We’re On Our Way

We seem to be fully past the point where the system might be reformed from within the system. The corruption and failure, as many have pointed out, is bipartisan and goes deeper than just the parties. This leads to frustration and cynicism for many, but it doesn’t have to.

Democracy isn’t only or even primarily about elections. At the most local level, there is still the possibility of democracy functioning. There are local issues that can be influenced and local problems that can be improved. Still, that won’t change the system itself. In anything you do, you will have to constantly fight against the tide of a failing social order.

Keep this in mind. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Change will come, but not easily. It will require outside forces and destabilizing conditions to force issues to the surface.

This isn’t an entirely new situation. Americans have faced this before. Similar conflicts and challenges emerged in the decades before the American Revolution, the US Civil War, and more recently the Civil Rights movement. All were preceded by major acts of violence, social unrest, and civil disobedience. This is what finally forced the hand of government to take action and, in one case, for it to be replaced with a new government.

We are in a period such as that, but we aren’t quite to the breaking point yet. Even when it finally arrives, it won’t be the end of the world, assuming WWIII doesn’t begin and/or climate change doesn’t kick into full gear. There is no point to fear-mongering and prophesying doom, not that we should downplay it either. It’s simply that change happens. We should acknowledge it and prepare for the worse while planning for what comes after.

We are in what some consider the Fourth Turning of a generational cycle. I find it a compelling frame with much explanatory power. I like to look for meaning in the chaos. Otherwise, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you get your info from the MSM that leaves so much in a state of disconnection, as if the world is a set of random events and isolated incidents to be reported on and then forgotten about, until the next thing comes long, just one damn thing after another.

This is information to keep in mind and a way of making sense of it all, as American society loses its bearings and suffers a bout of collective insanity. Finding a larger context to give perspective is important at times like these. Think of it as intellectual self-defense against reactionary politics, no matter which party it comes from.

Neither Trump nor Clinton are the end of the world. Neither is going to save us from the problems we face. And neither is going to stop the changes that long ago were set into motion. Society isn’t going to stay the same and isn’t going to go back to what it once was. The future beckons, as it always does. We’re on our way to somewhere.

45 thoughts on “We’re On Our Way

      • The comments section on the NYT is the walking definition of partisan democrat. I’m pretty sure few are my age either, as my generation isn’t really into conventional blue/red spatting. They shit all over the republicans while overlooking the fact that their shit stinks too

        • I’m just tired of the charade. I’ve lost all faith in even a trace of democracy, beyond what functions at the most local level. Looking for democracy in national politics is like looking for healthcare from a child playing doctor.

    • There is only one problem with those links. They are utter bullshit. I’ve gotten enough bullshit to last a lifetime. I’m fine

      with a lesser evil vote. But Hillary Clinton isn’t a lesser evil. She is a greater evil, even if not the only greater evil. One lesser evil was Sanders who, by some research, would have won the nomination if not for apparent fraud and DNC rigging. Other lesser evils would include any of the third party candidates.

      If enough Americans in key states vote for a third party candidate, then we will actually have a decent president or at least one that isn’t a greater evil.

  1. Um, I think all those authors are making reasonable cases based on their best estimate of the facts. I mean, they might be wrong, but I think their arguments should get a hearing. I get you’re hurt and angry but I don’t feel dismissing them like that is fair.

    I don’t like Hillary but a lot more people will get hurt in more ways if Trump wins. That matters. Doesn’t my bodily autonomy matter? Being forced to bear a child would feel like dying inside, and I couldn’t afford it anyway.

    • They are making rationalizations. I understand. People don’t want to face the harsh reality of our situation, not even someone like Chomsky.

      It brings doubt to the question if we have a functioning democracy at all. What would Americans do if they discovered they live in a banana republic? Would they accept it out of cynicism, apathy, and fear? Or would they revolt?

      I’m not any more hurt and angry than I’ve been for years. I’ve just been following this kind of bullshit for a long time. I know how the game is played.

      This election is Clinton’s to lose. Trump can’t beat her. The only way for her to lose is if her corruption and political evil catches up with her. Wikileaks has more material to be released. So does Snowden and no one knows what he has.

      The DNC rigged the nomination in her favor. Sanders was the candidate who was more popular and more trusted, and research shows that fraud likely stole the nomination from him. He also was the only candidate guaranteed to beat Trump.

      Clinton, the DNC, and Democratic partisans have made their own bed. Now they’ll have to sleep in it. But all of us will suffer the consequences.

      Still, American voters including Democrats could do the right thing, even now. They don’t have to vote for a corrupt and dangerous politician like Clinton simply out of fear of Trump. If Americans treated our political system as a functioning democracy and voted freely, there is nothing stopping them from electing a third party candidate—no matter how much the ruling elite fear-monger, manipulate, lie, and rig the system.

