Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


auntpurl's Journal
auntpurl's Journal
July 28, 2016

The legacy of "The Left"

Those of you who want to defend the convention protestors (I certainly won't call them Bernie supporters, because it seems like the vast majority of Bernie supporters want to disavow these people and distance themselves from this mess) for their right to free speech, their right to their convictions, etc, let me tell you what I see, and what I think a lot of the rest of the world sees.

The problem "The Left" (and I'm using that on purpose in quotation marks like that because what I'm talking about is the IMAGE the left carries for most people) has ALWAYS had is pragmatic people edging away from them going, "Ooh, that seems a little extreme, I'd rather not." OR, "You mean those granola hippies? No thanks". And MANY people are pragmatic, middle-of-the-roaders. So much so that they put Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican, on the stage of the DNC last night in prime time for a Trump takedown.

So "The Left" can't organise and they can't win anything, not even dogcatcher, because they can't build a strong base. The Greens can't win anything. They have no power. This is not necessarily because the Greens' positions are unattractive to lots of people. It's more because they attract the sort of fringe elements that have no sense of EFFECTIVE intervention. Not appropriate (as in "Oh, it's not appropriate to scream over a speaker at the DNC who is trying to take Trump DOWN&quot , but EFFECTIVE (as in "when is the most opportune time for us to get our message heard AND not turn off millions of people to our cause?&quot .

I, personally, will NEVER forget the fact the the actions of these protestors throughout the convention have made it easier for Trump to win. No matter how much or how little you take them seriously, the net result was negative. I KNOW I am not alone in feeling that way.

So what happens next? I know that I, personally, will be MORE inclined to CLOSED primaries, superdelegates to save us from idiots, and never again letting a populist who just became a Democrat run on the Democratic ticket.

And that is a SHAME. Because what Bernie did was marry his populist message with a long history of political savvy. What he's got that the young people who followed him DON'T have is a history in politics and a knowledge of history, period. So he was able to promote his message in a way that appealed to middle of the roaders as well as the "The Left".

"The Left" has now left Bernie behind. They don't understand or respect compromise. They don't understand or respect political reality. They genuinely think that if Trump burns the whole thing down, somehow out of the ashes will rise...the Peace-loving Left? When was the last time THAT happened at the end of a fascist rule? I mean, seriously, how on earth do these people think somehow THEY'RE going to end up with the reins of power? That is NOT what happens when you elect a dangerous demagogue to the highest office!

They are hurting Bernie's legacy, and I feel sad for the millions and millions of Bernie supporters who are still WITH HIM, all the way to the voting booth in November to vote for Hillary. Because those TRUE Bernie supporters are reasonable people who've lost a battle but are NOT prepared to lose the war. They want to continue with Bernie's revolution, and elect progressives at ALL levels of political office. But will they get the support they need on the local level after this display at the DNC? Will they be tarred with the same brush? I hope not. But I fear so.

This is not a bash on Bernie, but I DO think he bears some responsibility here. He was caught between a rock and a hard place, but I wish he'd found a more effective way to speak to these young people and try to make them see reality. But the other responsibility Bernie bears is that he spent the whole primary telling them that Hillary was a corporate tool. It's hard for them to make the transition because of those words that Bernie spoke many times.

The difference between "The Left" and the ACTUAL left is huge. But the media is lumping them ALL together. *I* am on the left! But these people are not on my side. I'm not with them. I am embarrassed for my party because they are doing what they're doing. That makes me MUCH less likely to want to support them later. I know I am one of thousands or millions who feel the same way. And that makes us MORE likely to move toward the status quo, not less.

July 27, 2016

Please, SAVE US.

I was on Twitter the other day and I saw a poll released that Hillary and Trump were basically tied with white voters in Pennsylvania, but Hillary was winning black voters 90-something % and Trump had 0%. ZERO PERCENT. If we win PA (and I think we will) it will be due to AA and Latino voters.

And if we win THIS ELECTION, it will be due to AA and Latino voters.

These young white kids protesting the convention (and getting WAY more traction in the media than they merit; there are not that many of them) do not understand the horror of what life would be like under Trump for AAs, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT, women, the disabled, the working poor, the poor and homeless. They DON'T GET IT.

