Archives for posts with tag: Democrats

In Germany, the crippling Treaty of Versailles contributed to the democratic election of their notorious, inhumane despot. It imposed harsh financial debts on the people of Germany, forbid their voices from being heard in its construction, and punished them for over a decade as a consequence for the actions of their leaders. When the Great Depression rolled in, the finances that the US was loaning Germany for its recovery disappeared, destroying the final remnants of the already ravaged German economy. The people sought to lash out after their global bruising, and were offered a scapegoat by right-wing populism in the form of the Jews (and gays, and the disabled, and gypsies, and Christians…).

So America, what’s your excuse? It may sound contrived and a little petty, but it’s a question that needs to be asked, and it’s a question that needs to be answered.

America did not have an outside coalition enforcing punitive economic policies onto their country, but rather, it slyly enacted them itself. The increasing personal debt, the outsourcing of jobs, the apathy of the elites for the working class; all of this is reminiscent of Weimar Germany but without the diktat of outside countries. The Great Recession moniker that was ascribed to the recent economic crisis should have been the ultimate foreshadowing of who was to come. The cause of that Great Recession is multifaceted and complex, but many attribute it to the repealing of the Glass-Steagall act back in 1999; notably, an event perpetrated by a Democrat. Repealing the Glass-Steagall legislation removed the banking regulations created in response to the Great Depression, another harbinger of history repeating itself.

You can also just look at this. It illustrates pretty nicely that the institution of America left its people behind a long time ago.

You can also just look at this. It illustrates pretty nicely that the institution of America left its people behind a long time ago.

When the inevitable market crash violently ripped across the country, the proposed solution was to bail out the banks. No punishments for the culpable, no legislation was changed, the banks were simply given back the money they had swindled from the hapless people. Again, this disgrace of justice was meted out by yet another Democrat.

America’s descent into totalitarianism was almost preordained. It is undeniable that there were elements of misogyny hindering Clinton’s campaign, but even if she won, what kind of monstrous candidate would have arisen after four years of more of the same? Clinton denigrated unions, she ridiculed environmentalists, and is just as entrenched into corporate welfare as any of the less insane Republican candidates. Progressing along the status quo that spawned a Trump campaign would not have improved with age.

Those who fear the journalistic sanctions under a Trump presidency should be aware that the mainstream media has been complicit in perpetuating the discourse of the status quo for ages. Even recently, Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing for covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Though the charges were dropped, it appears we do not need to wait for Trump to be sworn in before dissenting voices are criminalized. In addition, you might consider the unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowing under the Obama administration as further disregard for accountable governance. America has been tailspinning for a long time now, and it is of no use to pretend like it would never crash. Looking at historical precedents, someone like Trump is not entirely unsurprising.

I know I’ve been picking on Democrats, and maybe there are some of you demanding I account for the Republican congresses that blocked progressive legislation or Republican presidents that put forward their own destructive policies, and yes, those exist. This isn’t a problem created solely by the Democrats, but by the American political institution itself. When government becomes structurally plutocratic, even overt partisanship becomes more of a charade than an allegiance to any particular group.

Some have already begun blaming third party candidates for the failures of Clinton and the Democratic party (as if Gary Johnson, who wanted to eliminate taxes and abolish all government programs, would siphon votes away from the Democrats), when the reality is that a vote for a third party is a rejection of that broken political system in the vain hope that, this time, maybe people might pay attention to the shards of their democracy lying on the floor and decide to do something about it. Voting for a third party is not a vote for the greater of two evils, it is a refusal to participate in the system that enables constant concessions from the left as the Democrats can essentially behave however they want, knowing full-well that they will always have a Republican bogeyman to point at each election. Constantly voting for the lesser of two evils under this pretense will only allow its evil to grow.

Many people wish to attribute this grave election loss to racist individuals who have succumbed to the xenophobic rhetoric spewed by Trump, and judging by the endorsements given to him by white supremacist groups, it is a likely contributor. But the alt in alt-right intrinsically defines it as outside of the mainstream, so the pockets of racist support backing Donald Trump is difficult to attribute to the majority. In fact, blaming the election on the fear of the Other could very well be blaming the racial scapegoating rather than the cause of the necessity for scapegoating in the first place. Was Hitler’s rise attributable entirely to Germany’s antisemitism, or were there other factor’s at play? Hint: think the Treaty of Versailles

