As We Protest Incoming President Trump, Let’s Not Play Political Ping Pong

| Educate!

Above Photo: Where incredulity begins and ends says much about what horrors we are willing to tolerate—or have tolerated thus far. (Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

As activists are organizing to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, a president who will be well-deserving of persistent protests; and tens of thousands, maybe more than 100,000 women, march against misogyny. The article below is a good reminder that political ping pong with Democrats replacing Republicans replacing Democrats replacing . . . is not the solution to the crisis in US politics — duopoly is the crisis in US politics! We need to organize in new ways if we are serious about transforming the US political culture and end the two -party mirage democracy.   KZ

I Would Love to Share in Your Incredulity

I would love to share, my liberal friend, in your sense of incredulity about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of United States. I would love to stand with you in the sense of woundedness that, while certainly painful up front, carries with it the secondary compensation of a warm and nurturing solidarity. I would love to sit with you and fulminate in righteous anger about the unparalleled vulgarity and cruelty of Trump and his followers.

As much as I’d like to do these things, I won’t.  Why?

Because I know you, perhaps better than you even dare to know yourself. I know you well because I have watched you with great and detailed care over the last three decades and have learned, sadly, that you are as much if not more about image and self-regard as any of the laudable values you claim to represent.

I have watched as you accommodated yourself to most of the retrograde social forces you claim to abhor.  I have seen you be almost completely silent before the world’s greatest evil, unprovoked war, going so far as to embrace as your presidential candidate this year a person who cold-bloodedly carried out the complete destruction of Libya, a real country with real people who love their children like you and me, in order—as the Podesta emails make clear—to further her personal political ambitions.

I watched as you stood silent before this same person’s perverse on-camera celebration of the murder by way of a bayonet thrust to the anus of the leader of that once sovereign country, and before the tens of thousand of deaths,  and hundreds of thousands of refugees, that  war provoked.

I watched during the last eight years as you sought refuge in the evanescent qualities of skin color and smooth speechmaking so as to not to confront the fact that your “liberal” president was almost totally lacking in actionable convictions regarding the values you claim to be about.

I watched as you didn’t say a peep as he bailed out bankers, pursued whistleblowers and deported desperate and downtrodden immigrants in heretofore unimaginable numbers.

And I didn’t hear the slightest complaint (unlike those supposedly stupid and primitive libertarians) as he arrogated to himself the right to kill American citizens in cold blood as he and he alone deemed fit.

I monitored you as you not only completely normalized Israel’s methodical erasure of the Palestinian people and their culture, but made cheering enthusiastically for this campaign of savagery the ultimate litmus test for social and political respectability within your ranks.

I watched as you breezily dispatched the memories of the millions of innocent people destroyed by U.S. military aggression around the world and damaged police brutality here at home in order to slavishly imitate the unceasing orgy of uniform worship set in motion by the right and its media auxiliaries in the wake of  September 11th, 2001.

In short, since 1992, I have watched as you have transformed a current of social thought once rooted in that most basic an necessary human sentiment—empathy—into a badge of cultural and educational superiority.  And because feeling good about yourself was much more important to you than actually helping the afflicted, you signed off, in greater or lesser measure to almost all of the life-sapping and dignity-robbing measures of the authoritarian right.

And now you want me to share in your sense of shock and incredulity?

No, thanks, I’ll save my tears for all of the people, ideas and programs you heedlessly abandoned along the road  to this day.

  • il corvo

    As some celebrities like Sarah Silverman beat the drum for Bernie Sanders, it makes me wonder just how frightened folks are and not of Trump. Like Jennifer Warren, Sanders doesn’t question war, the MIC, the rights of Palestinians, prison reform, etc. His and Warrens concerns are really just about leveling the economic playing field between the rich and the middle class. Are the tired old stars of the left our only choice? Of course they are because the corridors of power are still unchanged. Without new political parties the Dems. and Repubs., will remain our only choice and they both will continue to bow to the ruling class. Change is just a word in the US and unless there is a continued uprising of responsible folks Trump, Clinton, Sanders, Warren and whoever else, will just be the same old policies carried by the same old faces. Liberals fear real change for they are fearful of, as George Carlin once said, losing their stuff. Wealth controls both parties.

  • Aquifer

    I have been watching about as long as this fellow has and i noticed a few other things as well – I watched as D admin gutted our manufacturing base and we still voted for ’em – “folks should just get an education and enter the ‘new’ economy”, and then made that education so expensive that folks were saddled in debt and, adding insult to injury, failed to provide the decent jobs needed to pay it back, I watched as we engaged in specific identity politics leaving a good chunk of “identities” out – specifying which lives “mattered”, in the process fueling resentment and division ….

