My friends who like Bernie Sanders keep telling me that he disavows the bros and toxicity that his supporters are known for. Then yesterday the Sanders campaign proudly tweeted the endorsement of an absolutely hateful scumbag, Joe Rogan.
It’s one thing to accept an endorsement from someone you don’t entirely agree with, it’s entirely another to EMBRACE AND HIGHLIGHT it as a sign of the kind of support you have. Especially given the deficit of trust Sanders already has, this sends a clear message to marginalized people that we will be thrown under the bus at the first opportunity to get some sexist, homophobic white nationalists on board.
I voted for Sanders in 2016, and I will be glad to vote for him (maybe even volunteer) in the general election if he wins the primary. But I absolutely will not support him when I have progressive alternatives like Elizabeth Warren who clearly actually gives a crap about people like me (and you). And I am also having a hard time swallowing friends’ continued support for Sanders. I can’t help but trust people a little less when I see you still defending him.
I didn’t know about Rogan before, I think he does something sporty? So here is more context:
Here is the absolute most important reason that this really matters:
In There’s Nothing Virtuous About Finding Common Ground, Tayari Jones asks “When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle? Rather than chattel slavery, perhaps we could agree on a nice program of indentured servitude? “
Or maybe we can “compromise” on abortion and just let rich people get them? Yeah, NO.
As a Buddhist I must tell you that the “middle” is rarely the place of balance.
I strive to see the Buddha nature (good potential) in every human. Even the cretin in the White House. In fact, it’s not hard for me to see how much he is suffering from his own delusions and fears. But that doesn’t mean I have to see things his way. Understanding his motivations can be useful, but there’s nothing I can do to make people like him listen to me without severely compromising my own values.
Which brings me to the point of this work, making the world a better place. One of the reasons that most Democrats have been unable to win is that for the past 25 years they have been trying to sell themselves as friendlier Republicans. To win long-term they need a compelling vision that energizes voters and emphasizes progressive values (a la Lakoff‘s Don’t Think of an Elephant). Instead they’ve been letting consultants lead them by the nose to eke out marginal victories based on big money tactics. They occasionally win the battle for votes but they lose the war for hearts and minds. The Overton Window shifts ever rightward and now we are debating whether trans people have rights and whether migrant children should be treated like human beings.
Which brings me back to the strategic futility (as well as moral failure) of trying to compromise with people who want to annihilate us. I’m not saying to write them off. They are people too, and frankly they need help to come back to a place of love and humanity. But validating their hateful and counterfactual ideas won’t do that.
(I edited this post to add some thoughts that I wrote in response to en e-mail discussion of Jones’s article.)
I’ve been saying for almost 2 years that the only way to stop Republicans is to have a mass movement literally out in the streets (and in factories, and other strategic positions) shutting down business as usual. Unfortunately, there is currently no organization or leader that can mobilize people on a mass scale, and most people are comfortable enough with what they have that they aren’t willing to take confrontational direct action.
I was hopeful about the Parkland kids or Rev. Barber to be that catalyst, but they are too invested in the current system. They seem to think we can vote and sing our way out of this. If democracy was functioning, half the Republican leadership would be prison. But Democrats are still counting on laws and facts to influence greedy nihilists.
There are more of us that are outraged than there are of the greedy haters, but we let them control the media and the government because it would be too risky or inconvenient for us to actually stop them. I’m speaking of myself here too! I have a lot to lose.
Fascists win by making us all think we’re alone, we’re sick because we have no healthcare, we’re exhausted from working 3 jobs, we’re scared because we’re gay/trans/immigrant/Jewish/female/outspoken, we can’t think straight because the news makes no sense, we’re paranoid because our neighbor might be a nazi/narc, we’re poor because the 1% is stealing everything. None of this is an accident.
We can’t wait for the movement anymore. Just start throwing rocks whenever you can. But ALWAYS take care of yourself and your people first. We need to practice as much solidarity as possible just so that we can hope to survive this.
I will say it again: please stop thinking everything will work out in the end. The only way that happens is if massive numbers of Americans rise up and do not allow business as usual to continue. It’s on US. The institutions that got us to this moment are not going to suddenly fix it.
No one is going to save us, not Mueller, not the Democratic Party, and certainly not Congressional Republicans. Nothing will make them voluntarily let go of power.
What is up with these Democrats playing kickball at a gun fight? They are negotiating with themselves. Republicans are not playing, they’re burning our government down as fast as possible. They’re not compromising, not looking for common ground, not thinking about how they’d want the system to work if they were not in power. (This is why they are a death cult. There is no end game.)
There is no long game. There probably won’t even be a functioning democracy left to govern in 5 years.
Everyone knows you don’t negotiate with terrorists. WHAT. ARE. THEY. THINKING?
I’m surprised to report that I enjoyed watching the Democratic candidates debate last night. Well I enjoyed two of them anyway. I was only able to access the video stream on CNN.com about half the time but Twitter kept me looped in without missing a moment. I collected my favorite tweets below.
I was surprised to see that even some of my friends participated in commentary that attacked people for their gender (Hillary the ice queen), culture (Bernie the hippie), or their appearance (pretty much everyone). I can only assume that people do this because they are either extremely immature or they have no legitimate policy critique to make.
I am particularly sick of the hippie-baiting. I come from a long line of hippies and we love our country as much as anyone, if not moreso. Who was there working for civil rights, who marched against the Vietnam War, who cried out against the Iraq War? History will show that we have been on the side of justice and we have been right. Stop marginalizing hippies and listen!
On the question of the whether John Edwards will help or hurt Erskine Bowles. I just posted the following comment at EdCone.com:
If Bowles can’t take advantage of the increased Democratic resources flowing into N.C., it’s his own fault. Have you seen his site lately? I’m glad to see it’s been redesigned, but it’s now apparent that he’s running in the wrong primary.
“Lowes Motor Speedway… Richard Petty .. Bush series”
“Fiscal Discipline… Republicans and Democrats Together”
“Fight special interests”
I sure want to beat Richard Burr, but I’m still waiting for one compelling reason to help Bowles.
I am increasingly convinced that Clinton spoiled the already-ailing Democratic party when he played his presidency so thoroughly to the center. It clearly worked for him personally, but it’s something other Dems can’t do without outright imitating Republicans. And even if they could get away with it, what’s the point?
What the hell are they fighting for? I look forward to the Democratic Party’s ultimate demise, although it’s going to be a rough time for the country until someone else gets their shit together.
Nancy Pelosi represents the most anti-war district in the country and supports the Prez. Democrats are so afraid of their own shadows, it’s amazing the party still exists. I can’t think of what practical purpose it serves at this point but to make people think we have a two-party government. Fooled ya.
Memo to elected officials:
If ever there was time to find your spine this is it. History will remember if you were a hero and fought for justice, or a coward hiding behind your pollster. Voters will remember, too