I'll tell you something. I am a 43-year old white woman who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, went to public high school in Philadephia where I was one of 30 white kids in my graduating class of 800. I don't get it like YOU get it, but I get it. And if I were back home (and god I wish I was for this election season) I would be knocking on doors in every AA neighborhood in South Philly where I was raised and went to school, and West Philly where I went to college and lived for many years. I would be on my knees begging AAs to register, to vote, to tell their friends.

WE NEED YOU. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS YOU. We've got a candidate who will work hard for you. And I KNOW you will come through. I know you know how much America needs to be saved from itself. The foolish white people who will support Trump need saving from themselves just as much as all the good Democrats.

PLEASE. Tell me you've got this.

July 26, 2016

Day 1 of the DNC: recap with vids and my thoughts.

Well, that was...quite something, wasn't it?

I started the day (well, evening in my case, 4:00pm there is 9:00pm here) quite optimistic. The AME church choir, the beautiful film about Philadelphia (my hometown), and Boyz II Men, Philly natives and all around good guys from everything I know. They rocked the house!

We then had our first moment of disunity and disrespect. The Rev. Dr Cynthia Hale, an AA woman pastor, was giving an uplifting invocation, and people chanted "BERNIE BERNIE BERNIE" all over the prayer, drowning her out and actually forcing her to stop speaking for a moment. Uh oh.

The National Anthem sung by the young Bobby Hill gave me chills.

Barney Frank got some scattered boos, but spoke well.

Marcia Fudge seems very much like the kind of woman you do NOT want to mess with. I like that in a woman.

Then came what I hope we can all agree was the nadir of the night. Rep Elijah Cummings, a hero of the civil rights movement, gave a moving, wonderful speech about his father, a sharecropper who picked cotton in South Carolina, his heritage, his pride, the BLM movement, and women's rights. For no discernible or acceptable reason, people screamed "NO TPP" over the top of nearly the entirety of it. A civil rights icon screamed at, booed, and chanted over by DEMOCRATS. That was when I really lost it. I cried for a long time. All I could think was how the media would spin this, how the Republicans will use this in attack ad after attack ad, and how this disunity could and still might lose us the election.

Fortunately, things started to improve the tiniest bit after that. Three of the Labor leaders who spoke really knocked it out of the park. Very rousing. It's clear they address (rowdy?) crowds regularly and with success.

I was incredibly moved by the strong emphasis placed on substance abuse recovery and mental health, and I will always be grateful Hillary is talking about these things very publicly and with passion. It was one of the issues listed on her website that really surprised me when I first read it. I am so grateful.

Bless little Karla Ortiz, who might have been the most uplifting speaker there last night. I think an entire nation held its breath thinking "If they boo this little girl, I am coming through my TV/computer screen". But fortunately they managed to find some measure of self-control and it was a really nice moment. For ANY fence sitters that might remain, I suggest sitting and watching this video on repeat until you maybe start to recognise what's at stake in this election:

Astrid Silva was also wonderful in this section. What a great speaker she is.

Al Franken killed it for the first of TWO times of the evening. We'll get back to him.

Anastasia Somoza, the disability rights advocate, I don't think is getting her dues for what was a really wonderful speech. Watch it again here if you missed it:

Then it was Al Franken and Sarah Silverman, up to kill time, make jokes as well as some extremely insightful remarks, before introducing Paul Simon. I really started to feel the crowd pushing back against the protestors now. I really started to feel the mood change. Paul Simon might be a little wavery, but his soul still shines through his voice like it always has. Couldn't find a vid but if i find one later today I'll insert it.

Eva Longoria was smart and fiery. I've always liked her. She, and the Latino speakers of the evening in general, probably did the best to skewer Trump's bigotry and the direct impact of this election. Short but impactful speech:

Then came one of the huge highlights of the evening, at least for me. Cory Booker gave a soaring, wonderful, inspirational speech that reached the heights of oratory last seen at the DNC by Barack Obama. His inclusion of the Maya Angelou poem "I Rise" just made it even more beautiful. He was on my VP shortlist and I still think he would have made a fantastic candidate, although I really adore Tim Kaine. This is not the last of Cory Booker we'll see on the national stage, I can bet you that. Chants of "WAR HAWK" over his speech, but drowned out quickly by applause and cheers.

