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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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An interesting post in light

of the other I just read on the front page of GDP:


Too kind...more kindness...DU at least, if not the party nor the nation, seems all over the map when it comes to kindness.

Frankly, from my perspective, there's no such thing as too much kindness. Not when it is authentic, anyway.

Being kind or respectful to others is not the same thing as laying down and baring our throats and bellies, and that's what seems to confuse way too many. Too many who can't see kindness going hand in hand with standing firm.

Perhaps those people should pay more attention to Sanders. He does a damned fine job of treating opposition with respect without backing down. Of course, respect is not quite the same as kindness, although they could be considered to be related. It's hard to be kind without respect.

Republicans? They engage in name-calling and put-downs? No kidding. So the solution to that is that Democrats ought to join them in the name-calling and put-downs? Here's a clue: Democrats already do so. You can't be unaware of all the names that Democrats call Republicans and call each other.

Neither side is clean when it comes to name-calling. It's just that the MSM latches on to name-calling as legitimate and repeats those names often enough to put them in the expected cultural lexicon, with negative connotations attached. That's not because Democrats are too kind. It's because too many Democrats are too cowed to stand their ground, too convinced that standing their ground means "losing."

Kindness...the Democratic Party, DU, the nation, and the world could use a whole hell of a lot more kindness, imo.

Let me explain.

Many of us take our responsibilities as voting citizens seriously, and don't actually just follow along like sheep behind leaders telling us how to think and vote. That includes obediently "following" an endorsement.

So I get it.

Be clear: I have not, and will not, state my General Election intentions one way or another here at DU. First of all, it's nobody's business unless I choose to share, and I'm simply not going to do that during the primaries. Secondly, we haven't even held a single primary; that's what I'm focused on. Finally, I have plenty of time to consider the GE. I'll do that after the convention, when there is a nominee to consider. The only real thoughts I have about the general election at this point are these:

1. All of ours are better than theirs.

2. I think Sanders is not only the best candidate on issues and record, but the best candidate to win the GE. Those are some of the reasons I think we ought to be nominating him.

I get it. I'm a political lone wolf, so I really get the anger and frustration engendered by people trying to bully voters into line, and trying to marginalize dissent. Those are really counter-productive strategies for people like me. For some of us, our first impulse is to hit back, and votes can be a tool. When the corrupt neo-liberal status quo seems unbeatable, some will look for a better place to spend their political capital. I think it would be more honest to simply acknowledge that the neo-liberal power structure of the party is happy to see the door hit whatever portion of the left walks away on the ass on their way out. Sure, some will cast lesser evil votes, at least for a few cycles. Those voters will be tolerated, and will continue to be marginalized within the party. It's no big deal, since the party power structure can count on recruiting the so-called "moderate" republicans who are horrified by the FUBAR taking down their own party. Those "new" Democrats are more likely to support the neo-liberal agenda. They'll be welcomed.

Really, a better strategy might be to trust fellow Democrats to vote their conscience, and lay off poking the angry donkeys. They, we, have teeth and hooves, too. It's a matter of respect. Respect for democracy with a small d, the right for every voter to vote their conscience whether or not you agree with them. It's also a matter of intelligence. It's some months between the convention and the GE; why anger and further disenfranchise those whose votes you don't want to lose? Why not back off and give them some time to regroup? That's a smarter strategy.

And there is really no reason to panic before the first primaries and caucuses are held. If it worries you, work to nominate a candidate that earns those votes. If you aren't willing to do so, let them go in peace.

My thoughts on the debate:

I didn't participate, and haven't read, any DU debate threads that discussed during the debate; my 'puter and tv are at opposite ends of the house. So my take is just my take, without any influence one way or another from others.

To begin with, I think they all did well.

More specifically,

1. Clinton: I think this was her best performance so far. Her two strongest moments, for me, is when she returned, with grace, Sanders' support from the last debate about the "damned emails" with the question about campaign datagate; and then, when she repeatedly pointed out the connection between anti-muslim rhetoric and actions by Trump AND in general to ISIS recruiting efforts. Her weakest? Also a strength for her: I hear her smoothly adopting, and claiming as her own, and even using words and phrases, from the campaign of her biggest rival. A couple of times I almost thought she was going to come out and embrace socialism. It's a weakness because, in spite of her clear and strong delivery, her triangulating strategies leave her less than believable on some of those issues.

