Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016


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Just after I decided to start posting some of my Facebook commentaries here, Tim Kaine was picked by Hillary Clinton as her choice for VP. Much of what I’ve been posting lately addresses both that possibility and reality. I’m gonna lay out some of my thoughts below as originally written for Facebook posts and commentaries. There’s definitely some overlap of ideas, here, but I wanted to share them nonetheless. There are some insightful articles attached to the comments below which I think make for some thought-provoking and informative reading:

July 6, 2016: Despite the title of this article and many others like it (“Bernie Sanders Booed By House Democrats For Refusal To Endorse Hillary Clinton” by Sam Stein), there were FAR more Democrats, apparently, who did NOT boo Sanders and were respectful.

But those who DID boo… Those are the very ones that make this journey all the more important, all the more crucial. I understand that what Sanders is doing is out of the ordinary step-aside deal-making that happens at this junction in an election cycle, but if Bernie were to abandon his ideals and whatever leverage he has now to simply fall in line, then he would be no better than most of the intimidated, for-sale politicians he has been criticizing, who are now, of course, trying to intimidate him and his supporters to be more like them. 

This is why Bernie Sanders represents the conviction, the integrity, and the alternative of genuine ideals that speaks SO loudly to SO many of us and that goes so far beyond the outcome of a presidential race. And this is why his supporters remain so committed and see him as walking the walk. Unlike those we know who just talk the talk.

I’ve never seen Hillary Clinton display the courage of her convictions. So I get that when her direct challenger does, it makes her look bad. As it should.

 

July 11, 2016: “Clinton won the nomination and now effectively controls the party, but it was Sanders who drove the process in Orlando. While many questioned his decision to stay in the primary race long after losing the nomination, none of the progress of his ideas on the platform would have happened if he had dropped out.”Democrats Advance Most Progressive Platform in Party History by ALEX SEITZ-WALD

Now let’s also be clear, Clinton herself doesn’t support all of the Democratic Party’s platform. She still does NOT support a carbon tax. She does NOT support the legalization of marijuana. She does NOT support an end to the death penalty. 

Democrats still weren’t ready to fall out of line with the president and move against the TPP. Nor were they willing to ban fracking. Or end the Palestinian occupation and rebuild Gaza. They also chose NOT to ban the so-called “revolving doors” between the government and the private sector. A lot of work still to be done and a very telling story on where some Democrats lean politically, socially and environmentally.

But progress WAS made thanks to Sanders and his supporters and the belief that a grass-roots movement can make a difference – needs to make a difference – if we are to grow and evolve as a nation. It’s not enough to simply not slide backwards. We need to actively move forward. And that takes guts and, in certain circles, a willingness to be unpopular.

 

 

July 13: 2016: In response to the  article “Clinton-Led Democrats Are Now “to the Right of George W. Bush” on Palestinian Rights.” by Glenn Greenwald

I was really happy to see the Democratic Platform adopt so many of the policies that Bernie Sanders and his supporters have been fighting for. I still have grave concerns regarding whether or not Hillary Clinton will follow through with many of them once in office. It will be our job to push her vigorously on all these issues.

There are other Democratic Platform policy decisions that were made that, as a liberal, I find concerning. Supporting the TPP for one. Fracking, another. And the Democratic Platform stance on Israel and Palestine. These are the areas where we can see moneyed-influence driving policy. 

However, if you agree with these decisions and share them, then you are lucky that you found a candidate that shares your values and vision. That’s a good thing. But if you don’t, you need to push Hillary and the Democratic Party on all these issues as they are of monumental importance, not only in what happens moving forward, but in the message we put out there as liberal-minded citizens in the United States.

This is true whether or not you believe in Hillary Clinton as best choice for U.S. president. It is our job to make sure our leaders understand the change and values we want to see and hold them accountable for their decisions and actions. No matter who they are, and no matter how much we may like and support them.

 

 

July 18, 2016: In response to the article “Hillary Clinton’s Citizens United Pledge Doesn’t Matter; Her Small-Donor Matching Pledge Definitely Does” by John Schwarz

Remember, if elected, keep her feet to the flames and make sure this system is changed in ways that work and can be accomplished.

