A Message To My Fellow Democrats — Wake the Fuck Up!!!

Over the past few days, numerous articles have appeared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, “warning” us about the perils of supporting Elizabeth Warren for President. These articles attempted to “taint” Senator Warren, by utilizing some of the same misogynistic language employed against Secretary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. Naturally, this led the Liar-In-Chief, to join in, reiterating his earlier, oh so clever, “Pocahontas” taunts of Senator Warren.

Given Senator Warren’s progressive cred, not only as a second term senator from Massachusetts willing to take on those who would destroy the American middle class, but as the driving force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created to shield consumers from shady practices by mortgage lenders, student loan servicers, and credit card companies, permanently earning Warren the enmity of Republicans in both houses of Congress, this is somewhat insane. Even so, some of these articles have attempted to paint Senator Warren as, either a tool of the DNC (surely you jest), or, in an attempt to stir conflict between Sanders and Warren supporters, they refer to her as “Bernie Lite.”

But here’s where my brain began to explode. Minutes after these stories began to appear, Democrats began reposting and retweeting this bullshit propaganda, leading to even more negativity toward someone who should be considered a progressive hero. Forget the fact there is no basis in reality for any of this bullshit. All you have to do, it seems, is throw a little shit to Democrats, call it red meat, and watch them crawl over each other to snatch it up like a pack of voracious wolves. Democrats, it would appear, have a difficult time learning from the past.

At the same time, we know the only reason Agolf Twitler (yes, I still refuse to utter or even type the name appearing on the scumbag’s birth certificate) resides in the White House is due to a combination of Republican dirty tricks — including massive voter suppression — with an assist from their buddy in the Kremlin. No matter — we’re Democrats, so we prefer to blame the past two years on Sanders supporters, the vast majority of whom, we’re told, either sat out the election entirely, or voted for Jill Stein (full disclosure: I was a Sanders supporter during the 2016 primaries, who had no problem voting for Secretary Clinton in the generals. I’m a native New Yorker and all too familiar with the walking Cheeto, so I knew what was at stake. I don’t think I’m in the minority of Sanders supporters, most of whom, I believe, did the same).

The fact Hillary Clinton won the election by almost 3,000,000 votes, losing only because of the unbelievably outdated Electoral College — which allowed 80,000 questionable votes, from three Republican-controlled states — to place a criminal and traitor in the Oval Office, doesn’t fit the narrative that allows us to eat our own, so we, being Democrats, ignore that minor trivial bit of reality. This, even though we all know the voter suppression tactics, as well as Russian interference, were still alive, well and active into the 2018 election.

Why then, has it not occurred to those among the Democratic faithful, that Russian bots and Republican dirty tricksters are, more than likely, behind this early campaign to smear and delegitimize one of the most proven, progressive voices we’ve got? Instead what we see is our own people giving voice and validity to this bullshit, proving, yet again, Democrats are as gullible, and easily swayed, as the worst of Twitler’s sheeple.

Does it have something to do with the dichotomies within our own rank and file? Or, maybe, it’s that we fall in love with candidates, becoming so enamored, we have to believe in their flawless perfection, while seeing (and, all too often, magnifying) every flaw in the other candidates. So much so, we sit, pout and rail at the universe if our candidates name isn’t on the ballot in the general election. We see all too clearly when lower and middle-class Republicans vote against their own self-interest — not so much when it’s us.

Yesterday, former Virginia Governor, and  old, rich, white guy, Terry McAuliffe, wrote an op-ed, published in the Washington Post, in which he criticized some of the more progressive Democratic hopefuls (including Senators Warren and Sanders) for offering “unrealistic ideological promises,” like a $15 minimum wage, federal jobs guarantee, universal free college and downplaying the reality of the U.S. being able to afford universal health care.

On the plus side, McAuliffe’s arrogant comments may have done us a favor by killing his own presidential aspirations, before he even announces. What the overly self-entitled ex-Governor views as “realistic” is a continuation of policies that have put this country exactly where we are now, with a system that benefits the ultra-rich, as well as multi-national corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us, including the implosion of the American middle class. It also demonstrates there are still people in the hierarchy of the Democratic party to whom “reality” means, don’t fuck with the status quo — we like things the way they are.

