GO TIME

One thing that has changed since Trump is that I'm a lot more vocal about criticizing the Democratic Party. I think this country is well and properly screwed in the long term if, as a two-party system, the options available to voters are Middling and Neo-Fascist. There needs to be a left, and a real left, one that doesn't try to impress right-wing suburbanites by embracing means testing and trying to combat a movement based entirely on negative emotions with technocracy.

Along the way a lot of people whose ability to think about politics reduces to "Blue Good, Trump Bad" have shouted at me before eventually going away, which has been a huge, surprising net positive. I like doing this again in a way that, by the end of the 2016 election, I really was not feeling anymore. It's fun again and while that's not important to anyone else, it's quite important to me.

Rather than rehash complaints and criticisms you've probably heard plenty of times here and elsewhere, let's say you're well aware of the shortcomings of the current crop of Democratic leaders at the national level. You get it. I get it. And we both also get the "But vote for them anyway" arguments that have dominated the past year.

This kind of last-minute rallying call is less relevant than ever given how popular early and mail-in voting have become, but here goes anyway: You have to show up and do this now. Just because I'm not standing on the side of the road screaming VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO! to guilt people into voting for Joe Manchin or some other turd does not mean that you should not, in fact, vote for Joe Manchin. Objective 1 is to get as many Republicans out as humanly possible in a system they have rigged, and are actively rigging, to their benefit. We just have to start somewhere.

I said over a year ago, and maintain, that your local races are more important than the higher-profile congressional and gubernatorial races. There is no Liberal Jesus who will fix this problem from the top down. In the 1980s the GOP enacted a brutally effective strategy of organizing to win elections in which hardly anyone votes – and that dominance of low visibility, local political institutions eventually formed a foundation they used to build a nationally successful movement. The Democrats are probably going to take the House, and between their timid leadership and neurotic obsession with performative bipartisanship (What Americans really want to see is that we can reach out to and work with this…white nationalist kleptocrat) the odds that they'll actually do anything to meaningfully restrain Trump beyond simply existing are very small.

What is more likely to produce noticeable improvement is a change in one or more of your relevant local governments. You really need to be focusing on Politics at a level more refined then "Trump sucks and if we get the House that will fix things." I guess if that's what it takes to motivate an individual to vote it's a net positive, but that type of thinking really misses the point. We have to do more. That's the point. It starts with voting, and I have confidence that if you're reading this you've already gotten at least that far. But voting is just the start. We have to Do politics beyond posting a bunch of stuff on Facebook. We have to show up. We have to do the work. We can't sit back and say "Well that takes care of that!" once some institutions are again safely in the hands of bland moderates. That's a welcome step in the right direction, but it's not the end. Because none of these people are going to do anything that will actually make your life better unless you keep them scared shitless indefinitely.

That's what the GOP has done for decades. It's a long game. Do your part now, but remember that voting is the easiest part. For now, anyway.

20 thoughts on “GO TIME”

  • "Middling and Neo-Fascist".

    Was this hyperbole penned collaboratively in a sophomore's dorm room, after a fatty?

    Those painfully familiar with what's now quaintly known as "actual" fascism lament.

    History's most dangerous concepts should not be used to accessorize jejune sloganeering.

    It's dangerous.

  • @Inkberrow – I refer you to Webster, Fascism: "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."

  • [stomps, whistles, yells, jumps up and down, pumps fist]

    Have I told you lately that I love you?

    [and piss off, Gallstone, you're not fooling anyone]

  • For the dummies in the back, can you at least explain HOW to DO the politics and WHAT work we should do? Most people have no idea.

  • > odds that they'll actually do anything to meaningfully restrain Trump beyond simply existing are very small

    Yep. The near future is going to go like this: Democrats take House, 10,000 articles are written urging Democrats to "compromise" with Republicans to "get stuff done", Democrats hold some hearings but do absolutely nothing else to restrain Trump ("we're going to build a wall that's 20% lower than Trump wanted to build, that's meaningful change from your Democratic Party!"), and in 2020 Democrats are getting (partly correctly!) blamed for not doing anything about Trump, voter enthusiasm drops down again, Trump reelected, Republicans regain control of all 3 branches of government, end of days.

