I am with Her…Again

What an election cycle, eh? Now, I must say, I had been on the Bernie train before it even got on the tracks. Days went by where I was hovering over the refresh button. I had read about Burlington a lot since visiting there myself a couple times during college. The city itself is just so amazing and I went so far as to drive over five or six hours just to show a visiting signorina what I considered one of America’s finest gems. This brought me to Bernie, his progressive and refreshing policies, and our struggle. The more I read the more I wanted this man to run for president. I had completely forgotten we were trying to get our first woman in the oval office. I had utterly forgotten that I already knew who the President was going to be in 2016. However, Bernie was offering something she could never; new trajectory for American politics. The waiting continued and he still had not announced his candidacy. Maybe people are actually too afraid of a socialist inspired hell scape after all, I thought. Back then I had already been through several of those European market socialist hell holes and I always came to a similar conclusion, or question. The right wingers are still alive and well in these countries as much as they are in the States. However, these pro-religious, mostly rural, and sometimes very anti-immigrant communities were (more or less) fine with having single-payer health care and affordable higher education. If a bunch of gun toting blame seekers could accept that in one country, I thought, why not mine? Most people would argue, well no person or country are the same, and that is just the way it is. But that is exactly what Bernie went up against in America. He went up against the myth that nothing can change, against the myth that affordable health and education are terrifying phantoms and deadly day dreams, and he was right to do so. And although he may have lost he proved a moral obligation exists to keep fighting no matter what the odds. Now we have to reflect on that while moving forward with her.

A sense of creeping liberosis (the desire to care less about things) found me this election year. This was despite previously thinking it might be interesting to actually be in America for 2016. The train wreck we all watch and scream for while the world falls apart all around us, the ultimate hunger games, who wouldn’t want front row seats to that? And as much as politics may annoy you, and you might be done with it, it is never done with you. Politics simultaneously cares and doesn’t give a shit about you. It is in many ways the balancer between you and the community, between the individual and the poli (Greek for city). So if you are displeased with politics as it stands don’t ignore it, join it, shape it, breathe your own uniqueness into it. That is something I can admire Hillary Clinton for. When she saw a corrupted political system she didn’t back down to it, didn’t hide away from the public eye, she went right after it, talons drawn. She has also been an inspiration for women to join into the modern political fray and there is absolutely nothing wrong with increasing citizen participation and turning what used to be a men’s game into what it should be; a citizen’s game.

The convention is finished and while thinking over all the events I was softly brought back to that feeling of waiting. Waiting for what, I thought. And while we are waiting, what are we enduring? While waiting for Bernie I was waiting for real discussion, real issues, and less petty politics. However, it seems like we are now a society magnetized toward pettiness. The road ahead is a road frequently traveled by. The footsteps and loose stones are familiar to both JFK and Nixon. I don’t expect a political revolution from Hillary, but I do expect political backwardness to thrive if Drumpf wins and the last thing I want in America is for us to take steps and possibly bounds in the opposite direction. And that is why I’m with her now (again). Although I also despise the lesser of two evils choice that is forced down our throats like political extortion, that is the lay of the political landscape. As much as I would love to give more support to a third party, be it Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, I am not willing to let America dive into being a more populist Reich than it already is. Maybe in the near future we can come up with a multi-party system that isn’t hell bent on demagoguery and catchy slogans.

As mentioned before, eight years ago I was already hoping Clinton would get the nomination in 2016. It was clear to me then that she was a good choice after seeing her commitment to the great game. Like Obama’s comical anger translator Luther said, Khaleesi is coming to Westeros. However, there is a part of the left that has yet to decide if Clinton is a Khaleesi, coming to free us from low waged chains or if she is a less incestual Cersei just twisting and manipulating her way to the top. She became Clinton the climber, the fighter, and our woman. But is this woman a monster in the same league as Donald Drumpf or does she utilize a necessary evil to counter such forces? Perhaps it is neither, perhaps she is the Lady Lizard overlord we have conspired her to be. Or perhaps there is only one way to fight the corruption of the GOP establishment and their Mafioso of candidates, with fire of her own. When she viciously attacked Obama in 2008, I understood it was part of the game she had to play, I didn’t think any less of her. Then I visited Burlington, Vermont and heard about Sanders. This was a man I shared values with. The only candidate to say climate change is our greatest security threat. Something that even the Department of Defense has had to admit. The main difference for me between Bernie and Hillary was that for one of them the ends justified the means and for me, well, I have seen where that kind of politics has led us.

