#TooFarLeft is misdirected outrage

There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies. Those upset with Obama need to remind themselves of this.

Obama TooFarLeft???
It has me thinking that I should cancel my email subscription to Common Dreams.
As I see it, that article isn’t news. It isn’t even good journalism.
I see it as obvious clickbait meant to rile up Sanders and Warren supporters.
I say that because other than the repeated link to the same NYT article (which is far more worth reading, and which produced the link below), all that Jon Queally ends up offering little more than a list of Tweets presumably meant to outrage the reader by channeling carefully selected outrage coming from the Twittersphere.
The more interesting question for me is why such an article even gets written?
To what end does trying to cast Obama as a villain work to anyone’s favor other than Trump’s?
In my humble opinion, casting Obama as the enemy really kind of closes the loop on this election cycle’s liberal/progressive circular firing squad.
Yes, we can and we must debate what each candidate claims to be their vision and their policies for realizing it, but casting Obama as an enemy as part of that debates makes no sense to me at all.
Yes, I agree that he wasn’t liberal and progressive enough.
Yes, he made mistakes, and yes, he advanced policies with which I disagreed. He wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t pure. No one is, but he and Biden were worlds better than McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan, and I’m proud to say I voted for Obama and Biden twice.
Cory Booker, another oft-cast villain, summed up my sentiments really well when asked about Obama’s remarks:
“Let’s stop tearing each other down, let’s stop drawing artificial lines,” he added. “I’m tired in this election of hearing some people say, ‘Well if this person gets elected, I can’t support them,’ and then other people say, ‘If this person gets elected, I can’t support them.’ Are you kidding me?”
Omar tweetRep Ilhan Omar appears to want to pick a fight with about as classic a strawman as I’ve seen in a long time.
When did Obama say in his remarks that….
….healthcare is NOT a human right?
….he DOESN’T want future generations to live on a healthy planet?
….student debt shouldn’t be cancelled?
….he opposes a $15/hour minimum wage?
….he opposes gun reform?
….he thinks families belong in cages?
That tweet, in my view, is the height of intellectual dishonesty. It causes me to call into question what I had begun to believe was Rep Omar’s thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and authenticity.
Do I think Obama probably meant Sanders and Warren and their supporters more than Booker, Buttigieg or Biden, and their “wings” of the Democratic Party?
Yes, of course.
(But, be sure to read my Comment for a contextual analysis of Obama’s remarks.)
That, however, doesn’t excuse the mistake I think “the activist wing of the party” is making; reacting with outrage with Obama.
I can just picture lots of Democrats – actual rank-and-file Democrats who have been registered with the Party for years and decades – seeing this hashtag and asking themselves, “What the fuck? How the hell can people who call themselves progressives now be attacking Obama? How does their outrage with Obama help? How is that outrage with Obama going to get more Democratic voters to the polls so that piece of shit squatting in the White House is run out of town and, hopefully, into a prison jumpsuit?”
I’m asking those same questions.
What worries me is how this attack on Obama looks to be another example of out-of-control and inexplicable purity testing that I saw in 2016 and that I see more and more of all the time coming only really from one camp – my fellow Sanders supporters.
I really don’t see how that’s supposed to work and to what end.
I’m not saying we surrender. I’m not even saying that we have to compromise on everything, but compromise is how democracy works. No one elected leader, and no one group of voters, gets their way on everything. Not in a democracy.
Yes, we can and should stand on our principles, our values, and our desires for sweeping, meaningful, and overdue change. I just think we should do that without casting everyone who doesn’t agree 100% with us as villains.
That most certainly includes the last Democratic president.
Trump, Republican voters, and GOP politicians who are willing members of his cult are the real villains. Let’s focus our outrage at them, not on Obama.
And, we must remember this:
There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.
We will need those imperfect allies next November.

Any Democrat is better than any Republican any day, but especially next Tuesday

We need to make sure that Republicans never win another election. Ever. Anywhere. At any level of government, from school board and borough council to the President of the United States.

I know I’m stating the obvious, but here it is anyway.

There’s one and only one Party that, at the very least, is ok with and at so many levels have proven to be willing and eager to lay with the dogs of hate, bigotry, racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and anti-intellectual science denial to name but a few of their unethical and amoral characteristics.

That’s the Republican Party.

Add to that Republican trickle-down economic, monetary, fiscal, and foreign policies that are detrimental to ordinary people and to the planet, and you have what must be the most toxic mix of ideology and policy the world has seen in about 80 years.

