Friday, February 5, 2016

Hillary or Bernie?

Who I’m Supporting for President and Why

Okay, I’ve not talked much about the race this year. I’ve got lots of reasons for that. First the few times I’ve said anything, the opposition jumps all over it with uncommon rancor and ugly accusatory language. I’ve neither the temperament nor the time to deal with these childish outbursts. Second, I’m a Democrat. Whoever is selected will get my support. Their differences are subtle, far more than their advocates would let on. Please understand one thing. If you are voting for someone else, that’s fine. I respect your right and ability to make that decision. Just know that my decision has been made. I can read the papers and hear discussions on issues and evaluate them same as anybody else. We are diverse as people, so our choices will be diverse. DO NOT USE MY BLOG, GOOGLE PLUS, OR MY FACEBOOK PAGE TO MAKE YOUR CASE FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Spend your energy elsewhere with someone whose mind is not made up. I am not the enemy because I am not supporting your candidate. You are not the enemy because you are not supporting mine. Now let me tell you my choice and why.

I am voting for and caucusing for Hillary Rodham Clinton. There are reasons that resonate with me for why I’m doing that. Actually politically I’m pretty far to the left of Ms. Clinton, and much that Bernie Sanders says resonates with me. In a far better world, I could vote for him and caucus for him easily. But I live in the political mess that is America in 2016.

First let’s state the obvious. We no longer live in a democratic republic. Big money elects our Congress and to a great degree our president. This is especially so now with the advent of Citizens United. Congressional districts are gerrymandered assuring the Congressional House will remain under Republican Control. Only one house in Congress has any hope of selecting a Democratic majority. With the infusion of literally billions of dollars of corporate dollars into our political races, we are presented with a dilemma. Though corporate money dominates, the two parties are NOT the same. On a host of issues from lgbt rights to civil rights to war to taxation, they have significant differences.

I’ve heard the other side say repeatedly how Clinton has ties to Corporate dollars. Here’s the thing. In an oligarchy, that is a bit of an advantage. Make no mistake. Whoever gets the nomination will be subjected to the full frontal attack by the Republican attack machine and those corporate interests that support them.

Which brings us to the issue of labels and attack ads. Sanders’ supporters repeat over and over how crooked Clinton is. Welcome to the product of the Republican attack machine. She has been attacked with untrue accusations ever since the days her husband was president. Reality check: If you repeat “Benghazi” enough times, people will believe it. There is not one accusation brought against her, either with Benghazi, emails, etc has ever been substantiated. They didn’t have to be substantiated. By repeating them over and over they have been planted into the psyche of the American voting public. Now imagine what would happen with labels like “socialist” being used. How about soft on defense? Remember how John Kerry was painted as soft on defense despite being a hero in Vietnam? Before they were done with him, people thought he as a coward and a fraud. Clinton for all the attacks stood strong and prevailed. Furthermore in the Senate she showed her ability to work across the aisle, something essential in getting anything done.

Now I’ve heard over and over about what Bernie Sanders did back in the sixties around race. My first inclination is to say, “So what? What have you done lately?” Locked in my mind I can see Senator Sanders being confronted by members of Black Lives Matter in Seattle. I’ve never seen a man look more impotent in my life. He responded with fury and refusing to talk. If he cannot deal with a protest from two women standing up to him, someone tell me why we think he can endure against the massive Republican attack machine. In addition, when he speaks around racial inequity, he keeps going back to the standard class/economic opportunity argument. He fails to see even at this late date that with race, even when a person is economically advantaged, they still face inequity thanks to racism. That is why he has failed to win support among Black and Latino voters overall.

In my opinion, the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is at the wrong time in history. There is a massive struggle required to which Sen. Sanders himself stated that will require people all over America to organize and to engage in a revolution to take back the country. It means dismantling Citizens United and restoring many of the anti-trust protections offered in another time. It means demanding by force if necessary to change the tax structure. When the power is restored to the people, then the election of a Bernie Sanders carries with it meaning. Until then, a president must find ways to work across the aisle, in an environment where moderate is not considered the opposite of progressive.

There are some stark realities also facing us. Certain court appointments can destroy marriage equality, legal protections against lgbt folk, dismantling of Obamacare and further erosion of laws that protect us against the excesses of industry. There are several protections, environment and social implemented by presidential decree that would go away.

I do not believe Candidate Sanders could withstand the onslaught of Republican propaganda. I know he could not implement the things he says he would do. Not in the system as it exists today. I would hope the Sanders people would join efforts to dismantle the obstacles to true choice by the people. That’s a revolution I willingly join. I hope whichever candidate will embrace Black Lives Matter. That’s a change that simply can’t be delayed.

Then there is his striking naivete' when it comes to foreign policy. Ours is a dangerous world, and he has for decades now been purposefully disinterested in what is going on in the world politic. It's almost as if he has been frozen in time with opinions set in his youth.

These are my primary concerns. I met Hillary Clinton (she was Hillary Rodham then) years ago when I was a paid worker in the George W. McGovern campaign, and I was impressed with her. Sadly the McGovern election was also a campaign with high ideals but nothing in terms of a political constituency to back it up save some of us young folks who believed that change was at hand. Instead we had delivered to us a resounding defeat. Understand though that for friends who disagree, if your candidate wins, I will work for him with all the passion I do my own. Whatever happens, we must not allow a Republican win this next go-round, or the last vestiges of our democratic system surely will be in peril.

Go Hillary!!! (I still like you Bernie!)

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