What the Hell is an Emoprog?

Remember @FakeAPStylebook? That’s largely run its course, but every now and then we do something with it. The party conventions were worth “covering”, so when the RNC convention started, we did some jokes about it.

Naturally, some folks got in a twist because we were making fun of Republicans. I guess they lacked the ability to perform feats of arcane prognostication to tell that we would do the same for the Democrats once they, you know, also had a convention.

Which we did.

Those tweets apparently prompted this reply:

We had no idea what “emoprog” was, or that its (or any) dollars were coming our way. “Emoprog”? Sounds like a horrific genre of music, like if My Chemical Romance were mashed up with more My Chemical Romance.

Turns out, it’s a thing in the political subculture of the Internet: Emo progressives. Apparently this means people like me who actually give a damn about things like human rights, who think that our foreign policy should not include bombing and torturing Arabs to make white people feel more safe. Or, as someone on Urban Dictionary puts it,

Emo Progressive (or “emoprog”) is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as “selling out” liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, “not progressive enough” or “just like a Republican” no matter what policy achievements are made.

Apparently, sending robot planes into countries we’re not at war with to bomb whoever happens to be near a guy we think is bad and then bombing whoever might show up to help the victims of the first strike is some kind of incremental step towards a progressive future that I should be praising instead of speaking out against. Similarly, Obama did try to shut down Gitmo, but was blocked by Republicans in Congress, so that’s it, it’s simply impossible for anything further to happen here, so we should just shut up and let them rot in jail.

Somehow, I’m kind of okay with being an “emoprog” if the only alternative to complaining that ideological goals are not being met is praising any touching of the football by Obama as either a glorious 8-point touchdown or, at the very least, a necessary step along the way to the Superbowl victory that will occur if we just stop whining.

I guess the inventors of the “emoprog” term are pragmatic realists who understand the tough decisions and compromises that have to be made in order to…do what? Placate the GOP, who are going to be righteously outraged anyway? Somehow mollify the evangelicals or Tea Partiers who think he’s a Socialist Fascist Secret Kenyan Muslim Antichrist? Get in the good graces of Wall Street who, despite stellar markets and profits, are going to declare him a threat to Capitalism? When did rolling over at the slightest threat from the GOP or killing Muslims become a “tough decision”?

It’s true that Obama caught all kinds of shit from the Right for Obamacare, but let’s face it: it wouldn’t have been any different if the plan was to just mail a band-aid to every household in the country. He could have announced, “Screw it, let’s keep health care exactly as it is” and the right wing would still be claiming he somehow sold out the nation because that’s what they do. And that’s why people like me, the emoprogs, say, “Don’t do the ‘tough’ thing, do the right thing. You’re going to catch shit no matter what, why not catch it for at least trying to make a difference?” Going to the bargaining table and removing anything the other side won’t like isn’t canny negotiation. It’s capitulation. The only thing you’re deciding on is how little you’re going to accomplish.

So yeah, I’m an “emoprog” and there need to be more of them. I’m not going to apologize for my ideals. I don’t see any point to having my guy be in the Oval Office if he won’t do what I want because it might be hard or unpopular. I hold Obama to the same level I held Bush to or would hold Romney to: if they do crappy things, I’m going to say so.

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