Dear Ms. Maldonado,
N. Belt-Ahar0n
21

“Clinton supporters are quieter about their support, since we’re pretty low on public outrage.” You say that like it’s a good thing. It’s no wonder that activist groups that actually fight for progressive causes are not lining up behind the Democrat in this election. They understand what is actually impacting the causes they fight for and what they will be up against to hold government accountable once either Clinton or Trump is elected.

I think we might suffer from a fundamental disagreement in which you seem to believe this is a functioning democracy. Why deny the mere idea of election fraud or tampering happening within the party, when we understand it to be the driving force behind the eventual inauguration of George W. Bush in 2000? Election tampering is possible, it happens, and it continues to happen, hence the rise in exposure of flawed and hackable voting machines.

The primary process of the DNC is corrupt in general, in fact, more corrupt than the primary process of the RNC: In 2008, Hillary Clinton fought against the system of superdelegates, urging them to support her since she got the popular vote in the primaries, and yet, rather than reform the system that cheated her out of the presidency in 2008 (despite having her former campaign co-chair as the head of the DNC with every opportunity to push for reform), she decided to levy the system for her own gain. Rather than stand and fight corruption in government, as is needed to hold political institutions accountable or to push campaign finance reform, for another example, Hillary, in both cases, uses a corrupt system to her benefit.

This is, unfortunately, not a functioning democracy at all. A 2014 Princeton study determined that the U.S. is in, instead, officially an Oligarchy. And certainly we don’t believe oligarchies to be inherently benevolent, but as long as we operate under the guise of “democracy,” that idea we stomp all over the world in the name of, ‘sallgood in the hood.

People seem to inherently believe government and its representatives work in the people’s best interests. To believe that our government is not inherently benevolent or exceptional is to remember that everyone, including civilians killed abroad and the gutted lower and working classes of this country, is the protagonist of their own story. And it means one would likely lose sleep worrying about what they were unwittingly co-signing with their vote, their purchases, and their apathy. People losing sleep over it are attempting to fight for change within the system the ways they know how and while many claim to be empathetic to their causes, they simultaneously disregard them as unreasonable.

“What is acceptable is to be ‘pragmatic’ about urgent issues that indirectly affect us. Being patient for an end to mass incarceration in the most jailing country on the planet is a luxury afforded to those who still have their freedom and their rights to vote. Being patient for an end to terroristic foreign policy is a luxury afforded to those who don’t hear drones above their heads, watching their actions and threatening their lives. Being patient for an end to the service of special interests above those of the common good is a luxury afforded to those who can take another squeeze to pay for the next Wall Street bailout or the next unending war.”

The Neoliberalism Clinton subscribes to pushes globalization of the economy, pitting workers across this earth in competition with one another in a race to the bottom, and it’s done through “feel your pain” humanitarian language that makes people feel good. Neoliberalism survives through the Stockholm Syndrome of largely white, affluent or middle class knowledge workers, while the rest ride in the proverbial back of the bus — minority races in America, immigrants, poor whites and millions more abroad whose interests must take a backseat to the “reasonable” social justice concerns of today’s elites and their sympathizers. Sympathizers more concerned with whether or not there are enough women representing in Hollywood rather than whether or not women (or anyone, for that matter) stands a chance under the economic policies enacted by U.S. businesses that pit international workers in competition (see the TPP, literally any nation with a booming economy of sweatshops, and Hillary’s push for lower wages in Haiti for evidence of U.S. corporations’ interference in the laws of sovereign nations) or under the negligent bombing of a drone program with a 90 percent failure rate.

So you can claim that Clinton’s supporters are “low on public outrage” as a defense, if you’d like, but to me, the claim is one of privilege and a general misunderstanding of geopolitics.

One cannot claim to be an “Elizabeth Warren Democrat” while standing against what she fights for.

A $12 minimum wage is not enough for any single parent with one child in the United States to live without government assistance. See, that’s that whole “back of the bus” thing I was talking about with feel-good liberalism. It neglects the specificity of problems for marginalized groups.

You claim to be a “progressive who gets things done” because you are willing to compromise with corporate tyrants, but that, to most progressives, is simply not a progressive. That implies hostage negotiations are taking place, in which the government has, indeed, stopped serving the public altogether, as they have, and stopped promoting the general welfare, as outlined by the Constitution. “Getting things done” has landed us a minimum wage that has not nearly kept up with inflation, nor has it promoted the general welfare, but what it has done? Made the fat cats at the very top even fatter. While the rest of the country sinks into poverty and repression from the government, the 1% is insulated from the effects of the economy they control. It is certainly possible to ensure a living wage for everyone in this country. If decades of representatives haven’t been able to do it, it’s because they still subscribe to partisan politics and because they’ve made their own deals with the devils.

Whether or not you support Clinton on the TPP is your call, but understand it is not just a trade agreement. A very small percentage of that bill, the 6,000 page behemoth written so undercover, it was, in fact, only made available to the public by a whistleblower, actually pertains to trade. The rest involves the detailing of a legalized corporate system of governance that will allow some to profit from suffering internationally and at home, as they do with private prisons and this disgrace of a health care system. I hope the irony of the courageous act of Patriotism being used to reveal Hillary Clinton’s co-authored corporate coup is not lost on you, when her stance on whistleblowers doesn’t inspire confidence.

