Ben Boyce


Alchemizing liberals into progressives

Posted on July 3, 2022 by Ben Boyce

The Trump Supreme Court just announced the effective end of the 50-year-old Roe court ruling, which affirmed the ‘right to privacy’ as a constitutionally grounded civil right that gave women legal agency over their own bodies. 

We are shocked to realize that we have been politically checkmated within the formal legal structure of the byzantine and archaic U.S. constitutional framework. This affront to our secular civic way of life by an illegitimate Supreme Court stocked by treachery with conservative culture war activist judges shall not stand. 

The righteous outrage of millions of mothers, sisters, and aunts who thought that this whole issue of women’s bodily rights was settled should be enough of a catalyst for mass turnout in 2022 and a decisive repudiation in the presidential election in 2024. 

At the very least, one would hope that the January 6 Committee’s chilling deconstruction of a botched soft coup attempt by the Republican Party would be reason enough for casual Democratic voters, who typically only tune in during presidential races, to get off the couch and vote in the 2022 midterms.   

These moments of crisis generate the heat of history that can rapidly recast the political tectonic plates. The most gratifying experience for a progressive polemicist like me is the moment when a liberal suddenly realizes that they have a real stake in the outcome and want a coherent, strategic progressive agenda in lieu of their unformed baseline temperamental inclination to liberalism. That’s what we at PMC call winning. 

 On the local scene, the results were also disappointing for the progressives. As I predicted, the split lane for the reform sheriff slot led to a deja vu of 2018, with the Sheriff’s Association’s front man Eddie Engram narrowly winning a first-round victory. Carl Tennenbaum got the progressive vote, but that was not enough to win. My man Dave Edmonds got kicked around pretty hard by the Press Democrat.

Progressive challenger Blake Hooper failed to turn out long-serving center-right County Supervisor David Rabbitt. The North Bay Labor Council’s man, Brad Coscarelli, is still in the running for the County Superintendent of Schools. 

John Mutz, the 2018 reform sheriff candidate, educated me on the culture of high-ranking major police officials who are active in the police trade journals arguing for concrete solutions to restructure modern law enforcement.

We are a long way away from reforming the culture of American policing, but we do have genuine allies within the upper ranks of big metro police forces. We need to support a qualified reform candidate in 2026 unless the new Sheriff Engram steps up and sets a new tone.

So I’m going to give Engram a clean slate, reset to zero, and see if he delivers. I like the man, and he will be a much more chill face of the Sheriff’s Department than his hot-headed predecessor. We will judge the Sheriff by what he does, with an opening presumption of good faith. 

The most constructive role of citizen engagement with law enforcement is to educate the public about the standards of 21st century policing, send citizen feedback via media or through representatives in IOLERO to reward constructive actions and initiatives, or critique a Sheriff’s office management decision.


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA