The Race is On – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.11.2020

The Race is On

I donated five dollars to the Biden campaign yesterday, I was happy to do it.

I think the Democratic Party could have chosen a better nominee, but I also think Joe Biden can take us across the finish line.

A lot of my friends are unhappy that Bernie Sanders didn’t go the distance, and while my personal opinion is that Joe Biden fit the bill of electability, I share the gloomy outlook that the more progressive policies which I favor won’t have a Champion in the White House.

But here is the deal…

The legislation that we all want to see passed has to begin in Congress anyway.

We all need to keep our energy focused on the campaign ahead, not just for the sake of electing Joe Biden, but in order to elect more progressive members to the House and the Senate.

We need genuine progressives to win Gubernatorial races, and to win State Assemblies. We need everyone to stay engaged, we need the full court press.

We need to put an end to the pogrom the republicans have been running on the federal judiciary, we need to control redistricting, and we need congress to reassert its status as a coequal branch of government.

We need to pass legislation that limits the authority of the executive with penalties to enforce a strict enforcement, criminal penalties if necessary, if members of the executive branch do not comply with Congress right of oversight.

We need to pass a new Voting Rights Act, we need government reform from the top to the bottom.

The kind of malfeasance we have been living through these past three years has left without the ability to help ourselves in this time of crises.

We need to remove Donald Trump from office, tomorrow is not soon enough, but we need to do it decisively, and when he is gone the criminal investigations have to begin.

In the past, when Obama took office he opted to let the crimes of the Bush administration go: illegal surveillance, torture, lying to congress etc…we let it go in the name of national unity, and for the purpose of moving on.

That cannot happen when Donald Trump is walking out the door, he and his family and their fiends who have defrauded the American people must face the consequences for the things that have done, and for their criminal neglect as well.

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.08.2020

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders

With all of our eyes on the presidential campaign, and the nominating process in the Democratic Party, with all of the interested parties taking up positions and staking out ground in loosely organized “caucuses,” such as the so-called “progressive-caucus,” we have to be mindful of the fact that there is a lot more at stake in 2020 than the presidency.

We need a Democratic president to sign Democratic bills into law, but if we seriously hope to get any of our bills to the signing desk, we need to keep control of the House of Representatives, we need to increase the majority of the democratic caucus in the House and we need to take control of the Senate, we need to send Mitch McConnel packing.

This is why it matters who we pick for our standard bearer.

Even if we lost the presidency, taking control of the Senate would put more power behind progressive causes and give us more effective oversight over the executive branch. We need a candidate who can generate that enthusiasm and get people to the polls, and we need to stick together.

It is not just the presidency that is on the line in this election, it is Congress, and it is not just the 2020 Congress that is on the line, it is the make up of Congress for the next five elections.

The most important thing the legislature will do in the next congress is redistricting, following the apportionment of Congressional seats after the census. If we are serious about pursuing our progressive agenda for the long term, we must control this process. If we want the government to respond to the will of the majority on any number of things: from taxation to gun control, from executive oversight to a woman’s right to choose, from criminal justice reform to the War Powers Act, from…you name the issue, if we want to be governed by the will of the majority we must control this process.

The apportionment of electoral college votes follows the apportionment of congressional districts. We cannot eliminate the electoral college unless we are able to pass constitutional amendments, I will address these numerical challenges shortly.

If we want to see more equitable representation of the majority in the electoral college right now then we must control congressional apportionment and redistricting. If we have simple majorities in congress, and a democratic president who is willing to act, we can make the apportionment process fairer. Even if we don’t have a president willing to change the apportionment laws in US Code Title 2, simple majorities in congress will help us to create congressional districts that represent the people on a more equitable basis.

Keep this in mind, until we get the number of votes in congress, in the House and the Senate, and in State Houses across the country, unless we get a sufficient number of Governors and a President willing to pass a constitutional amendment there won’t be any constitutional amendments and the struggle for justice and equality will have to take place through the legislative process.

There are two ways to amend the constitution: the process either requires that two thirds of the members of both houses of congress vote to approve it, and then it must be ratified by two thirds of the states, or that two thirds of the states call for a constitutional assembly to amend the constitution in which proposed amendments must be ratified by three fourths of the states.

People talk about passing constitutional amendments all the time, but this is a very difficult process and if want to see it happen, to do this we would need:

1. 290 votes in the House of Representatives, the house is currently divided 233D to 197R, there is one independent (who typically votes with the republicans, and there are four seats currently vacant.
2. 67 votes in the Senate, the Senate is currently divided between the democratic and republican caucuses 53R to 47D (this includes independents who caucus with the party most closely aligned to their values) with a tying vote going to the republican voce president.
3. 34 States to ratify, State governments are currently divided between democrats and republicans 26R to 24D, while their legislatures are divided 67R to 37D

These numbers represent the numerical hurdles the people would have to cross in order to affect enduring changes to the structure of our democracy. We cannot pin our hopes on this, it is pie in the sky thinking.

If we intend to do this then we are back to where we began this essay, the absolute need to control the redistricting process after the census, we must have a willingness to change congressional apportionment if we win both chambers of congress and the presidency in November.

We must elect a president who is willing to sign into law enforceable provisions to restrain presidential power, to enforce the authority of congress to engage in oversight, and to reshape the federal judiciary including the addition of justices to the Supreme Court.

We are in a precarious time, and we must hold together, we cannot attack each other with broad labels intended to vilify one another, we cannot afford to pit so-called democratic socialists against so-called corporate democrats, so-called liberal progressives against so-called pragmatic progressives. There is too much at stake to allow ourselves to be divided this way.

We have to resist it.

I know a lot of people who like to pretend that both parties are the same, and they may have a point, but here is the truth: it is not the parties that are the same, the Democratic party and the Republican Party have radically different platforms.

It is the politicians who are the same, because it is the nature of these politicians, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on, it is in their nature to be feckless, cowardly, deceptive, ego-maniacs those are the unifying characteristics of all politicians.

This is not to say that they completely unreliable, that they do not love their families, or that they are all wicked people, but it is to recognize that the power of high office attracts the highly corruptible.

There are two tasks in front of us right now, as voters who care about our liberal and progressive causes, as people who ant to see the Voting Rights Act reinstated and expanded, who want to see structural changes to our representative democracy that takes big money out of politics and returns power to the people, who want to see a woman’s right to equal pay, equal treatment under the law and the right of self-determination to be protected, who want to enforce the separation between Church and State, if we want to curb the rise of white nationalists and domestic terrorists; the first thing we have to do is hold together through the next nine months, and we have to bring more people into the voting process, we have to these things thoughtfully, carefully and deliberately, even if the party does not nominate the candidate we prefer.

With that being said, when I look at the field of candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, when I look at the size and strength of their respective coalition’s, when I weigh them against each other, I have to conclude that our best bet is to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, not because I support all of his ideas, though I am in favor of most of them, it is because he is steady, his support is steady, his message is good, his vision is good for America, and if we all get behind him we will win.

A.O.C. and the Self-Important Caucus – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.01.2020

A.O.C. and the Self-Important Caucus
I heard the representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complaining about former Vice President, Joe Biden the other day.

She offered her insight regarding his candidacy, stating that in another country the two of them wouldn’t even be in the same party. I think that she meant it as some kind of scathing rebuke of Joe Biden, who is running against her preferred candidate Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Of course Bernie Sanders is not a democratic, he is an independent running as a self-styled democratic-socialist. Ocasio-Cortex is a democrat but she styles herself as a democratic-socialist as well.

There is no Democratic-Socialist Party in America, maybe there should be, but there isn’t, there are a few minor political parties, like the Green Party and the Libertarians, they hold a few seats in local governments around the country. The United States remains a two party system, with the Democrats and the Republicans holding sway.

Like it or not that is the way it is.

It is true, what she said, that in another country she and Joe Biden would not be in the same party. The insight her rebuke lacks is this: in those other countries the party she would find herself in would at best be a minor part of a governing coalition.

Her comments also fail to appreciate how she came to represent her constituents. She was elected to office as a Democrat, had she run as a third party candidate or an independent, it is not likely she would have been successful.

She ran as a Democrat in a democratic primary and unseated the incumbent, who was a member of the Democratic Party leadership. Her opponent accepted his defeat, allowing her to use all of the tools the party had to offer to win the seat for real.

That is the way the Party system works, and it worked for her.

Now Ocasio-Cortez wants to campaign for her pal on the notion that the Democratic Party should have a smaller tent. In this election year we have to stay focused on the positive, talk about the ideas, tell me what you stand for.
If your team is spending political capital telling us why they are against the Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg or Michael Bloomberg it only confirms that your preferred candidate will not be able to come into power with a strong enough constituency to accomplish any of your legislative goals.

We do not need ideological puritans holding office with their precious “integrity” intact, while they sit around out of power with their so-called progressivism stuck in reverse, because the other team has won.

Keep your eye on the prize people, in 2020 its not just the white house on the line, its redistricting, and no matter who wins the nomination we all have to work together if we are going to get past this moment in time.

The Table is Set – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

06.29.2019

The Table is Set

I did not watch the Democratic Debates.

I rarely do.

I am more interested in the spin that follows, because that more than what is said on stage, determines public perception of the performance of the individuals.

Right now perception is everything.

Joe Biden looked shaky. I’m sure he is still plenty sharp but he clearly teeters when he is on the brink of a clutch moment. If you can get him going then he can flow a little bit, but before that he is slow, almost doddering. I wish he would sit down.

I wish old Bernie Sanders would sit down too, we don’t need either one of those dudes mucking it up in the oval office.

I have a growing respect for Elizabeth Warren, but on the whole I find her preparedness bothersome. She has a plan for everything but someone needs to quote Mike Tyson to her.

Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face.

I don’t want anyone to punch Elizabeth in the face, but she is going to take a lot of metaphorical blows during the race, and I doubt whether or not she will be able to respond.

Planning isn’t everything.

I like Kamala Harris, I like the sound of her voice. I like the look in her eye.

Kamala can speak with conviction directly from her experience, no-one needs to inform her of what it is like to a woman, or a brown skinned person.

She knows.

I want that experience back in the white house. I think she would be a good president.

The race for the Democratic nomination is in motion, the table is set.

I hope the best one wins.

Proceed with Caution – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
06.12.2019

Proceed with Caution

I understand how it must be frustrating for all the Democrats in the presidential primary not getting the attention they feel they deserve, they cannot garner attention for themselves to get their message out.

This is not the fault of the front runner, Joe Biden, or the other people in the first tier, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris.

To the Corey Booker’s and the Bill De Blasio’s out there; there is a reason that you are not in the first tier. You entered the race without enough of a record to distinguish yourself, either that or with too much history already tarnishing your reputation.

You are no Mayor Pete, who is a uniquely gifted speaker; cool and calm, and able to argue dispassionately for what they believe is right and good.

You were not the Attorney General of the largest state in the nation.

You are not the second runner up for the Democratic nomination in the last round, and you are not the most vocal advocate for consumer rights the country has seen in the past twenty years.

Most significantly you are not the last Vice President of the united the United States.

This makes your position as a candidate in this race very week, and if you did not know this getting in then you don’t have the judgement it takes to be president.

If you can’t distinguish yourself by speaking to your strengths and vision, please just drop out.

If all you can do is take offence and vocalize your umbrage at the front runner by misconstruing the intended meaning of some comments he made about a better time in American politics when it was still possible to work with people that you have serious disagreements with, then please just drop out.