      We Americans will have a democracy when we decide we want one. No one can force democracy on us. We will have to demand our own freedom and self-rule, not accepting anything less. It’s a choice.

      • I think the right thing is what takes care of the most real people right now.

        I think you may have kinda problematic priorities. A little bit. Ideas in your head aren’t as important as people’s lives.

        • That would be to not vote for either greater evil and instead elect Jill Stein, assuming you are actually serious about taking care of the most real people right now.

          If all you’re doing is spewing bullshit, then your opinion is irrelevant. My priorities is to focus on results, not empty rhetoric and deceitful promises. You either care about making the world a better place or you don’t. There is no two ways about it.

          The millions of people that Clinton has harmed and killed are real. It must be nice to be privileged as you are, but not everyone is so lucky.

          • Jill Stein can’t win and voting for her just helps Trump. I’m sorry but that’s how reality works right now. I wish we had a better proportional democracy like Europe but we don’t. Trying to do the best you can with reality isn’t evil it’s just being grown up.

            I really think not liking Clinton is less important than not having the country ruled by a racist fascist sociopath.

            You really don’t know anything about me to say that I’m privileged. I live in one room on a working class income. I have no family because my father was so abusive. I also have chronic health issues that make every day hard for me. I wish you wouldn’t make assumptions like that and assume anyone you disagree with is just privileged and evil.

          • “Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight, presenting each other with awards (remember when Jeb Bush presented Hillary Clinton with a Liberty Medal for her service to the country), attending each other’s weddings (Bill and Hillary had front-row seats for Trump’s 2005 wedding), and embracing with genuine affection.

            “Trump’s various donations to the Clintons (he donated to Hillary’s Senate campaigns, as well as the Clinton Foundation) are not unusual. Remember, FOX News mogul Rupert Murdoch actually hosted a fundraiser for Hillary’s Senate reelection campaign back in 2006 and contributed to her presidential campaign two years later. In fact, FOX News has reportedly been one of Hillary’s biggest donors for the better part of two decades.”


          • Jill Stein can win, if enough people vote for her. Just as the third party candidate, Abraham Lincoln, won when enough people voted for him.

            It’s actually quite easy, since it doesn’t even require a majority vote. Our system depends on winning key state. That is much easier to do with 4 candidates running who are getting more attention than usual, with the two main candidates being the most unpopular and distrusted since data was kept.

            Reality only works the way you describe, as long as so many Americans remain as ignorant and easily manipulated as you. But in that case, our greatest worry isn’t just which candidate might win. Without an informed and independent-minded public, a functioning democracy isn’t possible at all. That is why we have a banana republic.

            Privilege is a relative quality that comes in many forms.

            I live in a small apartment, work an entry level job that doesn’t pay much, and have struggled daily for decades with severe depression. But I also know that my life is immensely better than most Americans in this country and certainly better than most people in the world.

            Few people are able to see there own privilege because they only compare themselves with those directly around them. Unless you are a poor minority in prison or raising a child as a single parent in the ghettos, unless you are a homeless veteran suffering from PTSD and addiction or rural white person living in a nearly collapsing trailer, unless you worry daily about drone attacks sent by the US government or violence caused by Western interventionism, unless you worry about dying from a treatable disease because of sanctions or lost your small above subsistence-level family farm because of a neoliberal ‘free’ trade agreement, you probably are fairly privileged.

            Look outside of your insular life. The world is extremely bad for so many people, no matter how bad your own life is. And conditions are getting so much worse all the time for so many. That said, some of the old forms of privilege such as being white aren’t what they used to be, as this worsening has hit white communities as well. But that is all the more reason to not support the very politicians like the Clintons who are the cause of these problems.

            If Americans don’t wake up and take responsibility for the fate of their society, they have no one else to blame.

          • I’m sorry to be so harsh to you. But at some point we Americans really are going to have to wake up.

            The Clintons are a major reason life is so shitty for people like you and I. Trump is an old friend, associate, and crony of the Clintons. They’ve spent decades socializing together, even going to the family events: parties at their homes, weddings, etc. Trump has praised Clinton over the years and donated money to her campaigns.

            These people aren’t your friends. They don’t give a shit about you and nothing will get better under either of them, as the same basic policies will go forward under either of them. All the campaign rhetoric and promises are bullshit. That is the one thing you need to understand.

            When people like you keep putting people like the Clintons in power, you aren’t only shooting yourself in the foot. Everyone else is harmed at the same time. We can’t take much more of this before we hit a breaking point and it will get ugly. With ever more Clinton New Democrat policies and the inevitable worsening problems that would follow, we are going to have massive social unrest and large-scale violence, maybe revolution or civil war or world war.