The one thing that has hindered me from being vocal about my compromise with the Clinton campaign (besides her donors and actions) has been their air of condescension. And this very well may be her undoing. Especially this phrase; fall in line. I was seriously disappointed in the DNC for coming out and saying something that sounded like the echoes of an SS officer telling his Nazi underlings to keep digging ditches for corpses. Now, I know the Democrats are not that bad. However, it is the kind of attitude that turns away so many potential Hillary supporters from team Bernie. It is not what I expect from the Democratic Party. There has been all this talk about Bernie bros yet, I have met more Clinton clingers who rarely seem to look at things from a different perspective. They say things like, ‘oh I have supported Hillary since I was kid’, which is fine if you have an open mind. But today Clinton is using the same fear that the Republicans have used for decades to sway voters. Vote for her or the King Joffrey of U.S. politics will win. (Can’t stop the GoT references). You don’t want that do you?! Fall in line. And every time a Sandernista hears that you will lose their vote automatically and create division among people who share the same values.

(While I am not quite sure if the online community considers Sandernista an insult by insinuating Bernie supporters are left leaning commies reminiscent of the by gone era of the Red Scare, I think it appropriately captures the revolutionary zeal of the movement).

I also think that any serious Sandernista will realize the day before election day that principles aside, she is our girl. Again it is unfortunate that our political system is caught in a bi-polar Cold War political party shit storm and that we can’t show more love for other parties, new ideas, and progressive attitudes. It is perhaps even more unfortunate that we have to deal with Mr. Drumpf. Or maybe he is exactly what we need to show that this system does not work and is too adept to inspiring blind hatred.

I still cannot decide which is worse or more dangerous. Giving the man the attention he so craves or ignoring him completely. I have settled somewhere in the middle in that I recognize he exists but will not refer to him by his specifically curated brand name. Either way the man inspires almost nothing of value. He is the crappy phone charger you borrow from a friend. He fills that shallow racist hole in your life that you were looking to fill, it might not be your charger, he might not be your favorite Republican, but like many before him he will slip right in between you and power, barely functioning and keeping you satisfied with more entertainment than you can afford with your data plan.

Jokes aside though, Jeff Weaver, Sander’s former campaign manager points out the real danger here. “I think some people on the Democratic side who think that, you know, Trump is such a buffoon that it’s already won — but I think he’s a very dangerous opponent and I think he certainly has the ability to win as well,” he said (Byrnes,2016). This ability for Drumpf to win will certainly increase alongside Clinton supporter’s condescending attitudes toward Bernie supporters.

Democracy has weirdly become some crappy ‘reality’ TV show and Bernie showed this to a lot of people. Not so much to the people on the right who already think it is a farce and will hate the government no matter what it does, but people in the Democratic party, who finally saw that even our most left-leaning political juggernaut is more center than we thought. I also had no idea until this election that the DNC had opening musical acts. Is this normal? Since when do we have to tempt voter’s attention with entertainment, this is their livelihoods that are at stake when politicians step into the ring. If they are not already invested in this process something is wrong with our democracy.

The post-internet media shit show madness is basically complacency disguised as rage at this point. We will see nothing new despite the redness of their faces.

For Drumpf, the wall issue works well because of the kind of people that would react to exactly that particular issue. It is an amazing tent to be under. The only people that would ever support, what for most people is a ridiculous plan, are the same kind of people who still think hordes of immigrants coming to America is our biggest problem. These people cannot fathom why other countries even exist. Or that many migrants do not come to America because it is so great, but because it is less violent, if only a for a little bit. For them America = Number 1 forever. It is a barely inspiring and quite ignorant mentality. Of course, we do need to have some border controls, but a wall, for free!? If we learned anything from the Cold War it should be that, whether there is a wall or not, people will get past it to get to the west, and it is not going to be cheap.