If you want to protect the country and help move us forward campaign on your strengths, not by trying to tear other people down. If you can’t do that you will still lose, and you will only have succeeded in poisoning the well.

If you care about the country you will keep yourself attuned to the heartbeat of the nation, serve the country best by being where you can best serve.
The wheel will turn again, and you may find yourself on top, if you are able to stifle your combative tendencies and help move the party along with the progressive agenda forward.

Run on Your Strength – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.06.2019

Run on Your Strength
Not by Undermining Your Opponent
The primary season is just getting and the field is not yet set.

Democratic Party politics is much different now than it was four years ago, the race t be the party’s nominee for president in 2020 is wide open. There are more than a dozen candidates that have jumped in, and a few more who are expected to announce soon.

In the last cycle HRC had all of the structural support locked up, and though BS ran a campaign that made her have to work, her victory was never in doubt, not to me at least, not to most observers, though it was to some self-deluded folks and even though there numbers might be in the tens of thousands they are still just a tiny minority of the voters who participated in the caucuses and primaries.

It seems however, that there bitterness at having lost has not gone away. The BS campaign fizzled out. And the principle eventually endorsed his opponent, though many of his followers opted to resist until the very end, they eagerly pushed all the rightwing and Russian propaganda that was trolling HRC, they refused to support her or even vote for her many even went over to cast ballots for Jill Stein, a Russian stooge, a useful idiot of Vladimir Putin’s.

BS is running again. He never released his taxes, he promised he would but he still hasn’t. He has broken other promises as well. In the last election cycle he gave up his status as an Independent when he sought the nomination of the Democratic Party, he said he would remain with the party but then, in 2018 he ran for his Senate seat in Vermont as an Independent again.

Now he is singing the same old song.

The BS team is different this time, it is as if they were still riding high on their “almost-won” campaign from 2016. They are acting much like HRC did, BS and his campaign staff, his surrogates and supporters, they are acting as if BS should be anointed and they are running down candidates who they feel might be a threat to them; Beto O’Rourke, the latest with Joe Biden, they are poisoning the well.

I say let things shake out with positive campaigning and no dirty tricks; the dirty tricks are disqualifying. The Democratic Party needs unity. We need to win the house, we need to win the Senate, we need to expand our hold on congress, and in state houses across the nation.
We need to win if we hope to get the plethora of Constitutional amendments that candidates are proposing passed, but more importantly, we need to win if want to control redistricting, and the upcoming apportionment of congressional districts.

There cannot be any Green new deal litmus tests, nothing of the sort, democrats need to support democrats in districts where they can win, there cannot be any ugly and divisive purity tests, and primary challenges, anyone who thinks that is a good idea needs to sit down.

I’m not of BS, I think he is a ridiculous candidate with a vision for America, that would be good if it could obtain, but for which there is not a broad enough constituency to pass. He is enamored with his good ideas, and that makes him a dangerous man.

I don’t want Joe Biden in the race either, Or Elizabeth Warren, let the old guard stand down, but if the win the hearts and minds of the voters then they have my vote and that is that, I’ll even vote for BS.

 

Likeability – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.05.2019

Likeability
There has been a lot of talk this week about the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachessets and her likeability.

There are a lot of people excited about the prospect of her running for President, I am. She brings a sharp and focused understanding of public policy to the field, and the ensuing debates will be elevated because of her participation in them.

We need candidates like her in the mix, like Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, but questions have been raised about Elizabeth Warren’s likeability, some are suggesting that it is unfair to judge her by such a standard, even sexist, or misogynistic.

I disagree.

Likeability is a huge factor in electability, and if it is sexist or misogynistic to judge her by that standard then it was also sexist and misandronistic to judge Al Gore, or John Kerry by that standard when they were running against George W. Bush.

Do you remember the question that was asked over and over again during those campaigns, Gallop even did poling on it: “Who would you rather have a beer with?”