I expected Michelle Obama's speech to be good. I did not expect to spend the entire speech with tears running down my face, hands clasped, saying "Bless her" and "YES GIRL" over and over again. I did not expect to stand up in my empty living room alone at the end of it and clap for her. I did not expect to think at one point, "This might be better than whatever Barack pulls out". I did not expect her to, through her sheer force of beauty, grace, poise, class and brilliance inside and out, turn the whole evening around. People knew better than to boo Michelle Obama. She is beloved by everyone. She showed why tonight. Speech of the evening by a country mile. I watched it again this morning and cried again just as passionately as I did the first time. This is why I am a Democrat:

The cute redheaded young Kennedy had to follow that up, bless him. Luckily he only had to introduce Elizabeth Warren, who basically took a giant pair of scissors to Donald Trump and proceeded to snip little pieces off him until he was left as a pile of Cheeto-colored confetti on the floor. She also gave an impassioned and heartfelt defense of Hillary. Chants of "WE TRUSTED YOU" marred the moment, but were drowned out by cheers.

After all that, it was sad to see Keith Ellison got hammered by chants of "NO TRUST NO UNITY" which took a while to subside. He gave a great endorsement of Hillary and introduced the final speaker, Bernie Sanders.

I'm not sure why they put Bernie last. It was originally supposed to be Michelle Obama last, and I certainly think that would have ended the evening on a more purely uplifting note, but I think your mileage of whether you felt Bernie's speech was uplifting or not very much depends on whether you were/are a supporter of his. I freely admit that I found it difficult to "feel" him and really get into his message because of the behavior of a MINORITY of his supporters up to that point in the evening. I think he could have done MUCH more to communicate to his supporters that this behavior was unacceptable BEFORE his speech, for the past several days and weeks (and really throughout the campaign), but as for the speech itself, he probably did everything he could to try to bring people together. He certainly said the magic words, "Hillary Clinton MUST be the next president of the United States", and for that I thank him very much.

So. That was the night. I got my first two hides on DU EVER, can't really tell if they were deserved or not, because I was so angry and sad and frightened and appalled at different points in the evening that I may have crossed the line. I cried in sadness and in happiness. I thought at different points "Oh my god, we are going to lose this election" and "We are DEFINITELY going to win this election". I have never been more passionate about being a true-blue, lifelong Democrat.

I'd like to finish by giving a special thank you to the VAST MAJORITY of Bernie supporters who COMPLETELY get it, understand what's at stake in this election and are generous, intelligent, and selfless enough to find common cause and promote unity. That's here on DU, in that convention center, and out in the world. THANK YOU. You are SO appreciated by me and I think I can speak for every other DUer. I know my remarks last night may not have been as careful to specify "SOME Bernie supporters/delegates" as I should have been, and for that I deeply apologise. I was more emotional than I've ever been on DU last night watching that. So please, if I made you feel unwelcome in any way, I apologise and I hope you can forgive me. You are more appreciated than you know.

Thanks for reading. What did you guys think?

July 8, 2016

10 common objections to Hillary Clinton - and how to counter them

I'll start out by saying that the arguments I'm about to make are not for use with people who simply believe Hillary is a liar, untrustworthy, or Satan. These arguments are for people who have an incomplete or misinformed understanding of her policies and might be swayed by a more thorough and accurate understanding.

(Some of this was copied and modified from an in-thread post I made yesterday. Please do feel free to add common objections and your counter-arguments.)


1. Fracking: Hillary is not in FAVOR of fracking. If the choices are foreign oil, coal, and fracking AT THE MOMENT, she chooses fracking as the least damaging option - as a stop-gap solution to keep people heating their homes and getting to work. She also has environmental limits on where fracking should be pursued. At the same time, she has a comprehensive plan to build a renewable energy infrastructure and create thousands of jobs in the process: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/

2. Foreign policy/"warmongering": Hillary enacted President Obama's policies as SOS. She has promised to use diplomacy up and until it is no longer a viable approach. Whether you believe her comes down to character, but in terms of her stated positions, she is no warmonger. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/national-security/

3. Opposition to Glass-Steagall: Hillary has a comprehensive plan to eliminate the banks' ability to take dangerous risks and weaken the economy. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/wall-street/

4. Super PACs: Hillary is in favour of comprehensive campaign finance reform. We need a majority in Congress to get this passed (not to mention a Democratic president to appoint SC judges who will overturn Citizens United - which Hillary has promised is a litmus test for her when choosing candidates) - and I am extremely opposed to our Democratic candidates playing a game of chicken and being the first to stop taking big money BEFORE everyone else has to stop too. We need to get into office before we can make these changes. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/campaign-finance-reform/

5. Speeches to Wall Street: Hillary was a private citizen, many former politicians make speeches for big money (in addition to loads of other kinds of celebrities), and there has never been any proof of quid pro quo. Also, the speeches to big banks/Wall Street were only a small portion of the total number and dollar amount of speeches she gave.