His stated disdain for Twitler notwithstanding, the truth is, McAuliffe would rather see a foreign agent in the White House, as opposed to a liberal/progressive Democrat, who might actually work to alter the status quo. A Warren, Sanders, Harris, Brown (etc.) led White House, would leave a prick like McAuliffe, holding his own in his hands (where, in my less than humble opinion, it belongs).

But, c’mon kids! Forget all that! Let’s buy into all the crap being pushed. Let’s help get those bots and propaganda pieces reposted and retweeted. Better yet, why not add a few insults of our own. And while we’re at it, let’s help the Republicans continue to control the narrative and messaging — as Democrats have allowed them to do so well, for years. Let’s get that famous Democratic in-fighting going full steam, and then, in November 2020, we can all sit here, blaming each other (again), while the next Republican/Fascist gets ready to take this country even further back into the Dark Ages.

That’ll show ‘em!

This Is the Year That Is

So, I joined Twitter this year. Now that may not mean much to most people, but I had spent years avoiding Twitter like it was the plague. My youngest brother pleaded with me to open an account. “It’s the best free marketing tool for indie filmmakers, anywhere,” he said. Other friends echoed that thought. But through it all, I stood strong. “I do not need another social media site, usurping my time & mental acuity.”

There was another reason I never opened a Twitter account — I love words. I love describing things vividly, and in great detail. Hell, I’m a writer! Okay, I’m also an actor-director & acting teacher. But given the current non-state of my voice (that’s another blog), writing is the only hyphenate I have left. And, Twitter, especially when it first took off, only allowed posters 140 characters. It was my feeling then (and is now), there is nothing I think important enough to write about which I could possibly express in 140 characters. What kind of word-smithing can you do with 140 characters?

Toward the end of September, 2017, Twitter doubled the allotted characters allowed posters to 240. For me, that still wasn’t enough to bother with it. If I had something to express, I’d either post a blog about the topic here, or on Facebook and LinkedIn, where I do have accounts.

Even so, the pressure exerted from friends, demanding I join the Twitterverse, continued unabated. As 2017 came to an end, I retained my virgin-status re Twitter. I was so happy to leave 2017 behind, it never dawned on me what fun surprises 2018 might have in store for me.

As described in a previous blog, 2018 started with a bang. Early in January, my doctor found a double hernia which required surgery. The surgery was performed on February 12th. Considering my fear of hospitals and surgery, I went into it with as positive an attitude as possible. I was chattering away as the anesthetic took hold in the operating room. I woke up a few hours later, barely able to make a sound, other than a croak. And now, almost six months on, time which included a second surgery to try and fix the damage caused by the first surgery, my voice is still a bare shadow of it’s former self. I can talk a little. But it comes out sounding incredibly hoarse, is painful, and is usually gone by the end of the day. Oh, joy.

What to do?

The obvious answer, write. My fingers still worked. As it was also pretty much the only way I had to communicate, especially if I wanted to express emotions like anger, frustration, rage, love, happiness, fulfillment, joy…Oh, who the fuck am I kidding. Love, yes. But happiness, joy, and fulfillment were/are in somewhat short supply at the moment. On the plus side, for communication, I had email, instant messaging, Facebook, and this blog. I also have a screenplay which needs a bit of reworking (fuck you very much, Harvey Weinstein!). With all these at the handy, at least one of my professional hyphenates was still open to me.

And then there was Twitter.

It was March, I believe, when a group of friends pretty much ordered me to open a Twitter account, which I finally did — grudgingly. I started out following, and finding followers among my friends and family, extending into the various communities to which I belong. I had other actors, writers, directors and filmmakers. I had progressives, and members of the kink community. I did my best to stay away from anyone who even hinted at having positive feelings towards He Who Must Not Be Named (dubbed Agolf Twitler by someone on the web, which has pretty much become the only name I use when referring to the bastard. I sometimes shorten it to, Twitler, but either way, it fits).

I was fairly choosy about following people at first. I chose from among people I like and admire — smart, talented, funny, politically-oriented. But over a period of time, I started to get hooked. I spent less and less time on Facebook, and much more on Twitter. The immediacy of communication with large groups of people at once, was like a drug. The 240 character limit has been less of an issue than I expected. I’ve been teaching myself to edit comments down to only the most necessary of words, which has been an interesting experience for me as a writer. Oh fuck! I was hooked.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, sounds pretty good. And to be honest, I have found there’s an unexpected upside to Twitter I didn’t expect. But life is balance — if there’s an up side, it means there’s also a down side.

