Monday, February 29, 2016

Every Knee Shall Bend and Every Tongue Confess

There's an old joke, which I'll de-ethnicize here: A socialist speaker asks his audience rhetorically, "Brothers, is not one man as good as another?" Someone pipes up, "Yes, and a damn sight better, too!"

Donald Trump won his third primary in a row, in Nevada this time.  (He's since added a fourth.)  He exulted to his supporters that "We won ... 46 percent with the Hispanics, 46 percent, number one with Hispanics. I’m really happy about that."  Why he should be happy about winning the support of people he denigrates as rapists and drug traffickers I'm not sure, but more to the point, Hispanics make up about 8 percent of Nevada voters.

Anyway, I began this post a few days ago, when Trump's latest victory underscored my reaction to this meme, posted early in the day by a friend and former co-worker.

Not that I'm happy about it, but as a matter of simple fact, three consecutive primary victories make him a "winner."  It's perfectly legitimate to point out his past failures, especially his business failures and bankruptcies, which would seem to bode ill for giving him any kind of oversight over the economy, but failures often turn themselves around.

The meme ticked me off, though, because I smelled that noxious and toxic self-help sense of "winner" in it, according to which people are divided into sheep and goats, winners and losers, Madonnas and whores, by nature.  It occurred to me that "loser" tends to function as a gender-neutral substitute for "faggot," used to signify "weak ass guys," "kneelers.  Those who take the knee.  Who serve a master willingly," and so on.  If you lose, you're a faggot, or you would have won.  If you lose even once, you're a loser.  And if you win -- ah, you're a winner forever; at least until you lose.

Alfie Kohn wrote about the destructive consequences of competition in No Contest, quoting (page 110) a sports psychologist who wrote:
... following a failure in competition the poor competitor is usually relaxed, in good spirits, even talkative.  In contrast the good competitor who has had a bad day is difficult to live with.  He becomes temporarily a bitter, morose, and sometimes unpleasant person to live with.
Sometimes in public.  The thirty-first anniversary of that tantrum was commemorated by quite a few people I know on Facebook last week.  Now, there's a winner for you, and I know that a lot of my liberal friends bend the knee at the altar of Bob Knight.

The friend who posted the Trump meme protested, first, that she hadn't called him a faggot (trivially true), and second, that she's not judgmental of anyone -- except Donald Trump.  So why make an exception?  Of course, I'm fine with being judgmental, but one must do it responsibly.  Maybe she'll improve with practice.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Off-Center: It's on the Internet So It Must Be False

Maybe we need a Fake Tao Quotes website.  I searched two online English translations of the Tao Te Ching for "tree," "forest," "wave," and "center," and came up dry.  That doesn't prove this quotation is fake, of course.  With a notoriously gnomic text in a language as far from English as ancient Chinese is, there could be many ways to render a passage; but it seems to me that those keywords ought to be there.  I'll try to find time later to read the full texts and see if I missed something, and will make whatever corrections may turn out to be necessary then.

But the really notable thing about this meme, to my mind, is that it basically contradicts itself: it accuses human beings of imperfection for seeing ourselves as imperfect.  (The comments I saw on it bear that out, mostly taking the form of exulting that Mr. Ching saw how screwed-up and stupid we human beings are.  For example:
It's worrying about what other people think of us that makes us so stressed and unhappy in our own skin ... If we could just learn not to care about other's opinions of us, we'd all be a lot happier.
the arrogance of man - too many of us would tie the trees back till they learned to grow to please our eye while allowing us perfect access to the path, or cut them down if they would not comply - as to the waves - well someone somewhere is probably working on that
And, from someone who calls himself a Master (I don't know whether he considers himself a Dominant or a Teacher):
i feel this pic is talking about individuality and natural beauty and about us not trying to act or look the same as each other basically put like cosmetic surgery to change your natural look and embracing our individual unique physical imperfections and maybe also about us not looking at others and wanting the same as them and thinking life is unfair and instead embracing and being thankful for the smaller things in life that we may have that the others dont rather than stuff like obesity ???
The blinding irony is that just about all spiritual teaching starts from the postulate that human beings are off-center, have lost our way, are imperfect, even when it also postulates that we have a "true" nature that is perfect and centered, if we could just find our way back to it.  In a way this meme, even though it promulgates an apparently bogus quotation, could be taken as addressing that contradiction; but I may be giving whoever invented it more credit than they deserve.

