The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

Open Wide...

The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by E=MC2.

Recommended Reading:

Shae: Feminists Get a Lot Right—Let's Celebrate That

Matthew: [Content Note: Violent homophobia] Hillary Clinton Slams Trump for Silence on Torture of Gay and Bisexual Men in Chechnya

E.A.: [CN: Islamophobia; anti-Semitism; nativism] Marine Le Pen Is Using Islamophobia to Draw Female Voters

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; death] Doctor Kills Fat Person, Gets Slap on the Wrist

Jessica: [CN: Rape culture; war on agency] The False Rape Narrative Has No Place in Feminism, Even in Fake Pro-Life Feminism

George: What the Hell Is This Beautiful Thing?

Fannie: First Crush Friday

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

Open Wide...

Mmm Swampy

Donald Trump signed a couple more executive orders today, with some cool financial deregulations for his friends.

Basically: Trump continues to keep being exactly the kind of hideous disaster as a president we knew he would be. And that is terrible news for all of us who don't inhabit his gold toilet aficionado cohort.

Open Wide...

On Hillary Clinton's Beautiful Refusal to "Go Away"

image of Hillary Clinton grinning cheekily in front of a U.S. flag
[Photo: Michael Davidson for Hillary for America.]

There are two words I have heard over and over since Hillary Clinton emerged from the woods after losing the presidency: "Go away."

I have heard them from random people responding to any news item about her; from commenters responding to my writing about her; from political pundits, especially but not exclusively of the male persuasion. I have even heard them from some of her supporters, who couch the admonishment in a heaving sigh of regret: "I just think it's time for her to go away."

It functions not unlike the ubiquitous scolding to "get over it"—and often in tandem: Get your grief and your anger and all your other stupid feelings out of public view, and take your loser candidate with you.

It's not entirely clear (to me) what Hillary "going away" would actually look like. I suppose that's because it depends on who is saying it. For some people, it would be an assurance she will never, ever, run again for public office. For others, seemingly nothing short of curling up in a ball and dying would suffice.

Not that it matters. The objective is the projection of contempt, which is satisfied by merely uttering "go away," irrespective of the precise conditions attached.

This is a thing we culturally do to women who fail—with the very definition of "failure" itself a constantly moving target, to suit our misogynist disdains. It can be a quantifiable fuck-up, which costs people their safety or jobs or other measurable assets, or something decidedly less so: A young female pop star who "fails" to be sufficiently aware that she is "annoying," or a fat woman who "fails" to project at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of her everlasting remorse for having wrought her monstrous self upon the world.

The latter examples are not actual failures, but subjective "failures" to hew to impossible standards around female visibility. Impossible, because a pop star who frankly addresses overexposure is summarily told to "go away" for her intolerant navel-gazing, and a fat woman who does not walk with her head held high is told, in so many words, to "go away" for not carrying herself with pride.

Women of color, and women of other marginalized classes, have less room to fail, and more exacting and unforgiving definitions of failure, than straight, white, thin, able-bodied, wealthy, cis women. There is no wiggle room—and there are precious few people invested in redemption narratives for marginalized women.

They are further burdened, much more so than privileged women, with representing the whole class of people who share their identities. A failure—legitimate or invented—is not just a personal one, but one inevitably used to underwrite bigoted commentary about the entirety of their communities.

Each deviation from the kyriarchetype increases a woman's odds of being held to impossible standards—and the chance of hearing "go away" as a result.

Even a woman like Sarah Palin, who benefits not only from her extraordinary privilege but also conservatives' absurd willingness to fail people upward, has been diminished since being the Republican Party's vice-presidential pick. She may still be able to score a White House invite, but she has been relegated from Celebrated Conservative It Girl to just another conspiracy-minded Facebook ranter.

Palin doesn't deserve any more chances, but it isn't irrelevant that the man who elevated her to her former prominence, Senator John McCain, hasn't suffered any professional consequence for his appalling decision that she was suitable to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

She was told to "go away." He was not.

When Monica Crowley, another conservative woman with privileges akin to Palin's, was discovered to be a plagiarist, she was obliged to withdraw from contention for a spot in the Trump administration. When Neil Gorsuch was found to have plagiarized, he was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

She was told to "go away." He was not.

Because that is simply not a thing we tell men. I don't mean that the words "go away" are never spoken to a man (although you'll be hard-pressed to find nearly as many professional media types saying the literal words "go away" to any man as have said the same regarding Hillary Clinton). I mean the attendant expectation that they slink away from public view, never to return; that powerbrokers limit their opportunities because of their failures.

Men's failures and redemption narratives, however, go together like chocolate and peanut butter. There is an entire cottage industry dedicated to rehabilitating the images of men who have had real, significant, often criminal failures—athletes, pop stars, actors, politicians welcomed back to public acclaim with boilerplate profiles telling us all about their newfound gratitude, hard-won humility, and the love of a good woman, filed under headlines like "The Comeback Kid."

Hillary Clinton has not been—and won't be—granted any such generous reprieve, despite the fact that her "failure" was spending 18 months campaigning, day after exhausting day, keeping up a ruthless schedule that would drive most people half her age to collapse after three weeks, giving up time with her family, sacrificing anything resembling free time or privacy, making countless sacrifices on behalf of this country in order to prevent the exact outcome we now call her failure, sniffing that she was a weak candidate, even though she was derailed by foreign interference, breathtaking unprofessionalism from the intelligence community, and a tsunami of misogyny, yet still managed to win the popular vote by three million votes.

No, Hillary is told to "go away."

And because women are always told to "go away"—always have our hard work and tireless energies dismissed as failures if the result does not look like retrograde expectations of women or does not achieve precisely what we might have hoped—I am very, very glad indeed that Hillary is utterly refusing to go away.

I am glad because she still has important things to say and important things to contribute. She is not just a presidential candidate, but an accomplished stateswoman who represents this nation in a manner in which we can be proud.

