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.
I do understand some peoples’ need to “not care whose fault it is” on Tuesday. Some of that is justifiable angry response because some people are blaming the democrat party for “forgetting white people”, and others are claiming its Hillary’s own fault because she was a terrible candidate; not strong enough; she wasn’t Bernie; and blah blah blah.
But aside from the hot nonsense of dog shit, we DO need to identify the problems because identifying the problems are key to white people figuring out how we can fix this. So I’m going to lay it out in a few simple points:
White people failed. 60 million people voted for fascism and 3rd party voters in some key states helped. Racism and sexism are at the core; racism because these voters cosigned a platform rife with racism, xenophobia, islamaphobia, and homophobia. Sexism, because some people cosigned that garbage because they didn’t want to see a woman become president.
The Media failed too. Instead of focusing on issues that really should have mattered to white people as far as informing them is concerned (Trump’s ties to Russia; Trump Univeristy; sexual assault; setting shit he says straight with the facts), they spent their time normalizing his behavior by making it equally valid to Hillary’s character and hyperfocused on her emails and private server.
Perhaps the media is secondary to the white people issue because the first issue drove the other failure.
The solution is, we have GOT to find some way to decenter whiteness; to make our concerns as white people not the primary concerns of this country; to care about everyone’s well being and not have an “as long as I get mine, fuck you” attitude.
There are two places of Donald Trump’s platform that can seriously harm even US as white people (let alone everyone else) and that’s foreign policy and climate change. I called white people fucking stupid at times, because these two issues alone will directly harm even us, yet we thought white supremacy was the oxygen others were trying to take away and we’re scrambling to hold on to it for dear life. Watch whatever movie has a similar premise; where people voted for their own destruction because they were blinded by something else and then put yourself there. That’s us, white people. And the fact we’re willing to burn it ALL down for some fake sense of superiority really shows how inferior we actually are.
I have been accused more than once of being full of rage.
My dad was also full of rage and when I was in my 20’s I saw I carried the same rage and I thought it was a problem. I went to the college counselor and told him I had an anger problem that I wanted help with. He listened for a little bit, but didn’t really offer any advice except to hand me copies of chapters out of some book. I read some of it, but couldn’t relate to it very well. It seemed to just attack the behavior and not the cause.
I am now nearly 37 years old and I no longer view my rage as a problem. In fact, I’ve learned that its not so much the fact I have rage, but how I harness and use it that really makes it good or bad. My dad was severely depressed and his rage caused him to scream in my face and make me feel worthless. He’d punch holes in the walls, throw glass pepper shakers across the room and watch the glass and pepper splatter all over after hitting the wall. He’d slam pots and pans down on the floor. He’d flip tables. His rage was violent and scary. I was afraid of becoming like this.
And sure, sometimes I slam doors when I’m the most pissed, but I’d like to think my rage is expressed mostly in words. And the things that make me rage are very different than the things that would set off my dad’s rage.
George Zimmerman getting away with murder – rage.
Sandra Bland getting roughed up because she wouldn’t put out her cigarette and eventually murdered in her jail cell – rage.
Seeing a chart showing the Democrats being in control of both chambers of Congress with a Democrat President for a grand total of 4 years since Reagan first took office in 1981 and then have people on the internet tell me the Democrats have been controlling the agenda for the past 30 years – rage.
Remembering the myriad of ways Republicans have obstructed progress since I was a teenager in the 90’s and having people today forget all the nuance, obstruction, and politics since then to create their own narrative – rage.
Being told Hillary Clinton killed universal healthcare after she was the one in the 90’s who tried to bring it! After remembering the Republicans telling Obama early in his first term “Don’t even think about single payer, because we won’t let it happen”. – rage.
Seeing the very white tears from people who demand a revolution NOW who loudly proclaim “the system” is unfair to them now while conveniently ignoring all the black voices who have been trying to tell us this for over 400 years – rage.
Seeing more Bernie protesters at the DNC in Philadelphia than there were people protesting against fascism at the RNC in Cleveland – rage.
And this morning, after the first day of the DNC and the butthurt tears of Sanders fans who still declare its not over yet, I was accused of being filled with rage and how this particular person has had enough of it.
This, after an entire day of white privilege shouting down speakers who took the podium. Booing Bernie Sanders. Chanting “Black Lives Matter” at Cory Booker while he’s speaking. Chanting whatever the fuck they were saying over Elizabeth Warren. Shouting down Elijah Cummings, one of the best damn congresspeople we have. This isn’t dissent. This isn’t protest. This is BULLSHIT. This is whining like a fucking crybaby because your entitled ass lost the soccer game. The ref missed a call. A foul was called when there was none. You lost. And now you think you have a right to “protest” and “dissent” the same unfair process Hillary Clinton lost too 8 years ago.