            Trump is a distraction. He isn’t going to win, unless Clinton is proven to be such a horrific criminal that few would vote for her. That is the problem when you nominate a politician who is known not only as corrupt but also as weak, unpopular, and distrusted. Another leak or info released from the Clinton Foundation investigation cold tank her campaign in an instant. And it would be no one else’s fault. Nor would there be any way for someone to save the Democrats then.

            Sanders’ voters who are inedpendents or third partiers are a small percentage of total voters. They are unlikely to sway the election in any direction. What you need to worry about are the lifelong registered Democrats who finally get fed up with the system and can’t stomach any longer.

            Partisan voters like you who have continually voted for bad candidates for decades are why we are in such a bad situation. That is information you need to take seriously. You have a choice. Do you want to make the world worse or better? Then vote accordingly.

          • No thank you that is SUCH a non-apology apology. What on earth gives you the right to literally blame everything wrong on this country on me?? That is so mean and arrogant.

            Again you know nothing at all about me and make all these insulting untrue assumptions. I am not a partisan voter and liked Bernie more than Hillary I’m just being practical. What about Ralph Nader?? he just got George Bush elected. Again I think its reeeeeeallly problematic priorities to care more about purity than what happens to real people.

            I know Hillary went to Trump’s parties and all politicians are corrupt but it’s not about that it’s about people I care about. Do you even care about 12,000,000 Latino Americans Trump wants to deport which would mean this huge nazi police state!! Or I have gay friends who would have been tortured as children under the new Republican platform. Or does my right to my own fricking body not matter at ALL to you??

          • The apology was as genuine as the criticisms. I have no interest in conflict, but I do have an interest in moral results. Unfortunately, demanding moral results too often leads to conflict. My apology is an expression of my disappointment in not knowing how to avoid that.

            I didn’t literally blame everything in the country on you. I blamed you specifically for that which you support, i.e., Hillary and hence what Hillary has done. If you aren’t responsible for what you support, your vote is meaningless and your entire argument is moot. In that case, it is irrelevant that other voters support Trump because nothing can be blamed on them either.

            I never claimed to know anything about you, other than what you’ve told me about you. Still, even that might not be true. I have no way of verifying what you’ve told me about yourself, but I’d rather assume you’re telling the truth until proven otherwise.

            I’m not criticizing you for having always been a Hillary supporter. I’m criticizing you for now being a Hillary supporter. All you did was switch from one Democratic candidate to another, for the simple reason they weren’t the Republican candidate, Trump. That is a central point of my criticism.

            The millions of people harmed and killed by Hillary’s policies don’t find your support of her as practical, unless the goal you’re trying to achieve is victimize large numbers of your fellow humans. Your ignorance isn’t what I’d call practical either. Anyone who has bothered to inform themselves even slightly knows that: (1) the most full recount showed Gore won, and even so (2) way more registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush than Nader.

            My argument against mass violence and ignorance isn’t about purity. It’s a wake up call.

            As for immigrants, Obama has been deporting more of them than any other president. There is no rational reason to assume Hillary will be different. She is much tougher on those kinds of issues than is Obama. Part of the reason there are so many immigrants at our border is because of a refugee crisis that Hillary helped cause. Of the millions of people who have been harmed and killed by New Democrat policies, including those directly supported and promoted by Hillary, have victimized children, women, the elderly, and gays.

            Why don’t you care about all those lives? So, you only care about the lives of people you know? Just fuck everyone else. Let them suffer and die! Really?

          • Look I will try one more time will you please listen.

            If you want to vote for Jill Stein I totally support that. That’s why we have a democracy. But you can’t say that everyone supporting Hillary is just partisan and immoral and bad. You realize you’re literally saying that everyone except 4% of Americans is a bad person? That is totally not true!

            You talk alot about being moral but you can’t be moral while putting everyone else down. I get you’re smart and informed but that does not make you better than me.

            Okay I’m done. I’m sorry I got upset at you. Please be well and sending love and light!

          • “Look I will try one more time will you please listen.”

            I’ve been listening the whole time. I’ve just heard everything you’ve said a thousand times before. It’s not a new debate for me. Repeating the same debate over and over does make me prone to frustration and weariness, as if nothing ever changes, as if knowledge doesn’t matter in shifting public debate.

            “If you want to vote for Jill Stein I totally support that. That’s why we have a democracy. But you can’t say that everyone supporting Hillary is just partisan and immoral and bad. You realize you’re literally saying that everyone except 4% of Americans is a bad person? That is totally not true!”

            I’m saying Hillary is bad. To support Hillary is to support the bad she does. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But it does mean you are complicit in the bad being done. What matters is the results, specifically in those harmed. Responsibility only matters to the degree results can be changed. If fewer people supported bad politicians, we’d have fewer bad politicians. That is the only point that matters. And it is a rather simple, practical point.