Friday, February 26, 2016

When You Get Caught, Lie: It Worked for President Eisenhower

Lady Bracknell.  Oh, they count as Tories.  They dine with us.  Or come in the evening, at any rate.
It's a sign of how far out of touch with the general public Hillary Clinton is that she thought she could discredit Bernie Sanders by having one of her advisers complain that Sanders called for the abolition of the CIA forty-two years ago.
Jeremy Bash, a former CIA chief of staff who is now an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, told reporter Michael Crowley that Sanders’ comment “reinforces the conclusion that he’s not qualified to be commander in chief.” Bash explained: “Abolishing the CIA in the 1970s would have unilaterally disarmed America during the height of the Cold War and at a time when terrorist networks across the Middle East were gaining strength.” Bash was chief of staff for Leon Panetta at both the CIA and Defense Department, and now runs a consulting firm called Beacon Global Strategies.
As Jon Schwarz showed in the article I just quoted, Sanders's position (which he no longer holds anyway) was not really that far-out.  A former CIA agent and now writer of best-selling thrillers acknowledged as much on Democracy Now! this morning.  The Clinton campaign's move was reminiscent of Clinton's defense of her relationship with War Criminal Emeritus Henry Kissinger.  As Alex Pareene wrote, Clinton's remark
was just a little brag that would have played well in a different room.

The sort of room it would have played well in, really, is the sort of room in which the worst people in the country congregate. The fact that Clinton lapsed into speaking as if she were in that room is more or less why she’s having trouble, once again, convincing the Democratic electorate to nominate her for the presidency.
I suppose that Clinton and her advisors and supporters don't realize this.  They don't understand that for many people in both parties the word "CIA," like the name "Henry Kissinger," is a red flag.  The same goes for Bash's criticism of Sanders: Very Serious People, those who really matter, those who really run this country, know that the CIA is a good thing, a necessary bulwark protecting America from its many enemies -- like George W. Bush, it keeps us safe.  Only a loony extremist like Harry S. Truman or John F. Kennedy would think otherwise. 

I doubt, myself, that the CIA can be abolished; even imposing more oversight would be extremely difficult to achieve -- and even if it were, it would quickly be replaced by new intelligence-gathering and covert-operations agencies.  Gathering information is not in itself an illegitimate government program, nor is "intervention" of various kinds aimed at influencing the affairs of other countries; even when the specific program is illegitimate, its lack of legitimacy is not a concern of our rulers. Where to draw the line between legitimate and illegitimate intervention is a matter of judgment, so oversight and debate are vital.  The trouble is that we don't have enough of either.

As it happens, I had just finished reading a fascinating book, Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia by Audrey R. and George McT. Kahin, published by The New Press in 1995, which was relevant to this question.  The book is about US meddling in Indonesian politics in the 1950s that basically blew up in the Eisenhower administration's face.  Instead of weakening then-President Sukarno, it strengthened him.  Instead of bringing about a "stable" (like "free world," a Newspeak euphemism for murderous right-wing dicatorships) government in Indonesia, it set off a civil war.  Instead of suppressing the Indonesian Communist party, it increased its prestige and influence.  Instead of pushing Indonesia away from its neutralist policy (which the US typically interpreted as pro-Soviet), it pushed it closer to the USSR until the US backed down.  Ultimately it led to the horrific massacres of 1965, in which at least half a million Indonesians (some Communist, others not) were butchered by the Indonesian army and paramilitary groups, to the delight of the US government and media.