At this point, I should explain something. As an actor (writer, director, yadda yadda yadda), you learn to face and accept rejection. If you’re smart and experienced, you can use it to motivate yourself even further. In the entertainment industry, when you hear the words, “no thanks,” there’s usually nothing personal attached to it. More than likely it has nothing to do with your talent. Rather, it’s usually with regard to things you have absolutely no control over. Being a director helps with this. I’ve been on the other side of the table, and know how difficult it is to say, “no.” And the “no” usually has little to do with a person’s talent or ability.

However (c’mon — you knew there had to be a “however), when you’re sharing your views, especially political views, the attacks you may receive, and the vitriol with which they’re delivered, can cut you to the core. What makes things even worse is, when you’re attacked by people who should be on the same side as you.

Most of us who use social media, have become very conscious regarding the use of bots and trolls which have been, and are still being used, to cause and/or maintain fractures within the Democratic party. Being aware is a good thing. The not so good thing, especially on Twitter, is, I’ve noticed people are being so cautious, they’ll accuse anyone whose opinion differs from theirs, even in the slightest way, of being a bot or troll.

I learned about this the hard way earlier this week. I preface the following with this — I’m still trying to understand how Twitter works. It drives me insane that if I make a spelling or grammatical mistake, usually because I’m typing too quickly, and posting before I remember to check for mistakes, there’s no edit your comment tool to fix the damn mistake.

But I digress.

I’ve written about my concerns regarding the rift between progressives who supported Sen. Sanders candidacy in 2016, and President Clinton (she won; it was stolen; I refuse to accept He Who Must Not Be Named, as president), in past blogs.

For those new to my blog, as soon as President Clinton won the nomination, I changed my allegiance to her. As a native New Yorker, I have been all too familiar with Twitler, for the past 35 years or so. I know him to be a megalomaniacal, narcissistic, misogynist, racist, with homophobic tendencies, who doesn’t give a flying fuck about anyone other than himself. He is a legend in his own mind. No way I was going to waste a vote like all too many did in 2000.

And though I originally supported Sen. Sanders, it didn’t mean I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see he had his flaws. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate. It is my firm belief, most Sanders supporters did what I did. But there is also no doubt, there were a bunch of angry Sanders people who refused to believe the DNC didn’t steal the nomination from him. Because of this belief, they stubbornly refused to vote for President Clinton, either choosing to stay home, or casting a protest vote for (g_d help us) Jill Stein.

I’m not going to rehash the Sanders/Clinton debate here. I’ve already taken that topic on. What I want to deal with now, is the crap-storm that went down on Twitter, earlier this week.

There were people posting moderate comments which echoed my thoughts regarding the election. But there was also a vehement group of Clinton people, still blaming the Sanders holdouts for the election (which I remind everyone, President Clinton won). And their vehemence was matched by the Sanders holdouts who responded.

In the middle of this, I made the stupid mistake of posting my opinion, stating my belief that no one really knows what happened in 2016. You may have a strong feeling about what happened. You may even be certain. But the truth is, no one really knows. And pretending you do, holding on to your anger, is at least part of what got us where we are today. My point of view is, we all have to get over whatever bug remains up our collective asses. That goes for people on both sides.

This country is on the brink of becoming a fascist state. I believe that, without no doubt whatsoever. The only hope we have left is the coming November election. And this fucking stupid in-fighting is insane. We need to learn from history, before we end up repeating it in the most disastrous way.

Boy, was I a schmuck!

Within minutes I was inundated with insults — mostly staunch Clintonians, but also some Sanders people. The barrage was so nasty and vitriolic, I got off Twitter as quickly possible, and stopped looking at my feed. The remarks were biting and hurtful. But thinking about it over the past few days, I can’t help but wonder if there weren’t some bots, or trolls involved in this attack. It was such a perfect way of maintaining, or even sowing deeper divisions between the Clinton and Sanders people, it had my head spinning

As progressive radio and Free Speech TV’s  Stephanie Miller often says, “we all have to stop trying to re-litigate the election.” And she is absolutely correct. The coming election is our last, best chance to save this country and ourselves. Fuck civility, and fuck going high when they go low, because they always go low, and the high road got us to exactly we are.