            “You talk alot about being moral but you can’t be moral while putting everyone else down. I get you’re smart and informed but that does not make you better than me.”

            I can be moral while criticizing others. Morality requires the ability to criticize. I criticize myself as well. I’m smart and informed in some ways, but not in all ways nor was that always the case. Every fact I’ve stated I didn’t know at some earlier point. That is what learning is about. We all begin with ignorance and over time our ignorance becomes less. Yet no matter how much we learn, our ignorance will always be immensely greater than our knowledge.

            It doesn’t bother me to acknowledge ignorance in myself, when that is the case. It doesn’t bother me to criticize myself or to take seriously the criticisms of others. I don’t see this as ‘negative’. If we don’t know about such things, we can’t improve. That is true on both a personal level and a collective level.

            I admit I suck at improving in so many ways, but it doesn’t stop me from trying to improve both myself and the world around me, in whatever limited way I feel capable of. If all I can do is speak the truth as best I can, then that is what I will do. Truth seems like a good starting point, although hopefully it leads to practical results.

            “Okay I’m done. I’m sorry I got upset at you. Please be well and sending love and light!”

            I’m glad we were able to end on a positive note. I just hope you don’t leave without any change having happened. If dialogue like this has no impact on changing our views, then as a society we are beyond hope.

          • Let me clear up one thing. I don’t think of myself as intrinsically better than you. I’m not special. I’m lower income, with no college education and a working class job.

            Like you and most other Americans, I spent most of my life listening to the same mainstream media and the same politicians. I’ve been told the lies and disinfo, the spin and empty rhetoric. the endless campaign promises. I used to be less discerning and believed much of that bullshit. I was duped.

            I wasn’t born with knowledge. I had to work hard to gain that knowledge. My public education didn’t give it to me nor did the mainstream media. I had to inform myself by looking for scholarly books and alternative media. It took years sifting through all that I thought I knew in order to figure out what was actually true.

            In our discussion here, you’ve repeated much of the false beliefs and biases that I’ve struggled with. I don’t blame you for having been lied to. But now that you know you’ve been lied to, what are you going to do with this new info that you never before knew existed. The difficulty of escaping from a state of ignorance is that you no longer have lack of knowledge as an excuse.

            Knowledge forces an individual into making decisions that are informed and hence moral. Now that you know the results of supporting certain politicians, you can no longer ignore your responsibility and complicity. It changes everything.

  2. And, wait… you’re saying that Bernie is also actually “evil”? And EVERY third party candidate? Isn’t that a little harsh and judgmental?

    • The typical meaning of ‘evil’ in this context is to imply no candidate is perfect. I agree, as no human alive is perfect—similar to how some Christians speak of all of us being sinners. But some are way less imperfect than others.

      Clinton is one of the worst politicians around. Her known political record is horrific, having promoted and contributed to the harm and killing millions of people in the US and around the world. To my mind, that isn’t lesser evil. As for Sanders, he isn’t a perfect candidate, although he is one of the best and strongest candidates in a long time.

      I’m not one to idealize and deify candidates. Cult of personality is one of the problems of our political system with its heavy focus on individual candidates in win at all costs elections.

  3. “The visions of all the dead children in Syria that Hillary Clinton helped to kill; the children bombed to bits in Afghanistan and Pakistan from Obama’s drones, the grisly chaos of Libya, the utter wasteland of Iraq, the death and destruction everywhere caused by American military intervention. The Ukraine, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, you name it — your country has bombed it or destroyed its civilian life in some basic way.

    “When I heard all the Americans cheering for the military and the pronouncements of might coming from the speakers in the Wells Fargo Centre, I loathed you. I loathed every single one of you. I knew in my gut that what I was taught as a child was true, which is that YOU are the enemy. YOU are the country to be feared. YOU are the country to be disgusted by. YOU are ignorant. And your greed and self-satisfaction and unearned pride knows no bounds. […]

    “You people have no idea what it is like for people from other countries to hear you boast and cheer for your guns and your bombs and your soldiers and your murderous military leaders and your war criminals and your murdering and conscienceless Commander in Chief. All those soaring words are received by the rest of us, by us non-Americans, by all the cells in our body, as absolutely repugnant and obscene.

    “And there you all are tonight, glued to your TVs and your computers, your hearts swelled with pride because you belong to the strongest country on Earth, cheering on your Murderer President. Ignorant of the entire world’s repulsion. You kill and you kill and you kill, and still you remain proud.

    “We are fools.”


  4. At this point though, I’m wondering if Trump’s even trying to win. He’s acting seriously retarded, it’s almost as if he genuinely control himself. Personality disorder?