2. O'Malley: I felt for him, struggling to get some talk time, even if his determination to over-ride the moderators was irritating. His best moment, for me, was when he responded to questions about encryption with a strong support of our rights to privacy. I really appreciated that. I don't really have a "weakest" moment for him, although I have a couple of mild negatives. First of all, somewhere in the beginning, he tried to separate himself from his rivals by accusing them of "bickering" on stage, referring to them interrupting each other. I didn't really hear "bickering" there, though; I heard general agreement in what they were saying despite the jockeying for speaking time, so that comment wasn't really effective. It's connected to my other negative: several attempts to portray himself as somehow taking a higher road than the other two; I don't think that's correct.

3. Sanders: He did fine. I loved his response to the opening campaign data questions. For the rest, I've heard it all before. I noted that he managed to get a great deal of his campaign stump speeches in there, laying out his agenda for those in the national audience who haven't been following him. I appreciate his ability to address the U.S. role on the international stage in a coherent, logical fashion.

All in all, to be honest, though, my interest was waning at about the half-way mark. I found myself listening to certain words and phrases, and noting certain strategies and techniques, that are not necessarily authentic, but simply designed to push listeners' buttons: to make candidates seem more likable, more trustworthy, more anything to get support. I'm not criticizing any of them for that. I'm just saying that, for me, it doesn't work. It feels to me like planned, practiced, and polished propaganda, and that alliterative combination makes it less authentic for me.

Finally, there was nothing said on that stage that increases my support for HRC or MM, or decreases my support for Sanders, or my determination to see him become the next POTUS. I hope it was helpful for undecided voters.

Now I'm off to read what the rest of DU has to say about it.

I agree that:

In the US women and African Americans are still held to a higher standard than white men. Acknowledging this isnít playing the gender card or the race card.

That's true. I freely acknowledge it.

Gender may be a factor for some in this race. To be honest, I was...horrified, appalled, REPULSED by the primaries in '08, when I saw DU and Democrats across the nation fracture along race and gender lines, using both, and trying to rank one above the other as a priority, to determine the nominee.

Because gender issues and race issues are equally important; at least, they are to me.

If I am choosing my vote based on race and gender issues, it's not the race nor the gender of the candidate, but the candidates' records and positions on those issues that are going to determine my vote. I want more than a symbol.

It means that our society is shallow.

That appearance means more to way too many people in our society than the content of anyone's character.

It's a sickness, the need to judge people so.

It's also something to fall back on if your chosen candidate can't win on issues. They can fail the issues, but be a figurehead, substituting "looking" for "being."

And that's a damned shame.

The label "Democrat"

is meaningless if it doesn't stand for something; and it has to stand for something I can support. I'm a Democrat.

I want the label to represent people, not corporations, and positive change, not the status quo.

That's why I think Bernie is a better democrat than the current dlc/centrist/"new dem"/3rd way/neo-liberal "leadership" in our party, and why I support him over that leadership's preferred candidate.

I assume

that somebody, somewhere along the line, suggested that they wouldn't vote for HRC in the general. That's a pretty standard primary thing.

So is the line of people scolding, cajoling, demanding, reminding, threatening, etc., etc., that people need to get in line after the convention. That's also a pretty standard thing.

To be honest, I find it all tiresome, and a great distraction from the actual issues that should be under discussion.

That's how I choose candidates in the primary and in the general. On issues.

The status-quo camp, a bit stung by the popularity of the populist, is bringing everything they've got, including the monolithic party structure, to bear to make sure that the other side knows they can't win.

The grass-roots for change camp isn't giving ground, although they know what they are up against.

I generally see the tiresome distraction of "support for the nominee" to be just another version of bullying. From one camp it's an effort to bully people into shutting the fuck up and getting in line.

From the other it's using what they've got; a threat to the status quo.

I'm a Democrat. That doesn't mean that I toe ANYONE'S line. I think the party is better, and stronger, when dissent isn't silenced or crushed by the status-quo. And my vote is earned, not owed. AND I don't give a flying fuck who is offended by that. It's my right as a citizen to hold my government and my party accountable for their positions and record on issues, and to vote my conscience. I WILL go toe-to-toe with anyone who wants to erode that right.

