I’m not on Facebook, so I cannot respond directly to my Democratic/Liberal friend’s post that initially stoked my ire and disappointment. Since that post, there have been numerous articles and Op-Eds calling for the People’s response to mass atrocities and inhumane actions to be more publicly “civil.” Yet, like my friend on Facebook, so many of the people calling for this are otherwise intelligent individuals with ginormous hearts. That is why I hold out hope that these words may be heard and considered with seriousness and openness by those who may not yet realize the negative repercussions of calling for the same “restraint.”
The Democrat’s current mantra of a “Return to Civility” is no different from Trump’s “Make America great again.” It’s a form of propaganda that can only be said with any seriousness by people with privilege; by people for whom these issues aren’t actually life and death. I find it to be both reckless and immensely harmful, even though I believe that is often the opposite of its intent. This misguided call for civility has recently been exemplified in this Washington Post article: Liberal hostility toward Trump aides could galvanize the GOP base and this L.A. Times Op-Ed: Making Trump officials miserable doesn’t accomplish anything. Vote them out if you want change.
Unfortunately, it’s the same mindset that allowed the majority of white Democrats to consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an “enemy of the State” and a “threat to Democracy” at the time of his assassination. It’s the same voice as those who thought the Vietnam war protests were a “formula for discord.” It’s the same privileged view that, in 1966, a Harris Poll revealed 54 percent of whites said that they would not march or protest if they “were in the same position as Negroes,” and two months later, in October 1966, that 85 percent of whites insisted that civil rights demonstrations hurt Negroes more than they helped (sound familiar?). By starting down this slippery slope, one ends up siding with the people who perpetuate oppression and atrocities while allowing oneself to feel as if you are fighting or resisting them, but from a more “dignified” place. What this unwittingly ensures is that there will be little-to-no consequence for politicians who commit atrocities. God forbid there should be “public” consequences, lifestyle consequences or discomfort. Continue reading “A Response To The Democratic Call For “Liberal Civility.””
I recently had to unfriend someone on Facebook. Someone I’ve been close to for over 20 years. Someone I know to be a terrific, smart, creative, generous and kind person. But since the election started, she has moved to a place that can only be described as outwardly and openly hateful toward anyone who does not agree with her politically. It’s one thing to be critical, to disagree, to be passionate about one’s beliefs. Lord knows I am. Daily. It’s a very different thing to display hatred and intolerance and to create the “other.” Unfortunately, this is also a political strategy used by candidates to “rally support” against a “common enemy.” We certainly see Trump using it every day.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s also a tactic Hillary Clinton has given into on more than one occasion. Whether it’s old comments like “Super-predators” or more recently “Deplorables,” or the flames she stoked (if not outright helped create) of the “Bernie Bros” narrative of violent, misogynistic men. And yes, my friend is someone who latched onto that particular narrative and is still running with it with a violent insistence that those who don’t see Hillary as “progressive” or consider her “hawkish” on foreign policy, are vile, moronic, and deluded, if not outright woman-haters. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of that level of intolerance and unbridled hostility. I’m all for heated political arguments, discussions, disagreements and opinions, but this is something that overflows into another area altogether. It feels, to me, far too close to the kind of bigoted hate and intolerance displayed by many Trump supporters. It’s not rational, it’s not logical, it is deeply emotional. And incredibly damaging to other human beings in myriad ways. But it also does not define all they are.
This person, I am certain, still also holds all those qualities that I loved about her and kept us friends for so many years. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I am very vocal and passionate about my political views. And I have had many discussions on Facebook and elsewhere with like-minded individuals, fellow liberal friends with whom I have disagreements, and even Republican and Conservative friends who see things very, very differently from myself. But the conversations I’ve had with them, even at their most heated, were civil and respectful. Continue reading “Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance”
I’m not trying to paint a picture of Kaine or Clinton as monsters. They are not. Nor are they Trump. Not even close. But they also do not represent the values of the Democratic base, which feels continuously irrelevant and disregarded and I think there’s a real danger in that. More immediately to the outcome of the election come November, but even more globally and long-term in what the Democratic Party stands for and how it can and desperately needs to affect positive change. I want the Democratic Party I believed in back. It is not that anymore. And I obviously do not stand alone in that deep desire and commitment. And there is no easy or faultless path.
I do not believe being silent now and waiting till after the election will change things, In fact, from where I stand, we may lose this election if we cannot get Hillary Clinton to up her approval rating by directly embracing her base. The center/right, the moderates, are not the Democratic base. And right now the base is being made to feel like they are more of an annoyance than anything else. Even though they are fighting so hard and in the face of so much criticism from many of their friends and neighbors and a near-complete disregard from their own Party’s establishment. This is not a fun road, nor is it a straightforward one. There are many unknowns in every direction.
Continue reading “Facebook Impressions: An Open Letter To My Friends & Loved Ones Struggling This Election Cycle”
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.
Continue reading “Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016”
Like many people, Facebook has pulled me away from my daily blog as a source of expression. I still post here, but so much of what I think and feel about what is happening in the world gets lost in the fleeting panorama that is Facebook.
So I thought I would start posting some of my shorter thoughts and essays, as well as my responses to particular articles or others’ comments and commentaries. When separate thoughts are contained in one space, they often reveal a much larger, deeper narrative. If nothing else, they tell a story. So long as my own story continues to unfold, I’d like to share more of it here.
From July 19, 2016:
Continue reading “Facebook Impressions: July 19, 2016”
The presidential “race” in America has turned into something that has been brewing for decades and is finally coming to a head. But it’s not just the Republican Party that is crumbling under the weight of its own shifts to the right and its years-long stoking the flames of discontent and anger.
The Democratic Party has also been wildly divided this election cycle and age-old resentments and indignations are surfacing and the vitriol surrounding it is immense. Which isn’t to say that the anger isn’t justified. It is. On all sides, if you ask me. It’s what we do with that anger, that outrage, that will define our future.
We’ve seen the anger and discontent on the Republican side play out in the form of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, fascism/intolerance, and misogyny. This is, in my opinion, a wildly misdirected and highly manipulated response. But the emotions that lie at the base of it – the social, cultural, and political disaffection – isn’t imaginary. But where the powers-that-be point their fingers and exclaim “It’s their fault!” is. That kind of manipulation has been with us since the dawn of recorded history. From Aaron using fear and distrust to convince the Israelites to embrace false idols and reject Moses at the base of Mt. Sinai, to the Salem Witch Hunts to Adolph Hitler to Joe McCarthy to the age-old gross manipulation by entire governments and political and religious parties across the globe that so effectively and efficiently turn neighbor against neighbor.
Continue reading “Gender-Shaming & Scapegoating: It’s Not Just For Republicans Anymore”
I recently posted a comment (shown below) on a friend’s Facebook wall in response to a conversation happening there addressing the “validity” of the Grateful Dead as musicians and their music. It’s not a new topic for me, I’m afraid. This time, the conversation began in response to a particularly small-minded and troll-like article by Joe Queenan in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Please, Grateful Dead, Don’t Keep Truckin’ On.” It’s a pretty nasty and inflammatory piece that does its part to transplant journalism to the latrine. Queenan’s desire to invalidate and devalue the Grateful Dead, their music AND their fans simply because he doesn’t personally understand it is, in my opinion, grossly irresponsible and, I would have thought, far beneath The Wall Street Journal’s integrity requirements. Clearly I was mistaken.
Continue reading “Authentic Experiences: Embracing or Rejecting the Grateful Dead”