Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I'm a woman! Read my post!

Every time someone who's not a white man runs for office in America, we are forced once again to listen to the yammering heads run their mouths about the regrettable state of "identity politics."  For those of you lucky enough to have escaped this spectacle of Victorian hand-wringing, "identity politics" is what white men call it when women and people from minority groups run against them or their favorite candidate.

It's a phrase that assholes use to disparage people for whom diversity matters, and so not surprising that the Left's biggest asshole trotted it out in his remarks in Boston on November 20th, when a supporter asked Bernie Sanders how she should proceed in order to become the country's second Latina senator. He replied:

But it's not good enough to say, “Hey, I'm a Latina, vote for me.” That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country, and is going to take on big money interests. One of the struggles that we're going to have right now, we lay on the table of the Democratic Party, is it's not good enough to me to say, “Okay, well we've got X number of African Americans over here, we've got Y number of Latinos, we have Z number of women. We are a diverse party, a diverse nation.” Not good enough...But, but, here is my point, and this is where there is going to be division within the Democratic Party. It is not good enough for someone to say, “I'm a woman! Vote for me!” No, that's not good enough.

Oh, kittens, where to start?

First of all, it's big of him, I guess, to confirm that the Democratic Party should reflect all Americans.  I wish he had said it that way, instead of speaking in quotas - as if that's what the DNC does, is round up candidates and tally their census boxes.  I mean, that's what ignorant GOP types think we do, so it's disappointing to hear a prominent liberal echo their condescending language.

Secondly, he continues to push this idea that all political, social, and justice concerns are subordinate to anti-corporate economic positions.  That's an idea that was roundly rejected by voters of color in the primaries when they overwhelmingly did not vote for him. Still, Sanders has stubbornly refused to recognize that racism is not a conspiracy of the 1%, or, in the words of Iman Gandi, "Sandra Bland had a goddamn job."

And thirdly:
"Hey, I'm a Latina, vote for me."
"I'm a woman, vote for me!"

I guess it's kind of refreshing to finally hear him admit what he thinks of  female candidates generally, and Clinton's campaign specifically.  And I, for one, put my hand on my heart and hereby pledge that I will never forget that he publicly reduced us to gender-cheerleading simpletons.

But the other unmistakable message in those words is that any candidate who doesn't buy into Sanders's own particular brand of college level Marxism, and loses an election, does so because their message boils down to "Vote for me because I'm not a white male!"  If you don't see politics the way Bernie does, he's implying that you're coasting on your gender/racial identity.

Think about that for a minute.  Now imagine if Paul Ryan had said that the problem with Democrats is that their message can be summarized as "I'm a Latina, vote for me!"


But most importantly, and this is the one that is apparently too mind-blowing for many white men to even contemplate: white male IS AN IDENTITY in America, and all the hundreds of years of political dominance in this country does not make that any less true.  White men are not gender and race neutral.  And if you don't understand how a white man can play "identity politics" in America, then JESUS CHRIST WERE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION WHILE WE JUST ELECTED DONALD FUCKING TRUMP??

And lastly, for those of you who are constantly whining about unity and coming together and how can I still be criticizing Sanders when there are more important targets/issues etc. etc. etc.

He started it.

Seriously, he did.  He is positioning himself as The Man Who Will Save the Democrats, and as he continues on his "I Told You So" Tour, shilling the book that he spent the last 3 months writing instead of campaigning for Clinton, he is telling us that we need to remake the party in his image.

And kittens, I don't want a party remade in his image.  I do not want that.  I don't want anything from Bernie Sanders other than for him to go back to Vermont and go back to voting the way Senate Democrats tell him to.

Oh.  Well, I guess, since it's been brought up, there is one more thing I wouldn't mind getting from him.

It would be nice if he apologized.  You know, for damaging our candidate with his lies and his general assholery and for contributing to the victory of Donald Trump.  Yeah, I guess, for me, step number one in the Bernie Sanders: Democratic Savior junket would be for him to say that he's sorry for his part in everything that's about to happen.  All these identities that he's so eager to dictate priorities to are about to get hit with a world of shit, and it would be nice if he just said, you know, "Hey, I'm a white man!  My bad!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Green flag

(Please note that the above photo is meant to be a humorous illustration of some of the themes of this post.  I don't care that it is Photoshopped.  This is an opinion blog, not the Washington Post.)

Here's a fun game that you can play while you're waiting for the four NASCAR drivers of the apocalypse to make an appearance at your front door:

Whenever someone says that poor people worried about the economy voted in Donald Trump, you say "I think you mean poor WHITE people."  When they say that working class people felt forgotten by the Democratic Party, you say "I think you mean working class WHITE people."  You do this to anyone in your life who is regurgitating the media's dangerously wrong talking points about how what happened in 2016 was definitely not THEIR fault.  Hell, for bonus points, you could yell corrections at your TV screen too, but damn kittens I recommend you save your screaming voice for when you are sucked into the flaming pools of totalitarian shit that used to be the United States of America.