  • We can't be purity trolls at this juncture. Even if a popular Republican decided she or he didn't need Donald Trump to get elected, and was willing to coalition with Democrats on most key issues – judicial nominations, the environment, civil and voting rights – I would say vote for them.

    However, those Republicans are rarer than a virgin in a maternity ward. Maybe Lisa Murkowski is about as close as we're gonna get. Joe Manchin is a repulsive human being, being a lifetime slobberer on Old King Coal, but every seat is needed for the Democratic Senate Majority ™ to be in effect.

    My distaste is not so much for Murkowski or Manchin, who are from fossil fuel states where voting for the GOP (or a GOP wannabee) seems to now be a goal for the voters there, who are terrified that the libs are gonna come and take away their jerbs (never mind how good said jerbs are) or force them to marry gay Latino gangsters or clean up their rivers or something. If anything, these folks are almost in lockstep with their electorate.

    No, my real annoyance are for guys like Chuck Schumer who are more conservative than their wealthy donors, and far more than their voters. It's almost like they're playing a game of extortionate limbo where they try to dare their constituents to throw them out of office for going that one step too far to the right, or for lacking the backbone to put up even more than the faintest resistance to the most ridiculous GOP schemes. Put in a kazillion judicial nominees from Donald Trump, who appear to be to the right of the Golden Horde legally speaking, just for a tiny recess? – Thank you sir, and may I have another? Fall flat in imagination when thinking of how to change the national health care policy? – Why, what will my billionaire friends think when I'm not having the American people shoveling money to them? Social Security and Medicare? – Well, just a little more trimming, we can't have the NYT accuse me of being some kind of socialist scumbag. You won't miss that leg I've just sawn off, trust me.

  • How? Google your county party – "will county Democrats" in my case – and ask how and where you can help. I did exactly that 18 months ago. It's mostly retired government employees or retired teachers. They're great but pretty old, technology is a challenge. The good news is you can step right in and have lots to do – even if you start next week. I got to get our township party org's website out of Google jail ( it had been hacked ) , re-do the website, create a Facebook prescence, etc. There's lots to do and generally nobody under 60 to do it. Step up! The party bus yours for the volunteering.

  • No, it is NOT "textbook" fascism, nor any other kind. It is fascistic. That's a rather important distinction, even on a tenth grade writing assignment.

    The textbook quoted above says something about autocratic rule, under a dictator? It's time to put down that bong, and pull up the Super Friends underoos.

  • Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    Oldie but on point from Tbogg:

    Your Mumia sweatshirt won’t get you into heaven anymore

    A comment left over at digg regarding Ralph Nader:
    The Democrats really hate Nader because he points out the fact that they are asking those of us on the left to vote for them but they aren’t doing anything for us. Did they end funding for the Republican’s crime spree in Iraq? No. Have they moved for UHC? No. Have they tried to stop corporate crimes? No. Have they tried to reform the tax code to be progressive? No. Have they tried to protect homeowners from predatory lenders? No. Have they defended our constitutional rights? No. Take back the FDA from the corporations? No. The FCC? No.
    The Democrats don’t deserve my vote. They aren’t helping the left, why should the left help them?
    Let me see if I can explain it this way:
    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.
    You don’t live there.
    Grow the fuck up.
    This is from February 2008, for anyone who thought the Purity Patrol was a modern contraption

  • Liz, gonna quote Erik Loomis on this one:

    voting is only part of our struggle. Even if we win, the structures of oppression remain powerful. The police will still murder black people, fascists will still run through ICE, Native peoples will continue to be oppressed. In many ways, the emphasis on the vote as the be all and end all of politics is a symbol of comfortable white liberalism, for whom it is easy to ignore all the other terrible things happening if the things that affect them daily are not a problem anymore. None of this is to dampen the enthusiasm for voting tomorrow–not at all! Rather, it’s to remember that our struggle must include voting and organizing, marching in the street and donating to candidates, working on issues outside of electoral politics and trying to take over the Democratic Party to make it a force for justice. We have to do all of these things at once.

