Thanks again for your response. I seem to have written a response as long as a sitcom and not nearly as lighthearted.
The challenge for us as voters thus becomes: how do we find ways to authentically participate in the political process with corruption as essentially “background radiation” that isn’t the kind of log one can easily pull out of one’s eye? There’s no easy answer.
I think people are finding answers. One of those answers is civil disobedience. Agitation has a long history of changing public discourse and affecting policy.
Ernestine Rose — an atheist feminist abolitionist from the 1800s— said, “Agitate! Agitate! Ought to be the motto of every reformer. Agitation is the opposite of stagnation — the one is life, the other death.”
Another advocate for civil disobedience and one of my favorite authors, Howard Zinn, said: “Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.” He also said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
Another one of those answers is not to show support for politicians who are already corrupt — corrupted by money, power, influence or all of the above — with our votes. Voting for political duplicity encourages and legitimizes that duplicity. Allowing Hillary Clinton to not only be elected, but to be elected without honest discourse about her past actions, ensures she will not be held accountable by those with interest to do so.
Another one of those answers is to run for office or to exercise political power at local and state levels. I highly recommend the organization Wolf-PAC for this reason. Wolf-PAC helps facilitate engagement with local, state, and congressional representatives to get support for constitutional amendments to change campaign finance law. The interaction with local representatives has changed my perspective on how to change policy and campaign finance reform has the support of my two local representatives partly as a result of their work organizing volunteers across the country. One of my favorite things about the organization is that, despite being founded by the progressive Young Turks, they do not use partisan language as the corporate corruption of American politics is a bipartisan agenda.
I like the ideas from Represent.us and the Anti-Corruption Act — none of which are likely, though, to make substantive change before November 8. In that sense I feel I still need to keep my eyes on the choice in front of me that is “As Is” and make the choice I believe gets me closest to achieving my political objectives.
This is where we differ. I do see the reality that either Clinton or Trump will become President, but I do not see the choice as “as is” — and, further, it is clear that if every American who resents the two options presented (a historical number of people do not want either candidate to become President) refused what I consider to be a mental prison that there is no choice, there would be choice.
My political objective is democracy in America. It would be the first time America had democracy as we were founded as a Constitutional Republic and have devolved into an Oligarchy. Democracy, as Zinn wrote and as I believe, requires direct participation from citizens — it takes civic responsibility and freedom from herd mentality. It takes empowered citizenship. That is what I aim for when I write about rejecting illusion of choice — empowering citizens. My work in activism is for social, economic, and racial justice and I see voting for candidates I have plenty of evidence will work in opposition to my political aims as counterproductive to their achievement.
As people vote aligned with their values systems and not out of the fear center of their brains, I think our political system will change — or, I will die trying. Concession is not in my political plans for the future. Nonviolent revolution is. And if necessary, possibly revolution of the oldest kind.
We forget that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to revolt, not just the right to jack off to Guns and Ammo magazine, as it is most frequently used. (This is a joke.) When the government works against the people, the second right recognized, not granted, as a right of people, is the right to overthrow it. I do not advocate for this option, as, historically, George Orwell has it right: “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.” However, it is a resort, hopefully the last one, and hopefully unnecessary. As JFK said — You make a violent revolution inevitable when you make peaceful revolution impossible.
For the record, I am not advocating for violence — I am discussing violence. In a recent survey (with an admittedly small sample size), 30 percent of 1,000 Americans asked said they could see themselves participating in a coup against their own government.
Who do you think that 30 percent is?
Do you think it might be gun-toting, poor, rustbelt whites who feel bent over by the government and who have disdain for the Democratic nominee at historic levels and are being primed with theories of upcoming election rigging from someone already accused of election rigging? That’s a pressure cooker.
Do you think it might be black and brown people in America, sick and tired of being disenfranchised and dispossessed — pushed and squeezed too much — who might be willing to fight for equality? I don’t know.
Maybe it is the poor who realize their very existence is nearly criminalized and their rights regularly infringed on as “unpeople” within our society? Maybe this dehumanization and neglect for their suffering is too much to bear?
What I am saying is not that any of these groups are threatening violent revolution, but that some are ready for it and that there are so many with motive to do so is, in itself, a natural problem for the stability and security of the state, whether or not they are ready, willing, or interested in that course of action.
That does nothing to acknowledge the many foreign enemies the U.S. creates with foreign policy standards and their impact upon our security.
