Comments following publication of this post:
from Flo: I appreciate your perspective but your piece appears to fail to recognize how Trump has risen to the top of the heap in the Republicans with just the support of disgruntled Americans who want to see somebody “stick it to” somebody else, with no thought of the repercussions. There are “backs” [pay-back time? ultimate responses] with every assault. Perhaps we’ll see them unfold in this election, but will it actually move us in a more positive direction or just set the scene for the next round of “backs”? I’ll push for the positive and try to accept compromises that that I know will still hurt somebody but seldom me, personally. It’s also important to note the the Equal Rights Amendment has been introduced in every Congress since 1923, but when it passed in 1984 it failed the final test of 3/4 of state’s support by three. The amendment continues to be “heard” by every Congress, but women are still not equal under the Constitution of the United States or Minnesota. Every right has to be hard earned by women and myriad minority groups, not taken for granted.
Thanks for airing your voice! It’s refreshing!
from Fred: Here is a quote from my favorite American newsman and cynic H. L. Mencken that is important this political season. It is famous but often misquoted. Here is the original version (pay special attention to the last sentence).
“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
from Jan: I am trying to figure out women who don’t support Hillary Clinton.
from Phyllis: I’m for Hillary, too! Hope the Bernie supporters really think hard and strong if they plan to vote for Trump if Bernie is not the nominee….
from Carl, recommended by a mutual friend, received by Dick in March, 2016, pertinent to this conversation: Steps to Fearocracy- Crowning a Demagogue v2
Just Above Sunset, for May 10, 2016 (published early a.m. on May 11). Title: Trump and God. And another: The Impossible Reconciliation.
May 3, 2016
Relevant and timely, the most recent Just Above Sunset.
(click to enlarge photo)
Today, another primary election, this time in Indiana. The chattering class considers this an important day…for Cruz, who’s fading fast. Bernie fights on, but in the longer term already seems not very relevant. Both Ted and Bernie know the score, and it’s late in the game.
So, at the next table at the coffee joint just minutes ago, two guys were catching up: comparing notes on Grandkids, Mom in the Nursing Home, that sort of thing.
At the end one of them said “Today is election in Indiana. It’s looking like Trump and Clinton.” (response) “Yah, I like Kasich, but….” (back to the first) “I’d vote for Cruz, but not for Trump.”
They seemed to agree if it was Clinton and Trump, they may not vote at all…at least for President.
I was tempted to ask, “so how will that help you?” But I have one or two brain cells left, and I didn’t go there. Besides, they were in the act of leaving when they made their declarations. As a friend likes to say, “power to ’em”. They’ll do what they’ll do.
People punish only themselves by doing the political equivalent of a kid holding his or her breath till they near pass out.
But you can bet that there’s lots of these conversations, to others, or to oneself, going on. “My way, or the highway”. In my circles: “Bernie or nothing”.
I’m one of those who’s been very comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton for eight years now. She’s got the credentials, and the toughness and, apparently, the stamina for the most difficult job in the world. Year after year, she’s one of the most admired women on the planet, and she deserves the accolades. She fits the job requisites for President of the United States. She’s been personally attacked for 25 years, and she survives.
She’s also demonstrably and basically honest in campaign claims. (This doesn’t stop those who loudly declare “she lies”, which she is doesn’t, when compared on truthiness with fellow candidates past and present.
I am most puzzled by the women – there are lots of them – who pass on no opportunity to express their dislike of Hillary Clinton. These include the progressive (most liberal) types. There is something more than ideology going on in their dislike of their colleague female.
I have my theories, informed by work experience, but I’ll pass on sharing them in this forum.
Meanwhile, at this moment, even before Indiana starts counting ballots and tallying delegates for Democratic and Republican Conventions, it appears that the race will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Those who like vicious battles (I’m not one of those) will enjoy the coming months.
Because of my own political leanings, I really don’t care whether those two guys I heard in the coffee shop sit out the election in November.
For sure, I hope those who have “felt the Bern” , after grieving for a little while, get to work for Democrats in the upcoming election season.
I won’t “hold my breath”….
POSTSCRIPT: All along I’ve liked how Bernie Sanders handled himself in this campaign. I think the Democratic candidates have been respectful of each other, and I like that.
Wednesday morning, the day after Indiana
I watch little of the endless analysis of election results, which begins long before the polls close. That Bernie won Indiana didn’t surprise – Hillary is looking towards the general election; it did surprise that Cruz dropped out. What little influence he might have, he lost. He burned most all of his bridges…within his own party.
I had reason to call up a post I did about “Power” some years ago. You can read it here. The topic of Power appears in the illustration down the page, and I write a bit about it there. Pay special attention to the one called Referent Power.
Movements come and mostly go because they are of the moment.
The ones that last are built on relationships and they require hard work, and compromise (think marriage).
