Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To


The Democratic nomination process is either over, or it's not, or it never will be, and now everyone's barking on the internet. I've got my hands over my ears, begging mommy to make it stop. I'm used to Our Side fighting the Other Side, but people? This is making me nuts.

Last fall I watched five Democratic candidates for president in a debate. They each made a lot of sense and I'd be happy voting for any one of them. They were respectful of each other, too.

Now there's talk of rigged elections. When I look at the evidence, it seems heavy on anecdotes and entrenched suspicion. Voter fraud or rigging must be investigated, but I'm not taking anyone's "bad feeling about something" to the bank. I know how this works. As soon as you decide "they" are out to get you, you will see evidence of it everywhere. We are a most suggestible species, even more so now that every odd notion that shows up can be disseminated worldwide before anyone has time to check the math.

And this was also the year we all apparently learned how the parties nominate their candidates. Horrors. Superdelegates, caucuses in the laundromat, winner-take-all, reading chicken guts under a full moon, whatever--they've done it for years; it's their club and they can write the rules however they want to. But you can join the club and get active and try to change them if you want to. It's never been one-person-one-vote. If this was all a surprise, consider yourself educated, but not cheated.

Here's what I've noticed. All you have to do now to work up a righteous froth is comb through the conspiracy theories and curate your own dudgeon. Take what works, discard the rest. It's easy.

That's how we know Hillary Clinton is the most loathsome candidate in the race. My goodness, but she is awful. People are torn over whether she should be in jail or in Hell. You actually go back and check her positions on things, and her votes in the Senate, and her accomplishments, they're pretty solidly left of center. It's a mixed bag: strong on abortion rights, disappointing on the environment and warmongering. But evidently, as well as being a fictional murderer and a symbol of corruption, she stands for everything else we revile. She murders Muslims and can't frack fast enough and used her own email servers so she could put LOLs on State Department business and did something-or-other in Benghazi and holy cow there's a forty-year-old video of her doing an embarrassingly bad MLK accent.

What she is, of course, is a moderate-to-left pragmatic politician with a stout record of accomplishment who has been praised by members of both major parties for her ability to get some things done, because she is willing to horse-trade a little and make progress in increments rather than make none. That's sort of the way things used to be done, before things quit being done at all. She's taken a bunch of money from Wall Street, like every single other political figure out there on both sides except Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, but there's no good evidence she's in their pocket.

As I recall, it was she who first pushed for universal healthcare twenty years ago, for which she was accused of not knowing her place, or having fat ankles, or treason, or something. She got in a ton of trouble for speaking dismissively about baking cookies right around the same time. Oh, and using her maiden name in a subordinate role. And murdering her close friend. All of a piece. Just today I read that she's been "wrong about everything since she was a Goldwater girl." That would be 52 years ago. Remind me not to run for office.

I don't even know how she's able to stand upright at all after forty years of this shit. She is incredibly tough, smart, and resilient. Those are traits we might want to see in a President if it weren't, you know...if it were someone else. But we can't stand her, because she's only mostly right. And we lefties--we're like Megachurch Dads, now. We're demanding a Pledge of Purity.

Well, I get it. My go-to-the-mat issues are so dire--climate change, extinction, unsustainable growth, and the obliteration of basically everything--that "incremental" doesn't work for me, either. Change simply can't come fast enough, and we're probably already screwed.

But we keep trying. So you bet I voted for Bernie. Yes I did: I voted for all of them. Howard Dean. John Anderson. Canvassed for Clean Gene McCarthy before I was old enough to vote. When I was growing up, I knew we were Adlai Stevenson people before I knew my own phone number. I associated it in my mind with the fact that we used a push mower and had a compost pile and an old car, too. Rumor had it Daddy briefly signed up with the Communist Party in college. This apple thunked straight down from the tree. And when you vote for idealists, you take your losses hard.

I voted for them to declare my conscience even though none of them would ever have been able to push through the reforms they wanted. And that was even before the opposition party abandoned the truth altogether in favor of the sour victory of deadlock and destruction. No one figurehead will be able to do what needs to be done to address the financial sector, the carbon bomb, or our obscene income inequality (formerly known as piracy), until people stand up and demand it. A lot of people. And they have to keep standing up. It will be hard work, and frankly, there aren't enough of us. Most of us are watching Netflix.