Tell me more how that isn’t the same as accusing a woman of sleeping with her bosses as a means of climbing the corporate ladder because there’s no way she has the brains or skills to earn it.
Tell me more about how that isn’t sexist.
And then I’ll ask you why you AREN’T filled with rage.
We have a candidate in charge of the Republican party now who sounds more and more like a fascist dictator every single day. In fact, after the RNC last week, it should be crystal fucking clear the Republicans have chosen unfettered racism, xenophobia, islamaphobia, and “law and order” to run their platform. If you think that platform would not bleed into how they govern the next four years, you are willfully ignorant of reality.
And yet, your privileged white ass is horrified the DNC has imperfect humans in it who expressed disdain for someone who spent most of his campaign shit talking the very party he was trying to take over. And your privileged white ass claims the fact the Russians hacked us is simply a deflection, because CLEARLY people talking shit among themselves is a much more offensive thing to behold.
And yet, your privileged white ass decided to weaponize your feelings to silence people.
I was abused emotionally growing up and you don’t get to weaponize your feelings to me. You don’t get to claim I’m abusing you with my rage because I stripped you of your privileged fucking fantasy. You should be using rage to act and be the change you want to see. If you care and rage about injustice and inequality, then fucking DO something about it. A great step would be to help kill the rise of fascism in this country. Otherwise, I have no more fucking time for you and your privileged shenanigans.
I didn’t really want to write this, but I am. I don’t want to seem like I’m gloating victory. I’m not. I WANT to stop spending any energy or attention on Bernie Sanders or his increasingly smaller band of followers. (There was a news article this past week about how Sanders fans are moving to Clinton faster than Clinton fans moved to Obama in 2008).
There have been some things that have happened over the last couple of days though that have just pushed me to the edge of just HAVING to write about this. One of those things is watching Jessica Williams piece on her last episode of The Daily Show.
It was obvious to me (even though it wasn’t said), how bad sexism is in our country. And yes, women, you are not absolved from regurgitating sexist bullshit. Internalized misogyny and self-hate is a thing. We receive the same sexist messages in society that men receive about us.
Besides the obvious sexist undertones that refusing to concede (no matter the stated strategy for doing so) has, I believe his refusal to concede is feeding his followers to continue their fight against Clinton as if the primary wasn’t over. I have examples from TODAY of this evidence. The six people Jessica Williams interviewed are not isolated. There are a LOT of people on social media still repeating Republican nonsense arguments against Clinton, hoping for an email indictment from the FBI, saying she has stolen the primary nomination from Sanders, painting a picture of a corrupt and evil politician. I have examples from TODAY’s conversations on the internet. This isn’t some past crap I just want to bring up and dwell on. This example is a response to someone who brought up Arizona as proof of voter suppression. Except the facts about how that happened are left out so people can blame the DNC for what happened there to fit their narrative.
Then, of course, are those who continually behave as if we have to be nice and stroke their egos as if that’s somehow going to “win them over” instead of them using facts, evidence, and actual morals to vote with.
Yes, I know Sanders said he will vote for Clinton in November. But stating your intention to vote for the Democrat nominee is not quite enough. Go visit his website and they’re still collecting money for his campaign. His campaign is vaguely in a “next stage”. He repeats that his goal is to make sure Donald Trump is defeated in November, yet he’s holding on until the Convention with his pledged delegates to push for certain parts of his policy platform.
I’ve said in Facebook comments that I WANT him to continue pushing for a progressive platform. Running for President is not the only way to do it though. He can concede the primary and give up taking his fight all the way to the convention in Philadelphia. That doesn’t mean his progressive ideals are dead. To the contrary, he wouldn’t have done as well as he did in the primary if that were the case. There are many ways he can take the energy he’s collected and stump nationally for congressional, state, and local progressive candidates and really work on grass roots efforts to push for progressive policies. He can get people involved in politics. He can push for increased voter participation in non-presidential elections where voter turnout remains horribly deficient. Clearly our voices as voters DO matter, as evidenced by the national referendum Brexit vote in Britain.
The false narratives about Hillary Clinton don’t appear to be dying. And some people who are carrying these false narratives were once Sanders fans considering Trump to get their vote, just like the six people in The Daily Show interview. And it’s not because they think Trump is great, it’s because of sexism. People including some progressives like Elizabeth Warren have been called “traitors” and “sellouts”. Warren has not changed as a person and her beliefs, her policies, and what she fights for as a senator have not changed. Sanders should concede and put his full support behind Clinton. It does not represent a loss of integrity. It does not mean Progressive values are dead. But you know what should be dead? Sexism. And Bernie Sanders should be a leader on that front as a so-called progressive white man.