 

July 18, 2016: “Progressives Pressure Clinton Over Vice-Presidential Pick” by Eliot Nelson

Like so many, it is an understatement to say that I am deeply skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s shift to the left once her campaign had to contend with Bernie Sanders and his supporters for the nomination.

But like all things, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. If she picks a progressive VP and surrounds herself with many who have devoted their political careers toward seriously supporting progressive issues, then Hillary’s shift to the left may possibly be seen by some as having some genuine merit. 

Sadly, it was all too predictable to watch Hillary court Elizabeth Warren, only to walk away from her as a pick the moment the big banks publicly declared that they would end campaign support and funding if Warren were the VP choice. This is why so many believe that it’s not Hillary’s “integrity” or “convictions” that motivate her, but the corporations with deep pockets for which she has allowed herself to become dependent and for whom, it would seem, she is far more entrusted and dedicated to than the American People as a whole or the Democratic process itself.

My deep concerns regarding Hillary Clinton are as real as my deep concerns about Donald Trump (with Trump admittedly being the more frightening of the two, no contest). At this crucial juncture in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, we may get a glimpse into who and what most strongly influences her choices and decisions. It will be very telling.

 

July 19, 2016: I understand the fear of Trump. It’s very real and he is very dangerous. I also believe that is not an excuse for not forcing the opposing candidate to have to step up and represent the people whose votes they want/need.

In the simplest terms I know how to describe it, Independents are the largest voting block in this country. Bernie attracted many of them, along with a large portion of registered Democrats. Now that Hillary is the presidential nominee, she needs those votes to guarantee a win against Trump. 

But at the moment, she is not trusted by many of those people whose votes she needs – and, no, that’s not just GOP propaganda at work. There are many issues surrounding Hillary’s record and approach that warrants serious concern outside of GOP lies.

Our political system, as I understand it, is that the candidate – in this instance Hillary Clinton – needs to represent the people who vote for her. Public servant, for the people by the people… Right now, Hillary and her camp know exactly what they need to do in order to bring in those votes that were originally supporting Bernie Sanders. They need to take direct actions to show those voters that she is prepared to do more than just say she believes in progressive values. She needs to make several moves that, in no uncertain terms, show she is serious.

That means picking a progressive VP like Warren, despite the fact that the big banks have publicly told her if she does, they will no longer back her. It means getting behind progressive candidates over their opponents. It means bringing progressive politicians into you administration and onto your campaign. If Hillary does this, now, she will win over a majority of the voters who – at this moment in time – have absolutely no reason to trust her or believe in her. And no terrifying Republican candidate will change that dynamic. This is her job description. Represent the people whose votes you are asking for.

If Hillary does not do this and she loses to Trump, understand that it is not the voters who chose to vote for Jill Stein or someone else that allowed Trump to win, it will be Hillary Clinton who has the means and power, right now, to show us that she is serious and not just making empty promises because she knows it’s what we want to hear. She has an opportunity to take action and lock this election down. If she doesn’t, understand that will be the choice she made. Not to represent that enormous voting block. Those people.

Hillary has the means to win this election in the palm of her hand. She holds the cards right now. What choice will she make?

 

 

July 19, 2016: It’s no secret to anyone who knows me or reads my Facebook posts, that I have some very real concerns regarding Hillary Clinton. But the Clinton hate-fest that is pouring out of Chris Christie’s mouth like flame-ignted projectile vomit at this very moment is one of the more offensive, frightening, and repellent things I have ever witnessed.

Tonight, the Republican National Convention far too closely resembles the gatherings that took place in the Salem Village Meeting House in 1692.

Humans are fucking scary.

