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Can Democrats Agree to Disagree? Apparently Not.

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My incredibly adorable two-year-old neighbor just stopped by with her mom and presented me with a baggie of walnut mini-muffins. Her mother eyed me warily, knowing of my obsession with politics (like anyone who has known me for five minutes), and said, “How are you feeling today, happy or sad?”

I was stumped, surprised to realize that I did not know! I am certainly feeling a lot of feelings, but I’m not sure I can label them. Could be lack of sleep, sitting in bed with my laptop and watching Super Tuesday returns till the wee hours.

“Mixed,” I finally said. “Mostly sad, I guess, because I don’t think we can beat trump without unity, and I don’t see how either of these candidates in this climate can get us there.”

“Enjoy your day,” piped the incredibly adorable two year old.

In Search of Unity

I was told this morning when I posted an article on Facebook about the need for Democratic unity and the importance of reaching out and building coalitions that I was spreading “Republican talking points.” OK, then. I myself haven’t heard anyone in the GOP talking about the need for Democrats to unite and broaden their coalition, but whatever.

I fear that Democrats just aren’t in the mood to unify. We’ve all caught the trump disease: it seems that respect for others is a thing of the past.

Bernie & Biden: Never the Twain Shall Meet

I don’t see Bernie bringing the left-of-center and center together because many of his zealous supporters can’t help insulting and sometimes vilifying baby-boomers, moderates, people desperately seeking post-trump stability, and basically anyone who does not agree with them. Bernie comes across as a divisive person, he just does. He has to stop wagging his finger.

Here’s what one Facebook friend says: “Watching CSPAN over the years, both Sanders and Warren ‘show up’ as confrontational, acerbic, and aggressive. They both remind me often in their finger -pointing techniques of my overly pious Catholic school teachers. I honestly cannot stand that type of public oratory, self-righteous to say the least.” 

Meanwhile, many of Biden’s supporters aren’t excited about him, they just think he has the best chance of beating trump and that he promises a quiet place where we can heal for a few years. He talks about unity and normalcy and decency. That’s awfully appealing to a lot of people right now, but it doesn’t necessarily get anyone out knocking on doors and trying to persuade their neighbors to vote. And the word “normalcy” is a bad word to some, meaning corporate domination, racism, sexism, etc. 

Biden clearly represents the past, and many of us are done with the past. Still, to many voters, Obama/Biden days seem a hell of a lot better than the present situation, and a good starting point to move to the future. You may call this fear or you may call it pragmatism, but please don’t call it evil. 

Everybody Get Together

The argument that young people and other disaffected Bernie voters wouldn’t ever vote for Biden may well become a self-fulfilling prophecy in the echo chambers of social media. So far, younger voters aren’t turning out in the primary the way we had hoped, but they are surely needed in the general!

And now, their anger and frustration at the way the primary process works — carefully timed endorsements from influential people, coupled with second-tier candidates dropping out and coalescing around a popular candidate who most closely reflects their views — leads to cries of #RiggedElection!, which will further suppress the Democratic vote in November. That’s why trump is bloviating about the process being “rigged against Bernie,” and it’s why Russian bots try to undermine faith in our electoral process. 

Our process is most definitely flawed. It’s hard to deny that voter suppression efforts are aimed at people of color and lower income neighborhoods. And money runs our politics, plain and simple (though three cheers for Billionaire Bloomberg being unable to outright buy the nomination).

Both of our top candidates are definitely flawed, as well. And am I mad as a hornet that our choice is between two very old white guys? You bet I am. But friends, neither Bernie nor Biden comes close to being as flawed as the atrocity that sits in the Oval today. Let’s get it together, folks, literally.

Enjoy your day.

Two very old white guys

“Come on people now, smile on your brother

Everybody get together, try to love one another

Right now.”

The Youngbloods, 1967

*** Disclaimer: all opinions my own. No Republican talking points included ***

Election Day — Please VOTE!

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I want to post today, just because we’ve been on such a long journey together this election year. I feel I should say something profound or moving or vote-changing.

You’ve heard me rant and despair and rage and think things through and then rant and despair and rage all over again. You’ve heard a bit of my political history, too much about Orange Man, and not enough about Bernie Sanders (the one with integrity). You’ve witnessed my reluctant evolution towards Hillary Clinton, my second thoughts, and my eventual tears at the voting booth last week: A woman! I voted for a woman president!!

But I got nothin’. No profundities, no pearls of wisdom, no final thoughts. I am still in a state of shock that my country is so close to electing a dangerous, impulsive, mentally unbalanced megalomaniac to oversee our nuclear weapons, not to mention the rest of the country. I suppose I’ll be musing about that for quite a time.

I hope to be celebrating tonight. I can’t entertain any other thought. I have no fear left to offer Donald Trump. I have to breathe again.

