The other day I saw this:
Hilary already had her time. I like Bernie Sanders.
This was my response:
Bernie Sanders is unelectable. He divided the Democratic party so much it left room for the Russians to foist the Orange One upon us. His misogynistic Bernie Bros pushed his campaign by hating Hillary because she was a woman. He’s alienated so very many. Lesser of two evils, indeed. Hmmph
His messages, policies, and platforms are now shared by many potential candidates. And for the record, Hillary never got her time, it was stolen away from her. In my humble opinion, while the DNC needed/still needs to stretch it’s goals to the more progressive side, it was FAR from broken.
That started me thinking which led to today’s post. I’m a lesbian woman who has watched my party pull the USA toward the more liberal agenda over most of my lifetime. I’ve cheered and participated the whole way, being born in the late fifties as one of the tag-end baby boomers.
The DNC, while I’ve been alive, mind you, have gotten Social Security enacted to protect/improve the lives of the elderly as well as Medicare for the poor. They passed civil rights legislation that included voting rights for black Americans, and funding for public education and schools. Wade v. Roe may have been a legal victory, but the Dems made sure abortions were affordable and available.
The Democrats won a hard-fought battle for Title IX, demanding equal opportunities for women athletes, as well as pushing for legislation to improve the health care for women, reproductive and otherwise. More recently, they helped push through voting measure after measure to ensure the rights of everyone to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender, a matter quite dear to my heart. They fought with tooth and toenail against Prop 8, before and after passage, until it was repealed. And when the banks nearly collapsed, they passed the Frank/Dodd legislation to rein in banks and protect people’s savings and IRAs.
Democrats have been at the forefront of every major political battle of my life. Although not always victorious, sometimes inexcusably negligent, and occasionally hoodwinked by the unscrupulous (just like the individuals who make up the party and the human race as a whole) they have clearly and quite demonstrably made my life a better place from where it was destined when I was young.
In 2016, once again, the Dems were at the forefront of change, supporting and backing a female candidate for president after putting the first black man in office. There was no more deserving person than Hillary Clinton, who’d worked to improve the lives of women and children her whole life. When pushed by the patriarchal leadership to conform to the good-old-boy’s standards, she did it. When told to toughen up and take it on the chin like a man, she did. When she came nose to nose and toe to toe with some of the most powerful male leaders in the world, she held her own and represented the USA with powerful grace and skill. She is so effective as a leader that she had the Russians quaking in their boots.
Now we know what we didn’t in 2016 when all the post-election blame was being hurled at Hillary’s feet. The Russians have been targeting the American political system for decades, trying to influence our government into such political chaos that they can either tear us down or force us into a much more compliant nation.
The Russians (and others, I’m looking at you, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia) have used subtle forms of propaganda to convince the American people to pull away from each other. They target the poorest (financially) of both political parties with Plain Folks speech, namecalling the opposition, fake news, glittering generalities, and by urging them to jump on the bandwagon of either ultra-conservativism or progressive liberalism. The RNC has been pretty much taken over by the alt-right who demand unquestioning loyalty in support of business and profits. The DNC is also being divided, although not surprisingly the party of inclusiveness is showing signs it may survive as a whole.
The truth is, in my humble opinion, the liberal progressive agenda was moving ahead fairly well in our uniquely American one-step-forward-two-steps-back kinda way until portions of our population got hoodwinked by propaganda into a simmering discontent. Next thing I know is the party that’s always fought to make my life better is being divided almost as effectively as the conservative party by social media and the political machinations of Bernie Sanders. The originally Liberty Union Party, then Independent, then Democrat, now Independent again candidate, who has a lot of good ideas but no sound ways of implementing them, taps into the misogynists within the Democrats the way Trump tapped into the racists among the Republicans.
Sanders, needing a strong political base, didn’t squash the anti-woman rhetoric some of his followers (the self-proclaimed Bernie Bros) spouted. Even after his defeat in the primary, Sanders refused to throw his full endorsement behind Hillary Clinton. Instead, he chose to fuel the fires of party division with innuendo and slippery slope arguments and only at the very end of the campaign, when hints of a Trump victory were in the air, did he urge his most devoted to not stay home as they’d announced they’d do, but instead go out and vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’.
By then he’d dumped the Democrats to assume the mantle of the Independent Progressive, otherwise known as He-Who-Would-Have-Been-Elected-If-Only. He kept insisting the parties were basically the same, a patent falsehood that has been stated so often people are starting to believe it.
With all this division and refusal to compromise, while foreign entities create false memes and fake websites filled with clickbait to outrage and inspire, is it any wonder our country is grinding to a standstill, our citizens suffering, as our great American experiment of a democratic republic crumbles before our eyes? Can’t you just see Putin doing the happy dance while pulling our strings, making our president and citizenry dance to his tune?
But, even as we’re encouraged to judge without evidence, hurl insults rather than offer help, and are being dragged into a nationalistic Us v. Them mentality/behavior, those messages are being questioned. Our shared humanity has begun to shine through.
As always when the powerful make the financially vulnerable suffer, individuals with little more themselves are making up the difference, opening food pantries, starting crowd fundraising, staffing and serving those in need. People across the political spectrum have always responded to cries for help because when we aren’t beating drums within our individual tribes we’re all basically the same.
We want to live in peace among our neighbors, love someone who loves us back, provide for our children and elderly, and chase a dream or two. Our country was founded on the assumption that every human being is equal, and entitled to the chance to attain happiness. It’s time to make good on those premises (pun intended, oh spelling-nazis).
It may be a shame, but it appears neither Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could wrest control from The Donald anymore. Fortunately, a whole new crop of liberals have entered local, state, and federal elections. They’ll tell us who they are over the next year, gearing up for the big one of 2020. The heart of the liberal still beats among us and as our voices join they grow louder every day.
I think it’s especially pertinent as we watch the changing landscape of the synergistic DNC, to remember the wise words of Maya Angelou:
“When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”