 

July 19, 2016: In response to the article “Dan Savage on Jill Stein: Just No.”  by Ansel Herz

A friend of mine posted this article yesterday. I’m a fan of Dan Savage’s, but I have some issues with some of his comments here. I’ve tried to articulate them below (sadly, in my usual verbose fashion :) ). I think the article raises some important questions and brings to light some important possible misconceptions. I disagree with much – though not all – of what Dan Savage says here. Here are my thoughts for anyone interested:

There are some interesting points here. I listen to Dan Savage’s podcast fairly regularly, so I’m familiar with his take on this election. I like Dan. I respect Dan. Where I think he’s right is in that if the Green Party wants to offer a truly viable candidate for president, they are most likely going to have to work harder to build that support from the ground up. Where I think Savage misses part of the equation is in that he, firstly, thinks that people who might vote for Jill Stein do so because they think she might actually get elected. Most people I know casting their vote for her know she won’t be getting anywhere near the presidency this election cycle. Where he also gets it wrong is in painting a picture of those who have real concerns about Hillary as claiming that there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I’m engaged in many political conversation (as you know) with people from all different sides and I’ve still never run into anyone who thinks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are equally dangerous. That they are the same. I think Savage may be projecting a little here because when he talks about Hillary and Bernie, he talks about THEM as being nearly identical. Which I think is not true and a little misguided.

Savage talks about third party candidates and voters never changing, the same shit every four years. That’s fair. But what he isn’t addressing is that there is always going to be a Republican candidate that is scary and dangerous. And they become more so each year. It’s not just Trump. I wouldn’t feel safer if it were Ted Cruz who, to me, is even more frightening than Trump in many ways as he’s a true believer. Or Ben Carson. Savage talks about not “throwing away your vote” on this year’s Ralph Nader. But he doesn’t address all those people voting once again for a candidate they do not believe in, who does not represent them, all so that we can keep a Republican out of office. That also feels, to many, like throwing away your vote. If we keep doing that, we also guarantee that nothing changes. It will be the same scenario four years from now as well. So how do we stop this cycle? That’s the real question here. Because once Trump loses and we all breathe that inevitable sigh of relief, we’ll still have the same problems to contend with and a president many do not believe will address those problems because they see her as part of them. That’s a reality for a lot of Americans. And it won’t go away just because Trump doesn’t live in the White House.

One option is to bite the bullet again this year and vote the “lesser of two evils” as we all like to call it. But it will be the same in four years. Another is to decide that if Hillary Clinton isn’t willing to do what is necessary to gain the possible confidence of those who do not trust her yet, to then instead make sure that those voices are heard in the exact way the system was set up to make sure those voices have an outlet. Voting. We vote for the candidate that most represents our values, ideals, and what we’d like this country and our political system to be. It’s how the system was designed and it doesn’t work if we don’t use it.

Here’s how I see it. There’s a lot Hillary can do to win those independent and Democratic votes that went to Bernie and may now go to Stein. Show those same people that you take their values and ideals seriously. Be their representative, too. Bring on a progressive VP like Elizabeth Warren even though the banks have publicly told her that if she does, they will cease to support her. Big choice. The voters or the banks? Wanna show those voters you’re serious? That’s how you do it. She can also throw her support behind progressive candidates running for office instead of their opponents. Bring progressively outspoken men and women into your administration and into your campaign. Any of these actions will bring votes her way. Not all votes, but so very many because too many people do not trust her sudden shift to the left. But if she’s serious about representing that huge swath of voters (Independents are the largest voting block in the country), then she needs to do what it takes to ensure those votes. That’s completely in her hands. Don’t blame the voters for not voting for her. Push Hillary to do what is necessary to be the representative of those voters. Now. Her word alone will not make that happen. Only direct actions. Now. She can do this. Ball’s in her court. I hope she does.

Last note on Savage’s comments on how there will never be a revolution. Maybe he’s picturing pitchforks and torches or something more akin to the Russian Revolution where the poor shoot the rich in the streets. The “revolution” is already under way. Whether it was Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter or Bernie or Bust, people are far more active and vocal now than they were under President Bush. As both Republicans and Democrats move more and more to the right and the struggle to maintain a life in this country continues to get harder and harder, more and more people will hit their limits. Many have already. Many more will in the oncoming years. The simple fact that someone like Donald Trump could even get CLOSE to the presidency and have so many, many supporters, shows us that things are building, elevating. It’s gotten that scary, that out of control. Look around. This is how revolutions happen. Historically. Always. It’s a slow build. And each year, each election cycle, we move closer. There’s a reason for the level of unrest we’re seeing in this country and in the world. I think Mr. Savage’s perspective on where things will go moving forward is off. History has shown us that there’s always a tipping point. It’s just a question of how close we are to it right now.