Every democrat and every progressive has to get over 2016. It’s over and done with. It’s in the rear view mirror. Let it go. We have to join hands (metaphorically) and fight this battle, together. We have to learn from our mistakes — from the past. Our mantra has to be, “if we don’t learn from the past, we’re sure as hell gonna repeat it.” We have to go after Twitler and his Republican enablers as if our lives depend on it, because they do.

 

A Democratic Civil War, Serves Only the Right

I originally posted this blog on April 21st. I was (and continue to be) worried about fractures in the Democratic Party, which, if not dealt with, could sink the much-hoped for “Blue Tidal Wave” expected in November, leaving us with the most corrupt government this country has ever seen, still in power. Unfortunately, since I first posted this, things within the Democratic Party have gotten worse, not better. And since the mainstream media would rather cover their outrage at Michelle Wolf’s brilliant work at the WHCD, rather than actual news, it’s left to the rest of us to keep this story in front of people’s consciousness. With that in mind, I offer this updated version of my original post.

I saw a confusing post on Twitter a while ago (I know, nothing unusual in that), regarding the New York Times contribution to propagating all the bullshit regarding Secretary Clinton’s emails, as well as “Pizza Gate,” and, of course, the “crimes” of the Clinton Foundation.

Growing up in the ‘60s, the NY Times was considered the paper of record; not only in the metro NY area, but around the country. There was never a day my father didn’t come home with a copy he’d pilfered during his commute to and from his NYC office on Metro North (it was a bonanza day if he also managed to cop a copy of The Daily News and — pre-Murdoch — NY Post). In 7th grade, our English teacher made the entire class subscribe to the Times. Going through it was a daily ritual.

That was then, this is now.

I stopped my online subscription to the Times a few years back, when I realized it had become a partisan rag, with writers and contributors geared toward the same ideal — taking advantage of anything which would sell more papers, true or not. Their once first-class investigative reporting had become more like a gossip sheet, printing anything salacious or provocative, without bothering to seek out the truth in a story, before printing it. Letting go of the NY Times, a paper I’d been attached to most of my life, was emotionally jarring.

When it came to the 2016 presidential election, there are very few newspapers or magazines in this country, which, in retrospect, were on the right side of history. With no care or concern for the American people, they printed every single negative story regarding former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, they could, solely because it was good for business. At the same time, because he was entertaining and sold papers, they printed story after story about The Orange Taint, never questioning or demanding answers to the bile and lies he spewed. Most television networks followed the print media’s coverage.

A year or so into the presidency of He, Whose Name I Cannot Mention (because it makes me want to puke), many of the print publications, radio, and television shows, who had worked so hard to vilify Secretary Clinton, began to realize what they’d done. No real mea culpas, though, because no one in the media (with the exception of Fox, and other right wing media outlets, who were delirious with joy), wanted to accept their rightful share of the blame for helping lead this country down the road toward fascism, simply as a means to sell newspapers, or to achieve higher ratings.

However, what I found more revolting than almost anything, was the NY Times’s participation in this bloodletting. New Yorkers know who and what Donald Trump is. We’ve dealt with that unmitigated shithead for the past 40 years. This is the same, self-promoting, narcissistic, blowhard, who spent $85,000 placing full-page ads in New York’s four daily papers, demanding the death penalty for the “Central Park Five,” even after it was proven they were innocent (if you don’t know this story, you should look it up. It’s a clear demonstration how racism and propaganda often work together, destroying innocent lives in the process). This is why the citizens of NYC and environs voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. Trump not only couldn’t win NY, he couldn’t win his own Trump Tower.

All of which brings me back to the Twitter post mentioned earlier. Once again, I read die-hard Clinton supporters blaming, among others, “Bernie Bros,” for Secretary Clinton’s loss. And herein lies one of my biggest fears for the future of the Democratic Party.

The term,“Bernie Bros,” as utilized by Clinton supporters, is meant derisively. These are the people who want to blame Clinton’s loss on the Democratic “traitors” who, for whatever reason, refused to vote for the Secretary, or voted third party. Here’s why I believe these Clinton-faithful are not only wrong, but could have a disastrous affect on the hoped-for Democratic tidal wave, hoped for in November.