Once, I was a huge fan of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. And in some ways, I still am. I have both autobiographies (Living History and My Life). I even took my copy of My Life to a house rep re-election rally in my state where Bill Clinton spoke and he signed my book. I will treasure it forever. Not everyone has a book signed by a President of the United States. I think its pretty awesome. I even enjoyed reading it. He writes similarly to how I talk in conversations. Talk about something, touch on something he and I could easily go off on a little trail and then bring it back to the original point or how that side thing related to the main idea (but sometimes, maybe not). It was amusing as I read it.
And Hillary …what an inspiration as a woman! To not just be a lawyer and not to settle for just being First Lady, but to actually be a Senator and a Secretary of State and now run a second time for President herself! How many women have that type of resume? Hillary has made history with her list of personal accomplishments, even if being President is something she doesn’t get to attain.
But something has happened along the way. I don’t know what it is. No, Bernie supporters, its not that she was a young Republican. I grew up Republican too, and I’m nowhere near where I was. To not allow someone to grow and change throughout their life as if they’re less of a person to have not always held your perfect purest progressive ideology is just you being an asshole.
No, I think its that she’s currently trying to play the game within the realm of Patriarchy…a game she can’t win. A game she shouldn’t want to win. A game that leaves someone looking disingenuous. For example, her tough foreign policy talk. She’s obviously catering to the center. After all, she has to seem tough and willing to make strong calls as Commander in Chief, right? Because women are weak and aren’t willing to go to war. But isn’t that what we want? Someone who is less willing to go to war and take a hard look at our current foreign policy and see how it perpetuates violence in the world as is and needs to change? I thought maybe a woman with our natural strengths would be more willing to do that. But she wants to play the man’s game instead and sound and be tough on foreign policy.
Like she wanted to be tough on crime. To not seem like a pansy.
And then there’s the answer she gave to some Black Lives Matters protesters when she met with them. When they confronted her husband’s mass incarceration problem (which she lobbied for), she didn’t apologize. She didn’t say “We didn’t realize at the time what the effects would be, and it was wrong and I want to fix it and make it right.” No, she placed the burden on those whom the policy hurts the most to come up with a solution. That didn’t sit well with me. She’s trying to play the Patriarchy game and I just don’t like it. I had a corporate boss who played the Patriarchy game in her corporate politics. SHE was probably the worst boss I EVER had. She was fucking ruthless. I just don’t like to see fellow women try to get ahead using that game and claiming they’re going to bat for the rest of us. I don’t think so. Does she plan on dismantling that system when she gets to the top? Or is she going to leave it intact because it gave her the power she has?
Now, we do have to realize how politicians have this game they need to play. How they need to use words and I suppose using logical fallacies are par for the course (like her straw man attacks on Bernie’s health care plan). And we have to give politicians a certain amount of grace because otherwise they end up not getting attention and their chances are lost. I mean, that’s how the political game is played and most of us fall for it hook line and sinker.
Which brings me to Bernie. I like him as a candidate better than Hillary. Though my own life story mirrors Hillary’s in changing my own worldview as I’ve grown, I do appreciate Bernie’s long standing voice. I know some critics may believe he’s just pandering because they’re just now hearing his particular rhetoric recently. But, recently his camp posted C-Span clips from the 90’s in which he was already mentioning in Congress how several policies were disproportionately affecting black people negatively in our society. He really was talking the talk before it was popular to do so among white people who think its trendy to be an “ally” right now. So yes, I do plan on voting for Bernie in my state’s primary. There are many other reasons and examples, but to me they all do seem to point to a man who wants to make some serious positive changes and I think we are long overdue for those changes.
But then his supporters. God, I avoid a lot of social media right now because the nasty Bernie supporters with their racist bullshit towards black people as if Bernie is the “obvious” choice and they’re “stupid” for voting for Hillary. Oh, those racist microaggressions. Progressive liberals…. You have a lot of fucking soul searching to do. Remember how I called you an asshole earlier for thinking you’re all high and mighty with your Purest Progressive Ideology? Yeah. That shit makes you look ugly. And the sexism? Christ man. “I’m going to be a sexist asshole to prove to you I’m more of a feminist than anyone!”
That’s literally how fucking dumb you sound.
The point is, neither Hillary nor Bernie are going to be perfect. In fact, neither one can be our savior. We don’t need a SAVIOR. We need to save ourselves. In fact, there is no other way to create a better country for everyone who lives here. And while voting for the right President is definitely a step in the right direction, this fighting and mud slinging in the Democratic party and the games we see politicians willing to play only reveals that every single one of us have a fuckload of looking in the mirror and savings of ourselves we really need to be doing.