Sunday, June 3, 2018

This Misconduct Will Go On Your Permanent Record; or, In Your Heart You Know He's Wright

The midterm elections are only a few months away now, and they won't be pretty.  I saw this on Twitter a few weeks ago, and I'm still seething over it, so I might as well write about it and get it over with, as Michelle Wolf said.

I thought I recognized the guy who wrote this, so I linked to it on Facebook and asked my ambivalent Obama supporter friend.  Sure enough, this is the same frother we've disagreed about before.  My friend had gone so far as to post the guy's Facebook posts to my profile page where they'd be harder to ignore.  I think he was hoping to give me a stroke.  I finally asked him firmly to stop posting them to me.  It's a mark of our long friendship and mutual respect that I didn't just unfriend him.  After confirming the guy's identity, my friend asked me to explain what I don't like about the tweet.  I made a couple of false starts, but found I was too angry to be coherent and relatively succinct.  Not until the past week did I figure out how to put my disgust and anger into words.

First I should say that the person he was responding to should probably not have used the word "inspirational."  It's a red flag for DNC loyalists, and allowed Stonekettle to dodge the point by focusing on it.  I looked around Stonekettle's Twitter page and found also that I agreed, narrowly, with a tweet in which he declared that voting is a duty not to be lightly shirked.

(I notice, by the way, that he likes to brag in tweets about all the people who criticize him, block him, unfollow him.  If that were proof of political virtue, Donald Trump would be even greater than Stonekettle.  Which is why I'm not linking to the tweet itself, just posting the screencap.)

Having given him that much, however, I must point out again that Hillary Clinton decisively won the popular vote.  Just to keep it on Stonekettle's simple-minded level, we owe the Trump presidency not to non-voters but to the wisdom of the Framers and their creature the Electoral College.  (Some of his other tweets indicate that he's aware of this, but doesn't let it distract him from his ragegasms.)  True, not everyone voted for Clinton who could have, some didn't vote for a presidential candidate at all, but that would have been true even if she'd won.  Like other party loyalists, Stonekettle blames it all on nonvoters, and ignores Clinton's arrogance and certainty that she couldn't lose; DNC malfeasance, corruption, and incompetence; and other factors that had at least as much to do with her defeat as nonvoters.  But even those wouldn't have mattered if not for the Electoral College.

It does matter, however, that the Democratic leadership abandoned down-ticket races, and that's why  we have "McConnell, Ryan, and Neil Gorsuch," along with all the other Republicans who now control Congress, most state governments, and much of the judiciary.  Gorsuch was a poor choice for Stonekettle to mention, because he couldn't have been confirmed if numerous Senate Democrats, including Joe Donnelly from my state of Indiana, hadn't voted for him.  If we're going to talk about voting, let's not forget that.  It's also Democratic politicians' duty to block Trump's terrible nominees -- Gina Haspel, for another, whom Donnelly also voted for.  Doug Jones, who narrowly defeated the awful Roy Moore and saved us from the horror of having a Trump supporter in the Senate, promptly voted for Trump's budget deal.  What is the point of voting for and even electing Democrats if they're going to vote Republican?

The "inspirational" thing is funny, though, because Democratic loyalists tried very hard to convince themselves that Hillary Rodham Clinton was inspirational.  It's all right, it seems, to be inspired by a political candidate if she's been properly rubber-stamped by our Benign DNC Overlords.  Clinton especially inspired many women, because she showed that a woman could be nominated by a major party to run for the highest office in the land -- and be defeated by Donald Trump.

The hapless person whom Stonekettle schooled had a valid point, though.  Even granting that voting is a duty, I can't think of any better way short of overt voter suppression to discourage voters from voting than to attack them as a bunch of lazy, entitled losers who are to blame for the opponent's victory.  (Though if Clinton had won, would those who voted for her be to blame for all the crimes she would have committed as President?  Just asking.)  Democrats like to attack even those who vote for their candidates, if we don't also adore them -- if we're not inspired by them, in other words.  I don't change my vote because the party operatives are assholes, but not everyone is as mean as I am.  Voting may be a duty, but it can be an onerous one,, and downright impossible if you encounter organized efforts to stop you from doing it.  If you know that the candidate who demands your vote feels no obligation to you after she or he is elected, it's understandable why many people decide to give up.  The duty of a party is, first, to provide candidates who will be responsive to those who voted for them; and, second, to help voters vote for their candidates, not to discourage them.  Stonekettle, like so many Democratic attack dogs, is indifferent to the first duty and indifferent to the second.  He'd be unimportant if there weren't so many others like him, all of whom we're going to hear from in the next five months, and probably afterward.  They're preemptively preparing for a Democratic defeat this November.

Ironically enough, numerous more "inspiring" Democrats are running for office, and some are winning, despite opposition and obstruction from their own party.*  Stonekettle is surely aware of them, but he figures that the same old memes and tropes will suffice to kick the rabble into line.  That should also be taken into account, don't you think, when we're piecing out responsibility for Trump and the Republican control of our government?

I agree with Nina Illingsworth.


* P.S. I disagree, however, with one of the people quoted in this article, Ammar Campa-Najjar:
“Certainly, not everything [Obama] did I agreed with, during his presidency,” he said. “But he definitely was the hope-and-change candidate. The fact that someone like him could be elected made it feel like the America we love and idealize is within our own reach, if someone like him could become president.”
I think that far from being a role model, Barack Obama should be viewed as a cautionary tale: yes, "someone like him could become president", but only by selling out to the worst elements in American society, those who are determined to ensure that positive change never occurs.