I could write an entire essay just on the reasons that Hillary Clinton does and should have a prominent role in our national discourse. But, if you've read this far, you are probably already well aware of those reasons.

Hillary doesn't owe us a goddamned thing, and if she'd decided to spend the rest of her days on a sunny island somewhere, trading in her pantsuits for a bathing suit and drinking booze out of a coconut while merrily cackling at the Alt-POTUS 45 Twitter account, I would be undilutedly thrilled for her.

If she had decided to stay away, I would understand that. I would understand that so hard.

But that is a very different thing indeed from going away.

And I—selfishly, I readily admit—am incredibly relieved, and grateful beyond measure, that Hillary Clinton refuses to go away.

That she continues to speak, that she continues to advocate, that she continues to be seen, that she continues to exercise her right to speak freely, and to be heard.

Though I am ever despondent about the misogyny that obliges her to model such tenacious gumption, I am exhilarated by the example she is setting (again, and always) for young women who will, inexorably, be told in their lives to "go away."

And for we not-so-young women, too. That Hillary is also an older woman who refuses to go away is tremendously important. Older women occupy a very particular space in our culture—a space frequently defined by an abandonment of listening. Rather than valuing the lived experiences of older women, and the wisdom those lives have imparted, we turn away from them, dismissing them as irrelevant; we neglect to listen, just at the moment where they may offer insights most profoundly worth listening to.

Hillary has a voice. And people listen to it. She has experience, which people respect. She has knowledge, and it is widely valued. This is not the typical experience of older women, who are devalued at the intersection of misogyny and ageism—and whatever other parts of our identity (race, disability, body size, sexuality, gender) are used to devalue us, too.

Hillary's refusal to go away is a direct challenge to the habit of tossing away older women, like so much useless rubbish.

And it is a long sideways glance at every insolent shitheel who tells her to go away, meeting their gaze with a steely resolve and a firm NO.

No, I will not go away.

Because Hillary Clinton knows she has value, which is one of the most brazen assertions any woman can make.

It is magnificent to behold her assert it.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on a nest she has made of the dogs' plushy toys
"These aren't the dogs' toys. These are my toys."

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 92

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar: Secret Meeting at Mar-a-Lago Raises Questions About Colombia Peace and Trump.
Donald Trump quietly met a pair of former Colombian presidents last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, thrusting his administration into an ugly power struggle in Latin America that threatens to undermine the country's controversial peace agreement with rebel leaders.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to push Trump to support the peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at their first meeting at the White House next month. He wants the Trump administration and Congress to maintain the $450 million in foreign aid promised by former President Barack Obama to implement the plan to end Latin America's longest armed conflict.

The meeting between Trump and the former presidents, Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana – Colombia news media have reported it was arranged by an influential U.S. critic of the plan, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – was not on the president's schedule and was not disclosed to reporters who traveled with him to Palm Beach.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer initially declined to answer questions about the meeting, leading to a rash of speculation in Colombian media. Colombian newspapers, websites and radio stations debated the meeting’s significance — and whether it actually had happened. "I don't have anything for you at this time," Spicer said Wednesday when asked.

The White House later confirmed the meeting to McClatchy but downplayed its significance, saying it was a mere coincidence that both former leaders opposed to the peace pact were at the president's club. Aides to Rubio declined to comment.

"They were there with a member from the club and briefly said hello when the president walked past them," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "There wasn't anything beyond a quick hello."

But the leaders' own comments contradict the White House's characterization.

In a tweet following the meeting, Pastrana thanked Trump for the "cordial and very frank conversation" about problems in Colombia and the region.
So, not only did Trump hold this secret meeting, at his deeply problematic private estate, but then his spokesperson straight-up lied about it. This is aggressively unacceptable—and it will barely get a passing mention in the political press, because there is so much other shit swirling around in Trump's tornado of chaos.

* * *

Kenneth P. Vogel at Politico: Trump Lawyer: 'No Right' to Protest at Rallies. "Donald Trump's lawyers argued in a Thursday court filing that protesters 'have no right' to 'express dissenting views' at his campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights. ...Trump's lawyers also argue that he had every right to call for the removal the protesters since they 'obviously interfered with the Trump campaign's First Amendment right' by 'vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump,' including by chanting and holding up signs depicting Trump's face on the body of a pig, among other anti-Trump messages. 'Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose,' Trump's lawyers wrote." Absolutely chilling.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Nick Penzenstadler, Steve Reilly, and John Kelly at USA Today: Trump Condos Worth $250 Million Pose Potential Conflict. "USA TODAY spent four months cataloging every property Trump's companies own across the country. Reporters found that Trump's companies are sitting on at least $250 million of individual properties in the USA alone. Property records show Trump's trust and his companies own at least 422 luxury condos and penthouses from New York City to Las Vegas, 12 mansion lots on bluffs overlooking his golf course on the Pacific Ocean, and dozens more smaller pieces of real estate. The properties range in value from about $200,000 to $35 million each. Unlike developments where Trump licenses his name to a separate developer for a flat fee, profits from selling individual properties directly owned by his companies ultimately enrich him personally."

Margaret Hartmann at New York Mag: The U.S. May Be Preparing to Charge WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. "On Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring criminal charges against members of WikiLeaks, while CNN said they have already prepared charges against Assange. As CNN explained, the Obama administration had decided to hold off on prosecuting Assange because they could not figure out how to go after him without targeting mainstream outlets that publish classified information."

(I have no love for Assange, who is currently hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid rape charges in Sweden, but I do have serious questions about whether the Trump administration is orchestrating this as part of their war on the free press, to set a dangerous precedent regarding publication of classified info, as well as whether they have an interest in getting Assange out of reach of European Union officials who may have questions for him about Russian collusion.)