    We would do well to remember the generational struggles of our heroes of the past. Remember that W.E.B. DuBois was born in 1868 and died in 1963. He lived 95 years and was born at the peak of Reconstruction black power and died a few days before the March on Washington. He lived his entire life in an era of incredible oppression. Yet he continued to fight. This could be our future. The only choice is to not be too jubilant or too depressed after tomorrow and keep moving forward. It’s the fight of our lives.

  • On the debate about whether "fascism" is the best way to describe what the US is facing right now:

    Picture your immune system. A virus gets into your system, propagates, but your immune system stems it back, and you get well. With a weak immune system, however, that same virus could reach critical mass until you're dead (or at least sick to the point of irreparable damage).

    That virus is the same regardless of the health of the immune system. Mutations aside, a virus is a virus is a virus.

    A fascist is a fascist is a fascist. No, they have not reached a critical mass toward irreparable damage, we keep beating them back. But this processes isn't on a switch that suddenly flicks on, it's a slippery slope that starts here. Corporate infiltration of government and media, voter suppression, our "immune system" is breaking down and we are at risk of going down that slippery slope. Maybe we've been here before, but how many lives do we have left in this game?

    Yes, other countries have it a lot worse. That's why they've been so vocal about warning us. So put your damn dictionaries away, it's not constructive.

  • JND–

    Fair enough. Question aid of objection: was Germany already a fascist state before the Reichstag Fire Decree suspended bedrock constitutional guarantees? I respectfully suggest no, again in relation to the serviceable definition cited above. It's a pretty high bar, thank goddess.

    Germany temperament was fascistic before 1933, yes, and Hitler the pathogen was well-established in the weakened body politic. But until he actually seized authoritarian control with army acquiescence, Germany wasn't partly pregnant with fascism. Just reckless with the body politic.

    Was the overnight suspension of rights to speech, assembly, habeas corpus, privacy, and independent judicial due process in Germany a descent down a "slippery slope", or off a precipice? Even a martial law declaration HERE would cut both ways fast. Wolverines!

  • My all-D ballot was mailed in and received (I checked online) a little over 3 weeks ago, so I'm with ya on that. Despite having a GOP Sec of State, Iowa has not so far as I know yet succumbed to the worst of the suppression, etc., tactics, so there's a reasonable chance it will be counted. I have little enthusiasm for Cindy Axne, the 3rd District House candidate and she is given only a slight chance of winning. Jim Hubbell, the D Gov candidate is the scion of a gazillionaire FIRE-sector family, but at least he's not a Pritzker (hi Illinois!).

    You are so right about the local races. The GOP governor here and the GOP lege (both houses) are itching to wreck IPERS, the public-employee retirement fund and they will continue with the disastrous Medicaid privatization. And plenty of other bad stuff probably no one even knows about yet. With a Gov. Hubbell and/or at least one house turning Dem, we would have a chance to stop it. I was concerned enough that I almost thought about volunteering to do something. But I hate people mostly and foot it would not be a good idea for many reasons for me to go foot canvassing. I also hate using the phone, so … You are also right that even a blue wave will mean it is only a bare beginning. I may try to figure out some way I can do something.

    MS: you are right about all that. The 10,000 articles that will be written are the reason that every Dem House and Senate member will need to get 10,000 letters 1,000 times to tell them NOT to do that. It could be done, but I'm afraid on Wednesday, everybody will say, "Yay, we won!" (if indeed we do) and go back to GoT, DWTS, etc.

    Jack the Cold Warrior: I'm actually a fan of TBogg, not a huge fan maybe, but I agree with him 90% or more of the time and he can be pretty funny and incisive. And that piece you quote is pretty clever. So, sincerely, no offense, but I really, really wish people could think about sort of retiring that passage. Nobody likes being called a child ("Grow the fuck up!"). I have always "done my duty" and voted so far in my 60+ years, and 99% for Dems, but every time I see that, it pisses me off so much I want to stay home. I'm not that easy to piss off, so I know there are probably a lot of people who do stay home because of it. Same with Bernie Bro, etc. Yeah, I know we all do it, me too, but I'm really trying not to so much. Medicare For All, to take just one example of many, is not a unicorn. Dozens of nations around the world have it or something like it, and it works.

    Just sayin', YMMV and all that. Peace.

  • Of course, the flip side to VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO is that if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is BLUE, bland centrists agree to vote for her, too. That's worth remembering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>