    • I questioned his intention to win for months now. It’s possible he simply is mentally unstable. But the point is he doesn’t have much to gain by winning. I doubt he’d actually enjoy being president. It’s possible he never wanted to win, even from the beginning. There is this point of view, written by Diana Johnstone earlier in 2015:

      “Since the War Party dominates both branches of the Two-Party-System, the recent track record suggests that the Republicans will nominate a candidate bad enough to make Hillary look good.”


  5. What do you think is gonna happen? I can’t really predict what will happen this fall because really, anything can happen. But based on current trends?

    • I’ve been reluctant to predict anything, since the beginning of the campaign season. For a while now, I’ve had a broad guess of one of two ways it would play out.

      First and foremost, this has always been Clinton’s election to lose, as she has been the only major establishment candidate. She is much more powerful and well-backed than even the average professional politician. She not only has a party that will sabotage other candidates in her own party but also now has the openly stated support of major key figures from the political right. She has no real competition. Her worst enemy at the moment is simply herself, her own political record and the skeletons in her closet.

      Secondly, that isn’t to say she couldn’t lose. She is also the weakest establishment candidate of a major party seen in a long while. This is largely to do with present conditions. If she had run for office a decade or two ago, she would have been a strong candidate. The public isn’t in the mood for an establishment candidate right now and she is the worst of the worst. All that it would take right now is a single leaked email or a discovery from the Clinton Foundation investigation, something more damning than what has so far come to public view, and her campaign could tank over night.

      In the second scenario, that would change everything. Trump could actually win then, even if he didn’t want to win. If Clinton was forced to drop out, Democrats would put up another candidate. That could mean that Sanders would suddenly be back in the race and would easily beat Trump. Or maybe a third party candidate would quickly rise to the top, as the two main parties crashed and burned.

      Those are possible scenarios, not exactly predictions. That said, the second scenario seems increasingly probable all the time. With all the bad shit that has come out about Clinton from leaks and whatnot, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are supposedly still more emails that have yet to be released. It makes me think that we might not have seen the worst yet. If I really wanted to mess with the establishment, I’d save the worst emails for last to serve as a death blow.

  6. Many minorities (LGBT, racial minorities) are scared of a Trump presidency, though. Genuinely scared.

    What is Trump? Is he really a white backlash like NYT says? Or is it more complex? What makes him and Sanders different, since there IS some overlap in their twos’ appeals? What is the future of the USA, as a declining power? The USA has had many waves of immigrants. But this time it’s different in that racism is a factor due to the immigrants’ more different looks. Will we outgrow this growing pain or no…

    • I don’t think basic factors have changed. These are patterns and trends that have been established for generations or even centuries.

      The immigrant situation isn’t particularly different from the past. Eastern European Jews and Southern European Catholics not only had different religions than WASPs but also looked noticeably different. What has changed is that we are coming to a point of culmination, where many factors are meeting, specifically that of demographic shifts.

      But even that isn’t exactly new. Consider what it must have been like in the early 1800s when those of English ancestry became the minority in the US, a fear WASPs had since the colonial era, something Benjamin Franklin liked to complain about (e.g., dark-skinned Germans who didn’t share the English language, religion, and political traditions).

      It’s simply a time of change, as happened many times before in this country. The early 20th century saw greater immigration, instability, violence, and fear of revolution than anything we see now. We’ve simply grown used to the relatively peaceful times before 9/11 and the Great Recession. The last decades of the 20th century were highly unusual.

      In fact, violence in the US and in the Western world is still dropping like a rock, despite all the fear-mongering about terrorists and and immigrants. We don’t know jack shit what real violence looks like, the kind of violence that earlier generations experienced.

      I don’t see Trump as a white backlash. More whites probably hate, fear, or are indifferent to him than support him. He isn’t being seen as a great white savior by most whites. That isn’t the kind of situation we are in. It’s more about the economic populism. I was surprised a while back to see the significant percentage of minorities who supported Trump.

      Right now, many people fear the worsening trends that have been enforced by the establishment than they fear someone like Trump. If both Sanders and Trump are denied by the establishment, we’ll keep seeing ever more powerful populists come on to the political scene, until these problems are resolved.

      The truly different problems we face now aren’t primarily American in nature. It’s simply the global shifts. We aren’t isolated nations. Economically, politically, militarily, and environmentally—the world is increasingly tied together in a common fate. The refugee crises happening in multiple parts of the world are simultaneously being exacerbated by international actions and climate change.

      The problems most likely to harm us are those we are least focused on.

      • There is one difference. The southern and eastern euros weren’t legally segregated the way black, asian, and natives were.

        • Immigrants today, even Islamic Africans, aren’t legally segregated either. That is what has changed. Oppression is less overt and systematic than it once was. We aren’t going to see the kind of authoritarianism that was common in the early 1900s. Authoritarianism will take new forms. We should be more concerned about those new forms because we won’t necessarily recognize them in advance.