The good news is Hillary might be able to alter that course if she is willing to change enough to be a genuine representative for all those voters she needs and wants. It’s how the democratic system was designed to work. It’s a great opportunity. I hope she doesn’t throw it away.

 

July 21, 2016: In response to the article “Sweden introduces six-hour work day” by Hardeep Matharu

Nice to know there are countries out there willing to take risks in an attempt to better the lives of its citizens. Here in the U.S., we have people battling between rampant fascistic bigotry mixed with an astonishing lack of empathy, and a faux-liberal corporate monarchy that would prefer to keep the Obama’s and Clinton’s rotating in office for eternity rather than risk rocking the boat. Both sides are expert at exciting fear to get people to back them. Neither option will break the destructive cycle that – regardless of which side you are on – continues to propel us deeper into losing our grip on the practice and principles of social equality. 

More and more people are beginning to realize this. Others have for some time now. I hope in the next few years, more people will reach their tipping points and start to embrace the very real alternatives that are out there. If we don’t, we will become another cautionary tale disguised as a world leader.

 

 

July 21, 2016: In response to the article “Hours Before Hillary Clinton’s VP Decision, Likely Pick Tim Kaine Praises the TPP” by Zaid Jilani

When the banks publicly warned Hillary Clinton not to pick Elizabeth Warren as VP – or any other progressive politician – Hillary walked away immediately and turned her attention to very conservative choices. If she picks Tim Kaine, who not only supports the TPP, but who is also very vocally supporting MORE banking deregulation (WTF!?), then she will have shown, in no uncertain terms, her political intentions and how far she is NOT willing to go to show progressive voters that she means what she says. 

Even if you support Hillary Clinton, you’re gonna have to do some damn serious common-sense mental contortions to convince yourself that this doesn’t directly alienate her largest potential voting block and that it doesn’t back most all suspicions that she makes left-wing campaign claims and promises she has no intention of keeping.

If Hillary Clinton doesn’t get enough votes to beat Donald Trump, it won’t be the voters’ fault.

‪#‎choices‬

 

July 22, 2016: In response to the article “Tim Kaine, Possible Hillary Clinton Pick for Vice President, Goes to Bat for Banks” by David Dayen

A suggestion to my friends who are publicly slamming anyone who isn’t committed to voting for Hillary Clinton: Punch up.

You can choose to punch down and vilify those who are fighting to move the Democratic Party and our government away from the corporate interests that have all but destroyed us and altered the Democratic Party to a position where it is unrecognizable from what it once was.

Or you can punch up and hold your Presidential Nominee to task and publicly let her know that you are NOT ok with her choosing to surround herself with right-wing corporatists who vehemently support banking deregulation and the TPP which results in actively ALIENATING millions of voters whose votes she needs to defeat Donald Trump. 

This is NOT the picture she should be painting right now at this crucial juncture.

You’ll never get what you want by trying to shame other voters or calling them names. In fact, you will become the prime example of why they need to fight even harder for the change they want. But you do have an immense opportunity to force your candidate to step up at this critical moment and put worried voters’ minds at ease by not actively and publicly embracing the exact politicians and policies they are vehemently fighting against.

This is her election to win or lose. And you have a say in how it unfolds.

‪#‎punchup‬

 

July 22, 2016: In réponse to the article “Dear Democrats: An Open Letter from a Sanders Supporter to Democrats Calling for “Unity”. This is What it Looks Like from My Side” by unknown Redditor

Absolutely fantastic writeup.

As many of you have witnessed, I have been trying in many different ways to articulate my thoughts and personal struggles surrounding our current political troubles and disparities. I recognize most people aren’t interested or are just plain tired.

But I still believe trying to understand other perspectives and articulate our own as best as possible is the only way to open dialogue.

