Revolution

A teeny-tiny whiny part of #TheResistance

Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Same Side

This is based on a piece I was going to write tomorrow, but I think I've got something in me at 2 AM...

As I'm sure I've said on this site a dozen times before, Ari and I are writing for our own edification more than for others to read; we were both gobsmacked by the events of 11/9 and are both looking for the lessons we can learn so that we can get involved in the fight ahead of us in our own way (we're best friends, but are in very different situations). We have our own lives and our own careers, and neither of us ever expects to make a living writing about politics, and are really happy to mostly aggregate the people we read regularly who do or are trying their asses off to do so (see the Daily Rounds in the right sidebar).

We bring our own strengths to the table; Ari brings bona fide economic expertise, and I sorta bring the ability to link a whole lot of crap together and make sense of it, but mostly I bring my heart on my sleeve. So, for the most part, I don't write thinking about how many people might read what I babble (though I like numbers so when they do climb it's fun to watch). I have found that about once every ten days or so I write something that I really want other people to read, and it's nice to have a platform beyond Facebook on which to do it. Last Wednesday night/Thursday morning was one of the times where I really appreciated that, even though I was a little hesitant:

Last night, I visited a local watering hole in Brooklyn that I tend to frequent. I was busy studying for an exam, so I pretty much had my head in a book for much of the night. However, I couldn't keep it there because there were not one, but two incidents of Trump supporters in this bar (where there were maybe 15 people) trying to provoke others.
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The Tennessean then asked me if I knew what the "wood treatment" was. I said no, and he said, "It's when I slam your head into the bar." Despite the fact that he was much bigger than me, I thought to myself that I had a moral obligation to stand up to him. I did exactly that -- I got off my seat, and said "You think so?" and he somehow backed down, and then the three glared at me as they left without finishing their beers.
I was actually a bit embarrassed. I'm not the kind of guy who gets into physical fights. I apologized to the bartender for the situation, and he said, "No, don't apologize. I thank you, because someone needs to give actual facts and statistics to guys like that."

After having some time to process and to chat about the situation with friends, I find myself proud that I did stand up not just for myself, but for the principles, like, uh, science, that I'm going to stubbornly cling to for as long as I can.

But happily, tonight I can tell a different story -- same location, same time of night, but different players. A couple of hours ago I was at the same bar, in roughly the same seat, and struck up a conversation with a Spaniard who was in Brooklyn on business. He really wanted to discuss American politics, and we agreed readily that Trump/Pence/Ryan/McConnell/other evil flotsam are just a horror show in waiting. From there, he stated that, as a European, he would've had a hard time accepting a politician as "moderate" as Hillary Clinton and that he thought that Bernie  Sanders would've made a better President. There's obviously nothing unusual about discussing that, but the fact that at the same place where things nearly got out of hand after a Clinton/Trump exchange last week, I debated for over an hour about Clinton/Sanders with no violence (save for a "terrorist fist jab" -- ahhh, 2008, simpler times) left me with a wee bit of optimism. This contrast was magnified as I ambled home through Fort Greene listening to the mighty Digby on blog-to-speech:

We are in uncharted territory with a new leader at the top of a political party that has reached peak insanity in a world in which the very concept of truth is being challenged. It feels as though everything liberals and progressives care about is about to come under assault from a dozen different directions. It's going to take a concerted effort just to understand it all much less figure out how to resist it.
I don't have the answers about how to do that. But I do have a willingness to keep my eyes open and my mind as clear as I can keep it to sort through all the day to day chaos and try to see things as clearly as I can. If we can do that in this chaotic media environment I think we're halfway there. 

3 AM now, and this is getting a bit incoherent. But what I'm getting at is that, though we are about to take some blows from the Republicans that were unimaginable two short months ago, we have the opportunity to emerge as a better team, even if we never in our lifetimes make up the ground we lose over the next four (or, FSM forbid, more) years. I am never going to agree with, or even try to find any common ground with, the Deplorables from last week who insisted I was a hypocrite because I supported abortion rights while fretting about 30,000+ gun deaths per year in this country. But I am, as Digby says, trying to maintain "a willingness to keep my eyes open and my mind as clear as I can keep it to sort through all the day to day chaos and try to see things as clearly as I can." I have no beef  with the Sanders supporter who wants to provide free health insurance and education to every American; we both want that and just disagree on how close and how soon we can get to that and what the American political system can accommodate.

I happen to think that the 2016 Democratic Party platform was a political miracle. We came together and we assembled a document with the following Table of Contents:

Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class...................................... 3
Raising Workers’ Wages ............................................................................................................ 3
Protecting Workers’ Fundamental Rights................................................................................... 4
Supporting Working Families..................................................................................................... 4
Helping More Workers Share in Near-Record Corporate Profits............................................... 5Expanding Access to Affordable Housing and Homeownership ............................................... 5
Protecting and Expanding Social Security.................................................................................. 6
Ensuring a Secure and Dignified Retirement.............................................................................. 7
Revitalizing Our Nation’s Postal Service ................................................................................... 7
Create Good-Paying Jobs............................................................................................................. 7
Building 21st Century Infrastructure .......................................................................................... 7
Fostering a Manufacturing Renaissance ..................................................................................... 8
Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs ................................................................................. 8
Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology .................. 9
Supporting America’s Small Businesses .................................................................................. 10
Creating Jobs for America’s Young People.............................................................................. 10
Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality .............................................................. 10
Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System ......................................................... 11
Promoting Competition by Stopping Corporate Concentration................................................ 12
Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes................................................................. 12
Promoting Trade That is Fair and Benefits American Workers ............................................... 13
Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities...................................... 14
Ending Systemic Racism .......................................................................................................... 14
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap ................................................................................................. 14
Reforming our Criminal Justice System................................................................................... 15
Fixing our Broken Immigration System ................................................................................... 16
Guaranteeing Civil Rights......................................................................................................... 18
Guaranteeing Women’s Rights................................................................................................. 18
Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights .............................................. 19Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities..................................................................... 19
Respecting Faith and Service .................................................................................................... 19
Investing in Rural America ....................................................................................................... 20
Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind .................................................... 20
Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas................................................................................... 21
Promoting Arts and Culture ...................................................................................................... 21
Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations ........................................................................................ 21
Fighting for the People of Puerto Rico ..................................................................................... 23
Honoring the People of the Territories ..................................................................................... 24
iii
Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy 24
Protecting Voting Rights........................................................................................................... 24
Fixing Our Broken Campaign Finance System ........................................................................ 25Appointing Judges .................................................................................................................... 25
Securing Statehood for Washington, D.C................................................................................. 26
Strengthening Management of Federal Government................................................................ 26
Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental
Justice ........................................................................................................................................... 27
Building a Clean Energy Economy........................................................................................... 27
Securing Environmental and Climate Justice ........................................................................... 28
Protecting Our Public Lands and Waters.................................................................................. 29
Provide Quality and Affordable Education.............................................................................. 30
Making Debt-Free College a Reality ........................................................................................ 30
Providing Relief from Crushing Student Debt.......................................................................... 31
Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.. 31
Cracking Down on Predatory For-Profit Schools..................................................................... 32
Guaranteeing Universal Preschool and Good Schools for Every Child ................................... 32
Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans ...................................................................... 34
Securing Universal Health Care................................................................................................ 34Supporting Community Health Centers.................................................................................... 35
Reducing Prescription Drug Costs............................................................................................ 35
Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research................................................................................ 36
Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction.................................................................................. 36
Treating Mental Health ............................................................................................................. 36
Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families........................................................ 37
Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice .................................................................. 37
Ensuring Long-Term Care, Services, and Supports.................................................................. 38
Protecting and Promoting Public Health................................................................................... 38
Ending Violence Against Women............................................................................................. 38
Preventing Gun Violence .......................................................................................................... 39
Principled Leadership ................................................................................................................ 39
Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans....................................................... 40
Defense Spending ..................................................................................................................... 40
Veterans and Service Members................................................................................................. 41
Military Families....................................................................................................................... 41
A Strong Military...................................................................................................................... 41
Confront Global Threats............................................................................................................ 42
Terrorism................................................................................................................................... 42
Syria .......................................................................................................................................... 42
Afghanistan ............................................................................................................................... 43
iv
Iran ............................................................................................................................................ 43
North Korea............................................................................................................................... 43
Russia ........................................................................................................................................ 43
Cybersecurity and Online Privacy ............................................................................................ 44
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons ......................................... 44
Global Climate Leadership ....................................................................................................... 45
Protect Our Values...................................................................................................................... 45
Women and Girls...................................................................................................................... 45
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People..................................................................... 46Trafficking and Modern Slavery............................................................................................... 46
Young People ............................................................................................................................ 46
Religious Minorities.................................................................................................................. 47
Refugees.................................................................................................................................... 47
Civil Society.............................................................................................................................. 47
Anti-Corruption......................................................................................................................... 47
Torture....................................................................................................................................... 47
Closing Guantánamo Bay ......................................................................................................... 47
Development Assistance ........................................................................................................... 48
Global Health ............................................................................................................................ 48
HIV and AIDS .......................................................................................................................... 48
International Labor.................................................................................................................... 48
A Leader in the World................................................................................................................ 49
Asia-Pacific ............................................................................................................................... 49
Middle East ............................................................................................................................... 49
Europe ....................................................................................................................................... 50
Americas ................................................................................................................................... 50
Africa ........................................................................................................................................ 51
Global Economy and Institutions.............................................................................................. 51


Look at the items I bolded. Most of those were, while not entirely anathema to the Democratic Party of the 1990s, would have been considered divisive. But they're there now. Why? Because we're the good guys. We know we are, and the other side seems to be proud they're not.. I'm glad to be a member of  Hillary Clinton's party. I'm glad to be a member of Barack Obama's party. I'm glad to be a member of the party that Bernie Sanders decided was a proper vehicle for his progressive message. We're all on the same team, and we have a blueprint for the future of America.

I spent most of the early part of the day playing on Twitter, and found that this offhand tweet I made to Karoli at Crooks & Liars received an inordinate number of likes (17!):

The question is not, as Karoli asks, "Are we not Americans before partisans?" It's "Is it not necessary to be partisan as Americans today?" Howard Zinn and all that. All of us resisting Trump and his ilk need to come together under the Democratic Party umbrella, no matter which candidate we supported in the primaries. If you can't recognize that the Democratic Party is a general force for good as we enter 2017, you're not my ally. If you're out to turn the party into a circular firing squad, ditto.

I was on the fence until recently regarding the Greenwald/Snowden/Manning crowd, but no. Y'all make me think #pecsandhorse, and I think the seventeen people who liked my tweet think so too.

As we enter 2017, I ask anyone reading this (all seven of you):

  • Are we going to accept foreign meddling in our elections?
  • Are you OK with gutting the American safety net?
  • Can you countenance the erosion of rights of people because of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation?
  • Should Americans be prevented from having affordable education and health care?
  • Can you accept further degradation of our air, water, and other natural resources, leaving a wasteland for future generations?
My answer to all of the above is "HELL NO." If you agree, there's only one side to be on. We'll sort the rest out later.