This 2016 election has merely shown us what we have known for a long time. Being corrupt, conniving, and getting to the top is part of the American dream and is to be idolized. This is nothing insanely new. The only thing that has changed is the visibility of this truth. It seems the more this truth of corruption is revealed the less people want to be a part of the political system. The New York Times even published an article pointing out that the nominees are only chosen by just 9% of our total population(Pearce, Parlapiano, 2016).  And well, I taint no statistician but that don’t sound much like a democracy to me, at least not one that I would want to be a part of anyway.

By endorsing Clinton and refusing to run as a Third-Party candidate Bernie has highlighted the current nature of our political system. We have especially learned this lesson in my home state of Maine, when an Independent and a Democrat split the vote leading to our own mini-Drumpf governor.

At the same time when this gross corrupt mentality is so visible in showing itself to the world we also see our greatest moments of love and solidarity. The Bernie campaign coming together was no short feat. They followed the rules even when they knew it was rigged against them. They didn’t play dirty even though it would have helped them along the way.

Now, Hillary is the Democrat we have all been following for years and even though she is unprincipled concerning most people’s rights she is more than principled in the art of politics. She is Frank and Claire Underwood rolled together into one unstoppable being. This, under the right circumstances, could be good for America. She is certainly more respectable than her current opposition.

However, in the end, whichever Mad Max character makes it to the end of this death race through the inferno, might not even mean much. It will be hard for either Drumpf or Clinton to get anything done without a solid backing in Congress. After eight years Obama has struggled to bring about his own brand of change. He had to fight a Republican congress bent on his complete and utter failure. And yes, starting out at the beginning of a recession didn’t exactly give him a head start, but he lost strides in places of moral high ground that hurt the trust many had in the Democratic Party. In particular his acknowledgement of killing American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki (Taylor, 2015). It seems insane how a man who ran under Hope and Change and became our first African American President could actually change in such a twisted way.

While I may be socially a liberal degenerate, I also find that at times our government regulation can be overreaching. Again it comes back to the question of a political revolution that neither of these candidates will bring about. Hopefully, a Republican defeat will mean GOP supporters can all go back to complaining (and not to the streets) and perhaps the new progressives sprouting up across the nation can hold Bernie’s fire to Clinton’s feet.

In this coming election 2016 take all that disgust you have for politics and use it for some good. Vote for your local representatives with some attentiveness. Forgive and move on from the incumbency dictatorship that has been cemented in Congress. In this Post-Tim Berners-Lee world, we need a new kind of democracy. A more robust and direct democracy that is in better touch with constituents. Perhaps a citizen push for ranked choice voting will usher in this new age, with new ideas, new parties, new coalitions, instead of the same old power games. Citizens United will also need to go. Like separation of church and state we need a separation of state and corporation. Only then will these new and hopefully more trustworthy parties deserve the respect they will receive as our representative organizations. We cannot sacrifice our environment and our dignity to blindfolded industrial gain any longer. We cannot allow these twisted godless freaks to destroy our politics or our planet for much longer. We just simply cannot afford it. So take the step forward and be with her. Not with racism, not with narrowmindedness, but with bold attention.

Bibliography

Byrnes, J. (2016) Ex-Sanders aide: Trump could win. Available at: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/289961-ex-sanders-aide-trump-could-win (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

Pearce, A. and Parlapiano, A. (2016) Only 9% of America chose trump and Clinton as the nominees. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html?_r=0 (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

Taylor, A. (2015) The U.S. Keeps killing Americans in drone strikes, mostly by accident. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/23/the-u-s-keeps-killing-americans-in-drone-strikes-mostly-by-accident/ (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

Citations, Quotes & Annotations

Byrnes, J. (2016) Ex-Sanders aide: Trump could win. Available at: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/289961-ex-sanders-aide-trump-could-win (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

(Byrnes, 2016)

Pearce, A. and Parlapiano, A. (2016) Only 9% of America chose trump and Clinton as the nominees. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html?_r=0 (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

(Pearce and Parlapiano, 2016)

Taylor, A. (2015) The U.S. Keeps killing Americans in drone strikes, mostly by accident. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/23/the-u-s-keeps-killing-americans-in-drone-strikes-mostly-by-accident/ (Accessed: 7 August 2016).

(Taylor, 2015)

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