6. Opposition to healthcare for all: Hillary supports expanding and improving the ACA. Removing it entirely and hoping to get something even more left-wing passed is not reasonable in our political climate. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/health-care/

7. Opposition to free tuition: Hillary has added debt-free college to her platform: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/college/

8. Iraq war vote: Hillary has apologised for her vote without qualification. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/hillary-clinton-iraq-war-vote-mistake-iowa-118109 She was lied to, but she says plainly that she got it wrong. It comes down to whether someone can be forgiven for getting something that monumental wrong. For me, I can forgive a mistake like that, because lots of other intelligent, thoughtful people made the same mistake, fell for the same lies, and GWB absolutely DID abuse the limited authority given to him by that vote. The mess in Iraq can be laid at the feet of GWB. But everyone needs to take responsibility for their part in it, and I believe Hillary has.

9. Protecting social security: Hillary has promised to oppose any attempts to privatise or weaken SS or Medicare. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/social-security-and-medicare/

10. Minimum wage: Hillary is in favor of a $12 an hour federal minimum wage, and state and local efforts to raise in to $15 when appropriate. This is a compromise approach that won't cripple small businesses in less-wealthy areas while still supporting big cities to pay their workers a living wage. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/labor/

Hillary also has comprehensive progressive policies regarding:

Addiction/substance abuse https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/addiction/
Disability rights: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/disability-rights/
Immigration reform: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/immigration-reform/
Paid family and medical leave: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/paid-leave/

among many others, on her website. I encourage you to read it - the plans are really well thought-out, paid for, and realistic in our political climate.

I hope this is helpful, and please add your own thoughts.

June 25, 2016

ONE LAST TIME: Brexit, for the VAST MAJORITY of Leave voters, was about xenophobia

For all of you who don't LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY, have no idea what it's like, and think most Leave voters are deep progressive thinkers who are making a statement about EU interference, trade, economic policy, or even their own jobs and futures, I cannot argue anymore, so I will let these examples speak for me:

Newcastle town center, today. Not in 1980. TODAY.

Many many many many many many many examples of pure racism and xenophobia from social media. These are just a few.

And for sheer stupidity, these comments on a Daily Mail article about how Brexit will affect your holiday money, mortgages, passports, health cover, etc:

Anne, East Midlands: Never saw any of this kind of informative article before the vote, just scaremongering! We wanted everything spelt out exactly like this so we knew the pros and cons......to [sic] late now publishing this!

Libby88, Cheshire: Why were things not outlined this clearly BEFORE we had to vote..

allygbxl: I would never have voted leave had I know [sic] all of this. Why weren't we told?

Victor, Leeds: So the Remain campaign were telling the truth.


Actual Nazi propaganda film image on left, Nigel Farage today on right:

Racism on rise in UK after Brexit campaign, Labor warns:
Communities are “divided and bruised” after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and racism is on the rise, a senior Labour lawmaker warned.

Schoolchildren were racially abused in a west London district this week and many in her constituency feel “vulnerable” after the Brexit referendum, Seema Malhotra, one of the main opposition party’s team of Treasury spokespeople said at an event in the capital on Saturday.

“Someone shouted: ‘Why are there only 10 white faces in this class? Why aren’t we educating the English?’” she said, citing a letter from a teacher in her electoral district about an incident on Wednesday. “Another went close up to the children and said: ‘You lot are taking all our jobs. You’re the problem. You’re taking our jobs, you’re taking our land.”’

Malhotra represents the district of Feltham and Heston in the London borough of Hounslow, which voted by 51.1% to remain in the EU. She said the teacher hadn’t heard a comment like it “in three years.” Children age six were “crying and saying they would have to leave this country,” she said.

Vote Leave, the official group that backed Brexit, explicitly targeted concerns over immigration in the referendum campaign that saw Britain vote to quit the 28-nation bloc. Boris Johnson, their leading spokesman and the favorite to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, began backing away from that message the morning after the vote.

