Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Slogan That Holds Donald Trump Replacing Several Supreme Court Members Is a "Scare Tactic" Is Chilling

I have been a bit fixated on the folly of the Bernie or Busters, eight years of George W. Bush sort of sticks with you, especially as most of his worst policies are still with us.   And the role that Ralph Nader played in his installation, with the support of the same left which now is declaring "Bernie or Bust" is also something I'm never going to forget.   The publications and media shows and institutions and companies that are promoting that 1st world luxury - most of them relatively safe and affluent - have already earned my enmity.   If their crop of folly goes on to produce the Trump presidency, they will have earned eternal blame, derision and rejection for the rest of our lives. 

Having been extremely critical of the Nation columnist Katha Pollitt in the past few years, with good reason, I've got to give credit where it is due.   She wrote one of the best short columns about why Bernie Sanders isn't the white knight who his most ardent supporters and his campaign sell him as being.   He's a white, male left-wing politician of his generation, a kind of quasi-Marxist economics fixated leftist whose views of even those issues weren't informed by the lives, experience and thoughts of women and members of racial minorities.  

Bernie is a traditional leftist for whom feminism is a distraction.

Why didn’t Bernie get me? Well, there’s electability: I just don’t believe Americans are ready for a 74-year-old self-described socialist with a long far-left CV who would raise their taxes by quite a lot. By the time the Republicans got finished with him, he’d be the love child of Rosa Luxemburg and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then it’s hello, President Trump. There’s the question, too, of how much Bernie could actually accomplish. Would he make an effective president, as I think Hillary will—all the more so now that she’s been forced to see that a significant part of the Democratic electorate is to her left?

Part of the answer is simpler, though: Bernie didn’t ask for my vote. Oh, you can go to his website and find a page of boilerplate setting out his general commitments to women’s rights: He’s in favor of equal pay, reproductive rights, the ERA, the Violence Against Women Act, childcare for all, and so on—a laundry list, indeed, of the causes dear to the heart of those often derided by his supporters as bourgeois feminists content with incremental change. I am aware, too, that Bernie has a good voting record on those issues in Congress. But there’s a difference between someone who votes the right way, and someone who introduces legislation and champions the issue. He never convinced me that gender issues, specifically the persistent subordination of women in every area of life, were of much concern to him. There were all those little tells. Pooh-poohing Planned Parenthood and NARAL as “establishment” when he didn’t get their endorsement. Arguing for parental leave because it allows a new mother “to stay home and bond with her baby” instead of as something that benefits fathers as well, and something that women need in order to work and advance on the job. Doubling down on the idiotic quip by his surrogate, Killer Mike (“A uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president of the United States”), with the pseudo-lofty pledge “No one has ever heard me say, ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, vote for a man.’ I would never do that, never have.” Is there a word for someone whose entitlement is so vast, so deep, so historically embedded, and so unconscious it includes the belief that they got where they are by a resolute devotion to fair play? It’s not reassuring that his senior campaign staff, like his long-time political inner circle, is almost entirely white and male.

And she points out, he also doesn't really get people of color.

At 74, you are who you are. Bernie is a traditional class-based leftist for whom feminism is a distraction. Abortion, as he told Rolling Stone, is a “social issue.” Women’s mental and physical health, their economic survival, their ability to determine the shape of their own lives as men do, is a social issue? The clear implication is that reproductive rights (like guns and LGBT rights, which he mentions in the same breath) are secondary considerations, impediments to winning broad support for his populist economic proposals. I can go to the comment sections of AlterNet—or The Nation—and get that view any day from the bros, but I really thought we’d be further along with a white man who wants to lead a movement in a party that is majority female and over a third people of color. (And that’s just registered members—in 2012, 46 percent of people who voted Democratic were people of color.)

After Indiana, the GOP looks more likely than ever to nominate a racist, xenophobic misogynist of staggering crudeness and mendacity. If elected, Trump would consult with the conservative Heritage Foundation on Supreme Court nominations. We could well lose what remains of a century of progress for women, workers, LGBT people, and people of color, including the right to vote itself.

Trump understands very well that racism and sexism are crucial components of the nationalistic insurgence he wants to lead; he appeals openly to some of the darkest impulses in our political id. It is more than disturbing that Bernie pays so little attention to these dangers. He’s changed the debate within the Democratic Party by showing that millions of voters want more than incremental, technocratic tinkering with growing inequality. For that, I’m grateful. But when it comes to dealing with the Republicans in November, I don’t think Bernie gets the awful reality we’re facing. Hillary does.

I think that Hillary Clinton does get it and I am convinced that many of Bernie Sanders' supporters really don't get it or they really don't care.   Young people who are used to the benefits of the legislation of the past century and unaware of the history of how their rights were won seem to believe they can't go away, even as they see them being taken away by the Berger, Rehnquist and Roberts courts.   The lines I hear from callow young Bernie Sanders fans that warning about the consequences of Donald Trump replacing several Supreme Court members, that it's a "scare tactic" is chilling.   For young women to say that, for women of any age to say that is especially troubling.  

At this point, with him poised to serve as an active, intentional spoiler or, now that he has continued with the tactics of attacking Hillary Clinton, as one even if he goes through the motion of supporting her, I'm not sure Bernie Sanders is willing to face the consequences of what he really has done.   If his window to make that pivot is still there, it's almost entirely closed now.  With talk about his "movement" continuing and the Green grifters looking to absorb his "movement" into yet another Green spoiler disaster, it might already be too late.  

No comments:

Post a Comment