My point is, take every opportunity to remind everyone you can that what happened in this election was a giant white people takeback of what they think is theirs.  People of color didn't fall for any of Trump's trumpeting about bringing back jobs, or fixing the economy.  They know a carny shill when they see one.  And the only reason white people couldn't see the con is because they didn't want to.

A coworker of mine, who is an engineer, and an escapee from Kansas, lamented to me that his sisters voted for Trump.  They did so, he said, because they're "single issue voters," when it comes to abortion.

Now, clearly he's got his heart in the right place, and I'm not going to talk shit about anyone's sister to their face, but it's always funny to me how people who have multiple degrees and who make a living knowing how shit works are frequently so bad at knowing how shit works.  Because does my coworker really think that, if Trump had been pro-choice - which he was as recently as 2 seconds before he said he wasn't - does my coworker really think that his sisters would not have voted for him?

Because bullshit.  Because of course they would have.  Because their principles are fictitious.  Just like all the principled Evangelicals who we were told might stay home from the polls, and the principled Mormons who we were told might make Utah go 3rd party, and the principled GOP whoevers who denounced Trump the candidate while conveniently neglecting to denounce what he stood for.  All those principled conservatives who, in the end, fell over themselves in their rush to vote for the most embarrassing leader of the free world since George W forgot how doors work.

Yeah, white people showed their true color on Election Day, and now they're acting as if it's 1861, and the Mason-Dixon line is now being drawn at the Canadian border.  And they weren't emboldened by Trump's stance on clean coal and the TPP.  They were emboldened by anger.  They were angry at the black president for being the boss of them.  They were angry that the country, collectively, may have to admit that the police operate under the same bullshit assumptions that they do.  They were angry that immigrants dare ask for the same consideration that their own immigrant predecessors received.  They were angry that theoretical cake bakers might have to bake gay cakes.  And yes, fucking yes, they were angry that a woman dared to think she could raise her hand and say "The most qualified person is me."

For eight years they've been saying that they wanted their country back, and kittens, they just took it.  They took it because Democrats believe in equal rights, and a better life, for people who aren't them.  And we let them do it, we held the door open for them and let them take everything away while we quibbled over which kind of locks to install.

The Republicans won because they were scared shitless that we would enforce our agenda.

The Democrats lost because the Republicans cared more about our agenda than we did.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Like a lot of people, I was shocked.

I wasn't shocked that an ignorant, unqualified racist and serial abuser of women could win the presidency.  I wasn't shocked that there were enough awful white people out there to put him in office.

I was shocked because the polls said that we would beat him.  Soundly.  There was a massive failure to accurately measure the electorate.  And the press failed to detect it in time.

That's not the only way the press failed.  They failed by allowing a hostile foreign country to dictate the narrative of the election.  They failed by thinking that journalistic integrity means that the scandals of one candidate must be treated as equivalent to the actual criminal activity of the other.

Democrats also failed.  We failed to vote.  And that is by far the worst failing.

And if you're out there bloviating about how if the Democrats had picked YOUR guy, it would've gone differently, then you have so missed the point.  And this was a point that was painfully demonstrated to us only 16 years ago, and somewhat more predictably 12 years ago, so if you were a voting adult during the BushCo years then damn, how many fucking times do you need to see this happen before you get it?

Because guess what?  The Republicans DO get it.  Oh, they get it.  They just elected the most far Right candidate since...I don't know...ever?  And they did it by being loyal fucking voters.  The GOP no longer needs the Center, thanks to the enthusiasm and reliability of their base.

Um, so Democrats who would like to move our party further Left, away from the Center, are you getting it yet?  Because while you were complaining about our liberal, pro-LGBT, pro-racial equality, pro-choice, pro-minimum wage increase, pro-healthcare expansion, pro-alternative energy candidate who actually believes that climate change is real, we just got smoked.  While you bitched about her violations of government email protocol, they fucking took us to school.  And I'm not going to say "Enjoy the next 4 years, assholes," but maybe spend those four years thinking about the lesson of 2016.  

And because I can't even trust Democrats enough right now to know the lesson, here's the fucking lesson:
If Sanders, or any other Democrat, had been our candidate, I would have voted for him.  Sanders wasn't as qualified as my candidate, but I would have voted for him.  So, did you vote for my Democrat?  Did you?

If you didn't go out and fucking vote for Clinton, then you can't spend the next four years shaking your head at all the ignorant racists who just scored their biggest win since we abandoned Reconstruction.  You can't laugh at their stupid economic theories, or their foreign policy numbskullery, you can't even chuckle at their inability to correctly spell or punctuate their own bigotry.

Because every single one of those stupid bigots is smarter than we are.   Because they know how to win.