All meaningful discourse dies when supporters of a politician react with duplicitous smear attacks, egregious insults, and high-handed derision against anyone who suggests that their worshiped candidate may not be the second coming of Christ — worse when they do so without even taking a glance at the facts or the reasoning presented in the critique. Those supporters should take a moment to go deep into themselves and recall the principles of decency and integrity which they presumably were once taught in their childhood. After all, what does it suggest about the integrity of said politician when said politician’s supporters fail to show the slightest decency and integrity themselves? How can you assume the moral high ground when you do not even manage to mind your manners?
More importantly, the fact that someone wrote a critique indicates that there could be a problem with said politician, or even with our politics in general. After all, where there is smoke there often is a fire. A boldly titled article by a citizen journalist which challenges widely disseminated assumptions should at least warrant taking a look. Only when we take such a look can we discover if the presented claims are fact or fiction or verify the logic of the presented reasoning. And may I ask how many Americans still believe that our politics are clean or that our corporate media honest? So, how can anybody justify such dismissive smugness?
Finally, how can we ever dig ourselves out of our political and economic mess, which many of us now realize we are in, when a sizable chunk of us absolutely refuses to look at facts and be reasoned with. What chance do we have of making progress if a lot of people absolutely refuse to engage in meaningful discourse? Public discourse is the heart and soul of democracy. We cannot have a democracy when we abandon public discourse in favor of posturing, pontificating, and blind support for politicians who can lead us by the nose with impunity if we refuse to check up on them or fail to think things through.
Killing discourse kills democracy.
To be clear, I am not focused on a particular politician, the way those who have turned their backs on democracy are. Personalities in politics come and go. My focus is on what should be everybody’s priority: our econo-political system which can either allow us to live lives of human dignity and democratic participation, or do the exact opposite: hand all decision making power to a corrupt ruling class — a self-serving minority which ruins our lives, our country, and even our planet for the short term gains of looted wealth while it shoves aside all true human priorities such as health, justice, kindness, friendship, freedom, family, dignity, and even life itself.
Now, if you thought I was talking about Trump when I spoke of a politician who is supported by ill-mannered folks who espouse a complete lack of integrity and decency, I wasn’t (although he and a portion of his supporters do merit such critique). No, sadly, I was forced to once again be thinking of Trump’s November opponent, the historically unpopular candidate who won’t go away: Hillary Clinton. If you haven’t shared my experience with Trumpista-like Hillary supporters who endlessly gaslight others and spew BS and obscenities, then just take a look at the mindless brouhaha (my polite way of saying sh*tstorm) that my well-reasoned article, which speculated about how Hillary would have put many of us politically awakened folks back to sleep, received in a Facebook group which, judging by the name (Over 50 For Bernie Sanders!), purportedly is in favor of Bernie Sanders (and where links to my articles usually get a much better reception). Unfortunately, though, you can’t take that look anymore.
I was going to link to the post, so you could look at the ignorantly arrogant, disdainful, and insulting commentaries yourself, but the post has been deleted. If it was deleted by a moderator sick of the bad manners displayed by those who commented in a most deplorable fashion and without ever having read the article; or if the moderator simply had the same uninformed knee-jerk reaction to the piece’s headline as those blindly reacting commenters did, we will never know. I suspect the latter.
Now, isn’t it more than ironic and sad that, in a group which formed around supporting Bernie Sanders, an article was deleted which pointed out the flaws of the very candidate whose campaign machine cheated Sanders out of the primaries and the rest of us out of democracy? I think it is.
It’s sadly ironic even if you take into account that Sanders himself endorsed Hillary after the primaries. His endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean, that supporters of his also need to endorse her. I hope that he didn’t just betray his supporters doing a one-eighty for personal gains or having been threatened or blackmailed. I prefer to think that he is playing a kind of political chess, one which unfortunately some of his supporters think they must emulate, even though they are not themselves seated at the chessboard. The things he does, from which they take their lead (for example endorsing Hillary’s candidacy, stoking the Russia Hysteria, and participating in the “Democratic” unity drive in his sadly not very successful attempt to reform the party from inside), may very well be political bluffs, failing tactics, or mistakes — or, possibly, he may be laying the groundwork for starting a new party by being able to say he tried his utmost to reform the “Democratic” Party first. It’s hard to know exactly what he is thinking or planning while he is dancing with the devil. Point is, he must do what he can do. The rest of us are in a different situation. We must do what we can do.
The sh*tstorm in a Bernie group is even more ironic and sad considering that the article didn’t actually spend much effort on exposing Hillary’s flaws, but focused on the negative political side-effects her presidency would have had: (1) endorsing electoral rigging and (2) not giving us the political turmoil we now have, and which we need if we are going to accomplish real change. I think these thoughts deserve more than name calling, shouts of “BS,” accusations of being a Russian troll or “f*cking moron,” and eventually the deletion of the post itself. They deserve more than such blithe treatment also because they make for rational responses to the continued gaslighting of Bernie supporters by Hillarites.
How can we have meaningful discourse when people behave like that?
And then there is the current brouhaha about Trump… Come on, people! Blind hate is no better than blind love.