For me, this particular article (by an unknown author) goes a long way toward addressing and clarifying how the situation looks and feels from where I stand. I hope those of you out there who still can’t understand not backing Hillary Clinton read this with an open mind. And for those who share my experience, I hope this gives you some comfort that you are not alone and that this is something worth fighting for.

 

July 22, 2016: In response to the article “Hillary Clinton Names Tim Kaine As Her Running Mate” by Michael McAuliff

And in one fell swoop, Hillary Clinton tosses away the votes of MILLIONS of progressive voters she may have needed to defeat Donald Trump.

Yell all you want at those who won’t vote for her, but know that she actively had a choice and she made it. If keeping Donald Trump out of office is really your primary goal in this election, then you should be ready to come down hard on your candidate for her choice here and not the voters she dismissed en masse.

‪#‎thechoiceswemake‬

 

July 22, 2016: As Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “Millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”

Talk about actively tossing aside the votes of Progressives and Independents.

“I fear something terrible has happened.”

 

July 22, 2016: Just because you like Hillary and are voting for her, doesn’t mean you don’t still have a responsibility to be critical of and to hold her to task for her choices. You can support her and still insist on more from her. I would say that is part of our job as voters.

 

July 24, 2016: Unfortunately, it seems to me that so much is at stake between the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency and having the first woman president, that Democratic voters want to be able to vote for Hillary with a clear conscience. But denying the DNC and media bias in her favor, or denying that she is far from being a progressive candidate, or that she is as influenced by big money donors and corporations as anyone else who takes money from them, or that picking Tim Kaine was a disastrous choice that could lose her the votes she needs from the progressive base, is a lot like those who deny climate change. It doesn’t stop it from being real, it just makes it easier for you to vote a certain way without having to address the consequences in the moment. Hillary will continue us down a path that is not good for climate change or for the middle class. She will continue to move us farther away from the Democratic Party values and policies that FDR put in place, and allow big business and banks to strong-arm and overwhelmingly influence policy decisions. And what we fight for and what we don’t. She will continue taking us down a road that was also responsible, in my opinion, for the rise of Donald Trump. That one’s not just on Republicans. Democrats like Clinton helped create and sustain a political landscape that doesn’t favor getting the money out of politics. So long as that continues, people will suffer and people like Donald Trump will continue to be the voice for the disenfranchised and voiceless. Democrats had a chance to get behind something else and they chose to, instead, stay the course. No amount of denial will change that Hillary continues to make the same mistakes she’s always made. Over and over again. And her deep reputation for not being honest is one she has earned, not been unfairly handed. No, she’s not as scary in many ways as Trump. But she represents a political and social landscape where Trumps have a shot at the presidency. And where the Democratic Party now looks identical to the Republican Party of old.

 

July 24, 2016: In response to the following comment: “That is a rational argument– however you are not necessarily dealing with rational thinkers. While I greatly respect the ideas– the timing is devastating. Posting negative things about HRC at this time is convincing those on the fence to vote for Trump. It is a very dangerous game right now and we should do everything in our power to influence voters to choose Hilary. I truly hope that all of your fb friends are Dems– otherwise I fear you are handing votes straight into Trump’s hands with your posts.”