And so today I’m cleaning my house. I might listen to NPR a little later to hear some exit polls and punditry. Otherwise, I look forward to roaming from watch party to watch party tonight as the map turns blue. God willing.

Here’s my profound message for this Election Day, 2016:

PLEASE GO VOTE, NOW!

Here is a link to find your polling place

You can also find important down-ballot races and ballot initiatives in your locality here.

God bless the United States of America.

Once the flag made me proud. Later, it made me mad. Now it makes me sad.

Bernie is Still Speaking Truth: Please Listen

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I don’t generally like to get in “other people’s business,” and I don’t like other people in mine. But boundaries aren’t always clear.

The “facts” on which we base our beliefs and opinions these days can get pretty murky, what with all the “fake news,” conspiracy theories, and inexplicable disdain for experts and scientists on the part of half of America’s population. Two people look at the same issue and see not just different solutions, but different realities. And people can get mad when someone interferes with their reality.

So when are the stakes high enough for me to risk overstepping my bounds?

Now.

I’ve decided that for the next few days, I’m not going to worry about boundaries. This election is everyone’s business. Donald Trump’s poison is, unfortunately, everyone’s business. And most of all, climate change is everyone’s business.

With that said, I invite you to watch this short clip of Bernie Sanders explaining why we simply can’t sit out this election and why we should vote for Hillary Clinton. So actually, it’s Bernie getting in your business, not me. But I agree with him 100%, as usual.

I dedicate this blog to my Bernie-friends, especially those who intend to vote third party, write in, or sit out this election. Please don’t. The planet depends on you. Hillary needs to win the popular vote as well as the electoral college. Both are at risk on Tuesday. Your vote really, really counts. Bernie says.

 

Political (R)evolution

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I’m thinking about giving Hillary some money. I wasn’t planning on it — I am at best a grudging supporter, my teary-eyed pride over a woman nominee notwithstanding. Hillary is way too conservative and cozy with corporations on the issues I care most about. She always has been; it’s her default position.

I was and still am a Bernie supporter, and now, like the majority of his flock (thank God), I trust his judgement that the only way to defeat Orange Man is to vote for Hillary. I’m grateful that Bernie has nudged HRC and the Democratic party to the left; I hope the progressives will eventually disband their circular firing squad and unite to make sure Bernie’s progress is not lost.

So this is where I’ve been for a few weeks: I will vote for HRC, but that is where it stops. I will not volunteer, I will not give money. (I generally do quite a bit of both during election years.) I was holding in reserve the possibility that if things looked bad for the Dems in New Hampshire, where I have a place to stay, I would put on my super hero outfit and fly up to volunteer in October, as I did for Kerry and Obama. But my heart wasn’t in it. It was all about stopping Trump on November 8th.

But. But. The more I read his rants and watch his finger-pointing and see his — ahem — unusual supporters, the more I realize this is not a one-off thing. This is not just about keeping his small, orange hands off the nuclear arsenal and his big, orange bigotry out of the Supreme Court.

Interesting people in Daytona Beach. Photo courtesy of Matthew Danver

Interesting people in Daytona Beach. Photo courtesy of awesome godson, Matthew Danver

Donald Trump is not going away. If he loses (God, PULEEEZE), he will claim the election was rigged. He’s already saying so. Presidential candidates do not do that. Lord knows, if anyone had a right to question the legitimacy of an election, it was Al Gore in 2000, but he chose to put what he saw as the stability of his country first.

Not Orange Man. He will continue to travel around and rant before adoring, cheering crowds in order to feed his voracious ego. He will continue to incite violence and division with his claims of a rigged election in order to prove his power over people. His narcissistic sickness will not allow him to stop.

Not in My Country!

So I’ve come to the conclusion that the “homegrown demagogue,” as President Obama (only slightly indirectly) called him, needs to be utterly repudiated, rejected, and shut down. HRC needs to win a solid majority of the electoral votes and win big in the popular vote. I had been toying with the idea of voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, since I vote in the safely blue state of Maryland where I can afford to vote on principle without fear of helping Trump. But now I think not. I want my vote to be a loud, clear NO! NOT NOW! NOT EVER! NOT IN MY COUNTRY!

And so I’m sending HRC some money. Twenty-seven bucks at a time, so she knows it’s from a progressive Bernie supporter, and hopefully some intern somewhere in the bowels of the campaign will put a check mark next to “a climate change and Citizens United voter.”

I know a couple of Bernie supporters who will yell “sell out!” at me just as harshly as the HRC die-hards were yelling “traitor!” at me a month or two ago. Save your breath, y’all. I’m not hating on you, and I’d appreciate the same. I’m having my own personal political (r)evolution where love trumps hate. You can do your own thing.