        • That article represents the worst kind of ignorance. I’ve responded to that kind of thing endlessly and yet the ignorance continues. You’d think people would eventually learn.

          Vastly more registered Democrats voted for Bush in Florida than voted for Nader. Gore was unpopular. But if he had simply been willing to fight for the election, fight for his supporters, and fight for his party, he would have won. More full recounts showed that he won Florida and yet he allowed a Republican-controlled Supreme Court steal the election.

          I’ve always wondered what bribe or threat Gore was given. He obviously threw the fight, a fight he would have otherwise won. I suppose he was more interested in guaranteeing his political career than in defending democracy. I find that sad. The arrogance of ignorance in response to it just makes it even sadder.

          • Hey, okay, you disagree. Just adding my two cents. Is it really necessary to act superior and put people down?

            I’ll shut up now. Sorry.

          • You don’t need to shut up. And being sorry isn’t necessary nor desired. I truly hope you never shut up. Speak loudly and often, just make sure you speak truly. Let make a few points.

            See it from my perspective. I’ve known this info for years. And I’ve seen the disinfo repeated for years. I’ve countered, criticized, and corrected that disinfo at least hundreds of times—I lost count long ago. Yet this zombie disinfo never dies. How many times would you have to repeat the exact same info before becoming frustrated or even overwhelmed with hopelessness? After a while, one loses faith that truth does win in the end.

            We are dealing with powerful forces that are promoting this disinfo. The stakes are high, the consequences are serious, and the repercussions dangerous. Without an informed public, we have no chance of being a free people in a free society. I realize that you weren’t spreading disinfo on purpose, but that is irrelevant to the inevitable results that follow when enough people knowingly or unknowingly help such deceit to grow in influence. We can’t tolerate this, not for an instant.

            Think about this. There are those in power who intentionally push this kind of bullshit. They repeat it endlessly knowing it is a lie. It’s part of a propaganda program to make rational informed public debate impossible. These people assume the public is stupid and can be played for fools. Don’t get mad at me. You should be righteously pissed off at these people who see you as a mere pawn in their games of power. Are you going to stand for that?

            It’s not about my opinion being superior to your opinion. It’s about the truth being superior to all opinions. If you want to know who thinks they are superior to you, I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t me. It’s those who keep lying to you in the hope you’ll never figure out how they’re conning you. There is no shame in not knowing the truth because you were deceived. We all begin in ignorance, from the moment we’re born, and finding truth is one of the hardest things. That’s fine.

            You didn’t know the truth about this topic. Now you do. What are you going to do with this info? What is any of us to do? Those are tough questions. We should demand good answers from ourselves and from others. I promise to keep others honest and I hope others will do the same for me. We need to have each other’s backs and hold each other to the highest standards. It really is that important.

          • Democracy, if it is to be genuine, can’t simply be an opinionocracy. Not all opinions are equal. But that is the false sense that is created by our political system. No matter how informed, uninformed, or disinformed various citizens are, all opinions are equal at the voting booth because all of us only get a single vote.

            This is the failure of our society. There is room for disagreement within the range of what is known and proven. But when any and all opinions are treated the same, any hope of a functioning free society is lost. Then it simply becomes who can enforce their opinion onto the rest of society, by hook or crook.

  7. On Hillary:

    Wanna know what makes me smdh? People railing about Benghazi yet forgetting the Nato invasion of Libya (which Hillary pushed the uS into) ever happened, never questioning it. What if schools taught US foreign policy history that wasn’t just “yay murica!”

    I know why the right dosen’t hit Hillary where it actually matters though. (Ex: they hit her emails themeslves, instead of hitting her where it actually hurts, the content of her emails which should be pretty damning!) It’s because both sides of the mainstream are in the same shit bucket on this stuff. Why would the mainstream hit her on Libya on Honduras when they’re also war-happy? Or also pro-surveillance?

    • I think along those same lines.

      I doubt the Republican establishment actually wants a Democratic establishment figure like Hillary to go to prison. The entire establishment knows that there are many dark secrets that would send many of them to prison, if they ever were to be investigated.

      The last thing they want is a functioning legal system that would hold any part of the establishment accountable. This is an area of power that transcends parties.

      Still, they want to put on a good show for the voters. They’ll just make sure to pull their punches so that no real damage is done. That is why they conveniently ignore the substance of the emails.

  8. Concerning Clinton and Trump and this while election. I’m having trouble articulating this, so… bear with me?

    About how there are many legitimate criticisms of all the candidates. About how, I think, that the identity criticisms of Sanders can be valid (ex, a bit class essentialist while overlooking other identities.) But… the way things have played out have been an additional knife in the back of identity politics, for me.