Taegan Goddard at Political Wire: U.S. Moves Towards Imposing Steel Tariffs. "'The U.S. has set the stage for a global showdown over steel, launching a national security investigation that could lead to sweeping tariffs on steel imports in what would be the first significant act of economic protectionism by [Donald] Trump,' the Financial Times reports. 'The decision to use a 1962 law allowing the US government to limit imports that threaten its security readiness is intended to deliver on Mr Trump's campaign promises to bolster heavy industry and 'put new American steel into the spine of this country'… But it risks setting off trade tensions with China just days after Mr Trump avoided another conflict by backing down on a promise to label Beijing a currency manipulator, citing in part its help in dealing with North Korea.'"

[CN: Transphobia; homophobia] Sheri Swokowski at the Washington Post: Trump's Anti-LGBT Army Secretary Nominee Thinks Veterans Like Me Have 'a Disease'. "Like Mark Green—[Donald] Trump's nominee for secretary of the Army—I served my country in uniform. I was proud to be an infantry officer and retired honorably after 34 years. But as a transgender member of the military, I hid my authentic self for decades to continue serving the country I love. Unlike Green, I was forced to serve in silence the entire time, but I won't be silent now. I respect his Iraq War service as an Army flight surgeon, but the disrespect—the bigotry—he's shown over and over toward the LGBT community, including LGBT service members, doesn't reflect the spirit or direction of the military I know. Rather, his selection reflects poorly on the president and our armed forces. He's the wrong choice to be Army secretary."

[CN: War on agency; disablism] Sharona Coutts at Rewire: Trump Administration at Odds with Scientists and Advocates. "Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price is connected to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, an extreme libertarian doctors group that espouses many of the lies about abortion safety long rejected by the medical and scientific communities. In the current edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the group once again lends support to the myth that abortion causes breast cancer, calling induced abortion 'conducive to breast cancer.' In the past, the group has taken outlandish positions on many issues, falsely claiming that unauthorized immigrants caused an outbreak of leprosy in the United States; that vaccines are linked to autism; and casting doubt over whether HIV causes AIDS."

[CN: Nativism] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: Torn Apart: The American Families Hit by Trump's Immigration Crackdown. "'Bad hombres.' Those are the people Donald Trump says he is targeting for deportation under his immigration policy—the people he calls 'illegal aliens,' the gangbangers, violent criminals, and drug dealers who threaten public safety and undermine national security. But a very different pattern is emerging on the ground. In communities from Maryland to California and Oregon, immigration lawyers are reporting that individuals are being picked up with minimal or no criminal records who pose no risk at all to anyone. More than 90% of removal proceedings initiated in the first two months of the Trump administration have been against people who have committed no crime at all other than to be living in the country without permission."

[CN: Homophobia] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Family Research Council: Gay Witches Are Secretly Running Washington, D.C. "Hate group the Family Research Council (FRC) has come out with some awful nonsense over the years but group 'senior fellow' Robert Maginnis has possibly reached maximum stupid by suggesting that Washington, D.C., is run by evil gay witches." I wish!

[CN: Environmental racism] Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: Montana Tribes Want Keystone XL away from Their Drinking Water. "The 1,179-mile long pipeline is set to cross west of the reservation on the Missouri River—the same body of water the Sioux people fought to protect against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Fort Peck Indian Reservation's only source of fresh water, from an intake plant, sits downstream. People on the reservation used to pull groundwater from their own wells. ...'Oh, what the hell, just do it to the Indians: I'm afraid that's just a lot of people's attitudes,' said Margaret Abbott, who lives on the reservation, to Rolling Stone."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Mark Hensch at the Hill: RNC Raises Record-Setting $41.5M Haul. "The Republican National Committee on Friday announced it raised $41.5 million in the first three months of 2017, its strongest-ever total for the first quarter following a presidential race. 'Our record-setting fundraising pace has been fueled by grassroots enthusiasm for [Donald] Trump and the Republican Party,' RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement."

In other words: Republicans are definitely okay with all of the horrors detailed above, and in all the previous daily installments of this series. In fact, not only are they okay with it; they're forking over record amounts of cash to keep the hits coming. Sob.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Open Wide...

"It's a choice and that was the choice I made."

I once wrote that my favorite celebrity couple was always Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks (I'm old), because I loved the way Anne Bancroft talked about their marriage: "When I hear his key in the lock at night my heart starts to beat faster. I'm just so happy he's coming home. We have so much fun." And this: "I'd never had so much pleasure with another human being. It was that simple."

Because Iain and I are a different-sex couple, who don't have any truck for traditional gender roles, who regard each other as equals, and who made the choice not to parent, there aren't a lot of visible representations of marriages like ours. I'm a lot more likely to hear jokes about "ball-busting" and field expressions of shock if I mention Iain vacuuming, or read complaints about how couples like us are "selfish" for not having children, than I am to see or read anything that positively reflects our lives back to us.

So, like Bancroft and Brooks, I always enjoy hearing Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, talk about her relationship of 48 years with her husband Jeffrey. This interview is particularly good, as she also spoke about their choice not to parent.

Ina Garten and her husband Jeffrey have one of the most coveted marriages on television. Over the course of 48 years together, they've shared laughs, love, and not to mention very good food, but the pair decided early on that they wouldn't share kids together.

"We decided not to have children," the Food Network star says in a new episode of the Katie Couric Podcast airing on Thursday. "I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to but it was a choice I made very early. I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I've had. So it's a choice and that was the choice I made."
I love that she says, matter-of-factly, that parenting is a choice, and her choice was not to parent. No excuses or caveats. That's it and that's all.

I also love that she acknowledges the life she has led would have not have been possible if she had had children, which is something that resonates strongly with me. My life, and my work, would be profoundly different if I had not had the choice not to parent.

In the same interview, she also said this, on the success of her and Jeffrey's lasting relationship: "The secret is that you just take care of each other and admire each other and support each other and you get that back."