Election Eve Musings

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ELECTION EVE MUSINGS

I’m voting for Bernie in the Maryland primary tomorrow, and I’m excited about it. Lord knows it’s rare for me to be enthused about a candidate. I doubt I’ll be as enthusiastic come November, but voting for a woman will be huge, even if I’d prefer a more progressive woman — say Elizabeth Warren. Who knows? Maybe Clinton will tap Warren for V.P. It would be a sure way to engage Bernie fans like myself, but I doubt it will happen.

I know my support for Bernie has some of my more “pragmatic” friends bent out of shape. And I found this on my car windshield the other day:

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Whatever — I’m just done with business-as-usual.

I’m sure this post will annoy some Bernie supporters, too. I’m sorry, but the math just doesn’t look good for our guy.

I’ve become somewhat of a cynic in recent decades. I am not hopeful when it comes to the future of the American political system. Too much corporate money in both parties, and it seems elections can’t be won without it.

Still, on a sunny day when the birds are singing and perhaps I’ve had a glass of champagne, I can imagine a day when the right leaders will rise up and organize regular people to overturn this dysfunctional system.

Bernie has started the conversation. He’s definitely pulled Hillary to the left, and some go so far as to say he has “made the Democratic party safe for liberals again.” Maybe. It is great that Hillary mentions climate change and campaign finance reform and even Citizens United, but they aren’t her top priorities and she will swing back to center during the general election. That’s just reality.

Why Not?

On the hopeful side, there are now millions of new voters — including many young people just forming their political consciousness — who have embraced Bernie’s boldness and ask, “Why not?” In Bernie’s stump speeches, I hear an echo of the words of Robert F. Kennedy that formed my own adolescent political consciousness in 1968, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”

So I’ll savor the moment tomorrow when I step into the voting booth, punch the Bernie button and think, “Hell yes — THIS!”

Bobby Kennedy, 1963

Bobby Kennedy, 1963

— Kennedy photo from public domain, courtesy Wikimedia

I Vote With My Brain, Not My Breasts

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I VOTE WITH MY BRAIN, NOT MY BREASTS:

I haven’t written about the Democratic presidential primary because I have friends standing on both sides of the growing Hillary-Bernie divide, and I respect them all. But as a woman who supports Bernie, I’m getting just a little tired of Hillary’s supporters trashing me.

I don’t trash them. I’m sure they’ve thought it through and decided that Hillary best represents their priority interests. Don’t I deserve the same right? If abortion rights or women’s pay or healthcare are among your priorities, go for Hillary, by all means.

My priorities happen to be protecting our planet and instilling some corporate responsibility in America, so I’m supporting Bernie. It seems a clear choice. Hillary sometimes follows along on these issues, but they are obviously Bernie’s priorities. She didn’t even say the word “climate” in her New Hampshire concession speech. Wow, just wow. No wonder young people aren’t toeing the line for her.

Young women who support Bernie were bearing the brunt of these condescending attacks, until Madeleine Albright reminded Sanders voters the other day that it’s broader than that: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Now she defends her remarks by saying that women, in general, “are very judgmental of each other.” Who is being judgmental here, Madeleine?

Photo: Bloomberg News

It’s really not that funny

At least Gloria Steinhem apologized for saying that young women only like Bernie because they’ll meet more guys on his campaign. Whether she “misspoke” or was “misinterpreted” (she said both), we KNOW she didn’t really mean that: how un-feminist would that be??

Anyway, it’s not just young women now, it’s all female Bernie supporters who are on the highway to hell.

The marching orders are clear: if you are a woman, you must vote for Hillary Clinton. I can’t imagine anything more insulting or sexist. It doesn’t make sense either. Do they think they are going to change my mind with that kind of vitriol? It didn’t work for Hillary in 2008, and it’s not working now. I just hope the young women being insulted don’t get so turned off to Hillary that they end up not voting in the general election if she’s the nominee.

It’s funny, it wasn’t Albright’s vicious rhetoric that caused me to write this blog (and to put a Bernie sticker on my car). photo (39)

I write because I fear that this nastiness is contagious. The other night, a young woman whom I’ve known since she was a toddler wrote on Facebook that she was “very disappointed” in me. She’s generally a kind, respectful, thoughtful person. So the fact that she thinks it OK to judge and criticize a friend for supporting someone other than her own choice . . . well, that’s just not OK, ladies.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Hillary personally — she’s too moderate and beholden to the political status quo for my taste. But I haven’t written about that because I don’t think we need anymore negativity out there. She would be a fine president, perhaps on a par with Obama. And certainly preferable to any of the yahoos the Republicans are running. But still, she represents the political status quo. No foundational changes to a dramatically broken system.

Bernie’s cry that “Enough is enough!” captures my sentiments exactly. It goes for the country, and it goes for the Hillary camp’s insulting attacks on women, too.

This particular middle-aged, white, female voter does not engage in “group think.” I vote with my brain, not my breasts.

Photo attribution: Bloomberg News

 

 

 

 

 

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