    Here’s a guy whose whole record has been consistently a populist one, where if you disagree with him or have issues with his views, flaws, at least you can respect that he’s a decent person. He has intellectual humility, which is something I think is important. The type of guy where he will listen to your view and still respect you if you disagree, will consider your views. And yet, you see him getting absolutely ravaged for identity politics reasons. He’s a straight, white, male shitlord. Berniebros. He dosen’t know what it’s like to be oppressed. Hillary Clinton does, she’s a female. Never mind all the truly problematic aspects of her record, her character, the lack of substance…

    I actually agree with a lot of criticisms of Sanders. And I agree with a lot of the criticisms of some of his supporters towards black voters, who are so staunchly pro Hillary for their reasons. At the same time, I think we’ve entered a society where it’s as if an individual’s opinion is sacred and cannot be challenged. For example, I think a lot of the Sanders supporters are grossly condescending towards black voters. At the same time, on the other side, I see people being offended not at the condescension, but that someone is even trying to convince them to vote for a different candidate, and that “I’m voting for x and I don’t owe you a reason” “Stop trying to convince people to vote for bro. They have their reasons and don’t owe you an explanation.” Yeah, but dosen’t that defeat the purpose of campaigning then? The whole point of campaigning is that you try to convince people to vote for xyz. I agree that so many people are condescending and misguided, but I think it’s a legit thing to try to understand why someone might vote a certain way, then taking that into mind if you want to get them to vote for another. The condescntion should have been replaced by understanding and sensitivity, of course.

    I think respecting people does not mean you must agree with them and think they’re opinion is sacred and therefore must be left alone. But that’s the type of mentality I see some applying to ‘protected classes.’

    It’s just one of those cases I think identity politics has really screwed us over. Bascially, it’s a case where the critiques from the identity politics people are legitimate, but in the real world, the result is that… we ended up passing over a once in a lifetime chance to make the right move because it didn’t come in a perfect enough package, where while we argue about identity politics, the end result is that we missed the lifeboats leaving the titanic and now we’re all sinking, but at least we got our identity politics. We all refused to board the lifeboat because it wasn’t this or that enough, and the end result is that we end up stuck on the sinking ship

    Well it looks like I unintentionally turned the conventional democrat argument on it’s head. They’ve been arguing that populists are being too purist and demanding. Actually, I find that the identity politics people are being the purist ones. Sanders sucks for example, because he isn’t anti-racist enough, anti-sexist enough, not pro-LGBT enough, bascially, he’s too privileged white male. He’s not good enough for this and that identity group. Sanders has a good heart, good intentions, but he dosen’t care enough about this and that identity group, etc.

    His record is WAY better than Clinton’s in pretty much every aspect if you actually care about disadvantaged people of all types, American and foreign (hello, war hawk!) but shit, he’s an old white guy!

    Also, saying that things like Sanders saying “excuse me, I’m talking” was sexist. Everything he says is either sexist, racist, heterosexualist, cisgenderist, etc. Sanders refuses to even attack Hillary at all, yet people complain that he’s an attacking asshole.

    Well well well. For someone who markets themselves as such a “strong woman role model” she sure does need to be treated with kid gloves. Jesus Christ. Farting within 50 yards of her is now sexist.

    • Like anyone else, my experience of various people is limited. Even as a Sanders supporter, I only interacted with a tiny fraction of the total number of other Sanders supporters. In that limited experience, I didn’t notice them being more condescending than Clinton supporters or anyone else. It’s similar to conservatives claiming liberals as smug, which I wouldn’t argue against, but I just don’t see liberals as being more smug than conservatives. Condescension/smugness is a shared trait of human nature.

      I’ve had people call me condescending, even though I do my best to criticize everyone equally. Am I condescending to criticize blacks when I also criticize those who fit into some combination of white, middle class, liberal, feminist, etc? The reality is that I’d be condescending if I treated blacks different because I didn’t think they could handle fair criticism, that they must be kept ‘protected’ in paternalistic fashion. In that case, I’d also be acting racist, as my condescension would be racially driven, treating blacks like children who must be handled with kids’ gloves.

      Identity politics doesn’t bring out the best in people nor the most intelligent thought. If Clinton supporters care so much about identity politics, then why do they act so dismissive and condescending toward all those who don’t fit their particular demographics: young women, poor women, foreign women, young minorities, poor minorities, foreign minorities, and on and on. These are some of the demographics that the most harmed by Clinton’s policies and many of these demographics, among those who are voting citizens, have shown majority support for Sanders. Is the only identity they care about that of older, middle-to-upper class, white females and older, middle-to-upper class minorities?

      No data has shown that Clinton has won the majority of either women or minorities. Most Americans don’t vote in most elections. Even among those who do vote, they are divided in various ways across numerous candidates. There are a surprising number of women and minorities who have been supporting Trump. Lower than a typical Republican, but still higher than one would expect. Do only women and minorities matter when they support Clinton?

