It’s quite a thing to watch the roll-out of this presidency and the manner in which the stakeholders have responded. In our grand tradition, there has been a great deal of counterproductive political cannibalism which, as would be implied, is the process of self destruction of a political party.
Perceivably within our DNC race, the threats of party affiliations changing – party exodus — were tossed around. In our state, we had a switcheroo Democratic Primary with favorites floating in and out like snow.
This weekend, I traveled to Maine with a Young Democrats of America compatriot. I learned about what they do in her small, beautiful blue state, Rhode Island – how they have an interoperable health exchange that is costing their state a fortune, how they have Dems failing to protect access to non-life threatening, safe evacuations of unwanted pregnancies in the event Roe V. Wade is in jeopardy. Theoretically, this should be a deal breaker within our party. Here, we experience the caveats of internal party warfare namely via highly contentious races, as stated, and regional games of capture the flag or perhaps… appease the lobbyist? I mean, not all lobbyists are bad. Just saying.
On a macro (national) level, this phenomenon is dangerous. Recently, in one of my progressive extracurricular meetings, we mused about how we, as Dems, aim our communications missiles at our own party members rather than at those promoting policies that we abhor. You think about the situation in Paterson, how the current mayor was in then out – replaced by a mayor who supported Bill Pascrell’s opponent in the vein of impracticality – then to have Torres back in again to create a wake of alleged corruption. You think about the way gifted pols like Nellie Pou – who I think will be the exception and not the rule; she will remain because she is good at what she does and you don’t drain the pool of talent if the depths aren’t adequate for diving. You also think about the level of entitlement that one must feel if they leave the process of selecting a representative if it isn’t their top choice. We did that nationally and shots are being fired at early endorsers here in NJ.
The thing is, our political opposition stays together after insulting each other’s wives, being accused of rape, committing “alleged” treason, being missing (COUGH CD7, COUGH CD11) The fractured fairy tale of the American dream is becoming historical deja vu.
The discussion of the wall between the US and Mexico clearly has some undercurrents to the wall in Berlin, sure, but we run the risk of losing sight of just how recently we acquired the Mexican territories via actions fueled by piss, vinegar and chaos – emboldened by militarization and steered by the macro level sense of manifest destiny. This current situation rings of the sore feelings regarding the Sudetanland. The US annexed Texas in 1845. Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821 with some of the last few major grabs at Mexican land in the early 20th century. The US and Spain chopped away at Mexico in the Adams-Onis Treaty in 1819. We occupied Mexico beyond the scope of peaceful hegemony and with barely over 100 years to nurse the cultural wounds. Mexico was robbed blind with less than 200 years to recuperate and we are now asking them to pay for a wall between them and their former territory from not so long ago. So what does this mean in terms of what we’re doing here?
We’re blowing it, that’s what it means. We are the richer nation and I am willing to bet that in spite of the rational skepticism being put out by Mexican officials on the internet, on the ground there is likely a strong sentiment along the lines of, ‘why not give us our land back and we can build the wall along those borders.’ Unfeasible, but blood is likely in the water when taunting a nation we made poor in the first place via hostility and war. Remember the Alamo?
The GOP sits back and watches us like MJ eating popcorn in the Thriller video. While we romanticize the dissolution of party politics, we are inadvertently turning a blind eye to the psychological violence we inflict on those who may have arsenals and a serious case for moral legitimacy.
I am all about raising money from small donors. Good idea, gold star, party, but “I’ll get money” is a universally good idea in every sector’s respective prospectuses — and is not outside of the box thinking, I’m sorry. The future for any and all people who seek to not have the (totally awesome) movie Idiocracy be a post-apocalyptic prophecy is based on engagement. We need sound bites and different angles of perception. Hey, what Leni Riefenstahl did right was to point the camera from a different angle.
Now, I issued this poll of super vetted candidates, which you can still answer here. The poll asked simply who one would most prefer over Donald Trump as POTUS; out of fairness I included Trump and one out of my early 106 respondents voted for him. The winner thus far was a Lego replica of a young Marlon Brando followed by any character played by Charlie Murphy except Charlie Murphy as himself – in which case it simply would be Charlie Murphy, then an unusually intelligent squirrel in third. Were it a slate, obviously the Shamwow would be the head of HUD. This poll was mostly for my personal entertainment, but humor is how we deal with pain and the status quo of governance is causing pain.
