17 May 2016

Why #BernieOrBust

I am not a “Democrat”. 

I have not been a Democrat since the mid-1990’s when I decided having a soul was more important than the identity politics which drive much of the American two-party system, an emotion many Baby-Boomers are unable to second, being constitutionally unable to conceive, much less accept, the idea of, first, having less-than-skin-deep political values, and, second, actually living and making political choices according to those ideals.

Way too many BB’s are so wrapped up in the archaic (once mostly true but now long dead) idea that the Democratic Party is progressive, so devoted to that identity, to that equation, that they cannot face the fact that Slick Willy and the Goldwater Girl shifted the party so far right in the 1990’s that it ceased being the “Democratic” Party, mutating it into something that would more accurately be called the “Liberal Republican” (though not all that much liberal) Party.  Truly, the Clintonite “New Democrats” are Republican-in-all-but-name.

I do not vote for Republicans, no matter what they call themselves.  I did not vote for Slick Willy in 1996.  I think I wrote in Jesse Jackson’s name, for whom I voted in the 1984 primary, though I may have also voted for Ralph Nader.

I confess to voting for Al in 2000; though as VP he supported every major policy move of the Clintons’ administrations, he himself was less business-oriented and corporately-inclined than his boss.  On the contrary, his environmentalism has brought him into direct conflict with the Big Oil oligarchy and its subsidiaries.

In 2004, I voted for Kerry-Edwards in part because Kerry is a fellow Navy vet, but more so because Edwards was the only candidate in recent years to espouse policies that were truly Democrat rather than Clintonesque Republican-lite.  Which is why I voted for Edwards in the 2008 primary even though by Super Tuesday he had already dropped out.  Yes, his personal life was and is a mess and he’s about as good as husband as Slick Willy’s chief political ally, Newt Gingrich (or Slick Willy himself, for that matter).  But in the 2008 campaign, he was saying what a lot of us wanted to hear.  What the rank and file Democrats and Americans across the board needed to hear from a presidential candidate, especially in the aftermath of the collapse at the end of 2007.

I did not vote for Obama in the 2008 national election because he sounded too much like the Clintons; instead I voted for SPUSA candidate Brian Moore.  In the 2012 Democratic primary, I wrote in the name John Wolfe.  In the 2012 national election, I voted for SPUSA candidate Stewart Alexander in the general election.

In 2008, Obama promised “hope and change”.  When he assumed office, his first act was to call Wall Street together, scold them for being naughty, then scheme with them how to best to deter the people with the torches and pitchforks.  In other words, in Clintonesque Obama-speak, “hope and change” really meant “more of the same”. 

That is the reason the rank and file did not come out in 2010, resulting in the second time in recent decades (the other was 1994) a Democratic president coming into office with a majority in both houses of Congress lost it two years later after giving the party base and nonaligned voters the virtual finger.  No amount of patronizing condescension from privileged affluent white female late night talk show hosts (Samantha Bee) is going to alter that fact.

I have supported Bernie these past several months because he is the only candidate that has a chance of getting elected whose positions are even close to what is needed to bail the country out of the still on-going recession it has been in since 2008.  He is the only viable choice for those who believe that the general welfare of the people, social justice, and human rights should be the guiding values of our government rather than profits.  What’s more, Bernie’s past actions back up his current rhetoric.

I am very disappointed in Noam Chomsky’s recent comments extolling Bernie backers to switch to Hillary should she get the nomination, in order to be “anti-Trump”.  Doing so amounts to an approval of mass incarceration, the drug war, dog-whistle racism, anti-pauperist bigotry, and unbridled neoliberalism.  Only his status of being both white and affluent make that seem like a tenable action.  To tell those of us who are poor or black or immigrants or working class to do the same is like telling us to put sugar on shite and pretend it’s a brownie.

Should Hillary the Goldwater Girl achieve the nomination, I will not vote for her, because I will not vote for a candidate, or a party, that does not have my interests, and those of the majority of Americans—and residents and immigrants—at heart.  I will write in Bernie’s name, and I urge every voter who does not want more of the neoliberal same to do likewise.

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