Those who answer the call to invest all their energies into resisting and deposing Trump – and ultimately elect a president who has a “D” by his or her name – should realize that Trump is only the tip of the iceberg of our troubles. He has been created by the very same rigged system which will give us our next treacherous president whose “D” or “R” letter will make no substantial difference in the continuing decline which our country has suffered for roughly a century. Only in the last 30 years, did the fall-out from the political scheming of our economic rulers become so extreme that our quality of life has been dropping like a stone, and people are finally, finally(!), waking up. This awakening is in no small part thanks to independent candidate Bernie Sanders who ran a progressive campaign in one of the two corrupt major parties so that he would not be completely blacked out by our establishment-run Secretaries of State, election boards, corporate media, and The Commission on Presidential Debates. Bernie’s progressive campaign brought the issues to the table which so many of us have been burning to have addressed.
What many of us still don’t realize is that these issues haven’t been addressed because the people at the helm are the ones who created them in the first place, and want to keep creating them. They are the super-rich who were made so unbelievably rich by a flawed economic system and a bunch of corrupt hand-maidens in politics and the media who are paid by these very same super-rich robbers of the world’s wealth in order to maintain and escalate this flawed system, and who get rich themselves in return through the shares of loot they are given as a reward. Our long decline started with the Red Scare and Cold war almost a century ago, which eliminated political parties and movements that previously had given representation to working Americans. The “Democratic” Party took over this role, to a mellowed extent, but was quickly brought back to serving the rich when, in 1976 and 1978, the Supreme Court legalized money as free speech of corporations (confirmed and expanded in 2010 by Citizen United), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, starting in 1981, promptly began taking money and marching orders from the moneyed interests, just as the Republican Party had already been doing with a vengeance. The rest, as they say, is history.
For all his rashness, Trump didn’t start the practice of ruling by executive order. This frequent practice was started by Bush II and continued by Obama. Trump is merely the third in line to bypass the legislative process this way. And laws which blatantly ignore our constitutional rights have been standard operating procedure since the G.W.Bush-Cheney regime at the turn of this century. This, too, has continued through the Obama presidency. You can read a quick summary of our presidential legacies from the 1980’s to today here. Neither the “R” or “D” presidents and parties look good in such a non-party-partisan review.
It’s time for everybody to realize that the establishment which appoints itself to the status of god-kings, living it up at our expense and nullifying our democratic say in our affairs, has been playing a long game to turn us into a banana republic, marked by a hollowed-out middle class, a rising tide of poverty, and a political process the establishment fully owns.
For a long time now, we have had only the veneer of a democracy where we lose every election long before the first vote is cast, because almost everybody on the ballot is a company man for the super-rich since it currently takes an average of $19.4 million to run for the Senate and $1-2 million to run for Congress, to give an example of today’s campaign costs. Long gone are the days when any “ordinary” American not connected to big money could run for office (unless we, the people, now form a movement to bypass the the dominant role of money in politics).
All this money which finances our corrupted campaigns is controlled by the big thieves: the super-rich who took and keep taking it from us. We, too, must enter a long game. Our long game must aim to get democracy back (plus make it better) and repair the economy so it works for everyone.
It is high time we stop letting ourselves be distracted by the next shiny name on a ballot or the impulsive outrage over a single office holder. The politicians typically dangled before us with D’s and R’s by their names are mere distractions known in political science as controlled opposition: the true rulers give the people the false impression of democratic choice by controlling all the candidates.
So, no matter if we have had “D” or “R” presidents and “D” or “R” House and Senate majorities, things have been going down the drain for us in this country for a very long time. Republican voters have been sleeping through it all whenever the “R” was dominant, and “Democratic” voters went back to sleep whenever the “D” rose to ascendancy (examples: the Bill Clinton and Obama years: 16 years in total!!!).
Friends, our lives, and the health of our economy and politics, are not a matter of letters picked from the alphabet. We have real issues that need resolving. And below those issues lurk corrupt people and forces which we can uncover by simply following the money. It isn’t as hard as some people think. And we can fight them by uniting across traditional divides and forming a powerful movement that is of, by, and for us (the people) when we stop acting like sheep or bots herded and controlled by politicians and parties which take bribes from the very rich.
In today’s world, more than ever before, anyone who doesn’t want to face the facts, can find fake “facts” to fit their world view. And thus, their world view never grows from its faulty early stages to a mature and accurate one. Such people neither know how to help themselves nor what movement or political platform to join that will help them, their friends and families, and society as a whole. Candidate worship and blind party loyalty are entry points to such clinging to false facts.
We must come to realize that we hurt ourselves whenever we worship celebrities in politics to the point of becoming blind to their limits and flaws and with the ultimate result of us abandoning logic, the honest search for truth, and the practice of eye-opening conversations and thoughtful public discourse — all in favor of merely rallying around someone and barking at each other like agitated packs of dogs. This kind of behavior only plays into the hands of the establishment which rules by keeping us ignorant and helplessly divided and our democracy replaced with a noisy side show.
Support alternative media and citizen journalism. Support this site.