And while we liberals love to complain about “corporate Democrats”, let me suggest we grow the fuck up and accept the reality that on Election Day there is one and only one viable alternative to Republicans.

No, that’s not to say the Democratic Party is perfect or that it doesn’t need to change, so spare me that vapid silliness.

Of course the Democratic Party needs to be more liberal and more progressive, but we leftists need to understand the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies, and that changing a Party does NOT happen on Election Day!

Did we learn nothing two years ago?

Do we all not agree that 2016 proved that elections have consequences?

Do we want to help to perpetuate the Trump scorched Earth because we just can’t bring ourselves to vote for some “corporate” Democrat?

Take it from this old liberal who has been registered Non-Partisan most of his adult life and who now regrets having voted for independent candidates in the past – it’s a vote for the Republican.

You can disagree with me, but you’d still be wrong.

Just know that if you call yourself a liberal, a progressive, or anything but a right-wing conservative and you cast your vote on the 6th for anyone but a Democrat, you will be held to account as part of the ongoing slide in this country toward despotism and ruin.

If, on the other hand, you want to throw the Republicans out of office on Tuesday, there’s one button to push. One. It’s the one with the ‘D’.

Anything else is a vote to keep or to put Republicans in power.

So, I’m angry enough to say it again. Grow the fuck up.

A third-party or write-in vote is not a protest vote.
It’s not even a wasted vote.
It’s a vote that fails to cancel out a Republican vote, and like it or not, that makes it a vote for the Republican. You will be held to account for that by the rest of us on the left who did what was necessary to put an end to Republican governance.

No, Democrats are not perfect, but they are not Republicans.

In 2018, that should be enough for anyone.

Progressives: This is your wake up call

To all my fellow progressives, liberals, wannabe social democrats, and disgruntled Bernie supporters:

Time (actually far past the time) for some tough love. Time for us to pull our collective heads out of our assess.

Republicans control everything because of us. Yes, us, and it’s probably not for the reasons you want to tell yourself. It’s not those evil corporate Democrats.

It’s you and me.

Here’s the reality.

1) I can’t vote for candidates who don’t run, and neither can you.

Stop insisting that the Democratic Party “give us” progressive candidates we want or else. It doesn’t work like that. Please stop making that idiotic demand. You’re making all of us look stupid. If you don’t like who’s on the ballot, run for office yourself; otherwise, please shut the fuck up about “corporate” Democrats controlling who is on the ballot. You need to vote for Democrats as the only way to beat Republicans. (I’m going to get to your roiling self-righteous outrage and indignation in a minute.)

2) Any Democrat is better than any Republican any day.

Does this even need to be explained? Do you honestly believe that Democrats and Republicans are the same? If you do, you need to know that is just about as intellectually dishonest a position as one can take. I’m asking you again to shut the fuck up because claiming that both Parties are the same is even dumber than believing that the Democratic Party hand-picks corporate candidates, or that you’re “punishing” anyone but the most vulnerable among us by self-righteously refusing to vote for a Democrat.

3) Less evil is always better than more evil.

When were elections ever not this choice? Seriously. I’ve been voting for longer than most of you have probably been alive. No, it’s not optimal, but what is in life? And, you need to pay very close attention to this – you will NOT change this reality by not voting or by throwing your vote away by not voting for the only Party in today’s reality that can beat Republicans, and that’s the Democratic Party. If this isn’t convincing enough, ask people in the LGBTQ community and refugee families and people of color and women and American Muslims and environmental activists and Planned Parenthood and just about anyone who isn’t an aging cisgender white Evangelical if they think Democrats are just as evil as Republicans.

4) When did a scorched Earth become a progressive value?

This one is especially directed at all my fellow middle class and doing-ok white liberals from the Baby Boomer Generation. Haven’t we fucked up this world enough already? Now you want to pat yourself on the back for not supporting “corporate” Democrats regardless of the fact that that just about guarantees more Republican scorched Earth? Is that the world we want to bequeath? We stay fat, dumb, and self-righteous in our suburban homes banging away on our keyboards and thumping our chests in so-called progressive Facebook Groups, too selfish and too egotistical to worry about others in distress today – right now – to do what’s necessary to salvage what’s left of this country and this planet by first stopping the Republican destruction.

5) We progressives and liberals continue to be our own worst enemies thanks to our inability to unite.

Instead of banding together to defeat Republicans, we waste our time and energy arguing with each other about who “deserves” our vote and how we need to “punish” the Democrats for not being progressive enough.

There are no perfect progressives.
There are no perfect candidates.
If there are any, they aren’t running for office where I live.

