Monday Reads: Reclaiming our TimePosted: September 11, 2017
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I just got the notice that the Blog Bells and Whistles bill is coming up in a few weeks which means I’m making one of my twice a year pitches to keep the bling in the blog. It’s also giving me pause as I realize how long we’ve been together as a community.
This is blog post #5,673. The first post dates from this week in 2008. It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Yet, the basic reason we exist and the blog exists still stands. It’s our safe place as Hillary supporters.
Hillary Clinton’s latest book has just been released and she’s out on the promotion trail. I imagine it’s very cathartic and hard for her. I imagine her loyal audience of those of us that have put that book on the bestseller list for quite some time are looking foward to its release tomorrow. We are all checking to see if she’s coming near us on her tour.
Excited Utah headlines announce that failed candidate Mitt Romney is likely to run for Orin Hatch’s senate seat if Hatch chooses retirement. No one has asked Mitt Romney to sit down and shut up and to go away. Yet, even though Clinton has announced she will never be a candidate again, the folks that just want to keep women down come at her. She continues to just threaten their hairy, dangling, crooked balls right off of them.
I wish Bernie Sanders would shut up and sit down. I wish BD McClay would shut up. I wish Steve Bannon –attack poodle of the Mercer Klan–would shut the fuck up. This could be a really long list but I digress …
In whatever role she carves out for herself, she will have to contend with the vitriol she has drawn throughout her public life. She and Donald Trump went into Election Day with historically low favorability ratings, a distinction they have both maintained after the election. In fact, a Gallup poll conducted this June noted that Mrs. Clinton was the first defeated presidential candidate since 1992 whose favorability ratings had not risen by the June after the election (with the exception of John Kerry, for whom Gallup did not have comparable data). Her highest ratings in multiple polls came after her husband was impeached in 1998 and while she was secretary of state. In a review of 10 polls conducted after the election through this summer, in every case a majority of respondents held an unfavorable view of Mrs. Clinton.
Loathed as she may be in some quarters, many Americans do seem to have understood, and to some extent accepted, that Mrs. Clinton is not going to be on an endless hike in the Chappaqua woods.
To probe deeper into attitudes about Hillary Clinton now, and the role of women in politics, we turned to Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company. It surveyed 2,000 registered voters online from Aug. 24 to 28.
The survey asked respondents to weigh in on a variety of possible roles for Mrs. Clinton: continue to influence the Democratic Party; raise money for Democrats; raise money for charitable causes; lead efforts to help women and girls; write books; and give speeches. Overall, 74 percent thought at least one of those roles was acceptable; 26 percent said she should play all those roles, and 15 percent vetoed all those activities.
Those of us that worked to get her elected and that voted for her–and remember the vast majority of voters voted for her–still want her in public life. Her amazing bouncebackability is an inspiration to this off us that have to keep fighting our minor fights and truly are tired and want to sit home. She shows us how to rise up and go back to it.
You can google Hillary Clinton Book tour, check the news links, and find that white hot hatred of the right wing burning its way right through your screen. You can also experience the vile bestial nature of Bernie bros and their patron saint of White male Privilege. You can also go straight back to all those hidden Hillary Groups of Facebook that purged the Russian trolls and whiny, needy white men and enjoy the comments of the millions of us that will never find Hillary Clinton irrelevant. Bernie Sanders has never been relevant.
“I think it’s a little bit silly to be keeping talking about 2016. We’ve got too many problems,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said this week of Clinton’s book tour.
Excerpts of “What Happened” suggest Clinton plans to argue that Sanders’ insurgent challenge during the Democratic primary rested on unrealistic promises and ultimately paved the way for President Trump’s successful “Crooked Hillary” attacks.
Clinton’s book has reinvigorated debate among Democrats about how much of the blame for President Trump’s victory lies with external forces, such as Russian interference and former FBI Director James Comey’s 11th hour letter to Congress, and how much responsibility lies with Clinton herself.
The focus of her memoir on dissecting the 2016 election has highlighted the lack of consensus on the left about why Democrats failed to capture the White House and fell short of claiming a Senate majority.
