to pretend that racism is only found in Red states and leagues like the NFL?

Are we willing to offer social benefits, such as free college tuition and free day care, to people who have the means to pay for it?

Are we willing to celebrate America, at any level, even if we also acknowledge its problems?

Are we willing to allow for the possibility that Zionism can be progressive?

Are we willing to rezone suburban housing so that poorer people can live in better homes, with better schools?

These are the fundamental questions that will define the Democratic party, and therefore decide the next election cycles.

About the Author
Michael Saenger is an Associate Professor of English at Southwestern University and the author of two books and the editor of another. He has been a Finalist for the Southwestern Teaching Award, and he has given talks on cultural history in Europe, Israel and North America.