We need to start voting in unity in every election the way conservatives do. It’s the only way to defeat Republicans, and that’s all that matters in November. Nothing. Else. Matters. Now.

We can only move this country toward a more progressive future by first defeating Republicans the only way possible, and that’s to vote for Democrats.

That is how we start winning battles.

That is how we win the war.

Then we can go back to arguing over who is the more corporate and who is the more progressive politician.

Puritanical liberals really piss me off

The following was posted today in a closed Facebook group in response to a post I made about an NBC News/WSJ poll that shows that 81% of Republicans support Trump.

Original Coffee Party post

I have to say that I’ve grown pretty sick and tired of this sort of bullshit from my fellow liberals.

The following is my response to the OP.

Thought it was worth sharing with a broader audience than just the closed FB group. Would like to hear what you think.

—-

Man, that is some tortured reasoning in the face of the facts, <NAME REDACTED>.

Look, I’m as liberal as anyone, and I want what you want, but when are you going to give up the purity tests, give up blaming the Democratic Party, and realize that on election day you can’t always get what you want?

The Democratic Party prefers losing elections? That’s absurd, and I suspect you didn’t mean it literally. Besides, I know you know that Clinton beat Sanders and Trump by 3million votes each. I know you know that nationwide Democratic Senators and House Reps tallied more votes than Republicans.

And, you want to blame the Democratic Party for not fielding candidates you want?

Voting Americans were very clear in 2016 about whom they preferred. Democrats.

Yes, yes, the two party system is corrupt and beholden to big money. Yes, yes, campaign finance and electoral processes are rigged.

And, what you complain about is a, “….Democratic Party <who> is unwilling to put forward candidates for public office that will serve the American people.”

The American electorate – a majority of the American electorate – doesn’t see it that way.

Yes, yes, what about all the voters who have given up and don’t vote? I say fuck ’em, just like I say fuck off to Flake and Corker. They aren’t courageous, they’re cowardly. If they had any balls and were truly committed, they’d campaign against the buffoon and his flavor of Republicanism even if it meant losing reelection, but I digress.

Of the many reforms we both (I think) want to see is the elimination of the electoral college. I’ve sent Lessig some money. He’s actually doing something about it. And even though they’ve hit their fundraising goal, here’s the link. Hope everyone reading this will kick in and pitch in however they can.

https://equalvotes.us/

<NAME REDACTED>, I believe you to be a thoughtful, intelligent, and caring person, but this demanding that the Democratic Party apparatchiks……what??……meet up in their secret mountain lab to stitch together pieces of candidates to create some kind of pure-enough politician that you can support really is maddening.

What, exactly, do you want from them? Even better, who would make you happy running as a Democrat? Who would be pure enough for you? Elizabeth Warren? Bernie again? Who? And, what are going to do if you don’t get your way again, throw in the towel? Throw away your vote so a Republican vote isn’t canceled out. Yeah. That’s what has to happen in the end. Republican votes need to be canceled out.

As for this endless lamentation about the two party system, I’m with you, but I have to ask again, what do you want and from whom do you want it? You think the Democrats aren’t doing enough? Why would they, and have you seen the other side? Shit, the GOP is literally setting ballot access and voters’ rights back 50 years!

And corporatist Democrats are too distasteful?

Honestly, man, the 2016 election has opened my eyes wide in lots of ways. One of them is why conservatives hate us and mock us.

What we collectively seem to be really good at is whining and complaining about all kinds of injustices while we collectively refuse to basically take one for the team – meaning, society at large.

We refuse to actually do what is pragmatic and possible. Instead, what we seem to be really good at is shaking our self-righteous fists at “the system” from the comfort of our laptops and middle class homes while all the groups of causes and people we are supposed to care about – the environment, economic inequality, refugees, immigrants, the poor and working poor, LGBTQ, women, minorities, and on and on – all get left to Republicans because we can’t bring ourselves to vote for those so-called “corporatist” Democrats until they give us the perfect politician.

Who’s perfect? If that’s the standard, then get used to conservatives running things while liberals do what we seem to do best; hold fast to our ideological purity regardless of the consequences to others.

This isn’t about being politically correct or less of a man. #DearDaddy

Everyone needs to watch this video so that the next time someone – almost invariably a man – tells “a harmless joke” or makes even a vaguely derisive comment “only in jest” about women and girls, perhaps you’ll remember this video and muster the courage to tell that guy that that’s not acceptable. Not to you. Not to half the human population.

I don’t know how, but some people might watch this video and not be moved. Others may watch it (and read these words) as just more liberal bullshit about being politically correct.