That resonates with me, too. ♥

image of Ina and Jeffrey, cuddling

I appreciate Ina Garten's willingness to publicly share pieces of their relationship with us. I know, from my own experience, that the cost of doing that can be steep. There are a lot of people who are extraordinarily eager to respond with cruelty—especially when you are a fat woman talking about sustained, fulfilling romantic love, which fat women aren't supposed to have.

Her words are validating for those of us who have a relationship that might look a little bit like theirs, and, for those who might like to have a relationship like that one day, are a fine model of what can be.

That is no small thing in this world.

Open Wide...

Republicans Fast-Track Second Try at Destroying Healthcare Access

Paige Winfield Cunningham, Kelsey Snell, and John Wagner at the Washington Post: White House Turns up Heat on Congress to Revise the Affordable Care Act.

Trump is pushing Congress toward another dramatic showdown over the Affordable Care Act, despite big outstanding obstacles to a beleaguered revision plan and a high-stakes deadline next week to keep the government running.
"Big outstanding obstacles." Well, that's polite, lol! Those obstacles include the fact that the plan is garbage, there's likely no more support for this iteration than the last one which failed, and the ridiculously fast pace means that the people who would be voting on it don't even know how much the plan would cost or what its effects would be:
Several congressional GOP aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about the ongoing negotiations, said they worry that the rushed process threatens to create another embarrassing public failure over health care. The schedule would also make it nearly impossible for lawmakers to finish their work in time for official scorekeepers to provide a clear estimate of how much the legislation would cost or how it would affect coverage numbers.
It's not like slowing things down would translate into the Republicans devising a better plan. They've had seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, so another month (or two, or a hundred) wouldn't yield a better healthcare access policy from a party that regards healthcare access as a privilege. But it would at least provide the space for critical facts about that plan to be assessed, so legislators wouldn't be ludicrously asked to vote on a massive piece of legislation about which they don't even know the most fundamental details.

But Donald Trump, who, despite tweeting this morning that the first 100 days is a "ridiculous standard" by which to evaluate the success of a new presidency, desperately wants to be able to claim a major success within that timeframe.
The effort reflects Trump's sense of urgency to score a victory on Obamacare replacement and move on to other legislative objectives, notably tax restructuring. Passing an Affordable Care Act revision would also allow the president to show progress toward a major campaign promise as he completes his first 100 days in office.

"The plan gets better and better and better, and it's gotten really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot," Trump said at a news conference Thursday. "We have a good chance of getting it soon. I'd like to say next week, but we will get it."
President Unity does not understand, or care, that this push will dramatically increase the likelihood of a government shutdown, which will be another colossal mess on his already splattered record of failure.
Democrats have so far been willing to work with Republicans to avoid a government shutdown, but any effort to schedule a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act could destroy those talks and threaten a government shutdown that Republicans have vowed to avoid.

"There isn't going to be a warm, fuzzy feeling," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) said of the impact a health-care repeal effort would have on spending talks.

Congress has five days next week to pass a spending bill, a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be nearly impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation. Several Republican and Democratic aides said there is a chance that both parties could agree to pass a very short-lived spending bill — one that kept the government open one week, for instance — to give negotiators time to carefully complete a broader spending agreement. But Democrats are already warning that they could walk away if GOP leaders push for repeal.

"It doesn't really bode well in terms of negotiating with us that they're going to try to push off the vote on the [spending bill] to accommodate them on a bill we think is disastrous," Crowley said.
Trump's position: "I think we want to keep the government open, don't you agree? So I think we'll get both." He is living in a fantasy world.

A dark, gruesome fantasy world in which healthcare access is not a right, and where presidents don't care about killing their citizens so long as it gets them a good headline.

Open Wide...

Bernie Sanders, My Autonomy Is Not Negotiable

As Aphra_Behn reported on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders, in his capacity as co-chair of Democratic outreach, said flatly of Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff: "He's not a progressive," while declaring as "progressive" Nebraska Democrat Heath Mello, despite the fact that Mello has sponsored legislation that would restrict abortion rights.

Yesterday, Sanders defended that position to NPR Politics:

Sanders pushed back against the criticism. "The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That's what politics is about," Sanders told NPR.

"If we are going to protect a woman's right to choose, at the end of the day we're going to need Democratic control over the House and the Senate, and state governments all over this nation," he said. "And we have got to appreciate where people come from, and do our best to fight for the pro-choice agenda. But I think you just can't exclude people who disagree with us on one issue."
This is absolutely incredible. After holding Ossoff to a litmus test on vaguely defined "economic issues," he gives Mello a pass on abortion rights because there are candidates "who may not agree with [him] on every issue."

Economic issues are non-negotiable, but abortion is. It's just "one issue."

Bernie Sanders does not have the right to casually negotiate away my bodily autonomy. But he believes he does—no less under the auspices of centering economic issues as paramount, despite the fact that control over our reproduction is a crucial economic issue for women. Indeed, our self-determination regarding reproductive choices is the key indicator of women's financial security.

That Sanders fails to regard reproductive rights as a central economic issue is perfectly, terribly reflective of his comprehensive failure of intersectional analysis and policy.

That is the problem that I, and many others, have had with Sanders all along.

This isn't just an issue of Sanders prioritizing reproductive rights over economic issues: It's an issue of Sanders failing to understand, or acknowledge, that reproductive rights is a key economic issue.

Either he doesn't understand that, or he simply doesn't care, because it isn't a key economic issue for (cis) men.

And if Sanders were just another old dosey relic quickly approaching the end of an inglorious political career, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But he isn't. He is operating in an official Democratic Party capacity (a decision by the Democrats almost as inexplicable as allowing him to run as a Democrat in the first place).

Further to that, he has positioned himself as the arbiter of What Is Progressive. And treating women's autonomy, agency, consent, and very equality under the law as negotiable is a colossally retrogressive position. It is the opposite of progressive.

I am angry that Sanders is obliging me to fight against his profoundly unprogressive ideas, when I've got enough to fucking worry about fighting against Trump and the rest of the dirtbags in the Republican Party.