I also know that both sides, if you remove the bombast, the hyperbole, and the efforts to intimidate, have a point. I'll acknowledge both points, if this stupid distraction can just be retired so we can focus on actual issues.

Political Revolution

I was doing some reading this weekend about the Constitutional Convention. I came across some quotes, one familiar, two maybe less so:

...That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that wnever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it... --The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, 1776

It is a general maxim in every government, there must exist, somewhere, a supreme, sovereign, absolute and uncontrollable power; but this power resides always in the body of the people; and it never was, or can be delegated to one man or a few. --=The General Court of Massachusetts, 1776

...those deluded People. King George III, 1775

I came across them in Palmer's The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760 - 1800.

It struck me that this is exactly what Sanders is calling for when he talks about a political revolution: altering our nation, our government, to remove the destructive influence of big money. That when he says he can't do it alone, he's telling us that "the body of the people" must rise to get the job done.

And that conventional wisdom in our nation and in our party leadership reflects King George III.

What George didn't "get," and what those clinging to conventional wisdom today don't get, is that every effort to contain unrest, to soothe it with platitudes and false hope, or to put it down with force, simply fans the flames of determination higher.

It seems to me that many clinging to that conventional political wisdom simply fear the risk involved in stepping forward to be active agents for significant change. Of course, some, like the Loyalists, don't want that kind of change. They support the status quo.

According to John Adams: We were about one third Tories [Loyalists], and one third timid, and one third true blue.

I wonder what he'd say about today's Democratic Party, and about the whole nation?

For myself, I've been reflecting on the fact that, on the issue of big money in politics and government, Democrats, and DU, are fairly unified in opposition, at least on the surface. I ask myself, if not now, when? I think that, as long as people are afraid of that revolution to remove the destructive influence of big money from our government, as long as the body of the people don't rise, we will continue our march to destruction.

What I've learned about

politics right here on DU over the last 13 years:

1. Any talking point can be spun any way to support a Democrat.

2. If your candidate and/or politician of choice has changed, he or she is "evolving." In this case, evolution is a good thing. If your opponent "evolves," though, then it's "flip-flopping," and can't be trusted.

3. Democratic voters are expected to evolve/flip-flop on issues along with their candidates/politicians.

4. Issues don't really matter. Only winning elections matter. Winning issues is not a priority.

5. If you criticize a Democrat, you want Republicans to win.

6. It's understood that nothing said in a primary race is supposed to leave that primary race or be acknowledged outside of the primary race. That would be disloyal, and,

7. Partisan loyalty oaths are part and parcel of every primary race.

8. There is no hope in electing anyone worth electing, so shut up, get in line, and vote for the CCC: the "current corporate candidate" supported by the DNC.

9. The Democratic Party is not exempt from race and gender wars, even though the party is supposed to support both racial and gender justice.

10. Partisan politics IS a team sport which takes priority over issue integrity.

Families aren't the enemy.

Families come in all shapes and forms, and my family means more to me than anything else on the planet. Yet I didn't come from a traditional family, grow up in a traditional family, raise my kids in a traditional family, and our family is a wonderful, if small, eclectic mix today.

I think that's the OP's point; the Pope's statement that was quoted is general enough to include all kinds of families. It's open to interpretation. I don't know if that was deliberate or not, but I suspect it was.

I am not Catholic, not Christian, but I'm watching this Pope with interest, because he carries weight across the globe. I don't expect that any Pope could step into his office and immediately turn thousands of years of doctrine and policy on its head, but he's certainly moving in that direction, one step at a time. Whether that will eventually include doctrine involving women and sexuality is still to be determined. It's early days yet, so I can hope it will, for now.

He's begun by reminding people about the socialist nature of Christ as recorded. That's a step in the right direction.

I don't remember, in my two full readings of the Christian Bible, Jesus teaching people to subjugate women or to see homosexuality as a sin. If the Catholic Church were evolving to become more like the recorded Jesus, real or not, the Church, and the world through its followers, would be a better place.
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