I’m not handing votes to Trump, Lynn. I, too, think there is a dangerous game happening here and that is in trying to silence or squelch all those who believe that Hillary Clinton is a major part of the problem we now find ourselves in. She has openly alienated millions of Progressive Democrat and Independent voters that she needs to beat Trump. This is exactly the time to be holding her to task. To be forcing her and others to realize that she has to represent those millions of voices who have every reason in the world not to trust or believe her. Especially when she claims to be progressive and to support progressive values and her actions continue to prove otherwise. Almost daily. This exhausted notion that we have to be unified and uncritical of Hillary because of Trump… For me, it’s EXACTLY the kind of approach that allows for the exact same scenario to take place in 4 years. And then again 4 years after that. Trump is a product, not just of Republicanism, but of the political and social landscape we have all built, Republicans and Democrats alike. If I can’t openly criticize Hillary Clinton because someone else may choose to do something with their vote that you or another doesn’t like, or that frightens you, then the whole process dies. Which is what has been happening. It’s undemocratic and it’s an unfortunate narrative that has gotten baked into the system so deeply that people now believe it’s their responsibility to stop others from being openly critical of a candidate even if they think that candidate will be a disaster to our political system and will not represent the largest voting block in the country. That worries me even more than a Donald Trump presidency. Which I assure you, worries the hell out of me. Comments like “We should do everything in our power to influence voters to choose Hilary… I fear you are handing votes straight into Trump’s hands with your posts” is for me a very unsettling comment. And it illuminates and strengthens my conviction as it is exactly the sentiment I believe is eating us from the inside out and assuring that real change never happens. It’s a mantra that keeps us from holding our own politicians to a much higher bar. Now don’t misunderstand me, at the same time, I understand what you are saying. Not that long ago, I reacted much the same way. But I hit a tipping point where I can no longer support that line of thought in good conscience. I see it, not as a means to an end, but as a destructive loop that keeps us from getting where we need to go in order to heal and move forward.

 

July 24, 2016: In response to the comment: “At this very moment we do have only 2 choices, and I do believe we have to do everything in our power to get Hilary elected. Then, and only then, can we focus on cleaning up the mess. I do believe you are feeding the “lock her up”, “crooked Hilary ” crowd with exactly what they want to hear.”

I respect your opinion and your comments here, but I think putting me and people like me into the same boat with Trump supporters yelling “Lock Her Up” is very inaccurate. And far too easy. Not to mention exactly the narrative the media and DNC depends on and exacerbates at every opportunity. In the same way those who say Hillary and Trump are no different (they’re wrong), you are holding back a very real and necessary conversation by lumping everyone into one category. If everyone rallies for her now and supports her choices and decisions now, we send a very dangerous message AND we lost the best opportunity to force her to embrace more progressive policies now, before she gets into office. If she wants those votes, she NEEDS to court and prove herself to those who are not able in good conscience to vote for her. Picking Kaine was a huge mistake. It alienated almost all of that voting block. Once she gets into office, she will do what she wants and I believe that will actively be a disaster for the country. A Donald Trump disaster? No. But still a disaster. For me, the whole idea that there is one goal and one goal only right now – defeating Trump – keeps us in a box. There are other paths and other choices and other perspectives. Again, I understand and respect your concerns, but I won’t stop fighting for what I believe in because some nutty conservative might read what I say and scream “Lock Her Up!” I can’t work from a place of fear that someone may misinterpret my words and use it for their own misguided and/or hateful mission. I think that school of thought is actively not the way for us to move forward as a nation or as a Party.

I will add that I have been watching this same dynamic play out for decades now. Once Hillary is in office, the same arguments and the same dynamics will play out at mid-terms. The same fears, the same arguments, the same voting patterns. It comes down to this for me, Hillary is courting the more conservative wing of the Democratic Party as well as Republican voters who won’t vote for Trump. That’s a choice. In doing that, she directly does NOT represent the largest voting block from her own party. The very ideas that are the core values of Democrats are now becoming things that we are surprised when a candidate will openly fight for. We’re excited when a liberal candidate is opposed to the death penalty or when they back NOT fucking with Social Security… These are things that shouldn’t be used to show how wonderful our candidate or VP is. These should be things that are givens for a Democratic candidate. They are no longer. And there are so many, many examples of how we have lost the base beliefs and notions of the Democratic Party. It has become another animal. I’m not fighting against Hillary, I’m fighting for the Democratic Party.

 

July 24, 2016: I know people would prefer I and others just back Hillary and stop criticizing her. But it’s not my job to help get her elected. It’s her job to convince me that she is worth fighting for, to get me excited and inspired to do so. She is not doing that and no amount of “But Trump…” arguments will change that dynamic. Only Hillary can do that. And she is openly choosing not to. As yet. I will remain open, but for now, she is making the wrong choices to get me and millions of others on board. You can keep telling me and others that we need to vote for her and get others to vote for her as well. Or you can start reaching out to Hillary and tell her to start representing her base.

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Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016

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