Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Judgment of Solomon

The Judgment of Solomon

As a party, or at least as people who talk about politics online, we keep going around and around on the same terms.  When we vote, what are we voting for? A candidate? A dream? A program? A party? The future? The lesser of two evils?  Because Bernie and his fans are still arguing over this and refusing to concede and throw their votes to the presumptive nominee,  we have to argue it too.  We find ourselves drawn back, again and again, to what I think are really stupid assertions about Bernie--that he is authentic, that he came from behind, that he is unique because he's an avowed atheist and socialist, that he excites younger voters, that he draws some independents, that a bird landed on his podium.  I would submit that none of that matters.  In fact, it matters so little I'm going to throw out paragraphs discussing it. Because what kind of a candidate Bernie was, and what his voters thought about him, is utterly irrelevant at this point.  Bernie has only one choice about this campaign left--how does he leave it? With honor, or with shame? With generosity, as a team player,  or as a crabbed, pinched, old man.  Embracing the country, including the millions of people who voted for Hillary Clinton over himself, or rejecting those voters, specifically women and AA voters, as unimportant?

It all boils down to this and only this: there is only one race for the Presidency of one country, and Hillary Clinton is going to be the Nominee and she is going to fight the battle against Donald Trump. Bernie has only one choice in this election, just as his supporters have only one choice. And it is basically this:

Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

--which of these two women is most like your candidate? Which candidate is willing, and has shown herself willing in the past, to put aside her interests (and her supporter's hopes) and throw herself 100 percent behind the nominee of the party, to win the election for the good of the country? The fact that Bernie has still not publicly conceded and backed the presumptive nominee tells you all you need to know. The fact that he is still bargaining for what he thinks of as goodies while the rest of the country is gearing up to fight the battle tells you all that you need to know.  Bernie is incapable of renouncing anything, even something as absurdly beside the point as his new found obsession for open primaries,   for the good of the country.   This is exactly why he lost and why, over time, his influence will be negligible.  Because people can see, for themselves, that in a time of national crisis, when faced with the horrors of a potential Trump administration, he chose his own ego and the adulation of his fans.


Ray said...

Anyone that does not acknowledge that the Sanders campaign helped to push Hillary to the left has been not following Hillary's campaign much or has selective memorization.I would suggest some need to look back in Hillary's campaign speeches awhile they will find where she changed her mind.

Sanders still has a role to play in further pushing the Democratic Party back to FDR where it should be. I will vote for every Democratic Party member running that I can. It is just easier to do so if the party actively supports not in words only policies that made it strong.

KenRight said...

The fact that you compare two Elitists and how one handled the other in temporary defeat (before being ushered in to fail as a member of the winner's team,) and how an ostensibly anti-Elitist should handle an Elitist
in defeat shows a little sophistry on your part.
Embellished by your failure to note the Elite caused the national crisis to which you refer.

Maybe it's not sophistry but a lack of awareness.

Victor said...

Yes, Bernie pushed Hillary to the left.
But so has society!

This is no longer the 80' and 90'when consevatism was ascendant!

That'smercifully in decline - and that wasn't all Bernie's doing.
I'd argue that Obama and his recent changes, and the petulant and bigoted GOP assholes in Congress, have more to do with it!

Bernie should take a bow for what he did do.
Then STFU, and do what he can to get his followers to help the Dem's win from the local level, to the Presidency!


Victor said...

And your solution is what, exactly?
Vote for tRUMP?
The elite son of a millionaire, who now claims that he's worth $10 Billion dollars - which is total bullshit!

Presidential elections are ALWAYS between elites!
Only Lincoln and a handful of others weren't either financial or political elites!

And Bernie, is nowhere close to being either a financial or political elite!

Care to rethink your silly comment?

My guess is, probably not...

Tom Hilton said...

Bernie has only one choice about this campaign left--how does he leave it? With honor, or with shame?

Yes, this. Exactly.

Unknown said...

Has it been almost seven hours since your last spew of righteous fury at that pinched, crabbed man of negligible influence? (Though before you continue sneering at his disgusting elderliness, I remind you that your candidate is - if I may be blunt - no spring chicken.) One can only marvel at your self-control.