And I am angry that the Democrats, in continuing to give a platform to these garbage ideas, is shitting all over the work Hillary Clinton busted her ass doing to activate 10 million new Democrats who I'm guessing won't compromise on women's personhood, since they supported the candidate who was vocal and unyielding in her support of reproductive rights.

Any movement that wants to redefine "progressive" in a way that deprioritizes women's personhood is a movement of which I want no part.

Bernie Sanders' "progressivism" is toxic. The Democratic leadership needs to wake up to that reality, and fast.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a pink couch

Hosted by a pink sofa. Have a seat and chat.

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker yes: "What are your favorite fermented foods? Have you ever tried making your own?"

Open Wide...

Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

Open Wide...


My horseshit-o-meter had already reached maximum NOPE with the "Hillary Was a Weak Candidate" chorus (worst chorus ever—every song is the same one note) when I saw this item:

Only that, plus additional Russian interference, plus a hostile media who couldn't stop talking about her fucking emails, plus James Comey, plus a heaping fuckload of misogyny.

Actually, don't.

Open Wide...

I Don't Like Bernie Sanders and I Don't Even Get What He's Talking About

Hey, ya crew of feminist howler monkeys! It's me, Butch Pornstache, here to lay down some totally trenchant man-wisdom for your brains. (YOU'RE WELCOME!)

I know last time I said I would talk about Donald Trump next time I graced you with my presence, but first I got some shit to get off my chest about Bernie Sanders.

Namely, I need this guy to stop being a tool, because I'm getting real tired of listening to my ex-wife/fiancée Tammy and my stepmom Cheryl screaming about him all the time like a bunch of angry feminist bats.

And before you all start screaming at me like a bunch of angry feminist bats, no, I do not mean tool like a euphemism for man-meat (LADIES), because I know that gendered insults are not allowed here. (And how I know that is because I really, really wanted to title this post "Bernie Sanders Is a Dick," but Liss wouldn't let me.)

I mean tool like an actual tool. Specifically, a broken plunger.

Because right now, based on my knowledge gleaned from all the high-volume complaining in my house, politics are pretty messed up for people who aren't in my straight white dude group. Like, Trump won, and he hates people with identities, and then he picked a bunch of straight white dudes who also hate people with identities to help him run the country (INTO THE GROUND), and now a bunch of liberal bozos who should know better are like WE HAVE TO HATE PEOPLE WITH IDENTITIES, TOO or something.

Basically, it's like a blocked-up toilet that just keeps overflowing with turds, and Bernie Sanders is like, "Hey, I can fix it!" but he doesn't fix it, because he's a broken plunger that doesn't unclog anything and just gets more shit everywhere.

(That analogy is elegant as hell. Sometimes I really impress myself.)

And, hey, we can't all be plungers, man. But there was a super dorky plunger that also WORKED REAL GOOD and Bernie Sanders screamed in its face about how it was an establishment plunger and now THERE ARE NO WORKING PLUNGERS and my entire bathroom is covered in butt-mud!

Anyways. As a reformed Tea Bagger who has become "moderately more sympathetic," as I heard Tammy telling her mom on the phone (I also give her fewer "terrible bargain days" now, whatever that means), and a proud white working class man who runs my own business (HAPPY 420), I am apparently the sort of dude that Sanders wants to bring into his revolution. COOL. It's nice to be wanted. Amirite, ladies?

But, for real, man, I hate the dude. Every time I see him, he's screaming about millionaires and billionaires, and I guess most millionaires and billionaires are assholes and whatnot, but what does that have to do with the fact that I gotta drive about a jillion miles next week so my cousin Sheila can get an abortion because her deadbeat boyfriend doesn't give her money for the two kids they already have?

I don't even understand what Bernie Sanders is talking about, and I sure don't like being yelled at by a grumpy fart who would probably turn up his nose if I offered him some of my homemade hotdog chili.

Why is he yelling all the time? Is he selling something? He makes me feel like I'm watching a late-night infomercial on breaking up the banks. "And if you call RIGHT NOW, you will get YUUUUUUGE savings! For a limited time only, we can break up TWO banks for the price of one!" God, break 'em up, just leave me out of it!

Or don't break 'em up! I don't know! I don't have any idea how that's supposed to help me, anyways!

And I'm pretty sure if I tried to ask him, it'd be like that time I asked a dude at the library where I might find a book about krav maga, and he got SUPER PISSED because he didn't even work there. Like I'm supposed to know which white-haired dudes with glasses work at the library and which ones are just there to check out Kathy Ireland: Total Fitness Workout on VHS so they can "do aerobics" to it.

I guess what I'm saying, to put it in language you snowflakes will understand, is that I just don't find Bernie Sanders very "accessible" or "relatable." Or "nice."

Forget his politics (I already have), the guy just seems like an ass. I bet if the tire on my BMX chubbed out on me and I was stranded on the side of the road, he wouldn't even stop to help. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who would pull over and definitely try to do something, even though I wouldn't want her to risk getting covered in road dust, because those coats of hers are fucking beautiful, man.

She'd probably whip a tire pump out of her pocket, or tell me IT TAKES A VILLAGE and rally 9,000 townsfolk to help blow up my tire, so I could make it home and get back to the important business of listening to my books on tape. (Yes, I READ.) (LADIES.)

Maybe that's unfair. Bernie might at least stop to tell me he'd give me some free college.

I just don't dig how he doesn't seem to like anyone or anything. It was pretty obvious that he hated the shit outta Hillary. And I am about ten thousand times stupider and ten million times more likely to spill nacho cheese on your couch than she is, so if he didn't like her, he definitely wouldn't like me.

Or pretty much anyone I know.

And, listen, Tammy and Cheryl hate it when I tell them I'm learning—and they want me to tell you that's not because they don't want me to learn, but because they want me to learn without telling them I'm learning, especially when I say it like GAWD I'M LEARNING every time I fuck up—but I am learning, in spite of my resistance (#RESIST) to all of you femifarts and your femifarty ways. And one of the things I've learned is that I don't know shit.