The American Revolution was about representation in government and a rejection of rule by England. The Civil War was about the recognition of human rights. Suffrage for varying disenfranchised groups was about political representation. We understand the need for revolution historically, however, those movements were unpopular at one time and they fought against the majority who thought things were fine as they were.
Democracy in America should not be “installed” by a loud minority. It would be chaos. Instead, as citizens show they are concerned enough to participate in government beyond voting once every four years, political discourse is changed and policy with it. Eventually, dissenting citizens become the majority and show they are prepared enough to participate in government that democracy will work in this country.
However, I believe a corporate takeover is underway and that we are dangerously close to fascism in America — not by Donald Trump, though possibly wielded by him — but by corporations who influence the law, are not held accountable to it, and who profit off the punishment of those who are and the pillaging of our people and resources. I do not want to pass the fight for civil rights earned with blood given up willingly by complacent citizens who don’t realize what they have lost to my son or future generations to fight for when it may be too late to do so civilly. It may already be too late to earn these rights back civilly as the government currently retains the right to arrest and detain citizens en masse on the count of “belligerence” — something I’ll get to in a minute. Protests and civil demonstrations are demonized by the press and shut down with force by heavily militarized police who are not punished for killings of civilians, even when there is more than enough evidence to convict. These are dangerous, connected breeches in civil liberties. Add to that that between the government — which is increasingly controlled by corporations — and corporations: all drinking water, most food distribution, all currency distribution, much of the ownership of land, tools for transportation including fuel, tools for communication like the Internet, power and electricity, waste removal and sanitation, incarceration, education, the use and distribution of natural resources like trees and air, healthcare, etc.— nearly every aspect of the commons and beyond — are controlled by these two centralized systems of power in America.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Webster’s Dictionary as a popular dictionary — the definitions change according to popular use. Mussolini defined fascism in the era of Hitler as the “merger of corporate and state power.” That is certainly what we have today — a merger of corporate and state power well underway.
Where is the people’s power when they cannot provide for themselves without dependency on the fairness of government and corporations, even though they are becoming increasingly ruled by the same interests?
Are we to believe our greatest threat is terrorism, which kills fewer Americans per year than falling out of bed, rather than the pillaging of our commons and rights by corporations and politicians? No. Yet we have dedicated over $100 billion dollars fighting terrorism, more than double what we spent in the same time through the official arm of environmentalism addressing climate change.
100,000 people died worldwide in the 13 year term between 2002 and 2015 as a result of terrorism and 5 million people are estimated to have died worldwide just from environmental-related deaths in the year 2010 alone.
Despite the rising danger of being the only species alive that does not understand the basic, primal concept “don’t foul the nest,” corporations that pillage the environment for profit, sell wasteful consumerism to the public through mass manipulation, and lobby the government in treasonous opposition to basic environmental protections and win in treasonous concessions of legislators to the demands of business that betray the will, health, and future security of the nation and the world’s population with no punishment, save measly economic ‘sanctions’ that should be replaced with the criminal trials of executives (as Warren is accomplishing now with Wall Street), the revoking of corporate charters, and the redistribution of massive wealth made off the backs of those who suffer and die due to their overwhelming greed and the manufactured consent of an intentionally misinformed populace.
Like the time Exxon Mobil knew about climate change in 1981 and intentionally misinformed the people of its existence…or the time Wall Street and Congress alike were warned about the disastrous possibilities of removing commercial banking regulation in the 1990s and did it anyway, then presumed to do exactly what they were warned against and were rewarded with trillions of dollars of taxpayer money, which they promptly redistributed amongst themselves instead of to the civilians they robbed.
That thousands of people die without access to healthcare or that maternal mortality rates are rising or that, again, we rank abysmally low among other developed nations in nearly every indicator of societal health including education, healthcare, economic equality, racial and gender equality, “democracy,” rates of incarceration, etc. while corporations profit from nearly every step of this poor performance — private healthcare, private education, autocratic and hierarchical systems of profit as well as personhood to buy political power with capital power, private prisons…should concern all.
Our planet is becoming increasingly uninhabitable. Our resources are being poorly managed with short-sighted profit as the defining motivation for their distribution and use.