It might also be convenient to claim that this is a racist backlash against having a black president. Except Obama had two terms, meaning that a majority did not seek to punish him for his race the first time around. If we consider when the Civil Rights act was implemented in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson, which might have garnered comparable racialized political backlash, we could expect a similar white supremacist to emerge in the next election. Except LBJ won 44 states to 6 in the subsequent election, and when the Democrats lost the following election to a Republican, this ended up being Richard Nixon, who worked on desegregating schools in the South, enforced the controversial busing of black children outside their neighbourhood to accommodate equal representation in schools in the North, and implemented the first federal affirmative action plan. However much backlash there may have been in interpreting the Civil Rights act in certain states, the federally elected official (Nixon) maintained a greater degree of racial sensibility than either political candidate in this last election.

Today, the voices standing up for racial equality tend to make broad, denigrating statements about white people in order to get their messages across, while during the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was very purposeful in his inclusion of them. If we want to attribute Trump’s victory to a racist backlash, we must consider that the large number of white people who voted for Trump may have ignored those voices simply because they were tired of being attacked. If we, as progressives, wish to create allies or a dialogue, we have to be aware that maligning entire demographics of people is not an appropriate way to gain their sympathies. If, however, progressives insist on attacking whites, they may become so disillusioned with progressivism that they might elect Donald Trump! Oh wait. I suppose we can’t get that one back, can we…

Part of Trump’s success is also due in part to the media’s insatiable desire to tell Trump shock stories, knowing full-well how many papers his antics will sell, and in the process distract from the real drivers pushing forward his campaign. Arlie Russell Hochschild is a sociologist who went deep into Trump country to find out what attracted voters to Trump, and found that it was generally people who felt as though they had been left behind by the establishment and believed in Trump’s sales pitch that he could do something about it. What differences might there have been had the focus of the Democrats been on acknowledging the failures of the system and promising to adjust them, instead of attacking the character of the “deplorables”?

The Tea Party movement began in the wake of the bank bailouts, driven by anger at having been betrayed by the banks and the government. Yes, there was racism involved, but that was only ever an auxiliary motivator for the disdain of the government. Unlike the Occupy movement which preferred to abstain from actively creating change, the Tea Party successfully rallied behind their leaders and managed to vote in several political candidates. Regardless of how you feel about the Tea Party and the recent political movements of the Right, they were quite successful in establishing themselves in practical ways within the system to effect change, and now, one of their leaders is the president.

I’m aware racism is a thing, and I’m aware it played a role in Donald Trump’s success. I literally compared this election to Nazi Germany, and saying that I’m ignoring the impacts of race is telling me I’m ignorant of the hatred of Jews during the Holocaust. My point is that we can’t ignore the factors that have exacerbated American xenophobia, we must find alternative ways of discussing racial progress so as to not alienate the majority of the population, and the broken democratic system of America needs to be reformed. Cowardly hiding behind the Democratic party should no longer be considered morally acceptable.

If we believe this to truly be a cycle of history, then I expect that, after the upcoming World War III, the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials for America will not be as forgiving as the Obama administration was on the war crimes committed during the Bush era. That is, of course, if anyone is left to hold America accountable for its failure to stop a Trump presidency.

Despite Bernie Sanders clinging desperately to his chances of nomination like the country itself depended upon him to be the only rational choice in an otherwise catch-22 election, I feel comfortable saying that the next American presidential election will be a catch-22 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton representing the downward spiral that is the American status quo, and Trump representing the harbinger of the end of days.

I don’t want to spend that much time covering why Trump is the absolute worst person imaginable. He thinks building a giant concrete wall is somehow financially feasible or that the president has that kind of bullying power over another country. He thinks censoring the press is something reasonable to do within a democracy. He disparages women with superficial insults, and thinks that Hitler had the right idea when it came to handling an ideology that differed from his own. Honestly I feel stupid for even writing this out because if you haven’t figured out that Donald Trump is a terrible human being by now, then literally nothing I write is going to convince you. That being the case, moving right along.

However, Clinton’s status quo isn’t much better. The democratic party to which she is aligned, under Obama has deported more people than any previous president. For a political party to condemn Trump’s wall “solution” to illegal immigration, their own draconian practices really shouldn’t reflect the spirit of that wall. Obama also ordered ten times more drone strikes than President Bush, among them the assassination of an American citizen whose crime essentially amounted to hate speech. Closing down the torture prison for Muslims, despite being a campaign promise of 2008, also seems to have been forgotten eight God damn years later. What kind of hypocrisy is it to lambaste the bombastic xenophobia of one admittedly insane individual while grudgingly accepting it within the so-called progressive party of the United States?