But right now we have a strong, smart, tough candidate on the right side of most issues running against a cartoon character. The Republican brain trust knew long ago that the only way they could get their big orange toddler elected would be to divide the opposition. Instead of accusing Hillary of murder or lack of femininity, which doesn't work so well on lefties, accuse her of personally corrupting the election process, or being in the pocket of Big Oil or Wall Street. Slide that propaganda into the social media, and plenty of people who get their information from memes and posters will buy it. I'm concerned about these things too, so I looked into it. It doesn't hold up.

But I do know that the entire Republican platform can be found on Satan's private email server in Hell. So ease up on Hillary. She can take it--how, I don't know--but I can't.

44 comments:

  1. This is why people who can effect change in a good way instead of for bad won't ever become president. They are too intelligent to put up with all the crap that comes with running for office. And if someone who can do some good does decide to run, he is quickly taken down. (Howard Dean was too emotional... John Kerry not emotional enough.... Make up your minds!) No matter how much of a goody-two-shoes you are, in this age of TMI, someone can always find something scurrilous in anyone's past. I'll bet even Mother Theresa would not remain unscathed. Count me among the cynical. I'll vote, but hold my nose as I do so.

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    1. It's worse than that. They don't even need to find something scurrilous. They can flat make it up. Thank you for voting.

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  2. While I'm not enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, I would prefer a Clinton White House to a Trump White House. Allowing someone like Trump to win the election is simply out of the question.

    I know, I know. Clinton is a deeply flawed candidate, but I'll take flawed over incompetent in November.

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    1. The weird thing is: I was never enthusiastic about Hillary either, but now that I'm looking into her positions and the reasons for her votes, I'm liking her more and more. For instance, her position on fracking: I too cheered when she gave a complicated conditional thumbs-up for fracking and Bernie said "NO." Slam-dunk Bernie! Yay! But I've come around to thinking she might be on to something. I might write about this later so I won't go into it now. She gets slammed for being "nuanced" (which translates as slippery or wishy-washy) but it often means she's just very thoughtful. I was as surprised as anybody by my reaction, as a good 350.org girl.

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  3. I always read your posts, which are usually funny, but this one I feel compelled to comment. I agree with every single word you wrote here. How Hillary manages I'll never know, and Bernie was my guy until I realized I need her to win over He Who Must Not Be Named. What an election! :-(

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    1. ....Voldemort is running? Oh, yes... I see that he is....

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    2. Also, the more crap she gets, the more I like her.

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  4. What I don't understand is how the Republicans think that if Donald Trump would just BEHAVE, then he would be someone they can get behind. He is not qualified whether he behaves or not. " When someone shows you who he is, believe him," is relevant here.

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    1. Hey, there's a nice quote! I do have to note here that there have been some major defections among the Rs already.

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  5. Too bad it has come to this and has played out so globally thanks to the media. It would appear only one choice is left if US is to maintain it's superpower status.

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    1. I think it would be fun to try losing our superpower military and maybe have some health care and stuff like that instead.

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    2. "...health care and stuff like that."
      there's a good thought.

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    3. It may take a lot of health care if another country decides to push yours around a lot more.
      It's hard to choose might over right though. Caualties either way but history tells us powers shift.

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    4. Eventually. It seems like we're on the cusp of something in this country.

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  6. Considering the Trump candidacy is obscene on a good day, Hillary looks very good. The fact that she has held up to more that 20 years of relentless personal attacks puts her in the "bloody amazing" category.

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    1. I'd have been crying like a little girl.

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  7. Somewhere over the rainbow, there is a place where people work together...right?

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  8. Sigh. Still watching, still shuddering. And getting my exercise by doing a little cringing too.

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    1. We need to both go see a funny movie, I think.

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  9. Since EVERYTHING the USA does impacts on us, I think we should have voting rights in your she-bang, too. Although...we have some nasty smells here, too...

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    1. Heck, you're all practically American except for the Potoroos.

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  10. Hillary looks good to me. She's a smart cookie. She knows how to get things done - albeit incrementally. Plus she was a year behind me at Wellesley. Let's hear it for Wellesley women!

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  11. I remember watching her on TV advocating for her health care program about 25 years ago and thought "she should run for President." It's too bad so many conservatives hate her. I mean HATE HATE HATE her. Strong women have that effect on the insecure. But dad gummit, I want to see Bernie in the White House. Or at least as Hillary's VP. Or influential cabinet member. With or without Bernie, she'll know just how to handle that "orange toddler." Just count to three and if he's still whining, sit him in the corner and make him go to bed without dinner.