I am prepared to remain concerned and civically engaged regardless of who becomes the next President. My fear is that with Clinton in the Oval Office, many progressives who claim the “protection of America’s soul” and defense of “humanity” and “human rights” and “equality” as explanation of their vote for Clinton, who has, at best, a very mixed record of support for human rights — will trust their government is in the safest hands it can be in and will not hold her administration accountable. Democrats are comfortable putting the blame for civil liberties lost on the Republican Patriot Act (despite the framework of the bill being written by Democratic VP Joe Biden and passed with bipartisan support). Republicans are comfortable putting the blame for the same on the Democrats for the National Defense Authorization Act which extended and expanded the invasions on civil rights by The Patriot Act (also passed with bipartisan support). Democrats find justification for Obama because they feel a sense of affinity and understanding while Republicans find justification for W. Bush because they feel a sense of affinity and understanding.
Both administrations were awful, and gaining marriage equality, while something I wholly support and fought for, does not erase the horrors of this administration. The same belief that leads me, personally, to support equality of all people is why I cannot support the status quo.
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” Currently, the U.S. is denying freedom to much of the developed world, with colonization and rampant violence (negligent drone bombing that kills unintended civilians more often than intended targets, destruction of infrastructure like schools, hospitals, roads, etc. — both of which are war crimes) and debilitating sanctions we know damn well do nothing but kill civilians en masse and make people vulnerable through starvation and economic suffocation to the demands of dictators. The U.S. is also denying freedom to “unpeople” in the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the world (25 percent of the world’s prison population from 5 percent of the world’s total population— more than 50 percent of which are nonviolent offenders and a highly disproportionate percentage are minority races, particularly black Americans), the encroachment of inalienable human rights like privacy, right to trial, presumption of innocence, and the right to representation in government.
While I believe in and do advocate for the specificity of oppression, one of the downsides (hear me out here, please) of focusing on that specificity is that we can become ‘divided and conquered.’ Many in those fights lose perspective about relative oppression. For example, claiming the right to marry for approximately 10 percent of the population as progress while the rights of 100 percent of the population were simultaneously, massively infringed on is one result of losing perspective on the bigger picture of human rights. Even still, the focus on the infringement of civil liberties for Americans when the basic right to life is denied civilians abroad as a result of standard American policy is another result of losing perspective on the bigger picture of human rights. This is not at all to say we should not fight for specific cases of inequality within our population, it is to say that we cannot lose perspective in those fights for the sanctity of human rights at large and allow ourselves to become concessionary in their imposition as a result of being granted freedoms and acknowledgement of our personal struggles here at home. This is no version of “All Lives Matter.”
My heart has been warmed to see the connection of Black Lives Matter to labor organizations and to the fight for Palestinian lives and for peace because it shows the organization is connecting the interdependence of suffering and the state of society to their personal struggles and their mutual causes.
This, I believe, is the evolution of revolution.
…but there are some convincing arguments from Duverger’s Law and the study of “cooperation games” that seems to indicate that, although the founders certainly didn’t have mathematical models in mind when architecting the electoral system, from what we know now they did manage to create a system that effectively addressed some of their major worries about democracy: mob rule / the tyranny of the majority prime among them, as well as the tendency of vocal minority factions to hold up the entire process over provincial special interests.
Isn’t it rule by majority mob when there are only two options dividing the country in half while demonizing the other half? How can Clinton represent and serve the public when she has worked to vilify more than one quarter of them as “deplorable” and another quarter as irrationally and even maliciously supporting a madman who will run the country into the ground? How can Trump represent and serve the public when he has worked to alienate half of the citizenry, with particular disdain for women, minority races and immigrants? Isn’t that rule by majority mob in which half the citizenry does not feel respected or represented by their leader?
Further, isn’t it rule by minority mob when the same corporations influence politicians of either major corporate party and when their interests are represented at a much higher rate than those of the citizenry, which are currently represented at a statistically insignificant rate?
This is a long-winded way of saying that while I agree we go too far in polarizing the “optics” around D vs. R and doing less of that would be wise, I think it’s potentially just as misleading to attempt to entirely collapse the left and right together as a kind of “unibrow corporate party” which very much distorts some key actual differences in political and social philosophy between the 2 parties (are they both influenced by corporations? Absolutely. But it’s Elizabeth Warren who finally got heads to roll at Wells Fargo and not Paul Ryan, and there is a real reason for that in terms of their underlying economic philosophy and interpretation of rights/equality. Mr. Ryan would simply never even desire to bite that hand).