The distress in Mexico, the fact that Ben Carson called slaves immigrants, and – HEY – where is Rodney Frelinghuysen? We’re afraid of the Cider House Rules changing, ie women dying in alleys from botched abortions. We’re seeing families disown each other. Suicides have had Trump’s name housed in the notes or journals of the deceased. Women are losing ground again though we’re the majority.
So many plans for how to combat this problem are monetarily based, but young people can’t afford the buy-in and everyone else is bored, or disenfranchised, or not beat for the inefficacy so much so that they won’t buy in — hence the outcries for dissolution. Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times. No money will purchase engagement without better communication of our platforms. Define the product first.
In terms of race and women and avoiding our own tendency towards political cannibalism, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, then Assemblymember. She and I were eating (just) one peppermint patty each, and I told her about my life, some peaks some valleys as I do. I told her about how my father was in the camps in Indonesia in WWII, how I cleaned toilets and waited tables and clawed my way to get educated and in “the game.” She pointed out that though my family suffered, at least I knew who they were, how they suffered and what happened to them in the first place. I commended the perspective. She touched her beautiful short grey hair and called it wisdom, a beautiful sentiment for women and girls. See, In that moment, that soundbite took hundreds of years of cultural experience and boiled it down to this emotionally digestable expression that forces one to see privilege from a new angle. I never would have thought of knowing the horror my family endured as privilege, but when juxtaposed against not knowing, it is. It’s all angles. She honored her age. She respected my history and my cultural identity. THAT is the message.
From the angle of a social scientist, an artist and a writer, all three are categories with which I identify, the role of the press is now external observation only. We have the outside view and we can Josef Conrad it up, Trump’s Heart of Darkness all wild eyed and unfeeling and it’s his fault.
It’s a privilege to have the press hear your side. Imagine the GOP passing up on privilege — Hell has frozen over (if you believe in that sorta thing).
But we were weak in what we’ve communicated to and through the press in past years. Tolerance is an understatement for what was needed. I remember being told to tolerate as a kid in Montclair, where our slogan was Diversity is our strength Unity is our goal. I remember looking up tolerance in my dusty dictionary and having hurt feelings because my parents are an interracial couple. I remember getting in trouble for what I said about it… It was colorful.
One tolerates a boil on their wherever or a stye. One should not tolerate a person for any reason beyond personality flaws and that’s simply politeness. In being the party that protects from hurt feelings and a posing the weak stance on acceptance (tolerance: hate in secret) we failed to shift the center far enough away from the hatred ideal and didn’t effectively redirect political inertia. Our promotion of our policies are not directed at the audiences needed to win.
A little about me: I am participating in Lent. I am giving up some vices and adding some virtues. Read into that what you will, and you’re probably right. Now, I clearly don’t even get mad at a woman if they get some BC or exercise their right to choose, but I understand why someone may. Belief is powerful. However, “tolerance” is BS. Patience is better, but love and forgiveness is the best. Were I disturbed by other people’s choices in this matter (and I’m not), I like to think I would recognize that free will is a thing, that judgment isn’t my job and that i would recognize that redemption is only possible after survival (like not dying in an alley). We’re supposed to give the tools for people to make the right choices, not be all helicopter parent psycho paternalist in government. That is creepy and weird.
Maybe that’s a little less patronizing than, “I’m right, you’re wrong”?
We’re trying to come back from a loss to people who put a Carson up front and is so well glued that that is OK with them.
The translation from micro to macro levels is stunted and divided. Politics are local, yea, but going native is a threat to our party. We dive so deeply in and forget what it is we’re actually working for. We are forgetting historical context like how recently Mexico was taken, how the small things affect the larger picture, that calling people dumb is ineffective and that the more you slam someone for their beliefs, the harder it is to change them. And we gave people permission to hate in secret rather than saying: don’t tolerate, Love… You malignant bastard. JK