I thought I knew basically everything, but it turns out you can live a damn long time without knowing much about a lot of stuff that matters to a whole lot of other people if you're a straight white dude.

I bet you didn't even know that! Now YOU'RE learning something! The student has become the teacher!

And learning shit means listening to people (NOT A FAN) who know more than you do about their own lives. That is what I have discovered, after Tammy and Cheryl pointed it out to me on many different occasions.

If you can turn off The Big Bang Theory (HA HA NERDS) and listen for two seconds, as has been repeatedly recommended to me, you find out that people have a lot of interesting stuff to tell you, even if they didn't support Bernie Sanders.

Which seems like a weird litmus test (SCIENCE) to me, anyhow. It seems to me it should take more than that to be considered "a progressive." Like, if I said right now, "I love Bernie!" I would be a progressive, but all of you dorks wouldn't be? Zounds! Go directly to PROGRESSIVE and collect $200!

Something ain't right about that.

I don't know, man. Basically, Bernie just seems like a real jerkturkey to me. Plus he's making Tammy and Cheryl lose their shit on the daily, which is some crap I don't need in my life when I'm trying to improve myself so that I'm not the one making them lose their shit on the daily, so I really wish he'd just shut the fuck up and go away.

Pornstache: OUT.

Open Wide...

Quote of the Day

"I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power."—Attorney General Jeff Sessions, referring to a judge in Hawaii blocking Donald Trump's Muslim ban executive order.

Got that? The Attorney General of the United States just referred to Hawaii, a U.S. state since 1959, as "an island in the Pacific."

Holy lord.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting and looking up at me with puppy-dog eyes
Know who's a good girl? THIS DOG.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 91

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: The GOP Has a New Plan to Destroy Obamacare; It's Even Crueler Than the Last One.
Now Republicans are indeed set to introduce the new plan, multiple reports tell us. And judging by a new study set to be released today, it is even crueler than the last GOP plan: The study finds premiums would likely soar for the sick, probably pushing them off coverage.

...It allows states to seek a waiver to get rid of the Affordable Care Act's prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, on the condition that states set up or participate in high-risk pools that would help cover any of those people who lose insurance.

...But the waiver on prohibitions against jacking up premiums for people with preexisting conditions — which is called "community rating" — is a major problem. It would smack them with far more in premiums — potentially pushing them off coverage entirely.

The liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) conducted a new study — set to be released later today — on how much these premiums might soar for people with various preexisting ailments. The "surcharge" represents additional premium charges that insurers are projected to add to coverage of each condition, and the numbers are eye-popping.

...Meanwhile, the new GOP plan would keep in place the old plan's phase-out of the Medicaid expansion, which would itself result in 14 million fewer people on Medicaid, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
This is just unreal. They took a hideously cruel plan and made it even crueler.

Trump is reportedly determined to get this done in the next ten days in order to have a major "first 100 days" accomplishment, and the Republicans in Congress are eager to deliver one for him. They're also undoubtedly keen to not have a second major failure on healthcare. So there's a lot of reason to believe this shit could pass.

I am very fearful and very angry. Prepare to start making lots and lots of calls to your reps. Again.

* * *

Ju-min Park at Reuters: North Korea Warns of 'Super-Mighty Preemptive Strike' as U.S. Plans Next Move. "North Korean state media warned the United States of a 'super-mighty preemptive strike' after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme. ...The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, did not mince its words. 'In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,' it said."

Michelle Ye Hee Lee at the Washington Post: Trump's Claim That Korea 'Actually Used to Be a Part of China'. "Trump's inartful retelling of Sino-Korean history sparked widespread outrage among Koreans, who are particularly sensitive to the U.S. president's rhetoric amid heightened tensions between North and South Korea. Leaders across the political spectrum criticized Trump's characterization, calling it a clear distortion of history and an attempt to undermine Korean sovereignty."

Everything is fine.

* * *

Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay, and John Walcott at Reuters: Putin-Linked Think Tank Drew Up Plan to Sway 2016 U.S. Election. "A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters' faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters. They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, after the election. The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin's office."

Edward-Isaac Dovere, Eric Geller, and Matthew Nussbaum at Politico: Trump Blows His Deadline on Anti-Hacking Plan. "President-elect Donald Trump was very clear: 'I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office,' he said in January, after getting a U.S. intelligence assessment of Russian interference in last year's elections and promising to address cybersecurity. Thursday, Trump hits his 90-day mark. There is no team, there is no plan, and there is no clear answer from the White House on who would even be working on what." Of course there isn't. Because he doesn't give a flying fuck about the Russian interference that helped him get elected, except insofar as he definitely appreciates the assist.

Ed Kilgore at New York Mag: Trump's Ego Could Cause a Government Shutdown. "'The White House, under internal pressure to show legislative achievements ahead of the 100-day mark, is gearing up for a government shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers, and a bigger military, according to White House and congressional sources familiar with the plan.' ...Border-wall funding is one of several 'poison pills' congressional Democrats have signaled might justify a Senate filibuster, gridlock, and a government shutdown."

[Content Note: War on agency] Teddy Wilson at Rewire: Texas GOP Uses Budget Tricks to Boost Funding for Anti-Choice Clinics. "Texas Right to Life, the state's most prominent and well-funded anti-choice lobby, reportedly collaborated this month with GOP members of the Texas House to funnel millions to fake clinics through the 'Alternatives to Abortion' (A2A) program, diverting funds for families with low incomes along the way. With the two-year budget passed April 7, the A2A program is now set to receive even more state funding than [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R)] proposed, while critics accuse the program of funding organizations that use deceptive and manipulative practices to further a religious and ideological agenda." Seethe.