Before proceeding, in the spirit of full disclosure, I supported Senator Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. It was, and is my belief, he more clearly represented my views on where this country should be headed, then did Secretary Clinton. And while I was furious over the behind-the-scenes maneuvering in favor of Secretary Clinton’s campaign by the DNC, when she won the nomination, she also won my vote.

I wasn’t alone in this. From the Sanders supporters I’ve spoken to, the vast majority felt as I did, resulting in their voting for Clinton, as well. For many, this was not done out of loyalty to the Democratic Party, or it’s chosen candidate, but because we understood the danger of an Agolf Twitler presidency.

I don’t believe in political purity tests. In my opinion, what the Sanders supporters who refused to vote for Secretary Clinton, under any circumstances, failed to comprehend is, very few voters can, or will ever agree 100%, with the position of any candidate for political office. We can’t, because in the game of politics, every successful politician has had to make compromises or concessions, some of which angered their own base. That goes whether the candidates name is Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

To the Clinton faithful still holding on to the “Bernie Bros,” crap, as a means to vilify the Progressives they want to believe are responsible for the Secretary’s loss, it is your continued demonstration of disdain for the opinions of others in our Party, which threaten it’s very existence. The Progressive end of the Democratic Party is growing larger every day, a fact the DNC would be wise to wake up and note.

Since the election, we’ve all heard Democratic Party leaders say we need to start at the grass roots level, getting new people involved in Party politics, and running for office. They tell us they want to encourage a new generation of Democrats to participate in the electoral system.

Unfortunately, when the 2nd highest-ranking Democrat in Congress, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, involves himself and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which he represents, in the outright sabotage of a Democratic congressional campaign, those words ring kind of hollow.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I refer to the race in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. Representing the DCCC, Hoyer, told Progressive Democratic candidate, Levi Tilleman, the DCCC had already decided to support his opponent, Jason Crow, a more moderate, corporate Democrat. In no uncertain terms, Hoyer told Tilleman to drop out of the race. The decision to support Crow, Tillemann was told, had been made long ago — it wasn’t personal. Further, Hoyer told Tilleman, there was nothing uniquely unfair being done. As Hoyer put it, “this is how the party does it everywhere.”

In other words, the DCCC gets to decide what candidates the Democratic Party will support and funnel money to, before the primary, making it much more difficult for new, Progressive Democratic voices to be heard. What this also does is remove voter’s right to have a choice. Unfortunately for Hoyer, Tilleman taped their conversation, revealing Hoyer and the DCCC for the back door, old-time corporate Democrats, Progressives have claimed they are since the 2016 election.

This became even sadder, when House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, a politician I have a great deal of admiration and respect for, actually defended Hoyer, and the DCCC’s tactics. What seems lost on the Democratic leadership is, there’s nothing remotely democratic in any of this. What the hierarchy of the Democratic Party seems to want, is nothing more than to maintain the status quo. The damaging part of this is, it justifies and proves the point of Progressive Democrats who claim the party is corrupt, and the playing field not close to being even.

In Montgomery County, MD, where I live, while no tapes have come out, it’s perfectly obvious the DCCC has chosen as its candidate du jour, millionaire David Trone. Even though Trone is running against eight more Progressive candidates, it’s perfectly clear none of these candidates has the money and support behind them to run television commercials, or even post yard signs, as Trone has done. I daresay, most people in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, couldn’t even name two of Trone’s primary opponents.

The problem with all this is, Democratic voters do not get to hear from candidates other than those chosen for them by the party — the system is rigged. They know voters will do exactly what the Party wants them to — go into the booth on primary day, and vote for the only Democrat whose name they know — the one chosen, supported and sanctified by the Party, before the process has even begun. If these two examples are typical of what’s happening around the country, it means the Democratic Party is complicit in silencing a large block of Democratic candidates, cheating voters out of our right to a choice.

If, as is said, the meaning of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result, this is it. Nothing changes, because those in charge — while paying lip service to democratic ideals and principles — work to ensure it doesn’t. In doing so, they prove Progressive Democrats — both old and new — are correct when they say the party doesn’t listen to, or care about our views. And this is what I fear could destroy the Democratic Party, at the exact time we need unification more than ever before in this country’s history.