    And through it all i watched as electoral politics was denigrated and dismissed as a vital avenue to pursue change by the Left – as “organizing in new ways” consisted of using “social media” (which ballooned to include so many different sites each asking for donations, competing for eyes and dollars producing eye and donor fatigue if nothing else) to plan the next “demo” or “march” or “petition” – and politics was treated basically as an afterthought, a PS, an add-on – short episodes of intense “activity” which inevitably deteriorate into LOTE voting or not voting at all ….

    The Right has always been serious about electoral politics – they know that the people that are in office are the ones who make the laws – they know that those folks can, with a stroke of the pen, undo all the “neat” stuff our grassroots “movements” achieve … and elect those who will. That’s why we are where we are … It would seem to me that this latest election should demonstrate this quite clearly – but frankly, it always amazes me how often folks don’t recognize something that slaps them in the face … So now we have piece after piece about how the “liberals” are to blame for the rise of the “troglodytes” – when it is we who were/are not paying attention to politics, taking only the “5 minutes” it takes to vote, who put them there … But even now, I do not see the light going on ….

    The Left has not been serious in any real sense about politics at all, and that, it seems to me, is our fatal flaw … so maybe, just maybe, it’s time (past time, IMO) to stop trying to “organize in new ways” and go back to the old ones – get serious about politics as a year round endeavor – reaching out to those not in the choir on a steady sustained basis, including all in a common endeavor which embraces meeting basic human, all humans’, needs … not as glamorous or endorphin stimulating, but much more likely to achieve something of real value …

  • Aquifer

    The Greens have potential – I just hope they get their act together … 🙂

  • il corvo

    That would be nice but after 8 years of supporting them, it doesn’t look good. It will take outrage for things to change and folks are frightened of strong emotions. As hard as Stein worked during the election, she got 1% of the vote. To me, it had to do with fear of leaving the known not fear of the unknown.

  • Aquifer

    Frankly, i don’t think it was Steins fault, she busted her buns – I think, as i said above, it was the failure of too many to bust their buns as well ..

  • DHFabian

    The Green Party have fairly well had their act together. What they lack is the funding necessary to have a voice on the public stage, and they have been marginalized by media. Regardless, I don’t believe the two-headed snake that represents our politics, the Ds and Rs, would permit a third party to rise.

  • Aquifer

    One doesn’t have to go “on stage” to get one’s voice out … and they can be their own media, but there’s a hell of a lot more to life than FB and Twitter …
    So long as we limit our sights to what the D/Rs “would permit” – we are screwed …

  • DHFabian

    Political ping-pong? Most voting choices come down to economic issues. The Dem voting base had long consisted of the “masses” — poor and middle class, for the common good. Bill Clinton brought the war on the poor to fruition. Masses of the poor, and those who get why it matters, voted for Obama on the chance that he could launch a legit discussion about our poverty crisis. He raised the issue a few times. Democrats chose the most anti-poor candidate available, Hillary Clinton.

    Liberal media spent the years of this administration standing up for gay marriage, and maintaining a pep rally for the middle class, with occasional shouts of “BLM!” While BLM, with it’s focus on police violence, is a critically important issue, it was made quite clear that the lives of the majority of victims of police violence, who have been poor/white, don’t matter.

    This isn’t a game. This is real life. Many felt that the years of the Obama administration represented our last chance to pull people together, for the common good. The proverbial masses have only been more deeply split apart over the past eight years.

  • DHFabian

    Agree. On voting, though, both the D and R candidates were deeply opposed by much of their own voting bases. Roughly half of US voters voted third party or withheld their votes. Withholding one’s vote is not the same as “being too lazy to vote.” They concluded that a third party candidate has no chance in our duopoly, and between Trump and Clinton, there was no “lesser of the evils.”

    The Left have had no voice, other than an occasional whisper from the “labor left” — and they are (ironically) only about protecting the advantages of middle class workers, the better-off. If we had a left, they would have been shining a spotlight on our poverty crisis as proof of the failures of our deregulated capitalist state.

  • DHFabian

    As the overall life expectancy of the US poor took a nosedive, when was the last time you heard liberals call for restoring the basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) of food and shelter to our desperately poor?

    As our attention began turning to the elections, Dems in Congress kicked off 2015 with a clear statement of their goals and priorities, voting to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled.

  • Aquifer

    It seems that your reply was much more in answer of my post below … but in any case …

    So why did they decide a 3rd party “has no chance”? Could it be because everyone, including just about all lefty sites, keep repeating this over and over, when, in fact it is nonsense?

  • il corvo

    Reminds me DH of the three 2012 debates, not one mention from Obama or Romney about the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Nor was their a question or comment about ending the war in the Middle East. Comments about war were which candidate would be the most hawkish. When you take away the public posturing, what is left is that both parties take their marching orders from the same people, the ruling class.

  • corbyh

    Even Bernie is a damn military industrial complex tool if you look at his voting record and even some of his rhetoric. e.g. “We need more countries to help us keep bombing the middle east.” (paraphrased)