The Democratic Party's power brokers and certain members of the liberal intelligentsia are fixated on and often proffer a certain line. Perhaps you've come across it in social or other media phrased similarly to this, but I encountered it again today in a FB post.
I'm not sure that phrase has any specific and useful meaning anymore. It's become a form of shorthand, of lecture for a particular point of view of reality shared by a faction of party loyalists.
Some might consider it smug, this question from Ms. Solnit. Others might agree with her thinking enthusiastically, but when pressed to have detailed discussion about our shared possibilities in this moment of national crisis, all communication stops, and some version of this "perfection is the enemy of the good" phrase is employed to cast aspersions and silence dissent, and ultimately -whether wittingly or not-- to stymie creativity beyond the scope of the elite imagination.
Where we need to get to, the questions I hope Ms. Solnit and all intellectually honest and civic-minded folks can get to soon is:
What can we define together as the necessary work for restructuring some of our elections and governance systems to work better for more Americans—and for a planet we're savaging? What will it take to get that done?
Give the 3 out of 4 Americans in this country who did not vote for Trump a chance to weigh in, to be included. We need to leave the old distractions, party divisions and trigger language behind.
No one is asking for perfection...that is hackneyed even in Ms. Solnit's beautiful writing voice. As her Facebook cover photo, Ms. Solnit offers this:
Yes, let's listen to those who have been silenced...in the past and present. We seek balance and justice, not perfection. And we need you.
We need a beautiful mess of civic discourse being respected right now...we need to expand the American imagination...and then edit it for clarity and coherence, for justice, for economic
opportunity and health security, for living in dignity.