It is a question that is both totally absurd and completely relevant at one and the same time.

If it is sexist and misogynistic to judge a female candidate by her appearance or her hair style, then it is also sexist and misandronistic to judge a male candidate by his height, or baldness.

It would be better if we could all just set aside judgements based on superficial criteria, but not all judgements based on appearance are superficial. Matters that the candidate has no control over should be off the table, a person cannot become taller than they are, but they do make choices about the clothes they wear, or the way they cut their hair, fashion their tupee, and those choices say something about the candidate.

Those choices communicate things to us about the candidate, both intentionally and unintentionally, they say something about the candidate and they are fair game.

Beyond appearances, likeability is definitely a factor in electability, it is not as great of a factor as other intangibles, like moment, but it is a factor nonetheless, and it contributes to moment, boosting it or dragging it down according to the candidates relative degree of charisma.

If elections were won on policy points alone then Bernie Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination. He had better policies and more likeability, but Hillary had insurmountable momentum, and it bore itself out.
If elections were won on policy points alone, then Hillary would have beaten Trump and she would be president right now and America, the World itself would be in a much better place.

Trump had no policies. His campaign was a total fraud, based on cons, scams and lies, he used those effectively to exploits Hillary’s basic problems with likeability, and stole a sufficient amount of her momentum so that he was able to cross the finish line even without having won the popular vote.

Charisma matters, and it is also in the eye of the beholder, but it still matters.

Elizabeth Warren scores very low on the likeability scale. This will hurt her. It hurts her with me.

I would not like to be scolded by her, and when she speaks about the issues she cares about I feel like she is scolding her audience. I would not like to be hear a male candidate speak to the same issues in the same way.

Nevertheless, Elizabeth warren’s run raises the bar for all Democratic candidates in the primaries. If she grabs the momentum, she will have my support, likeability aside.

Face Book Politics

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

04.29.2017

 

Last year I argued with a lot of my friends on Face Book. We argued a great deal during the primaries. We argued about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, old BS, and HRC.

 

I was, and am a Hillary supporter, the nation lost out on a good leader when we failed to elect her.

 

I love to argue, I have an instinct for it, maybe an addiction. I find certain things in politics very hard to resist. I think it is a character flaw.

 

Ultimately, I had to result in a program of self-censorship. In an argument I can be aggressive uncompromising, this largely stems from my conviction that I am right (I am not giving that up). It also comes from my desire to cut back all the noise, to go for the close when I am in that argumentative mode.

 

As I have said, I have a character flaw, I love to argue. I like to win. I believe I am right, and I can sometimes be impatient.

 

These are all good reasons not to argue with people that I genuinely like, on Face Book.

 

Sometimes I cannot resist.

 

I waded into an argument yesterday. A friend of mine posted a link to an article by Harvard Professor, Dr. Cornell West.

 

Dr. West has been arguing for progressive thinkers and voters to abandon the Democratic Party. The basis for this is his interest in social justice. He believes that the Democratic party cannot cure itself of its racism, homophobia, militarism, or its alignment with big, banks, big agra, big oil, all of which perpetuate grave injustices on the people, but more importantly on those who are the most marginalized already.

 

While Dr. West sees the problem for it is, the Democratic Party, like the majority of Americans, is deeply tied to economic forces, those fears, those corrupting social issues, those matters of identity politics. He is right about that, but he is wrong, and absolutely wrong about the prescription.

 

My response to this post was simply to say that Cornell West is an idiot. That was not very nice, but it is true. When he, or anyone speaks about dividing the political power of the Democratic party, of abandoning it, they is being idiotic.

 

I quickly edited my response to remove the incendiary language. My edited comment read, Cornell West doesn’t know what he is talking about.” This is true. Cornell West, who has legitimate roots as an activist, who is a brilliant writer, public speaker, public intellectual, he is also someone who stopped living in the real world some decades ago. Because he is disconnected from the world, he finds himself, like Noam Chomsky trying to solve problems from his office in the ivory tower at Harvard square.