[CN: Misogyny] Matt Shuham at TPM: Senate Judiciary Chair: 'I Would Expect' a Supreme Court Vacancy This Summer. "The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday that he expected a new vacancy to open on the Supreme Court within months. 'I would expect a resignation this summer,' Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said at a National Association of Manufacturers event in Muscatine, Iowa, the Muscatine Journal reported. Grassley made the comment in response to a question about the court during a Q&A at the event, according to the paper. He said a resignation was 'rumored,' and that he expected [Donald] Trump's next nominee to the high court to be picked from the same list as Justice Neil Gorsuch. 'I don't know about racial and ethnic divisions, but there's some very good females on there that would make good Supreme Court Justices as well,' he said, according to the paper." Females. JFC.

[CN: Racism; anti-Black slur] Jamil Smith at MTV: Systemic Racism, Still a Thing. "This kind of bigotry is both ethereal and tangible, and it is all around us. When racism shows up in our laws, that's worse than a thousand people calling us 'niggers.' The president's Muslim travel ban and harsh immigration enforcement are good examples of bigotry manifesting in our public policy, but for once, Trump isn't even the most worrisome politician in his own administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is putting in some real work at the moment to show just how racist a government can be in the modern era. The late civil rights activist Coretta Scott King warned us of Sessions's impulse to disregard the civil rights of African-Americans, and his tenure thus far shows that she was right: Whether it's withdrawing opposition to discriminatory state voter-identification laws or calling for a new War on Drugs (especially marijuana) to feed private and public prisons, Sessions has seized the power of the state to exacerbate racial inequality and stagnate progressive measures to fight it."

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock Visited Trump in the White House and Mocked Hillary Clinton's Portrait. And took pictures, which Palin posted to her social media accounts. Fuck all of these people. Deplorable.

Meanwhile, from the liberal side of the celebrity aisle and in good news resistance: Bruce Springsteen Releases New Anti-Trump Protest Song with Joe Grushecky. "Bruce Springsteen has reunited with longtime collaborator and Houserockers frontman Joe Grushecky for an anti-Trump protest song, 'That's What Makes Us Great.'" Boom.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Open Wide...

Where's Obama?

Where in the world is President Obama? I don't mean where he is, literally. As far as I know, he's still on a beautiful island somewhere, writing a book, taking breaks to hang-glide through the arches of rainbows and ride a unicorn to a clear, temperate pool of restorative elixir that will return a dozen of the 20 years of life he lost trying to run this country while being haunted by the specter of a grim-faced Mitch McConnell mouthing the words "No chance" and reeking of sulfur.

I mean where he is in the discussions of the future of the Democratic Party. Three months ago, he left office a popular president with significant policy achievements under his belt, having made history and rescued the nation from the brink of economic collapse.

But, to listen to a number of the folks talking about the future of the Democratic Party, you'd think we'd been in the wilderness for decades. You wouldn't think we were three months past a successful, two-term Democratic presidency.

Where is the deservedly proud boasting about his accomplishments? Where are the (should be) incessant reminders of what a vastly superior administration he oversaw, compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office?

It seems a curious omission.

Until one considers the confounding decision among party leadership to elevate Bernie Sanders, who isn't even a Democrat and lost to Hillary Clinton in a primary, as the standard-bearer for the party, while treating Clinton, who beat Trump by 3 million votes in the general election, like she's radioactive.

Obama has become very inconvenient for a lot of Democrats. Because we all know Clinton was going to be a president very much like he was—and if they say anything positive about him or his presidency, it exposes that the primary objection to Clinton wasn't. fucking. policy.

They're effectively disowning the nation's first Black president in order to conceal their misogyny toward the party's first woman nominee.

And still they wonder why some of us are getting itchy about the direction the party seems to be headed. Ahem.

Open Wide...

Trump's Deeply Dishonest Promise to the Working Class

This piece, "Fake Working Class," by Jamelle Bouie at Slate is so, so good. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:

Retail jobs aren't good jobs, per se; on average, they pay little, provide few benefits, and are notoriously unstable. But roughly 1 in every 10 Americans works in retail, which means millions rely on the industry for their livelihoods. As the Times notes, "The job losses in retail could have unexpected social and political consequences, as huge numbers of low-wage retail employees become economically unhinged, just as manufacturing workers did in recent decades."

Despite this ongoing challenge and threat to millions of ordinary Americans, Washington is silent. What makes this even more striking is it comes at a time when politicians—and a multitude of voices in national media—are preoccupied with the prospects of blue-collar whites and the future of the Rust Belt. That contrast exists for several reasons, not the least of which is a simple one: Who does retail work in this country versus who does manufacturing work.

For those in the latter group, mostly white and mostly male, Donald Trump made their anger, anxiety, and identity the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, promising restoration through better "deals" and aggressive action against foreigners and perceived others.

...In terms of attention, these workers punch far above their weight class. They constitute a small portion of the American workforce, and yet, elite journalists devote countless words to their lives and communities, while politicians use them and their priorities as a platform for performing authenticity. For those in and around politics, one's connection to "real America" is often judged by one's proximity to these workers and their concerns. Which raises a question: Why them and not those retail workers who face an equally (if not more) precarious future?

...Retail work in malls and shopping centers and department stores is largely work done by women. Of the nearly 6 million people who work in those fields in stores like Sears, Michaels, Target, J.C. Penney, and Payless, close to 60 percent are women. There's another issue to consider. A substantial portion of these workers—roughly 40 percent across the different kinds of retail—are black, Latino, or Asian American.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't disaggregate this data by race and gender, but it's likely that a large number of those nonwhite workers—if not a majority—are women too. By contrast, heavy manufacturing, industrial, and extraction work is overwhelmingly white and male.
Trump cares so little about working class (and often working poor) retail workers, who are disproportionately women of color, that he doesn't even bother to offer them lipservice about "bringing back" their jobs, as they are lost in droves to online shopping.

