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Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Sanders’

…and still doing dirty tricks to divide progressives and divorce them from their political power, how would it look different from the DNC e-mail hack?

Just asking.

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I feel like I’ve been hearing this question my entire adult life. I think the person who asks it, honestly or not, tends to miss a few things about life and politics.

So let me float another idea just for fun: third party presidential candidacies are amoral. They presume one candidate who embodies a minority position should be chosen to rule over the majority; they do not represent the fullest democratic expression of majority will but dilute it; they ensure that you, the individual, are less responsible for assimilating and subjugating your own reality to those of the hundreds of millions of people who are not like you; they require, in the other countries that do use them, that complicated coalitions be formed so that a person’s political desires are even further abstracted from them.

I argue that there is only one honest third-party approach: the grassroots way, the local elections way. The reason third-party fans avoid this more effective approach is that it asks a lot of responsibility of them. It’s easier to root for the “rock star” far away in a white house.

I’d also argue that third parties in this country have never been suppressed but have mostly died of their own fragility. They are too often based on personality cults or single issues that become less relevant over time. Think of the futility of an anti-Vietnam War party today or a pro-gold standard party. Organized political machines might … just might … know how rugged or fragile these tendencies are and know to abort them once they become irrelevant to daily life. With respect to Bernie Sanders, who has rightly inspired so many people, his movement is a one-issue movement and there’s a reason it has less traction: People care about things other than continually punishing banks (however right or wrong that might be) when we already kind of did that.

What I most dislike about the third party question is that it tends to misunderstand American history. Our founders hoped that the anarchic moods of the public would find their best expression in the Congress. The president as originally envisioned was supposed to act more like a glorified city manager, a bureaucrat doing the executive work while those in Congress inveighed and caviled and spat at each other. People like Teddy Roosevelt gradually turned the job into the personality cult we see today. That was good in a lot of ways, but it’s led to frustration among people who now have pretty ridiculous expectations.

Asking that one person be pulled every which way and stretched like Silly Putty to reflect the desires of millions of people is silly and futile. Being part of a democracy should exact a toll from you: You have responsibilities and one of those is to compromise or if not, to join the game. And you won’t be appreciated if you do. Ask anybody.

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This guy quoted in the Atlantic supports Bernie Sanders but says he will consider voting for Donald Trump if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination for president.

Let me condense his long, rambling speech for you: “If I do not get my way, I will burn everything down.” Why? Because his career in the arts didn’t take off. This is not the first time I have heard this argument: “Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is going to make my creative career manifest.”

I myself am an artist, too, dear readers, but I also know one or two things about the economics of art, and the idea of a middle-class or even rich artist is a byproduct of mid-20th century capital formation, not socialism. It was enabled by excess industrial capacity created by a large military industrial complex and cheap gas following WW II and the extra leisure time and spending money enjoyed by a rising bourgeois class. Let’s not forget advances in technology such as recording and film that displaced music publishing houses and theaters that had come before (and do we cry for them?) In much of human history, artists were funded by wealthy patrons or by the church or by selling their art as cheap catch-penny entertainment. Unfortunately, our recent experience has made for a greedy demand among artists that they have a God-given right to money and fans that will validate their choices and identity, even though that whole idea is staked on something the market demand won’t bear.

Sorry it didn’t work out, but it’s your own fault for not having curiosity about a few issues.

I say this as an artist and not a terrible one in my own estimation: If your art doesn’t pay for itself, get a real fucking job until it does. It will enhance your esteem and give you some perspective. When you lack that perspective, the rest of America bears the burden, crossing our fingers that you won’t elect a psychopath out of spite.

Can good countries fund the arts? Of course they can. Up to a certain point. Can they make anybody who wants to be an artist a wealthy artist? No. There is a supply and demand problem. Everybody wants to make art but there are not enough consumers to match all that supply. They only have time for so much entertainment and only so many artists can reasonably make it (for whatever value they bring whether it’s artistic genius or cultural resonance). After the revolution in Nicaragua, everybody wanted to be a poet. You know what the socialist Sandinista government told them? “Pick cotton, please.” Socialism injects a much needed safety net into a mean capitalist system (and the United States is already socialist and has been for a good long time). But the entire idea of our system of capital is that it allocates resources better than centralized planning. Capital gave us freedom to do things that collectivism did not. Like make music in our spare time or even professionally. That’s because we pay people to do things for us that it would be too crushing to have to do ourselves, things that would put us back on farms, selling stuff by a river. You have to be able to eat and wear clothes and find shelter (paid for with capital) before concerning yourself with your Stravinsky-inspired piano piece. Other people need food and clothes before they can hear it.

Bernie Sanders supporters say they have been mocked and scorned. When, exactly, did this mockery and scorn take place? Was Hillary constantly calling Bernie Sanders a “commie” this year? No, she was talking with him substantively up until a few months ago. When it looked like he wouldn’t pull ahead it votes or delegates, the conversation got increasingly stupid. The meaningless phrase “establishment” was used against Clinton next to the other meaningless phrase “corporatist.” Calls went out that the election was rigged. It wasn’t. Bernie Sanders has never had a lead in votes or pledged delegates. Never. To call Hillary Clinton’s election a coronation is to suppress an expression of democracy. It is to be on the fascist side. Geddit?

“Hillary hatred” has been a thing much longer than “Bernie hatred” which means that mockery Sanders supporters feel is largely a product of their imaginations and out-of-control persecution complexes.

LBJ, FDR, JFK, John Maynard Keynes … these were all establishment figures. They all did things that helped our economy and society and they did it in a liberal style and mode. Nobody cares if they were “establishment.” When you call Hillary Clinton the “e” word, you are not impressing anybody that you are engaged in issues as much as that you have low self-esteem and that it’s likely richly deserved. Fact is, Hillary Clinton has done a lot of questionable things (like voting for the Iraq War) but she also has a tremendous amount of accomplishments and a fairly liberal voting record (if you look). If you say she is the same as a Republican–not because you did the due diligence and looked up her record but because you have staked your identity on repeating things you hear from other liberals at picnics and rallies–then unfortunately you are no better than Republicans at barbecues, nodding at their dads as they drunkenly yell “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” You have, in fact, revoked your right to call yourself smarter than rednecks or think of your choices as more reasonable and thought out. You might be just another joiner.

So let me tell you what’s really going on with the kid in the Atlantic piece (and he is a child):

When you are totally impotent; when a changing world baffles you and leaves you feeling helpless; when you haven’t the imagination to think your way out of the mess that false assumptions have led you into, sometimes the only way you can feel a sense of power and facility is by your power to negate and destroy. This is something people on the left and the right can now shake hands on. That and the following idea: “I will not let reason violate my identity.” Kumbaya.

 

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