 

His answer to the real problems of social injustice have become, “take an ideologically pure position and make a lot of noise.” When the real solution has to be, “change public policy.”

 

The social injustices that beset the poor and the marginalized, are matters of law, and public policy. We cannot bring justice without changing law and policy. To make those kinds of changes, we need to win elections. We need to elect people to public office, at every level of government who will do the right thing. Put the bills on the floor, bring them up for a vote, and pass them into law.

 

I understand if people want to take umbrage with democratic lawmakers, and policy shapers, for being sellouts, and not being good at their jobs. Those individuals are a fraction of the party, the party is tens of millions of people, slightly larger than half of the electorate, spread throughout the nation.

 

When Dr, West argues that we should abandon the Democratic Party, he is saying, abandon those people. Stop working with them. The very people he purports to want to help.

 

Politics is a game of compromise, and compromise never satisfies anyone. Politics should be informed by idealism, but cannot be held hostage to it. Advancing public policy requires political legislative victories, and that requires victories at the ballot box. We on the left need to stay together, work together, collaborate and compromise if we are to have any hope getting control of the ship again.

 

Dr, West, Noam Chomsky, people like my friend who I argued with yesterday, they look right past this point. They want to draw power away from the place where it is most heavily concentrated, rather than add to it. They want to divide and diffuse it, because they believe that being right, is more important than doing right.

 

That is a shame.

The Election and the Aftermath

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

11.12.2016

 

The Election and the Aftermath

 

Election night was horrible.

 

By nine o’clock I could see the conversation among the broadcasters had begun to turn. On CNN, on MSNBC they were openly doubting Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning, and acknowledging Donald Trump’s very real chances of a victory.

 

I wanted to be skeptical, almost everything was falling they way most of the forecasters had expected it to, the only difference between what was happening in reality, and what had been prognosticated, was the timing. The fact that the votes in places like Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin had not shown up for Hillary as the clear winner, by ten o’clock through the whole race in doubt.

 

My feelings went from joyful optimism, to uneasy, to guarded skepticism, to bewilderment, and finally; nausea.

 

I was lying on the couch, and I drifted off to sleep for a half an hour here, and a half an hour there. The news only got worse.

 

I had to turn the channel away from MSNBC, because I could not watch or listen to their set of television personality go into panic, to begin to make excuses, to search for anecdotal reasons for why the election was not going as planned.

 

I found the moderators on CNN to be a more measured group. That, in itself, was comforting.

 

Throughout the night I exchanged text messages with friends, most of whom were as dismayed as me, some of whom were snarky.

 

I am a person who was for Hillary throughout the entire political season. My support for her never waivered. I supported in 2008 during the primaries with President Obama. I have great respect for her intelligence, her diligence, and her mastery of public policy. I supported her, not because I agreed with all of her positions. In my heart, I am much more liberal than she is. I supported Hillary because I thought she would be the best manager of the Federal Government, and because I believe that progressive change must be predicated first on sound management. This remains my conviction. I still believe it is true.

 

Up until the moment when Donald Trump took the stage, and announced that he had received a call from Hillary conceding the election. I had a pit of angst in my stomach that was making me feel ill.

 

The victories Donald Trump racked up, in all of the “swing states,” appeared to be close enough to merit a recount, and I would have supported Hillary if she had called for one. There are many hundreds of thousands of ballots all across the country that would never be counted if recounts were not triggered; overseas ballots, absentee ballots, and provisional ballots especially; there were enough to change the outcomes (theoretically).

 

However, Hillary conceded. Such a course of events was not going to be.

 

The angst I was experiencing evaporated almost immediately. I went directly too acceptance. The resolution of those feelings was not dissimilar to the feeling I get when I read the Powerball numbers and realize that I had not won the jackpot.

 

It is done.