That’s the democratic party though, not Clinton, so despite her being fully indoctrinated into its corporate culture, there’s still a chance she might distance herself from its less-than-illustrious past, right? Well, except she kinda voted in favour of that whole Iraq war thing, which greatly destabilized the region beyond its already pretty-much-fucked state of affairs, giving birth to everyone’s favourite terrorist group: ISIS. Clinton, in true politico fashion, prudently regrets the decision now that the whole world knows what a shitty idea it was. Of course, she would have known it then too, if she had actually read the information that was available at the time. This is what we want from a president: gross neglect when it comes to matters of global affairs. Like how she’s facing criminal charges for her mishandling of classified information by using her private, unsecured email server, despite multiple warnings to desist. People rightfully belittle Trump for his many business failures to contrast his claimed acumen, but Clinton’s facade of competency should face similar criticism.

At least she’s not clamouring to ban all Muslims! However, not being Hitler-esque in one’s policies is a really low bar. This article from Al Jazeera makes a compelling argument about the problem with the way Clinton frames the Islamic controversy. She forces Islam into a binary of radical Muslim terrorists on the one hand, and ‘good’ Muslim moderates on the other. This binary ignores the many facets that make up human beings, and resorts to defining Muslims solely in their relationship to terrorism. Within this framework, Islam is still incontrovertibly linked to terror, and it is only the measure of dedication that one has to their religion that denotes one’s likelihood of committing terrorist acts. Again, it’s not Hitler, but it’s not really ameliorating the situation either.

Clinton would also mark the very first woman president, meaning a victory for women akin to the one Obama’s election had for black communities: Pyrrhic. What are Clinton’s plans for low-income and part-time workers, the majority of whom are women? How does Clinton plan to help with child care? Having a female president does not accomplish much for feminism if most of the problems facing women are social and economic, and that president is corporatist in her politics.

So what are Americans to do? I originally wanted to sarcastically suggest voting for Trump, but now even joking about that makes me gag. I mean he’s to the left of Clinton on some issues, so he’s got that going for him, but he’s just as imbecilic about those policies as he is about his right wing beliefs. He advocates for local industry in lieu of global manufacturing which would greatly improve the domestic economy, yet produces all his own products in China. He wants to get corporate money out of politics, and brags about financing his own campaign, ignoring the fact that he himself is quite literally an anthropomorphic corporation. He’s even maintained some fairly progressive opinions during his political flip-flopping, and has come out both for and against gay marriage, which I guess you can call a draw. An article I read that I don’t care to find again because I don’t remember the source speculated that the danger with Trump wasn’t his radical ideology, but the uncertainty of which position he actually held on any given topic.

Chris Hedges in his book The Death of the Liberal Class says that voting for the “less worse” party (ie. the democrats) can only serve to push the acceptable political ideology further in that worse direction, and concessions to the right become a constant. Anyone left of Fox News only has the one option after all, so Americans end up with candidates like Clinton whose most admirable characteristic is that she is not Donald Trump, yet who is by no means a reasonable person to lead a country.

What do you do when the extent of your political influence as a citizen only allows you the choice between a neglectful criminal and a psychopath? Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau very diplomatically said that he would work with whomever was elected, and that the Canadian/American relationship goes beyond the personalities of two individuals. This eloquently illustrates the common mentality of individuals in a contemporary democracy: accept the state of affairs for the sake of stability and maybe grumble about it privately at the water cooler. If either candidate is elected, Americans will very likely continue on with their lives, hoping that in four years their choices will be better. Yet my repeated analogy to Hitler is pertinent to this mentality: at what point is a society morally obligated to abandon traditional means of political change and opt for the non-traditional? Ought a society to continue to accept an escalating criminality in their leadership, trusting that the only potential for change is an increasingly meaningless democratic system?

Noam Chomsky’s theory is that people have forgotten other political processes in favour of blindly focusing on the carnival we call an election. To steal his line because he is much smarter than me and delightfully sarcastic, “Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world.” By retaining this focus as the only option for political participation, citizens do not even consider the activist route as a means of altering the course of their Hindenburg of a country. If the political system has failed, and it most certainly has, then it is up to the people to make the necessary changes to improve their country.

It is my understanding that citizen-based political reform outside of the incumbent structures of their system is called…

ANARCHY!