Ted Cruz is the latest reminder about the fact that relationships are everything when it comes to politics. Traditional definitions of power: authority, money, things like that, don’t count for all that much. Relationships do…and have to expand beyond the people who agree with you. Those relationships take work, lots of it.
One of the photos, above, from late May, 2015, was taken by myself. I actually planned to go to see Bernie speak that day, but the line was too long, and I didn’t think there’d be space. I regret not at least getting in line. I took one last photo before I left the area. It is below.
Bernie caught a wave, and, of course, the narrative becomes that he managed to get the attention of the Democrats, which includes me. But I think it is wishful thinking to that he can enact his (or any) point of view by getting elected – to get in power. And I think he knows that. We are too diverse a society, in my opinion.
I’m an active Democrat, and I get, and the people I tend to be around also get, that there are unmet needs within society.
But we’re also aware of the practical limits that go beyond idealism. Progress is always a process, to be worked towards, within the limits of societies attitudes, prejudices, etc.
I learned long ago, in teacher union work, that you always had goals which turned out to be too high, and you were always disappointed when you fell far short of those goals, and had to make compromises you swore you’d never make…it is just how it is in negotiating between union members, and then with the administration and Board, and in larger part the entire community.
Negotiations is complicated.
It was perhaps a half dozen years into my staff career when I figured this out, while taking the time to look back at a particular “Don Quixote” quest we were on, about elementary class size. It was something we couldn’t negotiate – a management right – so each year we’d present our data, make our arguments, and the Board would thank us, and we’d go home, some of us very frustrated.
We did this year after year, and a notebook had been kept of each years presentation.
I happened to look back at the old data, and compared it against the current data one year in the late 1970s, and it was astonishing how much progress we had made in the last five. We just needed to have a perspective, which we hadn’t been able to see. There is a reason for things like long term plans, and long term vision, especially long term vision!
One other thing which comes to mind hours after Indiana. In organizing of most anything there is a hard and fast rule: don’t peak too soon (a corollary, don’t peak too late).
Election day in November is when candidates have to peak.
It may possibly be that Donald Trump peaked in Indiana, yesterday.
There may be a reason why Hillary Clinton was working a longer term plan.
It’s just a possibility.
Another thought on perspective, noon Wednesday:
We went out for breakfast this morning and four men were having a conversation about the implications of yesterday. Things like “trade policy” and “jobs” drifted my way, and the comment from one, “Hillary deserves to win”. I expect to see more serious conversations among friends of all stripes.
The conversation is good.
On my walk, after breakfast, I reflected on the lament I hear in different forms (and forums) from different persons: for instance, “liberals are never satisfied, they just want, want, want”, said in a way that suggests that “they’re taking away something I have, and I won’t tolerate it.”
It has occurred to me that conservatives, however described, especially under the far right “Make America Great Again” banner, have a point, worth at least paying attention to.
Under the purest of definitions, perhaps some feel we should go back to the beginning, where all authority was vested in white men with property, including slaves. After all, the Bible talks as a matter of fact about Kings, Slaves and such.
Back in those good old days when our republic came to be, the Founding Fathers were the ones who drafted “all men are created equal” into the Declaration of Independence, but this did not include women, slaves….
It took Negroes until 1863 to see the Emancipation Proclamation come into being, but not until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, did these rights have any teeth. And now, more than 150 years after 1863, attempts are made to diminish as much as possible those now ancient rights.
For women, it took even longer to get recognition: Womens Suffrage joined the Bill of Rights 1920, but it was not until after the Federal Titles, Title IX and the like, in the 1970s that the idea of women’s rights really took root.
Indians (Native Americans)? That takes many more chapters….
And how we treated, sometimes officially, certain minorities with contempt at certain times: Jews, Catholics, Japanese, strangers from most anywhere, the handicapped….
Today’s subject of caricature and contempt, like “Mexicans” and “Muslims”, can take heart: we’ve been there, done that, a lot, but we are ever changing, for the better.
Since when could an African-American President even be imagined? Now there’s the possibility of a woman as President. John Kennedy broke the “Catholic” barrier. Such happens.
And then there’s the matter of “God” in politics. The Founding Fathers looked with justifiable suspicion on organized religion, as even the strict constructionists know. Nonetheless, constantly, especially in the last 100 years, and even more recently, have been attempts to enshrine in our national fabric a vision of “God” which glorifies the beliefs of some that, somehow, God specifically blessed America, in ways they define in their own terms – no one else’s ideas matter.
These folks are aggressive and relentless and need to be challenged at every turn as they are attempting to impose their belief on others.
I think we’re becoming better, slowly. And that is frustrating and terrifying to the arch-conservatives. Plodding ahead, slowly, is hard, hard, work, and worth it.
Viewed through this frame, while the conservatives truly have a right to grieve, this is one old white Christian man who never wants us to go back again to those “good old days”.
We are, again, a “melting pot” and we are far richer for this.