I suggest, since Clinton has praised so much of Obama’s presidency, she would likely follow in his footsteps there, given the chance, in action:

“Obama is a president who refused to prosecute CIA torture, despite being legally obligated to do so, but did prosecute the first torture whistleblower! This is a president who has presided over more more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all past presidents combined, waging what has been rightly called ‘an unprecedented war on whistleblowers.’” — The Atlantic

As for Negroponte and Kissinger not being totally insane, I guess if the sinister slaughter of innocent civilians and the destabilization of entire regions for political gains is not insane, I really have no idea what is. Maybe if their appearances were a little less kempt or they had swastikas tattooed on their foreheads or, for heaven’s sake, if they had endorsed a Republican (gasp! can you even imagine the field day the press would have with War Criminals Endorse Chancellor Trump for President!? Ahh, the press could have made millions more than they already have profiting off the fear politics of duopoly), you might see it differently, I suppose?

Not only did I not claim “custodial rights” to the term progressive, I was giving you a very clear benefit of the doubt.

“And by the way, I think if you’re making the case that you are, in fact, a ‘progressive Democrat,’ you wouldn’t say ‘your values got largely adopted.’ I think what you may have meant was ‘our values,’ no?”

Implying that if you are, in fact, progressive, as I said, they would be your values, too, that got “adopted” by the Clinton platform.

And it is fair for people with their hands wet with the work of a revolution to restore power to the people to claim “custodial rights” to a term, if that were even what I intended. Insistence on appropriate use of language comes from respect for it — words have meaning and one certainly struggles to claim progressivism with such markedly neoliberal views. Now I am taking custodial right, on behalf of progressives who fight against the issues you would like to see co-opted into corporate Democrat platforms. The misuse of the term muddies the water of what it means to be a progressive when neoliberals clamp onto the phrase because it makes them feel good to use it.

Back to Clinton — Her State Department offered access to Clinton Foundation donors, but I guess that doesn’t warrant outrage either. She stole (funneled to her campaign) $25 million from the Hillary Victory Fund she claimed was established to support down-ballot Democrats, that you might remember she would need in Congress to push her proposals through, if they are, in fact, Democratic proposals at all.

She is currently the only presidential candidate relying on special interest money to get elected. If none of that bothers you, it’s because you do not understand neoliberalism and its effects.

Class warfare is as old as systems of power and to believe that the benevolent Land of the Free wouldn’t engage in such a thing is to naively believe we are at some pinnacle of human history and that power is a means and not an end.

As for an old interview of Hillary Clinton’s that will give you whiplash, how about the one where she claims pride for her days as a “Goldwater Girl,” the segregationist candidate that explicitly fought against the civil rights movement. For whiplash, cut to her doing the nay nay and claiming to carry hot sauce in what I assume is a $5,000 designer bag. I suppose she evolved on that, too. Not before the 1990s, however, when she famously used the phrasing “superpredators” referring to, of course, black “kids” to ramp up the racist War on Drugs that led to the mass incarceration currently enslaving 2.5 million people, 25% of the world’s prison population. Even worse, people go to jail 11 million times per year, which, naturally, leads to an even more sinister enslavement in a class-based society: the cycle of poverty and debt enslavement. Hillary is no stranger to unjust systems as she and Bill gutted welfare in the 1990s, disproportionately affecting low-income women and children.

An action of hers that might give you whiplash was her support for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and her current denouncement of such a barbaric idea.

Yet another would be her devolution from a single-payer health care advocate to a corporatist who no longer believes the U.S. is apparently exceptional enough to provide for its citizens what the rest of the developed world does: health care as a basic human right.

I didn’t claim that Clinton herself conspired to steal the presidency through voter suppression, but rather that members of the DNC stated they had selected Clinton as the nominee years earlier. You may remember her receiving her position as Secretary of State as a concession prize in 2008, despite having no relevant experience, to beef up her resume in response to 2008 critiques of her lack of foreign policy experience. And as to your claim that a real statistician looked at the reports and scoffed, here’s a real statistician who supported them.

I, like many progressives outraged in this election, am not calling for Sanders to be given the nomination. But I will fight corruption in our democratic system that was illuminated by this primary and I will certainly not be voting for Clinton, who has simply not earned my vote. As an activist, I don’t understand Hillary Clinton to be supportive of the fight to rid our government of corruption, considering, as I stated, she is the last remaining presidential candidate relying on special interest money in this election and given her history of overthrowing democratically-elected leaders in sovereign nations.

You said: “Let’s talk about the horrid Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her cronies. It has been established that they favored Clinton.”