Party elders who don’t see the direction young Democrats just beginning to get involved with the Party (the Parkland students being a good example), are intent on moving our party and this country, are choosing to remain blind to a future that’s coming — like it or not. If the more centrist members of the Party — those who have held tight to it’s reigns for a number of years — don’t begin to demonstrate an understanding of this, and start to embrace more progressive ideals, they will be the ones responsible for splitting Democrats in half, resulting in a fractured party, and a country headed further down the road toward fascism and totalitarianism.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t sit at the helm of our government today, not because of “Bernie Bros” or Jill Stein voters. Rather, it’s due to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia; the successful targeting of people via Facebook and other social media outlets with anti-Clinton propaganda; successful Republican efforts at voter suppression in states around the country; and the probable Russian hacking of voting machines, in just enough red states, to hand the (outdated) Electoral College to a person unfit in every way, to lead this country…or pretty much, anything else.

If you want, get mad — hell, get furious! But aim that anger in a direction that will force change, and benefit all Americans. A civil war between members of the Democratic Party, serves only those who would destroy the ideals upon which this country was founded.

A Few Thoughts On the Democratic “Process”

sanders-stewartI’m just going to say this and be done with it. Naysayers and rationalizers, fair warning up front: I will delete responses questioning the veracity or accuracy of my recollection, as I’m over it.

In 1992, my brother Richard and I were asked to be local Jerry Brown delegates for the presidential nominating process in Norfolk, VA. At the time we were excited as hell to be part of the process. What we didn’t know was, the Democratic Leadership Council — a group founded in 1985, by a number of prominent and powerful Democrats whose concept was to push the party to the right, in order to counter the Republican move rightward — had already chosen their golden boy, former Arkansas Governor, William Jefferson Clinton.

When we, and I don’t know how many others, raised our hands at the nominating meeting for Governor Brown, we knew none of this. However, even though the support in the room was resoundingly in favor of Gov. Brown, when the gentlemen (and I use the term in the loosest sense) running the Southeastern Virginia Democratic Party — two brothers from a prominent Norfolk law firm that advertised frequently on television — counted hands, they somehow managed to call the majority for Governor Clinton. At that point it became clearly evident the fix was in — the candidate had been pre-selected.

To say there was an uproar in the hall would be putting it mildly. The Brown delegates, who outnumbered the Clinton ones by a sizeable number, were in open rebellion. I think the Democratic Committee folk realized their mistake and tried to backtrack. The Brown delegates left that hall, knowing support for our candidate had won the day. Except, somehow, that’s not how it turned out.

I witnessed first-hand the machinations of the Democratic Party leadership, albeit in a small way. But if you extrapolate and multiply those machinations around the country, it constitutes a frightening indictment of our so-called democratic process.

No one, unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, can deny, Hillary Clinton is the predetermined choice of the Democratic Party hierarchy. Simply look at the Superdelegates already pledged to her, and this is plain to see. The DNC, under the chair of Clinton stooge, former co-chair of her 2008 campaign, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has given every conceivable edge to ensure Secretary Clinton’s nomination. And, as with her husband, the leaders of the Democratic Party are not going to be stopped by something as insignificant as the challenge from Bernie Sanders and the millions of voters who support him. Steal a nomination? Why not? They’ve done it before. That’s our party!

And Clinton’s stupefied supporters witness the process, refusing to accept the reality of what’s happening, even though it would be obvious to a supporter of Donald Trump.

So if millions of Democratic voters, sick at what the party they have spent a lifetime supporting, end up sitting this election out, or writing in the name of the candidate whose name should have been on the Democratic ballot, or — a possibility looming larger and larger — separating from the Democratic Party to make a fresh start, remember: you saw the corruption and stood by, saying nothing. As your party slid inexorably to the right, you did nothing. You got your candidate and were happy. Now live with the consequences.

A Few Thoughts On the Democratic Party From The Depths of An Anxiety Attack

bernie-sandersI’m writing this in the midst of a full-blown anxiety attack, so if this comes across as somewhat disjointed or incoherent I apologize. Right now my mind is in overdrive, with thoughts coming at me far faster than I can process them. I am in psychic agony — angry, hurt, scared, disgusted, fed up, and worst of all, there’s a hopeless dread gnawing at my soul.