“Clinton is right: Sanders’ attacks on her character fed the same narrative as Trump’s. They hurt her in the general election,” wrote Jill Filipovic, a liberal author, in an op-ed for CNN. “And she’s right that running on the Democratic ticket when you’re not a Democrat isn’t just hypocritical, it can be incredibly damaging. For one thing, it gives a candidate a platform to trash the very party he says he wants to lead.”
Democrats may think they dread her tour but they should seriously be thinking about their grass roots because it’s the women that voted, worked for, and love them some Hillary. If they chase the elusive white male, they lose their base and their base is hugely made up of black women. The one thing that I have learned living in the south and working for both the Mary Landrieu Campaign and helping deliver the Louisiana primary votes that sent the Clinton candidacy to the winner circle is the now and future power of black women.
If black women sat home, Democrats would never win anything again and I advise them to piss black women off at their own risk. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is not a unique feature in the Democratic party. She–not Bernie–is the face of the Democratic Party and the future is Kamala Harris. Remember, it was a black woman that first refused to move to the back of the bus and do remember what all that set off. This is the voice of Vanessa Williams.
More than two dozen African American women, including political activists and elected officials, have signed an open letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez criticizing him for seeming to take for granted the party’s most loyal base of support.
The letter, published Thursday on nbcnews.com, comes as Perez, who was elected chairman of the DNC in February, is traveling around the country meeting with party leaders in an effort to regroup after last fall’s upset victory by Republican Donald Trump.
In the letter, the authors say that black women have consistently supported the party, but have been ignored by Democratic leaders who seemed to be more focused on winning back white voters who rejected Hillary Clinton in November.
“The data reveals that Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition, yet most Black voters feel like the Democrats take them for granted,” the letter reads. “Since taking office, you have met with and listened to key constituencies. But you have yet to host a Black women leaders convening.”
To many, identity politics cost us the 2016 election. The problem is that the media, the election process, the entire she-bang is surrounded by, promotes, and panders the white male identity. It’s only a source of grief when we leave the realm of that paradigm. Mychal Denzel Smith writes on this misinterpretation and wrong view of identity politics today in The Atlantic.
That term, identity politics, has been hotly debated in recent years, most notably in reaction to the 2016 election. For some, the Democratic Party’s insistence on focusing on identity politics—or at least, a certain definition of identity politics—is what cost them the election. The most prominent and vocal critic of identity politics has been Columbia University professor Mark Lilla, who declared in a New York Times op-ed published ten days after the election “that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end,” because it had been “disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age.” Lilla expanded this argument into a book-length polemic entitled The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, released in August of this year. His main complaint is that identity politics is having a pernicious effect on the Democratic Party’s ability to win votes from “the demosliving between the coasts.” He finds that a focus on identity politics at the university level is to blame, since young people are not being taught that “they share a destiny with all their fellow citizens and have duties toward them.”
Except Lilla’s argument has nothing to do with identity politics. At least, not as the Combahee River Collective, which coined the term and theorized its meaning, originally laid out. In fact, Lilla spends very little time engaging the collective’s meaning of the term, instead devoting his energy to his own interpretation of identity politics. The one time he does mention their work he is dismissive. In the book he writes: “With the rise of identity consciousness, engagement in issue-based movements began to diminish somewhat and the conviction got rooted that the movements most meaningful to the self are, unsurprisingly, about the self. As the feminist authors of the Combahee River Collective put it baldly in their influential 1977 manifesto, ‘the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else’s oppression.’”
Lilla’s spin on this statement would make identity politics sound like a selfish political theory. But his bad interpretation is not the same as a bad theory. When the collective writes that the “most radical politics come directly out of our own identity,” Lilla reads this as applying to each individual group’s identity when the Combahee River Collective meant “our own” to apply specifically to black women. It is a result of their belief, as they write later in the statement, that, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” The original intent of identity politics was articulating black women’s struggle at the nexus of race, gender, sexual, and class oppressions, and then forming strategies for dismantling each of these, both in black feminist spaces and in coalition with other groups.