This is what we are talking about. While you denounce DWS for being a crony and say you’re glad she was fired, you say you were not surprised she favored Clinton because she’s more of a team player? How about the fact that she worked on her campaign in 2008, then was given the chair neoconservative VP candidate Tim Kaine resigned from? Would you even recognize corruption if you were staring at it? Are you expecting a smoking gun? An email that says “make sure I win this election, even if you have to rig it?” I’m sorry to say that Hillary Clinton has been groomed by decades of public life and has shown she will subvert the necessary measures to provide transparency in government to even find such evidence, as exhibited in her use of private servers that compromised national security. In short, if such an email even were to exist, Hillary Clinton would have deleted it. Back to DWS, it must have been convenient for Hillary to have her campaign co-chair running the organization that was slanted in her favor, whether or not she orchestrated it that way. You also neglected to mention the honorary role she was given back on the Clinton campaign after those same allegations you say you’re glad got her fired, got her fired. Shortly after she was re-hired, Clinton endorsed her run against Tim Canova, despite Debbie’s indefensible record.

The thing is, if we are suffering from a disconnect of language, that’s okay, we can chalk this up as a simple misunderstanding. But you seem to insist on using the term progressive in defense of your support of profit-minded liberalism, as exemplified by your claim that NAFTA was a “net positive,” given the nuance-less shrug of a “slight minus to job numbers” that doesn’t take into account that most new jobs being added to the numbers are part-time with no benefits. It’s almost as if you want to assign the credibility of the term progressive to give an ideology really suffering in credibility support by proxy. Nevermind that manufacturing workers who were paid living wages, proportionately profiting from the success of companies thanks to strong labor unions, had to fall back to the bottom of the totem pole under an unlivable minimum wage.

Yes, automation will replace all jobs eventually, even teaching. As I’m sure you understand, with the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), it’s only a matter of time until your own position can be done by recorded sessions someday. If it happens that teaching is considered kindling on the altar of Capitalism within your lifetime, you might be able to choose to use your math skills in the private sector, if those haven’t already been replaced. The point is — job numbers and GDP are a myopic lens through which to view progress. Especially in a nation with a fiat currency backed by nothing. Did you know the working class can no longer afford basic necessities? All under the economic recovery provided by a President who dared to call himself a “democratic socialist” and yet enacted so few progressive reforms while continuing the murderous foreign policy standards of old and furthering the Bush-era attacks on civil liberties, as well as increasing the number of night raids leading to deportation…This President wants credit for the beginning of the end of mass incarceration with the recent DOJ announcement. The announcement, of course, came immediately after President Obama offered a $1 billion contract to build new private detention centers, fully understanding the awful conditions within and comfortable relegating those profitable low standards that lead to inhumane treatment to immigrants seeking asylum rather than to U.S. prisoners.

Neoliberals are expected to back a neoliberal candidate. But when “progressives” do it, and not out of fear of “He who shall not be named,” but out of genuine support for her career, her record, and her platform, they cease to be progressives. One who insisted on being called a progressive while continuing to engage in such a practice would then have to concede on another badge instead: informed voter.

I watched a video tonight — a 2005 C-Span Town Hall on Poverty — in which Hillary Clinton is lauded as being a progressive by beloved civil rights activist Harry Belafonte. (You may remember Belafonte publicly and frequently endorsed her primary opponent in this election.) In the video, he speaks about the devolution of the Democrats from a party that represented the people to a party that, in 2005, was leading the working class to slaughter, he claimed, just like Republicans. As Noam Chomsky is famously quoted, so did Belafonte call the U.S. a “one-party system” — the business party, that looks out for the interests of elites with no party for the everyday human. At the Town Hall, Hillary was offered the opportunity to speak about her progressive push for a nonpartisan committee to investigate the personal profiting of former VP disgrace Dick Cheney in relation to the lack of response to Hurricane Katrina in Halliburton no-bid contracts. I really felt for her the same I felt for her when I remember my independent mother showing me a video of her saying she chose to follow her career and it was a choice that didn’t need defense. Right in the middle of this festivus of empathy, in which I was nostalgically remembering the Hillary Clinton of my youth, I remembered Hillary’s brother profited from the destruction in Haiti in which she took part and simultaneously earned humanitarian stripes for. I remembered the Hillary Clinton I have come to know from years of incessantly researching her record in disbelief that she could be such a terrible candidate and remain, not only legitimate, but the favored horse of the Democratic Party.

Outspoken activists like Ezili Dantò, a human rights lawyer who founded the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, say they cannot help believing that Mrs. Clinton gave her brother a hand.
“She is looked upon as a liberal and someone who respects human rights, workers’ rights and so forth,” Ms. Dantò said. “But we haven’t had that experience with her in Haiti.” — The New York Times

You might begin to understand why many people with progressive values, to which you claim to subscribe, have chosen not to support Hillary Clinton. She has been in the past and remains the opposition of populism — she courts despots and war criminals, she is the last remaining candidate relying on corporate money to get elected, she has been on the wrong side of history for decades at a time, always “evolving,” but certainly never quick enough to call herself anything other than “right of center.”

As for Clinton moving right, now and in the future:

And just for a laugh, here’s Hillary lying for 13 minutes straight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dY77j6uBHI