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BlueWI's Journal
BlueWI's Journal
September 24, 2019

My home town.

We lived on 30th and Lake for years. Got to experience the court mandated integration plan in the 70s.

The challenges continue - but the article is a striking reminder of how deep the virulent racism went. Even when I grew up in the 70s, the differences in safety were obvious when you went through white neighborhoods.

It was definitely an education I will never forget about the collusion of so-called polite society - banks, retail stores, city government, and real estate - with the crimes against humanity perpetrated against black people.

April 3, 2019

There are several factors I think.

The Republican base is motivated nationally. Communication strategies for Democratic candidates have to modernize to motivate a higher percentage of the base.

Spring, off-year election. No coattails from a Senate or presidential race.

Rural areas in the Upper Midwest are leaning very strongly towards the GOP. This is a critical fact to keep in mind as we approach 2020. Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, and WI are all affected by this.

Overconfidence. Yes, looking at the qualifications, it should be an easy Democratic win. But IMO, as a whole we as Dems assume too much and don't put enough of the work in to win 50/50 races. Whoever is able to volunteer, work with the county parties, host events, etc. should double up these efforts.

Vote suppression. We all have to know the relevant calendar and restrictions on voter registration and make sure our base knows these details.

In our blue island county (Eau Claire) the vote was 58% for our candidate. This used to be a more purple county, but an extremely active base keeps it leaning blue. Without sustaining and improving on organizing efforts we could backslide.

This is a bellweather for 2020! Time to put the work in!!

March 20, 2019

It's late - in your opinion

and probably in the opinion of the majority of people in a majority white country. It's late because we lack the political will, interest, and commitment to justice to pursue this, but not for any other reason.

As I mentioned before, you are assuming the form that reparations would take (payments to individuals) and what they would be based on (enslavement). This is an oversimplification of the issue. The crimes against humanity (a term you have avoided) against black people did not end with slavery. These included lynchings, redlining and disinvestment, federal government and local police collusion in assassination attempts against black leaders, ethnic cleansing of whole neighborhoods and cities (i.e. Rosewood and Tulsa), among other things.

As long as you insist on oversimplification of the issue, narrowing the issue artificially to individual payments to formerly enslaved people (who, by the way, in many cases can be identified, as in the Hemmings family branch of the Thomas Jefferson lineage), yes, the issue will appear even more vexing than it is. Have you read about any models for truth and reconciliation and/or reparations? There are certainly strategies that favor community reinvestment over individual payments. Healthy communities benefit everyone, and we should be redoubling our strategies to help stressed communities that have been negatively impacted by redlining, predatory subprime lending, deindustrialization, job discrimination, and the like.

I do agree that reparations probably won't happen, that in this country's climate, silence and denial are preferred over a difficult national conversation, even among folks who describe themselves as political progressives. Former President Clinton got roasted publicly over the essentially cost-free idea of a public apology for slavery. So if you think that federal efforts to account for the financial and ethical costs of slavery are indefensible, you're in good company. And forgive me for being excited that Senator Warren is a rare figure, even on the Democratic side, who is open to this conversation. As much as DU seems to cheer on the Congressional Black Caucus when it suits our argument of the moment, the CBC is not cheered when they re-introduce legislation pertaining to this issue.

I would be very open to a conversation about the treatment of women in this country - and of course, this includes black women, who often endured similar or worse indignities and denial of justice. I'm not down with the whataboutism, though. Rather than comparing oppressions (the proverbial oppression olympics), it makes more sense to me to evaluate one issue at a time, particularly since this issue was brought up in the OP. Sure, there were many horrendous things in our country's history, and as part of a general philosophy of recompense and reconciliation, I fully support the restoration of fishing rights for first nations in ceded territories and payments to Japanese Americans who were interned. I certainly would not dismiss out of hand ideas for compensation or national conversation that came out of feminist or other women-centered activism.

But at the end of the day - as I mentioned several times before - it's not just about the money. It's about honestly accounting for crimes against humanity that continue to produce unfavorable collective results. And I agree that at this point, action on this issue is unlikely to occur, because even on a Democratic site, any implication that black people will directly benefit collectively from a piece of legislation raises hackles. At least it's safe to say, these days, that most posters will not rationalize the frequent killing of unarmed black citizens - only a few insist in those rationalizations in view of the copious visual evidence of how extralegal some of these killings are. But I agree with you in that I have very low expectations of the American public to take an interest in accounting for crimes against humanity against black people. And your posts provide additional support for my assumption.

March 20, 2019

This is the purpose of a conversation, to determine the best way forward on such questions.

However, the main outcome is to acknowledge the crimes against humanity, like South Africa did, like Turkey refuses to do with Armenia.

General public conversations about race are frequently reductive and literal. We move first to the most difficult questions, which are not necessarily the most important questions. Whether someone who's bi-racial gets a check presumes all kinds of things about the nature of the discussion and models for compensation, which could certainly be in the form of community investment, something that we neglect now as it is.

And in the US, we're obsessed about the financial side. The Japanese internees got something like $15,000. Do you think that this compensation was really about the money? Would you be willing to be imprisoned in a camp, lose your land, have your family separated, for $15,000? The purpose for the payment is symbolic, an attempt to acknowledge a wrong, officially, for the historical record and for the sake of survivors and the rest of the public alike.

As I mentioned before, in some ways we are barely prepared for this conversation, because we're more concerned about who gets paid than the nature of acknowledging a crime against humanity, discussing the harms that have occurred, and working out a strategy for going forward as a more unified nation. While I wholeheartedly disagree with you that it's a late date (the Constitution was written in 1787 - does it sill apply? The treaty/fishing rights issues in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the 1990s were based on treaties from the 1830s - they still apply!), I wholeheartedly agree that we as a country are challenged to find the wisdom, interest, and commitment to grapple with an issue of this weight and complexity.