For the past year, everyone on the Democratic side of the political spectrum has gleefully watched as the Republican Party implodes before our eyes. In the drive to direct American capitalism into fascist channels, where corporations and bankers run the country, the right has, for a quarter century or more, successfully used the anger, hatred, xenophobia, racism, and fear of the Republican base as a political tool to divide this country. But now, in 2016, that nabob of narcissism (take that, Spiro Agnew!), Donald Trump, has been throwing a monkey-wrench into the process, and the Dems — drunk on holier-than-thou Kool-Aid — have been having a party.

Unfortunately, what eluded many mainstream Democrats was our party’s own ineluctable slide to the right. As the citizenry dozed, major corporations and banksters were busy buying Democrats by the bushel. In reality, President William Jefferson Clinton was hated by the Republicans, not for being too liberal, but for stealing their thunder; while he had the priapic tendencies of a Kennedy, on a political level he co-opted many Republican ideas and programs. Rather than being the victim of “a vast right-wing conspiracy,” as Hillary alleges, the Clintons adopted much of the right-wing agenda. By the time we reached the second decade of the 21st century, in the bizarro political landscape of America, the Democrats had come to embody Ronald Reagan conservatism. As for the Republicans, their anthem could well have been the Horst Wessel Lied.

That Clinton was able to con so many Democratic voters, is a sad but very real tribute to his indisputable charm and talent as a flim-flam man. And now, once again, they’re back; this time out, we’re given Ms. Clinton as the Democratic front-runner and the Party’s entrée de jour: the one, the ‘inevitable’ … Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Senator from my home state of New York, as well as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. And once again, many in the Democratic Party are blindly falling for the con.

To state the obvious, I am not a dues-paying member of the Clinton Fan Club. At their best, I believe they represent the status quo — day-old goods. A more realistic appraisal would describe them as war-mongering, neo-cons representing a privileged elite. Many immigrants to these shores called America the Golden Land, and we all know that he who has the gold makes the rules. The status quo in this country — which the Clintons embody — is one where banks and corporations preside. The Clintons are good friends with the Bush Mob. And why shouldn’t they be? The two families front for corporatist interests and lead the charge for the same interventionist military policies and disastrous trade deals that have bankrupted this nation and caused so much havoc and destruction around the globe.

If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton is elected president, we can forget about overturning Citizens United. A candidate who raises hundreds of millions of dollars, primarily from major corporations and banks, ain’t gonna bite the hand that feeds her so lavishly. As George H. W. Bush might say: “it wouldn’t be prudent.”

As Senator, Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq, claiming she was misled by the Bush administration. You’ll have to excuse me if I call BULLSHIT on that. I have not served as a United States Senator. I do not have access to inside information or classified CIA files. But even to me, a plain citizen, it was unbelievably obvious the Bush administration was full of shit, and was using the pretext of a tragic terrorist event to go to war in order to line the pockets of their corporate cronies. Our last five-star General, President Dwight D. Eisenhower — a Republican — cautioned America to be on guard against the unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex. Unfortunately, we have not heeded his warning. Because of this, a lot of rich people got much richer, and a lot more poor people got, and continue to get, dead.

To my continuous astonishment, Clinton’s supposedly liberal supporters don’t question her militaristic proclivities. I have raised this issue literally dozens of times over the past months, and not one Clinton supporter has given me a direct, let alone thoughtful, response. Typically, they divert the discussion to something unrelated — they talk about her vast experience and foreign policy expertise (remember Henry Kissinger is her go-to man) and ultimately fall back on “it’s time to elect the first woman president.”

Senator Clinton voted for the notorious Patriot Act. As an attorney, she doubtless understood the bill was unconstitutional from top to bottom. She nevertheless voted to subvert the Constitution, which forms the bedrock of our political institutions because it was politically expedient, a calculating and cowardly act — one certainly unworthy of the potential leader of this country. But ask, as I have, supposedly liberal Democrats how they can bring themselves to support a candidate who pisses on the personal liberties that are the birthright of all Americans and all you get is deflection and denial.

And now, with Senator Bernie Sanders campaign fomenting something of a revolution, the division within the Democratic party is threatening to fracture this party every bit as much as the Republicans are imploding theirs. The Democratic National Committee, under the stewardship of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a long-time Clinton stalwart, has thumbed its nose at democracy as they have done anything and everything they could to discredit Senator Sanders, so they can quickly anoint the candidate they’ve chosen, voters be damned.