How Lilla misses this is beyond me, since if he read the collective’s statement in full he would have to challenge his own definition of a selfish identity politics against the group’s statements.
The radical act the bernie bros should seek is to vote in more women of color. Their acts just prop up the white male status quo.
They want to silence each and every one of us. That want us all to disappear. They want to only see an endless loop of The Donna Reed show where gays are in the closet, women are in the kitchen, and racial minorities stay in servitude to white male dominion. The Silencing of Hillary Clinton is the main stage attraction. Oh what would they do if they couldn’t focus on her?
Once again, Hillary Clinton is offering some opinions, and, once again, she is being told to keep quiet. This is a familiar pattern for us, no less for her, so perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising to see it recur. But I’d like to push back a bit on this one.
The occasion for this current dust-up is, of course, the release of Clinton’s new book What Happened. Disclosure: I haven’t read it. (Honestly, I don’t find many candidate narratives of their own campaigns all that interesting.) Nor have many of those who are currently criticizing her for writing it. But the main criticisms seem to be:
- Clinton shouldn’t be criticizing Bernie Sanders right now because that’s just causing Democratic divisions at a time when the party need unity.
- She lost to a vulnerable candidate and thus must be an even worse candidate herself.
- Her general election loss means it’s time for her to go away and stop “consuming oxygen.”
At some point, we need to assess the role of media in the 2016 witch hunt that ended with the most unfit president ever sitting in the Oval Office. They need to walk in the woods, do some yoga, play with their dogs, and drink chardonnay. But her emails …
But Clinton was also so dogged by the email story that it wound up being the main thing people thought of when they heard her name, above any and all policy considerations, while her opponent received more coverage of his issues and less coverage of any respective scandal – even though his improprieties were, I would argue, far more consequential in terms of showing his character and leadership deficiencies. Trump benefited from scandal diffusion, if you will, as well as the press’ belief that Clinton would win – and thus needed to be held to account for every little error she’d committed.
A lot of Clinton’s recent activities have been met by jeering from conservatives and hand-wringing from Democrats; the former think any discussion about what went down in 2016 is just Clinton being a sore loser, while liberals want to move on from an electoral result that is still pretty embarrassing. But figuring out what happened regarding Clinton’s media coverage and whether it had an effect on the election isn’t “moaning,” as conservative outlets put it, but necessary soul-searching in the wake of an electoral result that few in the press saw coming. The role the media played in elevating a plainly unqualified reality television actor to the White House, even if it wasn’t decisive, needs to be examined.
I once thought that Clinton’s email mess wouldn’t really matter come Election Day, and I’m certainly not going to argue that coverage of it tipped the scales to Trump, that if she hadn’t used a private server she’d be madam president today for sure. In an election that was as close as was the 2016 edition, any little thing could have changed the equation. And none of this is to diminish the role that former FBI Director James Comey’s last-gasp intervention or the meddling of Russia played in getting Trump elected.
However, there’s going to be another election soon enough. What rises to the level of all-encompassing scandal coverage matters. Every day it’s more apparent that “her emails!” didn’t.
So, her book is available tomorrow. I’m going to hug my dog, put on my yoga pants, drink some chardonnay and read it. I’m willing to take any bit of her that makes me feel better than what’s going on right now. If I have to read one more article about how no on pays attention to the poor white working man, I will blow it out my nostrils and tell the writer to blow it out his white male ass or their white male ass kissing lips. The many, many women and men that worked for Hillary’s campaign that had hoped for a more perfect union where all of us would be safer and more valued deserve a few hours of rest from the Trumpian nightmare. Our vision didn’t not include a daily assault on the right to vote, the civil rights of the GLBT, and a return to the glory days of the confederacy and Jim Crow. We are glad she’s still standing and fighting and it gives us some hope.
I am glad that Hillary will still be fighting for a more perfect union and that it’s one that enfranchises all of us and gives us all the respect we are due. Do something radical today. Write a check. Volunteer on a campaign. Support a candidate that truly reflects the diversity and gifts of our nation. Don’t let any one sit the next one out.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?