I believe it was because Warren is not influenced by corporate donors that she was effective in demanding accountability from Wall Street, not because she is a Democrat.
- Plenty of Democrats voted against an amendment by Senator Sanders to close a $35 billion tax loophole for Big Oil.
- Two years after the 2008 Wall Street bailout, again, plenty of Democrats voted against an amendment to significantly scale down banks deemed “Too Big to Fail.”
- In 2011, H.R. 514 had bipartisan support, brought to the floor with little consideration and almost no debate, to extend The Patriot Act provisions of search and seizure of private communications.
- Also in 2011, Democrats joined the majority for H.R. 1540 — The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 — a terrifying piece of legislation that extends the provisions of The Patriot Act and allows for mass detention of the populace on grounds of “belligerence” and “terrorism” (which remains undefined). If there exist reasons to fear any President in the future, including the mania of Donald Trump, it is in part due to the provisions provided by this law, signed by a Democrat President — and The Patriot Act, written by a Democrat, passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by a Republican President.
- H.R. 5949 — The FISA Amendments Act — was also passed with bipartisan support in another violation of the 4th Amendment to allow the U.S. government to surveil private communications.
Is the ACA imperfect? Sure — that’s the nature of compromise.
No. It is not imperfect. It is government-mandated participation in the consumption of private health insurance. It was not a step forward, unless the goal is corporate fascism. Millions of Americans have now been pushed through force of law and financial penalties to purchase healthcare from private corporations who have the power to throw the entire marketplace out of whack by threatening their exit from it. The ACA, which I naively fought for, consolidated power for insurers — it did not regulate them.
Nevertheless, it made the literal difference between having health care and not having health care for me last year when I was laid off. While unemployed I was able to purchase a subsidized plan for my family that we could actually afford, versus the north of $600/mo unsubsidized plan or the $1100/mo (!!!) via COBRA. It also means I am not as worried about having to stick with a particular job that might be suboptimal just because I need the health care plan.
I, too, buy my family’s health insurance from the marketplace and experience the disaster from Texas, where my state’s governor has refused federal matching funds and we pay a ludicrously high premium for the “bronze plan” — which has our deductible at $13,000 before insurers have to pay a cent outside of 100 percent covered preventative appointments, which I would be much better off to pay out of pocket. I am no longer afforded the choice to do so. Instead, south of $13,000 per year goes to pay for “in case we get sick and it costs more than $13,000.”
This is no substitute for single-payer healthcare that almost every other developed nation in the world has. It is still part of the debt cycle that enslaves citizens, gives concentrated power to corporations, and siphons money from the poorest to the wealthiest.
“There are two modes of invading private property; the first, by which the poor plunder the rich … sudden and violent; the second, by which the rich plunder the poor, slow and legal.” — John Taylor, “An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States”
I read the AP’s “exposé” on the Clinton Foundation and found it utterly unconvincing. If anything it was stark evidence of how unusually unsympathetic Clinton’s State Dept was to any special access for donors.
You don’t consider dealing in arms with donors without disclosing the connections as conflicts of interest to be corrupt?
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of…www.ibtimes.com
“Look, the Clinton team, the foundation and the campaign, is saying that this is not going to happen if she is president. The question then becomes: Why was it then allowed to happen when she was secretary of state? The secretary of state has a huge amount of power over a huge number of issues and policies and contracts, for instance, that many of these donors had an interest in. And we did a series on, for instance, arms exports and how many of the governments that gave big to the Clinton Foundation saw huge increases in arms export authorizations from the State Department, and the State Department is the chief regulator of arms exports. There have been stories about foreign governments giving, like Algeria gave $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation at a time when it was lobbying the State Department on human rights issues. You had a situation, that The Wall Street Journal reported, where Hillary Clinton herself intervened in a case dealing with taxes with UBS, a Swiss bank, and then, suddenly, after that, UBS began donating big to the Clinton Foundation. So there are many examples of — I mean, there’s oil companies — that’s another one I should mention right now, which is that oil companies were giving big to the Clinton Foundation while lobbying the State Department — successfully — for the passage of the Alberta Clipper, the tar sands pipeline.” — David Sirota
As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the…theintercept.com
As Hillary Clinton emerges as the front-runner for the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, she's receiving…www.commondreams.org
Those are concerning connections for me that are not assuaged by the supposed benevolence of The Clinton Foundation.