Were he obliged to comment, he would almost certainly give them the same line of garbage that he gives to mostly white men in blue-collar jobs: He will make great deals! Their jobs are coming back!

This is a lie. It's a lie he only bothers to tell to the segments of the population who he believes deserve his recognition. But it is still a lie.

Retail jobs are being lost to automation via online shopping. Service jobs are being lost to automation via self-serve kiosks, even in restaurants, where touch-screen order interfaces are popping up where waitstaff used to be. Manufacturing jobs are being lost to automation via robots.

Automation is the word that Donald Trump dare not say. Because jobs that have been made redundant by technologies that are cheaper than paying human beings are never coming back.

Once upon a time, if you called any one of your utility companies, for example, a person would answer the phone. These operators, who were almost exclusively women, would talk to you, assess to whom you needed to speak, and connect you. Many years ago, they were replaced with automated directories, that eventually became the frustrating, labyrinthine series of selections we are obliged to make before we can speak to an actual human, if we ever even get there.

That people hated these automated directories, and bitterly complain about them still, has not inspired companies across the land to declare them a failed experiment and rehire human operators.

That is but one example of many. Trump isn't going to "bring back" operator jobs, and anyone who even made such a request would be laughed out of the room, because we all understand that they are well and truly obsolete.

Right now, millions of Americans are working in jobs that will succumb to that same obsolescence, sooner rather than later.

When Hillary Clinton acknowledged this reality, saying that coal mining jobs would have to be replaced with jobs in the renewable energy industry, she was attacked and obliged to apologize. For telling the truth.

Trump simply tells lies that people want to hear, and makes promises he can't possibly keep.

And meanwhile does nothing in order to prevent future job losses. Getting back to Bouie's article, that inaction will have catastrophic consequences for retail workers, who, by virtue of low wages, are incredibly more likely to be unable to weather long-term unemployment than workers in many other industries.

"Beautiful trade deals" won't save retail jobs. So what is Trump's plan for this significant portion of the American workforce?

Nothing but continued indifference.

Open Wide...

Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing?

That is just a real thing that Bernie Sanders tweeted last night.

I have a number of problems with that sentiment, starting with this:

A number of people responded to that tweet by letting me know that I'm an asshole for not being grateful that people are getting engaged. I mean, sure, better late than never—but, no, I am not grateful.

I have zero ounces of gratitude for people who weren't moved to "fight back" by police brutality, or an unprecedented erosion of reproductive rights, or a legislative assault on trans people, or mass incarceration, or the rollback of voting rights, or ICE raids, or environmental racism, or pay inequality, or housing discrimination, or predatory lending, or the death penalty, or rape culture, or school privatization, or the racial wealth gap, or endemic food insecurity, or drug testing welfare recipients, or disablist "wellness" programs, or lead contamination, or LGBTQ employment discrimination, or deadly fat hatred in healthcare, or any one of eleventy-seven other social justice issues that did not directly affect them so inescapably that they had no choice but to be politically active and "fight back."

If my insufficient gratitude to people who only decided to get in the game once a fascist was elected makes me an asshole, so be it. I'm an asshole.

I am also an asshole who is willing to work with people who are only now joining the fight.

But I'm never going to be grateful to people whose indifference until this point abetted the very horrors that now move them to action.

Especially since, in my experience so far, many of these newly-activated folks are: 1. Willing to compromise on many of the above-listed issues, dismissing them as "identity politics"; 2. Practicing purity politics using metrics that deprioritize commitment to social justice; 3. Uninterested in listening to activists and advocates who have been engaged for a very long time, and whose expertise includes best practices and tested strategies, particularly on the local level, where what works somewhere else may be counterproductive in another place.

The ubiquitous certitude of many of the newly-activated that they know best, the shocking willingness to shout down and lecture and dismiss out of hand people who have been here a minute, is not neutral. It is actively harmful to progress.

There has been very little public conversation about supporting existing organizations and communities, who have long been in the trenches. To the absolute contrary, Sanders has said that leadership of major existing advocacy groups are part of "the establishment" which has failed to achieve meaningful progress and must be upended. Suggesting that these groups are ineffective, as opposed to acknowledging that progress can take decades of dedicated and inglorious work, misdirects newly engaged people.

A number of existing local organizations across the country have suddenly found themselves in competition for resources with newly-formed orgs being run by people who don't know what they're doing and didn't bother to reach out to seasoned advocates to find out where they could be most helpful, instead assuming that, since progress hasn't been achieved yet, no one must be doing anything, or doing anything effective.

I am grateful for people who have become activated and take the time to find out how they can best support existing activism, before assuming it doesn't exist. I am not grateful for people who have been "woke" for a hot second, are armed with a hatred of some nebulous "establishment," and thus disdain anyone who has been engaged for a very long time.

And I'm certainly not going to agree that the Trump administration's visible and relentless assault on vulnerable people and our very democracy has some value in activating people who I'm meant to understand wouldn't have found inspiration in a female president breaking down the barriers Trump is busily reinforcing.

I don't find anything good in the message that harm is motivating, while harm mitigation is a fucking snooze.

That is a particularly curious message coming from Sanders, whose central argument for how he would govern, had he been elected, in spite of Republican obstructionism, was that he would bring with him a movement of millions of engaged supporters:
"I don't have any illusion that I'm going to walk in—and I certainly hope it is not the case, but if there is a Republican House and a Republican Senate—that I'm going to walk in there and say, 'Hey guys, listen. I'd like you to work with me on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.' It ain't gonna happen, I have no illusion about that. The only way that I believe that change takes place…is that tens of millions of people are going to have to stand up and be involved in the political process the day after the election."
If Sanders believes that he could have and would have inspired millions of people to "stand up and be involved" after the election, then there is, quite literally, no silver lining to Trump doing the same.

If it would have happened either way, then the fact it is egregious abuses underwriting increased political engagement is a terrible shame, not a silver lining.

Open Wide...

Back |