If you think I should vote for Hillary because she is Hillary, let's just say that we disagree on her merits. If you think I should vote for Hillary because she is not Donald Trump, I point out that Jill Stein, while also clearing the very low bar of being not Donald Trump, has several positive recommendations.

Now the following is a question that I have asked here before. Not having attracted a straight answer on that occasion, I ask it again.

If my future vote for Jill Stein would be as contemptible an abdication of my responsibility to the nation as you seem to think, ought I be allowed the fatal opportunity? There seems no point in legally recognizing more than two political parties if to vote for any beside the two "real" ones would be detrimental to the republic. To be intellectually honest, shouldn't you support the abolition of the Green Party and its pernicious ilk?

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

Today in America, where I'm from, we have these things called Democratic Party national conventions every four years. The entire purpose of these grand events is to formally vote to designate an nominee andan official platform. You might want to look it up.
Extra credit: the definition of the word "presumptive".
Alternatively, read some history of previous such gatherings for a bit of much-needed perspective on what's happening. It's clear you're uncomfortable with any deviation from the very recent "meaningless coronation"-style version of these events.

aimai said...

Unknown's comment is why I really should have written my little essay on narcissism. Because its a classic. Look, pudding, vote for Jill Stein or don't vote for Jill Stein. What do I care? Many people don't vote in this country at all--some because they are outright prevented from doing so. African Americans and poor people, for example. Native Americans. Also felons and prisoners. Immigrants. Children. Lots of people never get the chance to vote. Others are so secure in their privilige that they can afford to throw their vote away on a woman who will barely break 4 percent, if that, nationally. They know that when the day dawns after the election they, personally, will be no worse off than they were before. Other people, of course, will be worse off. Perhaps they will die for lack of the health care law that President Obama fought for. Perhaps they will die when no Democratic President steps forward to challenge police brutality, or to fight the NRA. Perhaps they will die in a back alley abortion when the Republicans sweep control of the Presidency and the Supreme court.

You are one of those people. But I"m not counting on your vote to prevent disaster. This is, perhaps, your biggest annoyance with Hillary's voters. That the Obama coalition doesn't need your fucking vote. We are going to fight this battle without your help because you are no god damned help. So do what you want. Please. Vote for Jill Stein or spoil your vote or write in "lizard people" because that is what people do when they don't have anything at stake and can treat the franchise like its a selection of lollypops. The rest of us will go out and do the heavy lifting. You can relax. The grownups will do the work for you.

Ten Bears said...

A couple thousand years ago Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War that traveling forward under the presumption of victory quite often leads to someone moving the cheese. Or something to that affect. But it's a noble aspiration.

Sadly, Sanders has turned out to be little more than an amusing distraction in the grander scheme of things, though an enlightening but alarming study of the democrat id. There was never any question in my mind the Wall Street choice, the media darling “because it’s her turn” Clinton would be the democrat nominee, why else would the Retards run yet another clown, a carnival barker? The decision has already been made and all of this is naught but kombutki theater to leave the rubes feeling as if they were somehow participant.

But the degree with which her surrogates turned on fellow democrat as well as independent Sanders supporters, many though not all young perhaps first time voters who have no stake in the status quo, no stake in more of the same, has been really rather stunning.

Quite... Republican.

As I recall a, six maybe seven years ago in response to one of your then frequent posts here I suggested what needed to be done was turn it back in their faces, use their words against them, slime them as they slime all others. I do not recall, however, if I clarified that "them" are the Republicans.

Tom Hilton said...

Bernie still thinks he can get hold of the Iron Throne, while Clinton has already started fighting the White Walkers.

fenderman said...

"Bernie is incapable of renouncing anything, even something as absurdly beside the point as his new found obsession for open primaries, for the good of the country. This is exactly why he lost"...
Nope. Sanders lost because Clinton had it locked up years ago - way before he even considered running...

Pete said...