Speaking as someone who has worked as a professional journalist — no, this is not dangerous. The man silently made a hand gesture and we don’t even know who it was directed at other than “one of hundreds of cameras in the convention hall that night.” It seems to be done out of politeness to the former President, is my reading of the moment. This is not an official order, this is not policy, and this isn’t even news unless you think Bill Clinton’s snoozing should have an impact on his wife’s bid for the presidency.
a) That was one example. Clinton’s avoidance of the press is another. Her incestuous relationship with the conglomerated corporations that own 90 percent of consumed media in America is another.
Hillary Clinton has never felt comfortable with the traveling political press. As first lady, she would sometimes…www.politico.com
b) As someone who has also worked as a professional journalist, I think it is dangerous. And it was a simple example of a larger issue — Clinton tells the press to jump and they ask “how high” despite being derailed from performing the only constitutionally protected job in America. I understand that the mainstream media is largely corrupt and focused on profit over news — therefore, they will run tabloidesque stories for views and clicks. However, this does not allow Clinton or Trump the right to deny access to the press.
When she spouted that Russia was behind the DNC leaks to support Donald Trump, with no evidence, the press reported the connection with no research.
Their lack of integrity in reporting is not Clinton’s fault, I am not suggesting there would have been punishment for not following Tim Kaine’s call to cut the cameras or to report on these stories with any fairness, but simply that the result is dangerous to the integrity of the information the public relies on.
The DNC leaks revealed story placements in prominent news sources by Clinton’s surrogates and employees. A prominent media watchdog organization — Media Matters — is owned by blatantly biased Clinton surrogate David Brock and the connection is not listed as a conflict of interest despite their overwhelming support of Clinton in their “objective fact checking.” Highly respected political forecaster Nate Silver has ties to the Clinton campaign. The media parrots lines from her campaign’s official statements as fact. New York Governor Cuomo said on CNN that the media couldn’t “possibly do anything more to help her” and that she was getting practically “a free ride” from the media. She yelled at a Greenpeace reporter about being “sick of the attacks from the Sanders campaign” when she was asked a simple question about her actual documented practice of supporting fracking. She consistently claims the media is weaving conspiracy theories against her, even when what they are reporting is true. For example, when she claimed FBI Director Comey said all of her statements were truthful, which is decidedly the opposite of what was determined. The majority of her campaign events have been private fundraisers and not public events where the press and general public are allowed to attend. Aside from the disconnection this gives her not only appearance to be, but likelihood to be, connected to the needs of the everyday American, the press are not being given access to the supposed frontrunner for President.
This is all smoke of course. It’s no proof of fire. Trump’s attempts to control the media are also smoke. Neither of us has problem connecting that smoke to future likely inevitable fire. I think there is certainly enough to cause distrust.
However, these are dangerous infringements on the free press. Most are not Clinton’s fault and I would understand her suspicion of the press because of their corrupt connections to multinational corporations (like the Washington Post being owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos or 90 percent of all consumed media being owned by 6 conglomerated corporations). However, her financial ties to those same corporations are concerning. Our press is corrupt, but we also have corrupt candidates who abuse and benefit from the corruption of that press.
I, for one, believe the press have violated campaign finance laws as a result of the $3 billion in free media they gave Donald Trump that has greatly increased his exposure and reception. In the process of “reporting” on Trump’s antics, media corporations profited from the sale of our attention to their clickbaity, hyperbolic, and near-standardless “journalism.”
However, their coverage of Clinton has been sorely lacking integrity (both for and against)— not Clinton’s fault — and access — Clinton’s fault.
In other words, I agree that Donald Trump’s relationship with the press is dangerous. I do not agree that Hillary’s isn’t.
It’s a bit disingenuous though to portray her as somehow shunning the press from her campaign, and as you note she’s now flying with a travelling press corps on the campaign as is typical.
She held two press conferences on her private plane that totalled 45 minutes. I am not understanding how it is unfair to say that not holding a press conference for a year and then allowing 45 collective minutes of questions qualifies as “shunning the press?”
That is very dangerous. Roger Ailes is a campaign advisor — that sexually predacious cretin wasn’t out of work for more than 2 minutes!