Reports of "No more Polish vermin" signs left outside primary schools in Huntingdon:

Leave voter admits he voted to "stop Muslims coming into the UK" (video at link):

Hope that helps clarify things.
June 24, 2016

OH MY GOD let's get several things straight about Brexit

1. This vote was NOT called because of dissatisfaction with the EU. This vote was called because Cameron thought he could shut up the internal squabbles in the Tory party by shoving a strong Remain result down the RW's throat. He failed. He will be forever remembered as the PM who presided over both the breakdown of the EU and the breakdown of the UK. You wouldn't think his political career could have had a lower moment than fucking a pig, but here we are.

2. This result was NOT caused by dissatisfaction with "neoliberalism" whatever the hell THAT is supposed to mean in this context. All the austerity measures have come under the conservative government, and the complete decimation of UK manufacturing and blue collar jobs happened under Thatcherism (another Conservative). They very successfully blamed the EU for it with the help of the media.

3. This result was NOT supported by the Left or anyone else interested in economic justice. This result was supported by xenophobes who were worked into a hysterical frenzy by the media constantly blaming the EU for every single thing that went wrong in the UK, and that has been going on since the EU's inception.

4. This result was STRONGLY OPPOSED by the young, (as most people have noticed) AND by the educated (as fewer people are talking about).

5. If you are a progressive, there is no conscionable way to support this result. If you are concerned about the environment, human rights, and diversity, there is no conscionable way to support this result.

6. The poor and uneducated, who overwhelmingly voted to Leave, will suffer the most under this result. The educated with means (who overwhelmingly voted to Remain) will, ironically, be the ones who can get away from what is going to be years of shit. There will be massive brain drain and investment drain.

7. All you who in some bizarro reality think that the UK is going to be better off are crazy. Sources at Morgan Stanley are already telling the BBC they're moving 2000 London-based investment banking staff to Dublin or Frankfort. Oh, that's a good thing because "banksters" are EVIL? These are people's JOBS. Financial services is one of the largest employers in Britain.

8. If you are in favour of this result, you side with Trump, Putin, Le Pen, and Nigel Fucking Farage.

9. The Leave campaign has ALREADY admitted they lied about their promises. No more money is going to the NHS. There will be no significant decrease in immigration. Johnson has admitted he has no plan for EU exit.

If all of the above is ok with you, well, then, we have very little in common.

June 12, 2016

Can I just say something about mental health?

Whenever these kinds of horrific events happen, there's always a lot of talk thrown around about the perpetrator being mentally ill. The media exploits this talk and uses terms like "psycho killer" to describe them.

It's really important to remember that the vast, vast majority of mentally ill people are NOT violent, and that most acts of violence are NOT committed by the mentally ill. You don't have to be mentally ill to murder someone. Not in the sense of a diagnosable mental illness.

Automatically assuming everyone who has committed an act of violence is mentally ill conflates the two in the public's mind. This leads to many bad outcomes, including:

- The mentally ill are discriminated against in myriad ways, including employment, benefits, and access to healthcare and education
- The mentally ill know that they face this discrimination, and are therefore less likely to seek help, and also less likely to adhere to medication schedules
- The mentally ill are more likely to receive harsher sentences in criminal trials
- The mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violent crimes

The problem of media stigma of the mentally ill is so widespread that an international measuring instrument has been produced: the PICMIN - Picture of Mental Illness In Newspapers (Rukvina et al, 2012). This standardised measure was developed in order to allow for comparison of stigmatising mental health media stories across countries and across time.

We have no knowledge yet (as far as I know, and please correct me if I'm wrong) that the shooter was diagnosed with a mental illness. It would be good to be careful with language - using phrases like "insane person", etc to describe him.

Here I confess something. I am a psychologist, and today, as I watched this horror in Orlando unfold, I actually used the above phrase "insane person" to describe the shooter in a post here. I was horrified by the images I saw coming out of Florida, crying, and just didn't think before I typed. Another DUer called me on it (nicely) and I immediately edited. But I am someone who WORKS in mental health, and I did that. This is how pervasive this is. I apologise for the few minutes that post of mine was up.

Thank you for reading.

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Pennsylvania
Current location: London
Member since: Mon May 23, 2011, 07:46 AM
Number of posts: 4,311

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»auntpurl's Journal