March 19, 2019

Sounds like you're presuming what the outcomes would be of a reparations discussion.

I agree that asserting fair police procedure is easier to ask for, which is part of the point I'm making here. For instance, how hard is it to say it's wrong for a police officer in Dallas to enter the home of a black individual and shoot them without provocation, as Amber Guyger did? Still, there's been plenty of white backlash against even avoiding the shooting of unarmed black and brown people.

But think about the core question - crimes against humanity perpetrated against black people have never been accounted for with a public process. Do you support the continuation of that national silence about an issue of such weight? If so, be willing to say that in public and forgo any claim to moral high ground on issues of race. That's my real beef - too many of us want to have it both ways. We're not racist (nobody is) but we're also not willing to have a public conversation about what were the losses due to the crimes against humanity against black people, and what should be done in light of those losses - which might include community investments, etc., not just payment to individuals. But even Obama wasn't willing to put political weight behind an urban Marshall Plan because of perceptions like you're referencing - even as a Democrat, can't lean too hard into the reparations issue.

Many of these atrocities took place long after slavery - lynching? Sundown towns like Rosewood, FL, Tulsa, OK? Until recently, there were still survivors alive after the ethnic cleansing that took place in these locations. We don't even have to go back to pre-1865.

Japanese internees were compensated by the federal government. I didn't personally intern any Japanese people - I wasn't alive. But I supported a fair process of publicly recognizing this atrocity, including financial payments.

Balancing priorities is always necessary, but a lot of books were balanced on the backs of black people in this country's history. You're probably right though - we'll continue to find ways not to address these issues, perhaps indefinitely, and to our moral and political detriment, IMO.

March 16, 2019

Electing a female president is extremely important.

But it's not the only issue of relevance to this campaign.

All that being said, nothing wrong with voting your conscience. But just as we didn't solve racism by electing Obama, we won't solve sexism by electing Harris or Warren or Kloubuchar. I am a black man myself and I voted for Obama in the primaries, but it took a while for me to warm to him. It's good to have achieved the milestone of a non-white president and it means something to me, but I wasn't going to put race above nation in my choice of candidates.

Maybe in 2020 we will have the first female president, but I hope we look at the merits of all qualified candidates as we prepare for the primaries.

March 15, 2019

I'm referring to regulation here.

Warren advocates for more focus on the public interest among publicly traded companies and among monetary/lending practices (Accountable Capitalism Act/CFPB leadership).

My point is that her strong advocacy for regulation opens up a space for conversation about comparative economic strategy and systems. Democrats and Republicans have been running scared from those conversations for decades, at least since the early 1980s. Both Sanders and Warren have brought those conversations into public focus, which gives us a better chance for fairer economic policy.

I don't think she's specifically advocated for nationalizing industries, which a few Democrats might have done after the too big to fail fiascos of the 2007-8 cycle. As an independent, I think Sanders advocated for nationalizing or breaking up larger banks and public action to guarantee mortgages. Unfortunately in my opinion, most politicians and the FED preferred to recapitalize the banks at a .75 percent prime lending rate than hold them fully accountable for poor investment strategy and criminal ripoffs of consumers in the housing markets, leaving the banking system vulnerable to this day.

BTW, Sanders' issue positions in the 1970s are about as instructive as Biden's views of busing in the 1970s. It's an indication of intellectual starting points. Nothing wrong with advocating strong economic change in the 1970s such as nationalizing industries - if we had done some aspects of that, we might not be facing the high level of concentrated global ownership that we're facing today.

March 11, 2019

So you know what benefits AOC better than she does?

OK then.

And you're arguing against a well-established factual record about the New Deal. Its racially inequitable conception and execution are widely noted, across the many sources that patient posters are linking you to, if you cared to self-educate on this issue.

I personally have an appreciation of FDR and also for Eleanor Roosevelt, for whom the issue of racial equality appeared closer to her heart. And FDR still had a Democratic party that still included Southern segregationists that would react strongly to legislation that pushed too far in the direction of racial equity. Separate but equal doctrine was still the law of the land, and for many of us who are persons of color with WWII gen parents, our parents were subject to segregation even while serving.

Facts are facts. You can accept them or make up your own reality. Discriminatory policies are easy to identify in New Deal legislation. However, the New Deal still accomplished a lot of good. Both can be true.

March 9, 2019

We worked hard and turned the governor's seat Blue in WI.

But why do WI, MI, and PA get all the mentions when it comes to 2016 Republican wins and 2020 strategy?

There are several more red or purple states that Democrats won in 2008 or 2012: Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, and Iowa. 3 of 4 of these states are quite winnable (Indiana is the biggest challenge) and would be big pickups in 2020, not to mention any swiches in Ohio, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona.

I don't think it serves us to hyperfocus on WI. That being said, we have a big job to do to make sure the Democratic nominee wins here next fall. We're ready to put the work in and make it happen!

March 7, 2019

I actually think hater is a fair phrase sometimes.

It applies to postings that lack clear content or references to issues, that focus on exaggerated personality characteristics, and that repeat generally known facts for the sole purpose of cementing an impression or fomenting discord.

It is common oppositional behavior on the internet that is weaponized by bots and troll farms.

Your references to faithful flock and sacred cows are common in the broad brush tactics of "hater" posts. These terms imply that those who disagree with content-free hater posting simply have thin skin. It's necessary sometimes to resist incivility in order for better quality conversation to be supported on anonymous platforms.

Generally, I don't refer to others as a hater in a conversation, but they exist.

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