That is scary. As scary, though not as distasteful, is Clinton’s immediate recapture of the corrupt Debbie Wasserman Schultz — who was her campaign co-chair in 2008, to replace “I’m a conservative” Tim Kaine as chair of the DNC, where she infamously channeled the massive resources of the corporate party to the presumptive Democratic nominee with an eight year head start (this is, in case a reminder is needed, not how democracy works, but it is a perfectly functioning example of our current system of Oligarchy), then, when she resigned surrounding the allegations of corruption for unduly influencing the primaries, she was brought back to the Clinton campaign as an honorary co-chair and subsequently endorsed by Clinton in her run against progressive Tim Canova for her race in Florida, despite her absolutely shameful record of representing the people in the state and in her district.
Further, Hillary’s husband is a sexually predacious cretin “dickin’ bimbos” and accused of rape with the same amount of evidence against him as neither have been convicted or found guilty in a court of law. This is what I’m talking about — if the accusation of sexual predation affiliated with a campaign is enough to denounce it, the sword cuts both ways. If the prediction of human suffering is enough to fear a candidate, the suffering experienced already under a candidate must also be enough to fear them. The logic we use to critique political opponents should be applied to our own candidates.
Not everything comes to justice. Justice is rare, hard-won, and precious.
First — I agree, but don’t believe that we should shrug at the U.S. thuggery that goes on within these international bodies governing international human rights laws.
The U.S., for example, is the only nation withholding accountability for Israel for their war crimes, and not only are they opposing otherwise unanimous U.N. support for the measure, they are continuing to fund and arm the Israeli military at a rate of $3 billion-$5 billion dollars per year of taxpayer money. That is one example of many where the U.S. not only is a sole abstainer of justice from the international bodies that work to hold countries accountable to human rights law, but also a major financier of the crimes against humanity that are not tried in these courts of law.
Second — Justice can also be swift and its delay is no reason to stop seeking it. Upon being charged of war crimes after World War II, several high-ranking Nazi officials committed suicide, what some might consider justice of sorts as it reduces the number of vicious war criminals on the planet. Further, the U.S. precluded “justice” of the Nuremberg Trials (confined to a term of less than two years, pretty swift) with Operation Paperclip in which they relocated 1,500 Nazi officials and German scientists who were to be tried to the United States as well as placed them in other government positions internationally. To say the U.S. even seeks justice while it so often works toward its opposite is not an accurate depiction of the realities of U.S. “benevolence.” Did you know we funded Apartheid to its last breath? The list of brutal dictators, fascist coups, and genocides the U.S. has sponsored is staggering and demolishes any argument for U.S. benevolence or exceptionalism in recent history.
Third — The U.S. definition of justice is not one we would like to be waged upon us. The assassination of Osama Bin Laden without trial after the illegal invasion of two nations and the massacre of millions of people is our example of justice for the death of 3,000 Americans. The hanging of Saddam Hussein is another — hanging, by the way, is a practice the U.S. deems barbaric and claims never to support the use of, until they do. Torture is another exception the U.S. deems illegal when performed by other nations, but “effective” when used by its own military. Civilians being deemed collateral damage is another war crime we would not like to be waged upon us by our enemies. Imagine if, guilty of war crimes as he is, the Iraqi military conducted a covert operation to assassinate former President George W. Bush. Would this be justice? Do we encourage this form of retributional justice to our enemies while we engage in it so rampantly with Assad, Zelaya, Gaddafi, Mubarak, etc.? I do not condone the leadership of those men, but I do condone the seeking of justice through fair trial for war criminals abroad and at home.
There is a real danger in over-doing vengeance, just as there is a danger in under-doing justice.
There is a real danger in waging punishment against civilians for the crimes of their leaders. This is something the U.S. does flagrantly against other nations, knowing full-well, as I stated, that sanctions harm the populace of both present and future, and do little to impact punishment on leaders. Instead, the grasp of dictators is strengthened time and time again by sanctions we still wage today that starve populations and weaken their resistance to brutal regimes. I do not advocate the vengeance that is the U.S. foreign policy standard. I advocate for justice of those responsible.
It’s amazing to think most Americans think the U.S. has enemies abroad primarily because of jealousy for our “freedom.”
The reason point 4 is so salient in this election is because of the progressive Left’s anger at Hillary Clinton over having voted Yes in the 2002 resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq — a decision that she, along with most of the rest of the nation that was completely snowed under by GWB and his good ol’ boys, came to regret and has apologized for a number of times.