 

Over the past few days I have been listening to so many people express their dismay, their indifference, their feeling of triumph.

 

The very few people in my social network who actually supported Donald Trump, those people have been quiet, I have not heard any boasting from them.

 

There are a larger number of people in my social network who did not support either candidate, voted third party, or did not vote at all. I have heard more from them; from them I have heard expressions of hope, the hope that with the defeat of Hillary Clinton we might be able to get a truly liberal, truly progressive third party might be able to form. That particular group of people, always blind, and uncritical, believe in the simple proposition that electoral justice will occur if people have more options, as if A = B, but that is not the case at all. No such thing could be guaranteed.

 

The vast majority of my friends, supported Hillary, they went out and voted for her, they were hopeful that she would win. Most of those friends were latecomers to Hillary’s camp. Most of them had supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, some had fully come over to Hillary’s side, but many were merely voting against Donald Trump.

 

Most of the people I know, if they voted for Hillary, they are as perplexed as me as to why a person like Donald Trump could win the election for President of the United States. Donald Trump is a man without a demonstrable sense of personal dignity; a tax dodger, an abuser of women, a fraud, a phony billionaire, a liar, a cheat, a reality TV star, a bully, a man who was so comfortable ginning up racial animosity among disparate groups of Americans, that you have to assume he is a racist and a bigot himself.

 

They are searching for the answer as to why this happened. To them I say, give it up; you will never know.

 

A smaller number are only interested in moving forward, getting past their feelings and stepping out with a determination to reassert progressive agenda in the next cycle.

 

I am with them.

 

There are many, very many of my friends who are stuck in the middle, desiring to move forward but still looking back, still trying to find the person, persons, or ideology to blame.

 

Hillary Clinton earned more votes, but Donald Trump won the election. Blame the electoral college.

 

Ninety million eligible voters did not vote at all. Blame their indifference. Though if they had voted, there is no reason to believe the result would have been any different.

 

Enough votes were cast for third party candidates, that if there had been no third party candidates Hillary might have won. Or, those people might not have voted at all, or their votes would have been cast in the same proportion as went for Hillary and Donald anyway.

 

There is no way to know the answer to these question, and such idle speculation is useless.

 

Some people are asserting that if Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic Primary, he would have beat Donald Trump easily. There is no way to know. There is no reason to believe that a candidate who could not win a primary, could have won in the general election. He might have done better than Donald Trump with some demographic groups. I think that is a fair assumption, but you would also have to assume that he would have done worse with others. The campaign would have been different. To suggest that it would have had a different outcome…that is vanity.

 

Some would like to blame the media; for not taking Donald Trump seriously, for not exposing his sex crimes, for not exposing his cheating and his fraud, for not exposing his ties to Russia. That is who I would like to blame, and yet nevertheless, his supporters heard those stories and they did not seem to care. His supporters voted in a guy who is openly supported by the Klu Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. His supporters are people that deny the science of climate change, and will tell you to your face that the planet earth in only six thousand years old. There is no amount of truth telling that can sway those voters.

 

Some would like to blame Hillary for her own flaws as a candidate; for the fact that she was not more adept at controlling her narrative, that she was beset by spurious investigations, that she seemed to take certain states for granted, like Wisconsin and Michigan, never campaigning there after the primaries were over. The person who bears the most responsibility for Hillary’s loss is Hillary herself. As much as I have been proud to support her, this is true, and she knows this true. Nevertheless, she is not to blame.

 

The factors leading up to the election of Donald Trump are myriad. It is not one single thing.

 

If you have ever read the tawdry soap opera that made Leo Tolstoy famous, War and Peace, you might be able to see the truth in this. The principle reflection in that novel is the awareness that complex events are governed by complex factors. It is impossible to trace all of the antecedents of those events, many powerful social forces are simply cancelled out by other powerful social forces. Even though Napoleon took credit for his victories, he was not responsible for them, and the same is true of his failures.