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    1. I'm not sure exactly how to put this--but I think she's capable of getting some of Bernie's good stuff done if she has that political force (by which I mean scads of dedicated people) behind her. She goes for that incremental progress because that's what she thinks she can get done, I believe, but it doesn't mean she doesn't embrace the ideals. For instance, I know she (and Obama) want single-payer health care. (Poor Obama had to try to stuff something through using the Republicans' own plan--at least one they originally put forth--but once it got his smell on it, they hated it.)

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  12. Our son, who follows US politics much more closely than Canadian politics, and who has a record of having a pretty good grasp on stuff, tells me things about Hilary that would put me off voting for her if I lived there, including proven lies and voting interference by her people. But I haven't checked it out myself. I have enough to do trying to keep track of what's going on in Canada. We are still pinching ourselves up here that we have a new leader with a brain AND a heart.

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    1. Even many of the "proven" things turn out to be taking in only part of the story. I'm happy about your leader.

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  13. This was such a relief to read. I needed some reassurance tonight that we are not entirely screwed.
    Our country has become so divided by politics (emphasis on TICks) and most of what is shared on the internet is as real as so-called reality television. Even more frightening, so many otherwise perfectly normal people BELIEVE lies instead of learning the truth about each candidate. With all of the smears out there, I'm amazed and impressed that Hillary remains strong and keeps going. I'd be up in Canada by now, comforting myself with poutine and their choice of PM.


    (Trump is a good businessman? NO. He is somehow a good salesman and he's selling garbage.)

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    1. I'm not sure I'd go so far as poutine...but otherwise, point taken.

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    2. Perhaps a nice Tim Horton's sour cream old fashioned doughnut then?

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  14. Here in Aus. voting is compulsory so even those of us who don't understand the least little thing about politics, have to go and make our marks on the papers. Sometimes I make a decision based on what I read in papers and on the internet, other times I'm likely to close my eyes and stab with the pencil. Doesn't seem to make much difference either way. The rich get richer and the rest of us are screwed over.

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    1. Here in Oregon, we have direct vote-by-mail ballots only. We get them three weeks before the election and can have them splayed out on the kitchen counter for weeks before we actually vote, if we want to. By that time even the odd ballot measures and candidates for Judge become familiar, or we allow them to be. We are much more informed than when we thought we were paying attention and marched into a voting booth, actually unprepared for what all is in there.

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  15. Dump Trump. Journey with Bernie.

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    1. My hope is that Bernie and all his supporters, including me, will continue to be involved. Maybe some of us (not including me) will run for election. Dogcatcher. State legislator. School Board. That's how the Tea Partiers got powerful.

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  16. I'm way off to the left of all of them, but I much prefer Clinton to Sanders (or Obama, for that matter.) If we're going to have neoliberal, let's have a straightforward one who does her homework, runs the numbers, and doesn't pretend to be ushering in a new world.

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  17. I usually agree with you, but Bernie was definitely not my guy. Might have been back in the 60s when I was more idealistic about goals and less concerned with whether or not they could actually be accomplished.

    I also voted for John Anderson. My then 8 year old daughter laughed at me and informed me that he did not get a single vote in the third grade mock election. Maybe she had something there. I didn't vote for a winning Presidential candidate until Bill Clinton.

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    1. Now I'm getting mixed up. Seems to me I voted for Jimmy Carter; John Anderson was the next election. Right?

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  18. As a guy who would have voted for Wayne Morse, but was just under the wire, this race makes me nuts. Hillary is actually, to me, preferable to Sanders; his plans don't have a hope of going through even if we get coattails from the dem president.
    Hillary is sane, will not shrink women's rights as any of the repubs will, and may not be the pacifist I'd like, but lord, anybody but the wretched Trump.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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  19. THANK YOU MARY!!!!!!!!!!! And yes... bring back Wayne Morse....

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  20. You have expressed my opinion exactly. I really liked Bernie but I worked to get a guy like him elected and he was not able to play on a team and so could not bring any of his ideas to fruition. I now go with the more pragmatic and proven leaders.

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    1. The thing is, we still need Bernies. I would love to see Clinton propose a moon-shot plan to get us off fossil fuels for good in ten years. There would be jobs (SO many jobs) in retrofitting houses. We know what needs to be done but there's no political will for it. Unless WE provide it. Unless we and everyone who loves Bernie and all those fine young people demand it and stick with it.

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