It is not the vote to enter Iraq that is the source of the progressive left’s anger. It is the consistent vote and decision to use force over diplomacy and the subsequent callous determination that the rebuilding of Iraq should be considered “a business opportunity” — a characteristic repeated when her brother profited from the rebuilding of Haiti after Clinton’s State Department and “charitable focus” slammed the newly free nation into economic collapse and instability. It is Clinton’s consistently poor judgement — you might remember Bernie Sanders being prophetic against the use of force in Iraq in 2002, offering Clinton and the country information they considered and disregarded in their decision.
That prophetic nature follows Sanders throughout the 30 years of his career, showing him to be, in my opinion, deserving of the leadership of the “free world*” than someone who has been on the wrong side of history too many times to be considered a “progressive” — fighting for segregation, against marriage equality and campaigning for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, campaigning for the ‘94 Crime Bill, voting for war in Iraq, the ‘reformation’ of welfare that resulted in the doubling of extreme poverty, the disregard for foreign policy expertise (of which she had none upon being granted the position of Secretary of State as a concession for her loss in 2008) about the easily predicted disastrous effects of her leadership in the creation of numerous failed states, her support for the funding and arming of the Islamic moderates that became ISIS, her support for the TPP and TTIP that facilitate corporate fascism, limit accessibility to health care for the world’s poorest, and make dangerous oversteps for censorship, etc., the list continues. Despite several domestic progressive reforms she voted for or sponsored or championed, this list of blemishes is undeserving of a promotion. Consequently, Senator Sanders stood on the opposite side of nearly or all of those decisions.
*Reminder that ironically, the U.S. is objectively the least free nation in the world as the highest percentage of its citizens live in cages. Its “free” citizens enjoy increasingly limited civil liberties that make the majority comfortable while 2.5 million of the country’s population rots in our backyards.
Which leads me (if you’re still with me… ;))
Of course I’m still with you.
I completely agree with your assessment of identity politics and if you ever want to get into a discussion on that, I have some deep thoughts on the topic. However, I do believe in coalition building and work to that end while rejecting identity politics — though I am human and do not always live up to my own standards, I do try to adjust my standards for others based on my experience attempting to live up to them.
I have the unusual benefit of having a degree in journalism, experience in the field, and current self-employment that allows me precious discretionary hours to do what I love most — read, research and write. I share that information as freely as I can and approach fellow progressives much differently than I do Republicans with the same goal in mind — reject the chains of party affiliation and defend and revere human rights.
I say that to say: There is common ground and it doesn’t have to be in concessions for business that betray the people.
And as passionately as I feel about the urgency of climate change, I feel that the Clinton platform has some reasonably concrete ideas about addressing it…
I feel we do not have time to wait for concessionary promises (of which Obama made many, very few of which came to fruition) for progress from a saleswoman for global fracking and a recipient of major donations from fossil fuel corporations. Her record on voting for environmental protections is strong, save a couple of gaffes like voting against protections for the Gulf from offshore drilling, supporting fracking and remaining silent on pipeline after pipeline until they are politically irrelevant to oppose.
War and rampant military action is also not environmental.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we have time to waste in massive steps toward reformation of U.S. energy policy and I also do not believe Clinton will get us to where we need to be. Like Obama, I believe her administration will stagnate on addressing climate issues with Republicans to blame and corporations to benefit.
I want to say again how much I truly appreciate the dialogue. I really think there is a lot to be learned from the conflict of differing opinions, especially when two people have similar ends and very different means — many times we assign our means as the only possible way to get the ends we seek without having considered all of the options. I do not claim my means to be the best, but they are mine nonetheless and I am naturally biased toward them.
Your research in game theory and behavior is very interesting to me and I think we benefit from the collision of varying professional disciplines intersecting with “holy curiosity.” I love that we seem to share that and the way our conversation is unfolding as result — I hope I didn’t alienate you with this insanely long-winded and potentially controversial, easily misinterpreted response. Grant me the serenity… just kidding.
I aim to seek the answers, not to project them, although I, like most people, often consider my conclusions to be a reflection of reality by default. It is helpful to be reminded conclusions can easily be independent of reality and more tied to perception than objectivity.
Thank you for your time as I know a lot of time went into your response (as went into mine) and I doubt the investment of your time is in the interest of defending the reputation of a political candidate and is more likely a reflection of your personal investment in our political system.
Much love. ❤