Looking Backward

If a company has a failed product or campaign they do an “autopsy” to try and understand what happened in the hope of not repeating mistakes. I don’t know if the Democratic Party has done this intelligently regarding 2016. I try not to dwell on this, and we need to look forward, but I’ll tell you my take for what it’s worth. I say this as one citizen with one voice, and in a democracy one voice is important, and out of many we are one, and all that good stuff.

I think the Clinton campaign should have put Bernie Sanders on the ticket as VP / running mate and Sanders should have accepted. The progressive / left of which I am definitely a part, would have voted along with more mainstream middle-right voters, and the Dem ticket would have won in a landslide. Instead, they put Tim Kaine on the ticket. I actually had to look this up just now, because I couldn’t even remember the guy’s name. A potato would have been more exciting. They didn’t even ask Bernie, did they?

The progressive / left was utterly demoralized and disgusted by the way the Sanders campaign was torpedoed, and that led some people to stay home or vote 3rd party. There’s little room for that in a gerrymandered system with the Electoral College and “Citizens United” (Orwellian double-speak at its finest), and CNN pointing its damn camera at the “reality TV” clown’s podium for hours, talking about his stupid ass while WAITING for him to speak. Yes, and they did this while Bernie Sanders rallies were taking place simultaneously with overflow crowds everywhere he went, and he went basically everywhere. The Clinton campaign ignored states they thought they had in the bag, not realizing the populist mood and desperation of people who wanted to vote for anything that said “Wall Street bad, Main street good!” which Bernie Sanders said and meant, and the orange buffoon said and did not mean.

Autopsy: the Clinton campaign won the popular vote by nearly three million. Three million. Three million living breathing human citizens of this beautiful country, correctly voted against this disaster, and their votes did not elect the president because of the Electoral College, which was written to placate goddamn slaveowners a century and a half ago. I congratulate Clinton on her win, she would have been a decent president, possibly a great one, who knows? Would she have leaned into her more humanist tendencies, or her more hawkish ones? We will never know. We do know she is qualified for that office, and that the current infestation of the white house is most definitely not. She’s over-qualified for god’s sake, what were people missing? A two term senator, Secretary of State, oh, and she lived in the white house for 8 years and was deeply involved in policy at the highest level the whole time. I actually can understand why her campaign might have thought there was no way the raging orange walking lobotomy could possibly defeat her, because that was a rational conclusion to make!

What happened was irrational. Autopsy not easy to perform. There are so many pieces to it, and not one of us is privy to all of the relevant information. No one can see the whole picture. We can try, though, and by doing so we may learn some helpful things.

We know now that Russians were poking away at our social networks, riling people up to increase angers and divisions that were already there. We don’t know how much of an effect that had.

We also don’t know what sort of blackmail the ridiculous commander in chief is vulnerable to from his extensive ties to Russian mobsters, but we do see him passionately servicing Vladimir Putin with his mouth. Putin won. He’s loving this. He’s been working on this since the Cold War. Yet people in this country, American citizens, are still howling “Make America great!” even as our attempt at civil government of the people by the people for the people is put in its worst peril since the Civil War, by their traitorous babbling hero. I have no doubt the remaining “MAGA” crowd really does think they’re patriots. Though they have become the opposite.

Silver linings. What are they? This sure is one immense and horrible dark cloud. What flowers are growing from this biblical turd? Well, for one thing, women are running for office in record numbers. Also, early special elections in 2018 have shown a strong trend flipping Blue, even in some historically beet-Red districts. This is good.

And bless their sweet hearts, a group of high school kids from Florida, motivated by unimaginable grief, have stepped up with unity, courage, inclusiveness and eloquence, and they are great. They are America, and they are great.

Make America great “again” is a non-starter. That’s more Orwellian double-speak. What “MAGA” means is bring back white supremacy, do not go forward, oppress people of color, women and LGBT folks, build walls, be afraid, hate and close your mind and be limited, uninformed and miserable. Who really wants that? Thankfully the vast majority of us do not.