 

Most of the people I know who are playing the blame game, are really just looking for a way to serve their own vanity, for the vehicle by which they can reassure themselves that they were right about something all along; that if only they had been listened to, if only more people had voted for Bernie Sanders, if the media had been more objective about Donald Trump, if the FBI had not leaked information about their investigations that were underway, if there had been no spying by Russia, no Wikileaks etc…then their candidate would have won, and they would be right after all.

 

It is time to give up that vanity, and move on with what we know to be true. The Republican Party has an unprecedented control of government at every level. Their agenda is dangerous, divisive and harmful to America, and the world at large. There is an election coming in two years, and two years after that. Progressive minded people need to unify, consolidate their strength, compromise with their numerous factions, and push forward to a brighter future.

Apologetics – Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

06.11.2016

Apologetics

I argued with my friends.

We did not solve the world’s problem.

We divided from one another along partisan lines; playing a child’s game of follow the leader.

Some people that I know took extreme positions, as if the fate of the world depended on the choices we made, the fate of the country, the soul of the nation, our spiritual well-being, our moral probity.

The political contest came to an end. I had chosen the winning side. I stood with a majority of democrats nationwide, but here in Minnesota, among my friends I often felt alone; marginalized.

That does not really matter.

Some people I know are still carrying on the fight. They do not, maybe will not except the outcome.

Some people that I know, disgusted with the entire political affair; they are making calls, some have been making calls to stop participating in the process. Why vote? They ask. It will not change anything. They say. It does not matter, it will not change anything, both parties are the same, the system is rigged, the banks control everything, etc…

They are right, and they are wrong.

There are differences between the parties; between conservatives and progressives. And yet, however great those differences might be, it is true that the effect on public policy is minimal.

Our government moves slow, when it moves at all, but that may not be a bad thing. When government moves fast, the common people get crushed.  When justice is swift, it is more often wrong.

In the end, on the democratic/progressive side of the political divide, the things that separated Hillary Clinton from Bernie Sanders were not as great as the candidates themselves made them out to be. There has been a coming together, and the loser will support the winner for the sake of party unity. He will be rewarded, and it does not make him a sell-out, though it confirms the fact that he is a politician.

The majority of the partisans will fall in line; some will did it enthusiastically, some will do it begrudgingly, some will not do it at all. They will stand by their conviction that the candidate they opposed was evil, malicious, corrupt, even though the candidate they supported, is now calling her friend, and a respected colleague.

Some people took the calls for revolution literally; believing that it would be better to collapse the whole system, to enter into anarchy rather than perpetuate the systemic injustices they have identified and are against, but they have never lived through the horrors of war, they cannot see what happens when civil order collapses, as it has collapsed in other parts of the world, and apply it to our situation here. It is simplistic to believe that if you were to usher out the corrupt officials, that you would usher out corruption. Because it is not our system of government that is corrupt, it is the human heart.

The president, the congress, the courts; they wield great power, but they do not have the power to make changes rapidly, social change, of the type we are looking for is generational. That is why, for progressives, it is vital that one democratic administration follow another; in order to build on the work in a stable manner. It is neither glamorous, nor exciting, but it is the only way to stay on the path, and to broaden it.

As individuals we have even less power, we have a vote, and the ability to write essays, or make speeches, to influence our friends, but the scope of that power is limited, to salon discussions, and coffee house forums. We have the power to make one another feel less lonely; alternately; we have the power to alienate.

The trajectory of social progress in our society is like a boulder rolling down the side of a mountain. I can vote and make speeches, in the hope of altering the trajectory of that boulder, but my power is little more than air. I can blow in the direction of the boulder. My breath is real, it enters into the equation, at the same time it is nothing.

I am at peace with that, as we all should be.

Only the fanatic believes that his or her vote, or life, or death will alter the course of history. This is something that we should each be mindful of, because we all have something of the fanatic inside.