To Ray: FDR was great in his day, certainly one of the most significant Presidents ever, but he wasn't all that radical even then; that rep mostly comes from the right wing of the day who called him a socialist, which he wasn't. He saved capitalism from revolution, twice, in the early 30s and towards the end of WWII. I want to go forward, not back.
To KenRight: The sophistry comes from splitting hairs about the difference between the policies of Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton. They are not that far apart. Each has strengths and weaknesses, in policy terms. Sanders is frankly clueless on many important issues, especially identity struggles which he seems to think will fall away if the inequality issue is fixed. Clinton is better informed and more empathic, but may be too likely to use military force; at that, she's not all that different from Sanders, who makes altogether too much of his anti-Iraq-invasion vote and doesn't seem to have a coherent foreign policy at all. Me, I'm an old hippie who was a politics major in the 60s, I've seen this movie before. I voted for Clinton because I think Sanders would be a rotten President, and their policy positions were not far apart.

Jim Sweeney said...

Apropos only of the parable, I'd recommend Bertolt Brecht's retelling in "The Caucasian Chalk Circle". Kinda funny.

Virtue signalling has a nasty history, with policy remnants in California elections: The right-wing American Independent Party, the left wing Green and Peace & Freedom parties, for those for whom vanity matters more than effect.

Danp said...

aimie - Take a deep breath. Sanders will endorse Hillary at or after the convention. However, Democrats, unlike Republicans, are not so fragmented that their candidates need to disavow their message at this point in order to unify the party at the cost of all principles.

I might also disagree that Hillary put aside her interests (and her supporter's hopes) and threw herself 100 percent behind the nominee of the party, to win the election for the good of the country until negotiating a position for herself.

Danp said...

I'd just add that I doubt Sanders is negotiating for Hillary to pay off his campaign debts.

Unknown said...

aimai, I'm glad to hear you that you don't object to my voting for Jill Stein. And I agree with you that Hillary will do just fine without me. And when people die (not ones you seem concerned with, but people just the same) because they lived in a Muslim country Hillary chose to improve with her special brand of "smart power at its best", I will be very happy indeed that I was no god damned help to her.

aimai said...

OK, I see I've left a bit of a trash fire for poor SteveM to put out. My apologies to all. Well, almost all.

I would like to say one thing about the lobbed accusations that my posts are in some sense "tribalist" or "republican." First of all--qua anthropologist I see nothing wrong with tribalism, any more than I do with teams in a sports game. When playing a sport, its important to pick a team and play for it. When not playing a sport, it is not necessary to be on a team. So with politics. When playing, or fighting, politics or a war you need to pick a side. There aren't going to be any conscientious objectors or, if they are, they need to grasp their situation. Because this isn't the fluffy bunny bund and they are quite likely to be picked off by fire from both sides.

As for the accusation that my attitude towards Bernie is "Republican" that puzzled me quite a bit until I realized that people seem to think that Republicans are some specialized form of inhuman monster characterized by Tribalism. The Democrats, by contrast, according to the manichean thinking of some people, must be not Republican, not tribal, not whatever essentialist thing is evil at the moment. I don't believe that because I've been watching everyone in this election season. The most ideologically reductive and barricaded (and Tribal!) are the Trump-ies and the Republicans who vote for Trump even though they hate him, and the dead end Bernie people. The Hillary supporters, even when their language is harsh, have always said that they supported Bernie and his policies, and even voted for him early in the primary. I myself almost voted for Bernie and my husband and other people in my social circle did too. By definition I saw Bernie as part of my "tribe" and supported him, and still support many of his supposed policies, because I am not ideologically rigid or because I recognize that Bernie is not different in Kind from my current candidate, but only in degree.

DailyKos has been filled for months with strongly pro Bernie diaries filled with deeply personal and crazily conspiritorial attacks on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There was zero pushback even though lots of people, women and AA voters and female AA voters, warned the Bernie crowd that smearing and attacking President Obama was a losing proposition in this new electorate. And women warned, politiely, that attacking the first female nominee of the party and a storied democrat in her own right with charges of "whoredom" was, to say the least, quite misogynistic. But the Bernie people would have none of it. Their intentions were pure (ideological purity at its finest) so their execution was also above reproach. Their candidate meant well, so the fact that other people in the election didn't see it that way meant that those other people were ill intentioned.