They’ll be wrong.

The issue of violence against women isn’t about being liberal or conservative. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about how we raise our boys into men, and how we men then think about and treat girls and women. It’s about the example we men set for our boys and the rest of society. It’s about whom we choose to be our political leaders, and whom we choose to follow as cultural and spiritual leaders.

It’s about how we men want to influence and to help shape a world in which our daughters, our sisters, our wives, and all women must also live.

I don’t know how anyone can deny that violence has at least some of its roots in the morals, values, and ethics we as adults use in raising our children. If that’s true, then violence against women, therefore, must also be rooted to some degree in how we adults – again and in particular, we men – teach our boys right from wrong.

Given that, doesn’t it seem reasonable to conclude then that what our society ultimately values comes from adults who once were children, and that what those adults come to value has its roots in some significant way from what was learned as a child? After all, that is the influence we as adults hope to have on our kids, is it not?

That’s why I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not just what we try to teach our boys when it comes to their thinking and attitudes about girls. It also is about the actual examples we men set in our day-to-day lives.

I say with complete confidence that we men want to believe that we’re doing our best. We teach what we think and believe to be right; however, we need to be even more cognizant of the fact that what we *show* our boys everyday through our words and our deeds has a huge influence in what they learn as acceptable and admirable traits and behaviors.

Now, some men may complain (as certain kinds of men all too often seem to do these days) that they are being put upon yet again by society and by liberal ideals of political correctness. They may complain that they’re being told what to do and what to say and what to think.

They may even watch the video and think, “That isn’t me.” They’ll say to themselves. “I wasn’t that boy growing up, and I’m not that guy now.”

That may, in fact, be true on varying levels, but the experience of 50-plus years tells me that all of us men have at least some measure of responsibility, at the very barest of minimums, for giving cover to misogyny by staying silent in its presence.

I don’t personally know any men who have physically abused a woman. What experience tells me, though, is that it would be the rare male indeed who hasn’t made a joke or used an ugly pejorative like whore or cunt when referring to a girl or woman. Sadly, that includes me, and so to all of the girls and women I’ve hurt with my words, I am sorry for the pain I caused.

To any men chuckling at the idea of issuing this kind of public apology, let me say this. It can’t possibly make up for the harm caused, and it doesn’t make me any less of a man. In fact, I believe that what it does is to make me more human. To those men who may still be snickering, I hope you’ll rethink your reaction. I don’t care if you laugh at me. I just hope you’ll think more about changing your attitudes and behavior going forward toward women.

I truly think that we men need to abandon our antiquated notions of “manhood.” We need to reconcile how we deal with human emotions that cultures the world over have been intent on breeding out of us over millennia; emotions like kindness, empathy, compassion, tenderness.

Young men like my son give me hope. His recognition and understanding of problems like violence against women is proof that men of the 21st century are looking at things differently. That’s good news because, honestly, I don’t have nearly as much hope for my fellow Baby Boomers. Not enough of us seem willing to acknowledge our faults, our responsibilities, and the need to evolve and grow in our thinking about so many things.

And, I hate to say it like this, but the other good news is that we Baby Boomers won’t be around and in charge much longer. I say that because I see it with my own eyes on a daily basis. Say what you will about the Millennials, but they didn’t fuck things up. We Baby Boomers have done that.

When it comes to questions about violence against women – and so many other issues that affect women, like a woman’s right to have an abortion and that laws should require women to be paid the same as men – the men of the Millennial Generation are showing that they have a far greater and stronger grasp on the source of our problems and what to do about them than we Baby Boomers. They have the courage to acknowledge the reality of cultural misogyny that previous generations have created. To their great credit, they aren’t willing to accept it as the norm.

Look, it’s simple reality. Women don’t attack themselves. Women don’t rape themselves. Women don’t brutalize or ridicule themselves. Men do that to them.

Yes, and to be sure, it’s not all men. I’m not saying that it is. I’d like to think that it’s the tiniest percentage of men, but it’s men nonetheless, and any percentage above zero is too many men.

What the rest of us men must do is stop giving them cover.

Unless we start when our sons are young; unless we set good examples for them to follow as they grow; unless all the rest of us men who aren’t physically abusive and violent to women are willing to speak up against written and spoken words that are misogynistic and the first possible steps toward violent behavior, then we’re really not doing enough to reduce the risks that some men represent to our daughters, our wives, our sisters, and to all women.

This isn’t about being politically correct or less of a man.

It’s about us being real men in ways that make women safer and which help to make us a more modern and peaceful society.