      Obviously, Sanders doesn’t see everything through only one lens, that of socioeconomic class. Very little of his political career has been about that. He has been more active for much longer than Clinton in the black civil rights movement. His policies would help blacks more than would the policies of Clinton. His policies would help more women as well. To put it simply, Clinton’s policies will fuck over everyone but those who are already living comfortable and secure lives.

      The only identity that matters is whether you’re a plutocrat or not, which isn’t primarily a class issue. Wealth in the US has always been tied up with many other issues: race, ethnicity, religion, immigration, place of birth, education system, and whatever else. To be a plutocrat isn’t simply to be wealthy but more importantly to be part of the right demographics, the right social identity.

      Clinton supporters are more purist in a sense, but it’s not a purity based on moral principles. They are simply acting out group purity and so falling into groupthink, whether as ideologues or partisans. They have no larger loyalty to all minorities, all women, or all anything. They are rather lacking purity on that level.

      The failure of Sanders is that he isn’t an ideologue, demagogue, partisan, etc. He is too ordinary and moderate. In the not too distant past, he would have been considered a standard mainstream liberal and progressive. His views are rather centrist. He would have had a more compelling campaign if he had been stronger on many issues. For example, he is neither a neocon war hawk nor an isolationist pacifist. On foreign issues, he offers no vision for what role America should or should not play in the world. He doesn’t even give strong voice to class politics.

      He is boringly middle-of-the road, but a distortedly polarized narrative has come to dominate leaving the majority in the middle with no way to be heard, not even when there was a candidate who argued for what they were demanding. The mainstream media amazingly ignored the fact that Sanders’ positions on issue after issue represented the silent majority of Americans. We live in a time of complete disconnection. Most of the MSM, political establishment, partisans, activists, etc might as well be living in an alternative reality from the rest of us.

      Clinton, if and when she wins the election, will end up doing great harm. She could be the stake in the heart of identity politics. Her presidency will do more harm to those identity groups she supposedly represents as a symbolic victory. It will be a hollow victory. The agenda that has harmed the underprivileged for decades will get even worse. The liberal class will be disempowered from being able to stop her and they will find themselves endlessly trying to rationalize what they helped to create. The only positive outcome might be that, with the delegitimization of liberalism, a strong left-wing might rise up.

  9. Sometimes, I think I’m literally watching horseshoe theory in action during this 2016 rollercoaster.

    Ever notice that the identity politics left and the altright almost reinforce each other like two sides of the same coin?

    • Horseshoe theory might a good way to think about it. I knew of the theory, although not it’s name.

      It makes me wonder if the frame of left and right is part of the problem. This is a compelling metaphor, the visceral physicality of left and right, symbolic of power, morality, etc all the way back to the ancient world (left and right hands, left and right paths, left and right seating, and similar things).

      It touches upon something deep in the human psyche. It describes our physical position in relation to others in dualistic terms. But like many things I suspect it obscures more than it explains.

      If left and right bend toward one another, then compared to what are they left and right? I have to wonder if the more important directions politics could take are those that presently lack any label to describe them, that which is diagonal to the supposedly linear political spectrum.

  10. I’m not sure if Clinton will win though. She it seems like she will currently, but that’s only assuming nothing happens within the next few months, and in elections (especially this season) a LOT can happen in a few months.

    Predictions work well when the trajectory stays stable and there are many past situations that can be referenced almost as a “database.” The problem with this election is that it is literally uncharted waters.

    • I’ve been saying that for nearly the entire campaign season. Even early on, it was clear that this wasn’t going to follow a normal predictable pattern.

      Clinton will win, as long as nothing unusual happens, as long as there are no more leaks, revelations, investigations, scandals, etc. But what are the chances that everything will be perfectly smooth sailing until election day? It’s been said that more emails are going to be released at some point. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe nothing significant will change and Clinton will win without a fight. I just wouldn’t want to bet much money on that prediction.

      It doesn’t matter how hard Trump tries to lose, if the facts keep showing Clinton to be a horrible person and morally depraved politician. Trump might end up winning, despite himself. That would be amusing for the simple fact that I suspect that is the last thing in the world that he wants. I’d love to watch Trump do everything in his power to lose, scrambling to say ever crazier things, only to see Clinton’s entire campaign self-destruct under the weight of the Clintons long history of corruption.

      I keep thinking that the Clinton legacy is going to catch up with them one day. So far, their power and influence has been able to protect them. Anyone else would probably already be in prison. It still might catch up with them. Nixon was in politics for almost a quarter of a century before his own bad behavior finally took him down. The Clintons have been in politics longer, but that just means they have even more skeletons in the closet.

      I’d love to see some genuine justice in our society, not just for the Clintons but everyone like them.

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