(*Before you read this, know that it might make you angry. Or you might agree. I moderate the comments on this blog, and any courteous discourse is welcome. Any other type will be addressed. And know that whatever you may take away from what you read, I will #votebluenomatterwho because #neverTrump.
P.S. Apologies in advance to the Beatles for what they (or their fans) might see as a heinous misuse of their words…)
True confession: I’ve never cared that much about politics. It’s not that I haven’t paid attention, but I’ve never before invested the emotional energy that the current Presidential primaries have drawn from me. And I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.
Given my commitment to the labor movement, you may be surprised to know that I am not really a “joiner”. And in 2008, I did not bother to register as a Democrat to vote in the New York primary, because really, they were all kind of fine with me. In 2015, though, I did register as a Democrat. Now, I don’t really give two shits about any political party, but I also know that you can only change the system if you know (and participate in) the system, and I honestly though Bernie Sanders was the answer.
The clown car of Republican candidates that resulted in Donald Trump (DONALD TRUMP!) as their presumptive nominee was both amusing and terrifying to watch, but I read with great care every scrap of information about the Democratic candidates; I watched every debate, every town hall, and every interview (okay, I’m sure I missed some, but I really, really, really tried). As of the second debate, I became uneasy. Remember the timing? We had just seen a great tragedy in Paris – a terrorist attack leading to much death and destruction – and the candidates agreed that they would each get one minute added to their time at the top to talk about that. And Senator Sanders did not. He gave the tragedy what seemed like ten seconds, and pivoted to his stump speech. I was stunned and dismayed.
I’m all for revolution. I’m in favor of much of what is in that stump speech. But what had been mild concern during the first debate about ability became full-fledged fear as time went on. I lost friends and was often attacked as I voiced my opinions on line, but hey, I’m nothing if not stubborn.
Revolutions are hard fucking work. They take leadership and time and planning and direct action and on the ground operations and flexibility and – well, you get the idea. I’m not much of a historian (actually, my friends who are historians would probably say I’m not one at all), but you know all those stories we all learned in our history classes about those who took direct action and made change? Did you miss the part where many of those actions were part of a larger plan, and even if sometimes the timing was driven by the moment, they were ready for that moment? My favorite example on this is Rosa Parks. She was part of a movement. The movement had a plan. She took her moment.
Failed revolutions start with grand ideas – and often, direct actions – with no plans. Occupy Wall Street is a great example of a failed revolution. I know there are those that disagree with me on this, but hey, it’s my blog, and what I saw was a great moment wasted because not only was there no plan, they refused to try to create one. A plan was too “establishment”, I guess. All that momentum and energy left us with…a hashtag.
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out?…
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
Did you know that the New Left and the counterculture denounced this song? They felt it displayed fear. Well, I think it’s damn smart, and I think history shows that incremental change brings lasting revolution. The kind of revolution we can believe in.
To go back to the beginning…I did say this primary had led to me to learn a lot about myself, and you may ask what. Well – I knew that I believe in change. I revel in change. And I knew that change requires a long, hard slog (and a plan). I knew that most people don’t actually agree with me to the point that they will fight change with every tool at their disposal, while at the same time, disavowing that that is what is happening. They claim they are being “cautious” and “responsible” and “thoughtful” and “analytic”. And I am sure all of that is true. But regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of the gut decision – and interestingly enough, that the gut decision, in hindsight, always involved all of those traits.
So, what’s new? I’m getting there, I promise. And when I can express it in a way that makes sense to anyone but me, I’ll get back to you. But for now, I can say for sure that I learned #ImWithHer.
(And just for fun…http://)