You saw this especially after ordinary Bernie supporters decided to switch to supporting Hillary. Whatever reason they gave: expidience, experience, further examination of policies, etc...etc...etc... they were met with cries of "you never were a true Bernie supporter." One minute they were part of the in crowd, to whom all good intentions are ascribed. The next they were cast into outer darkness, discovered to have always been quislings, centrists, neo liberals (!), horrible people in general. But not only were they now discovered to have been evil, they were retroactively discovered to have been so. The language used to describe the existential state of a person who was aBernie supporter and changed their mind (a perfectly ordinary thing that happens in an election) was identical to that used by cult or religious members when a former member leaves. People were accused, basically, of apostasy or treason, not accepted as simply chosing between two good candidates. (Cont'd below)

aimai said...

Finally, on the last point which is that people talking about Bernie's failings as a candidate are behaving tribally or in a Republican fashion. I agree that I am behaving tribally. Bernie is IN MY TRIBE. I am a descendant of Bernie types, I am related closely to Bernie types. I am white, Jewish, and I well know Bernie's whole shtick of contrarian, cantankerous, lover of humanity but lousy to humans. I am personally ashamed of Bernie for not knowing how to graciously leave the stage. I am ashamed of him because grown up life demands the ability to handle disappointment and losing an election. Michael Dukakis and many others got up the day after a crushing defeat and went right back to work doing whatever they could to help people. Bernie is refusing to do that--I get that his more rabid fans think that he has a larger mission but to me there is no larger mission at the moment.

There's an old expression "when doing dishes, do the dishes." There's inside politics and outside politics. Right now we are doing inside politics--we, as a country, are fighting an actual political election. If bernie wants to do outside politics and organizing I think thats great, I support that (literally with money and time) in many targeted areas of endeavour. But right now we are doing inside politics. We are fighting for the soul of this country in a real time election for the Presidency, the Senate, and the House and Supreme Court. We could use some help. But if Bernie isn't going to help he is just going to find himself treated like a speed bump by people who feel the fierce urgency of HOLDING ONTO THE PRESIDENCY for fear of death.

Unknown: As for the "muslim country" crack. You can fuck right off with your moronic accusations of racism against Muslims. HRC is the first person to have a Muslim as a chief of staff and she has worked closely with many Muslim countries throughout her time as SOS. If you think that Muslim is the operative issue in chosing when to expend power you are just childishly ignoring the fact that in every case--EVERY case there is a Muslim population that is also at stake being protected. If Bill Clinton had intervened in Rwanda--the great regret of his presidency--would you have accused him of anti-african intentions? When we intervened in Bosnia was that anti Muslim? The world is much more complicated than that. No wonder Bernie's simplistic approach enthralled you.

Barbara said...

Aimai, thank you for your 10:29 PM comment above; it said everything I thought when I read Anonymous' comment - and everything that needs to be said.

There's just no reason to take such unserious people seriously. I'm way, way over it at this point.

aimai said...

Thank you Barbara, and thank you for commenting.

Cathie from Canada said...

Thanks for saying so well what I have been thinking.
One other element that is also a factor in his inability to concede, I think, is that Bernie just loves the attention, and Jane does too -- the adoring rallies, the media cameras at his house, reporters noticing where he goes, getting asked for quotes on the news of the day, getting interviewed on TV. He doesn't want to give it up.
The parade has already moved on, but he hasn't realized this yet.
And some of his supporters are now promoting a conspiracy theory that Bernie actually did get millions more primary votes than Hillary but Hillary/DWS/somebody was able to destroy these votes in some mysterious way due to hijacking the machine voting -- there are posts on Booman Tribune about this, and on pro-Bernie sites.

Pete said...

@Cathie from Canada: Denial and Projection — not just for Republicans anymore!

Also, new definition of chutzpah: losing an election and demanding that the winner do what you say.

Victor said...

As usual, a secular, "AMEN!"