I saw my first “Bernie Sanders and his followers were paid Russian operatives” comment today on Facebook. It takes me a while to catch what I’m hearing from my friends and other articles/blogs, but there it was staring at me in the face. I blinked for a moment and noticed it was some white woman making the comment.
This pisses me off on several levels.
For one, it cheapens the actual influence being investigated into Russia’s involvement in our election. I, as much as anyone who has never like or who has come to see Bernie Sanders for what he really is, side eye the ever living shit out of him. I’m with Michael Arceneaux in that Bernie Sanders needs to learn how to shut up.
Bernie Sanders continues to use his microphone to criticize Democrats any chance he gets. Meanwhile, he has been quoted several times since the election and even recently, his desire to “work with” Donald Trump on common ground. But he seems to not know what common ground is with the party he has been caucusing with during his long established Congressional career. Remember this? Or, how about this?
But is Bernie Sanders and the faux progressive white leftists paid Russian operatives?
I don’t think so. First of all, Bernie Sanders, nor any of his followers, are people of interest in the Russian investigation. Yet, almost daily, we hear of more people in Trump’s cabinet who ARE. Like his son in law, Jared Kushner. We did hear of Russian trolls infiltrating social media platforms during the campaign, which we can obviously see is a tactic of influence being used. But, to say that all people who have a certain view point are paid Russian operatives cheapens the truth and deflects responsibility away from the white people who are willing to hold such views once they hear them. As an example, I lost LONG time friends during the campaign and even after the election once they revealed they voted for Jill Stein or that we all need to come together and sing Kumbaya around the fire with Trump and the shitheads who voted for him (hint, they’ve all been white people).
Secondly, it takes away from the fact there has been propaganda influencing white people for a LONG ass time.
And there has been propaganda against the Clintons for a LONG ass time. Republican PACs have been influencing liberal opinion of Hillary for quite some time as well. Russia’s involvement in our elections has literally been joining in on what Republicans have already been working on for decades. To suggest that this shit is new to just 2016, or that people have to be paid to have sexist or racist opinions on social media as if Republicans haven’t already been at this game since before social media was even a thing is flat out false.
At some point, there has to be some level of responsibility for the already sexist and racist people who hear bullshit and is willing to take it in to mix with their confirmation bias in the first place.
The real answer to white Bernie Sanders and the white leftists threatening to split the Democratic Party if the rest of us don’t pander to them is White Supremacy & Patriarchy. This has been hundreds of years of struggles. White people on the left do not need Russian money to hate women and people of color. By suggesting the dumpstershit on the left is just more Russian influence, deflects responsibility away from so-called progressives from doing the inner work of unpacking racism and sexism. It does nothing to help white people on the left unify with LGBTQ people, black people, immigrants, the disabled, women, and other marginalized groups.
Its not white people that everyone else needs to unify with. We need to remind ourselves that whiteness has given us privilege and power – power that we deny to everyone else. By blaming Russia for everything, we are denying we have that power and denying we used that power during this election.
Russia’s influence IS a big deal and the implication the executive branch and even some members of the legislative branch are complicit into allowing a foreign country to have this level of influence into our government is terrifying.
But what I will not stand for, is white liberals both downplaying the truth and cheapening it with bullshit conspiracies to absolve themselves of the responsibility of keeping assholes like Bernie Sanders in check and ridding ourselves of the sexism and racism that allows the hate against Hillary, or the annoyance with “identity politics”, to fester in our brains in the first place.
We have already allowed ourselves to believe in myths during the election. By entertaining continued fantasies, we endanger ourselves into allowing this latest wave of fascism to continue to establish its power. And people are going to die. And we’re going to sit here crying and wondering how we got to this point. The answer is White Supremacy. Its time for white liberals to stop being its shield while our conservative counterparts use its sword.