A number of Sanders supporters have said they will not support Secretary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee, resulting in a hue and cry from more mainstream and party Dems, invoking — not without merit — the memory of the election of 2000, and the results thereof. However, what most of these people are in complete denial of is the fact that a number of Hillary Clinton supporters have said the exact same thing in reverse, if Senator Sanders is the nominee. I guess, in that case, a repeat of 2000 would be fine in their eyes.

I have not missed voting in one election in the past 42 years. I am a lifelong Democrat, having grown up in a politically active, “progressive” Democratic family. I have always voted for candidates of my party, even if I wasn’t always happy about it, simply because the alternative, allowing more Republicans in office, was the far worse choice. And up until a short time ago, I felt the same way about the coming presidential election. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I thought, I will vote for her as the lesser of two evils. Events over the past few weeks, however, have caused me to rethink my position.

I recently took a three-week sabbatical from Facebook, as well as this blog (where I frequently write about things of a political nature), because things were heating up to such a degree — animosities, vitriol and divisions among friends, myself included, were getting so horrific —I felt someone whose emotional grip was already as tenuous as mine, was best served putting myself in a time-out.  Recovery from a nervous breakdown and a vicious political cycle is a potent mix — not a particularly beneficial one.

But even during my time-out, I couldn’t help but read — I subscribe to so many print and online news outlets, I was barraged with information on a daily basis. And one particular strain that kept surfacing made my blood boil to the point my resolve to stay out crumbled. Like Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

Every day, I saw some meme, or article, or post saying the exact same thing — anyone who didn’t trust or support Hillary Clinton was the victim or prey of decades of anti-Clinton propaganda propagated by the political right. People I knew, liked — respected even — were spewing this insulting, patronizing and demeaning drivel, as if Sanders supporters were too moronic to be able to think, read, analyze and decide for ourselves how we felt about Ms. Clinton. No, we were poor pathetic dupes of right-wing propaganda.

In my fury, I wrote a scathing, profanity-laced diatribe, which I posted on my Facebook page, condemning these unfounded insults, pointing out a number of the reasons there was such distrust toward Secretary Clinton among Progressives and Independents. As narrated above, when I asked the Clinton supporters who call me, and others who believe as I do, “dupes of right-wing propaganda,” to explain Clinton’s voting record as Senator, her actions as Secretary of State, and her intimacy with the business oligarchy, there is no logical response, simply more obfuscation and bullshit.

When Senator Sanders won the Wisconsin primary, the shit really hit the fan. The Clinton machine came out blasting to spin the story (they have plenty of guns — two of her top corporate donors, after all, are Comcast and Time Warner, which happen to own a huge segment of the American media, including NBC, MSNBC, and CNN).

Studies show these outlets have, so far, given more than $400 million dollars of free publicity and coverage to the Clinton campaign, over five times more than the coverage given to the Sanders campaign. Within one day of Senator Sanders’ stunning upset in Wisconsin, articles appeared in newspapers and online news outlets all over the country, misstating Senator Sanders views on gun control, the Mid-East, and you-name-it, followed by even more memes and posts from Clinton supporters on Facebook, flinging the old, “ha ha, I told you so,” propaganda line, and anything else they could think of to demean Senator Sanders and his supporters.

The colossal arrogance demonstrated by Clinton supporters, even as they steadfastly refuse to question anything their candidate has done, the outright lies told, the vicious, accusatory attitude of complete contempt they continuously demonstrate toward a man who has spent his entire life fighting for the rights of Americans — rights long forgotten by most politicians and all too many citizens — very clearly demonstrate to me that Republicans don’t hold a candle to Democrats when it comes to self-destruction.

So now, I find myself for the first time in my life, actually considering the possibility of sitting out this election. And while I know many people will wonder or be outraged that I could possibly consider such a thing when so very much is at stake, my response is this: I have been so deeply offended at the callousness and blindness of so many in the Democratic party, their refusal to look in the mirror and hillary_clinton_american_traitor3see a political party corrupted by the forces backing the very candidate they unquestioningly support, I would rather leave this country upon the election of a fascist like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, than bring myself to vote for someone whose sense of entitlement to the Presidency, allows her and her supporters to say and do anything to secure that position, with no sense of conscience or decency. That just makes Secretary Clinton a more cunning fascist. This, in my opinion, makes her eminently more dangerous.