Daily Archives: April 20, 2017

Socialist Distortion

I’m not a lefty who will shrink from the socialist label. Modern right-wingers have made it into a smear, a detraction from someone’s character. They’ve been aided by a historical fear of just about anything progressive in this country. You name it- women’s rights, black rights, anarchism, the antiwar movement, communism, socialism, labor reform, anything that threatened the status quo and the Establishment was there to squash and scatter it. Yesterday’s Establishment runs a direct line to today’s conservatism.

People like to pretend we are a pluralistic society but those of us who think differently about the way things are and should be know better. It’s benefits are primarily skewed towards white, Christian, petit-bourgeois males. Doubtless there are a number of other intersectionalities that are also in play but those are the main oppressive forces in America.

Socialism is so unpopular, we only have one person who will admit to being a socialist in the United States Congress. And perhaps it’s no longer as much a dirty word as it used to be, considering the run he had against Hillary Clinton. There is hope upon the horizon. Our new voters’ minds are more open and they aren’t as afraid as we X’ers are. Their music tastes are execrable but their political proclivities are A-OK with me.

But anyway, this is not about millenials, intersectionality, or even socialism per se. I tend to ramble before I get to a point. If you are reading this, you are used to it and excuse me with kindness.

This is, however, about Bernie Sanders and how he needs to shut the fuck up and ride into the sunset.

Let’s put aside that I was on Team Clinton. No, let’s not. I chose Clinton because I felt that most people weren’t quite ready for what Bernie called a revolution, which wasn’t all that revolutionary (hard-core socialists think he’s a fraud). You see, in America the principle of mutual aid does not hold as much weight as the principle of self-reliance. What’s funny is that without the mutual aid we do offer each other, there would be no one who thinks they are self-reliant. Rugged individualism is romantic fiction, a remnant from a bygone frontier era that there’s no need to go back to.

Anyway, Bernie wanted to pull a lot of stops out, trumpeting trillions in new spending and bold legislation to immediately improve the lives of the average American, which you would think was a good thing but helping people through politics is a tough row to hoe in a country full of people who only think about themselves. Clinton was more of a gradualist, which I felt was more saleable to potential GOP allies and to a public wary of the sea change Sanders was proposing. So I went with my head instead of my heart, practicality over ideals. I saw the GOP Frankenstein that became Donald Trump and I couldn’t allow it to get near the office of the president so I picked who I thought was the safe bet.

Someone evidently thought that a woman with brains and balls was threatening and conspired to have her destroyed by innuendo, guilt by association and whispers, though. Enough white Christian petit-bourgeois males were waved off of voting for Clinton in part because of her husband’s peccadilloes and his perceived (real and otherwise) corruption-her ignorance of electronic security was an extension of that corruption. Nevermind all the corruption surrounding Donald Trump-let’s focus on the eeeevil Clinton (who we can’t separate from her husband because we’re sexist pigs!!!). And then you had someone like Trump on the other side of the ledger who somehow tapped into a wellspring of really heady hate and resentment that the WCPBMs were harboring. I did not see this perfect storm coming, and perhaps my head was wrong in that respect. Even though she technically won the election, she was not able to prop up the blue wall in the northwest which had been economically hollowed out when the industrial revolution packed up and went to east Asia.

I thought Sanders would be done in by the fact that he was out as a socialist, and then my jaw dropped to the fucking floor when I witnessed what the Establishment did to Hillary Clinton.

Sanders would have gotten off easy compared to the hatchet job they did on her.

If I had to do it again, I’m not sure what I would do, knowing what I know right now. I believe it is past time for a woman president, but perhaps Hillary was not the right person for the times we live in.

Oops, I did it again. Let’s try one more time to stay OT.

Bernie Sanders needs to shut the fuck up.

He successfully used the Democratic machine to make his bid for nominee while maintaining his Independent (non) affiliation, and now he’s out there questioning Democratic candidate bona fides as if he was never part of it. In the Wall Street Journal, of all fucking places, he does Georgia wunderkind Jon Ossoff no favors by refusing to say whether or not the kid is “progressive”.

If there’s one thing we have learned about Bernie Sanders, it’s that he believes his own hype. He gladly makes bland blanket observations about the divisions in the party he used to get famous-“Some Democrats are progressive and some Democrats are not”. And then instead of giving a smart non-answer answer to a surprise question about Ossoff’s progressiveness from a hostile news outlet, he decided that it was more important to be guileless than to politely decline the ambush. “I don’t know,” he says.

Some help you are, dude.

Listen, Bernie, we need to stick together, and you need to tell your fans the same thing. We need to flip seats-badly-and we don’t have time for purity tests. You leave that bullshit to conservatives, OK? Get on the team or shut up about it. It’s a big deal down here in the South when a seat flips and you should have canned talking points ready when people ask you bullshit questions if you want to continue to be an elder statesman of the lefty movement.

Neil, You’re Missing Something

Far be it from me to delve into the technicalities of a particular piece of jurisprudence.

But as a lay person, I feel I can demur against the judicial reasoning that one part of the first amendment runs roughshod over another.

Antonin Scalia Neil Gorsuch seems to believe that the free exercise clause is of far more import than the establishment clause.

It should be common knowledge by now that the impetus behind the establishment clause was that the State stayed out of the religion business, favoring and endorsing none. Fifteen years after the constitution was authored, President Thomas Jefferson made it clear to the Danbury Baptists that while he respected religious liberty, no special consideration was to be granted to a particular faith as far as the United States government was concerned. That brief 1802 missive heralded the idea of church and state separation. And for the most part, the secularization of our government has prevailed, notwithstanding things like the changes to the pledge of allegiance, annoying non-inclusive invocations before legislative sessions and the god bullshit on our money because of our allergies to any form of economic distribution besides capitalism.

Well, the SCOTUS is about to make a turn for the worse, with Neil Gorsuch leading the way. A case is currently being debated that could expand the definition of “religious liberty” in the law’s eyes . It may now mean that government funding for religious institutions is acceptable because the first amendment guarantees free exercise of religion. Therefore, the withholding of government funds (tax revenue that the church does not contribute to, mind you) because of adherence to the concept of refusal to establish amounts to discrimination against them. The plaintiffs further cite the fourteenth amendment, which as you all know mandates equal treatment under the law. If a public school wants to improve one of their playgrounds with government grant money, they reason, then it’s only fair that a religious institution should be able to have access to those funds as well.

This is very tricky legal jiu-jitsu, blowing off the establishment clause entirely to  accommodate believers. It pits the constitution against itself. If this decision slides rightward, you’re going to start paying for improvements to churches.

It starts with something innocuous like surfacing playgrounds. God only knows how far this can go, because the ineluctable tendency in Christian circles is to push, push and push the envelope.

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