I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton after strongly supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary. For my part of the autopsy, I would like to be able to say I campaigned hard for Clinton, but I did not. On election day I walked to my polling place and had a Star Wars “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” moment. As I waited in line I thought, “damn, couldn’t I have put in an afternoon of cold-calling swing voters, or something?” Because I did almost nothing. Before, in the primary, I helped raise over $3,500 for the Sanders campaign, and a number of people told me my early posts about Bernie made them look closer and get onboard. Then it became this huge groundswell I had a small role in creating, and I was proud of that.

After the Bernie wing was amputated, discussions among some of my friends got ugly. I put it aside. I couldn’t grieve it much. I wrote it off to politics as usual and said, OK, now I’ll vote for Clinton. And to my dismay, I got some really harsh blowback from that! Yes, in fact someone even called me a “Good German” for going along with it. That’s funny of course because I am half German! But I was taken aback. An intellectual, a person I know to be educated and smart, and for all I knew, kind and thoughtful, saw fit to equate my public declaration that I was voting for the Dem candidate and not a 3rd party, and that I was not writing in Bernie, she figured this made me a “Good German.” Or at least, she was willing to say that at the time, to make her point. I wonder, looking back, whether our discussions were or were not, in subtle or not so subtle ways, affected by nefarious actors and bots? Regardless, I walked away. I gave it some minimal effort but after a few interactions like that I just said to hell with it, Clinton will win, business as usual, I’ll vote like I always do and hopefully get another Bernie type opportunity later, done. So. Autopsy. It was not business as usual at all, and by the time I got that “bad feeling” on election day there was no way to move the needle.

Move the needle. That’s what democracy involves, right? You show up, you can do something. You don’t show up, others will do something. I write my little autopsy not to beat myself or anyone else up, just to observe. Maybe someone who reads this maybe shared some of my experiences, and may gain some insight from it. Why do I write this? Maybe because I’ve thought about it a lot. I really was bewildered by much of what happened in the last few years. Starting with the GOP treatment of president Obama. I mean, why? He was a great centrist corporate-friendly middle-of-the-road nice extremely smart family man whom they opposed on every single issue because of one thing. One thing. I didn’t think they would do that. Not so extremely and blatantly. It was heartbreaking and horrible. Rather than show us we have gone beyond racism, Barack Obama’s presidency revealed that the GOP is racist to its core. Or at least, they are willing to play to the racist part of their base, which is functionally the same as being racist. And now, you know, a white supremacist in the white house who screws around on his wife and brags about assaulting women and is loved by white Evangelical Christians. Could you make this stuff up?

It all has to go. At least finally the GOP is clearly exposed for what they are. What they are willing to go along with. They’re insulting kids who are grieving their murdered friends for the love of God, how low can you even possibly go? We must remove them from office.

Why am I on about this? What energizes me this morning? How am I again shaken out of resignation and sadness, and again toward action and resolve, to try and help improve matters for humanity and our sweet and only earth? What could possibly be the thing that inspires me so? Ladies and gentlemen, this:

Looking Forward

I am looking forward to the mid-term elections in November. I am looking forward to the elections because of the newly motivated and determined youth from Florida and all over this country and the world. I am looking forward to standing with them and the next generations behind them, as one by one they come of age and vote.

I’ve decided to stay on FB and Twitter during this period leading up to the election. After that I’ll revisit the question of whether I want to be the product in someone else’s mind-wrecking data-mining scheme.

Zuckerberg has a lot to answer for. I envision him getting a talking boil like Richard E. Grant in “How To Get Ahead In Advertising” (very funny and relevant movie, check it out). That would be fitting. Move fast and break things indeed. You broke some things, Mark.

I see some of my friends in FB have had enough, and are leaving. I fully understand. Depending on how 2018 mid-term elections go, I’ll stay or I wont. But I can’t leave now. Not with the kids showing up and using the social networks to organize and vote the NRA out.

I’ll do what I can to help offset the incessant noise of Russian bots and stupid trolls and idiotic wingnut propaganda. Because right and wrong are things, and the kids are right.  Their current activism is unprecedented and brilliant and we need to stand with them.

Move gracefully and fix things.