I'll probably post more quotations from Subversion as Foreign Policy, but today I'll just include this bit.  The US had been covertly supporting mostly Islamist rebels in Sumatra against the central government in Java.  This support took the form of money, airdrops of arms, and training.  (Many higher military figures in Indonesia had been trained in the US; fancy that!)  Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese in Taiwan collaborated, as did Britain, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea.  This sort of thing is hard to keep totally quiet, of course; as the Kahins point out, secret US operations are generally secret from most Americans, but not from their targets.  But it was all going pretty well, despite successive defeats suffered by the rebels, until:
On May 18 [1958] a rebel B-26 bomber carried out apparently indiscriminate raids against the city of Ambon, a port on the eastern Indonesian island of Amboina.  After sinking an Indonesian naval vessel at its pier the plane bombed a church and the central market, resulting in heavy civilian casualties.  Before the plane left, however, antiaircraft fire brought it down, and its American pilot, Allen L. Pope, and his Indonesian radio operator were captured.

Pope's capture provided Jakarta with incontrovertible evidence of direct American involvement in support of the rebels.  The administration persisted in its contention that he was an independent "soldier of fortune" for whom the United States was not responsible.  But the fact that he carried not merely a diary containing detailed accounts of recent bombing missions but also U.S. military identification papers, a copy of recently dated orders from a U.S. army base, and a current post exchange card for Clark Air Force Base made it difficult for this argument to be given much credence ...

[U.S.] Ambassador Jones credited the Jakarta government with "great maturity" in its efforts to avoid "making use of the bombings of the church and market place for purposes of propaganda -- domestic or international."  When discussing the matter with one of the authors only seven months after the bombing, this normally calm and composed ambassador was still seething with anger over what his sources had indicated to have been "several hundred civilians killed."  (In the book he wrote twelve years after the bombing, he stated that the civilian casualties were reported to be "in the vicinity of 700," but while pursuing his official duties he abided by the Jakarta government's "official" casualty figures of six civilians and seventeen members of the armed forces) [179-80].
Allen W. Pope was tried in Indonesia, "convicted and sentenced to death on April 29, 1960 -- nearly two years after his capture and well after public interest in his actions had died down ... The sentence was never carried out and he continued to live in comfort until quietly freed after U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy spoke with Sukarno in Jakarta during a 'good will visit' to Indonesia in February 1962..." (181-2).  The Kahins note "how gently Pope was treated and how many obvious questions were not pursued" (ibid.) at his trial, whose record
provides a sketchy account of his twelve bombing and strafing missions against against government naval and merchant shipping, airfields, and port cities -- with accounts of ships sunk and airplanes destroyed at airports.  This record shows that the attack on Ambon in which he was shot down was the fifth he had made on this city and its environs.  But potentially most embarassing to the United States was not only that Pope's immediate employer was the CIA -- through its wholly owned subsidiary CAT (Civil Air Transport, based on Taiwan) -- but also that he had been released to CAT on April 21 on 120 days temporary duty while assigned to the headquarters of the U.S. Army command at Camp Brucknerin the Ryukyu Islands [181].
The Eisenhower administration lied reflexively and professionally when Pope was shot down: he was a "soldier of fortune," not a US agent.  They had already begun to withdraw support from the Indonesian rebels, though aid continued to come in for awhile through Taiwan and the Philippines.  Luckily for them, the Indonesian government didn't make as much fuss as they could have over US support of terrorist attacks (what else can you call it, honestly?) on their people.  The entire project went down the Memory Hole for many years, and in 1995, when Subversion as Foreign Policy was published, many documents were still classified.

But hey, this is all ancient history, isn't it?  We should look to the future, not dwell on the dead past, etc.  What first led me to read Subversion of Foreign Policy, aside from the authors' name -- George Kahin had co-written an important 1967 book on the US invasion of Vietnam that taught me a lot, not only about Vietnam but about the larger geopolitics of the period -- was annoyance at the beatification of Dwight Eisenhower by many liberals today.  Supposedly Eisenhower was different from today's Republicans in his foreign policy; but he mainly took intervention and subversion of regimes he disliked under cover. The important thing to most Americans today is that no Americans were killed by his activities; that many thousands of dusky foreigners suffered and died is of no great interest to either liberals or conservatives.  The Kahins cite Iran and Guatemala among Eisenhower's "successes," but that's only by contrast with the debacle in Indonesia.

But much that I read in Subversion as Foreign Policy impressed me by how timely it still is, from the US support of Islamists to undermine governments our rulers disliked to the cover stories when our agents got caught.  Even at the time, the capture of Allen Pope echoed the capture by the Soviets of US spy-plane pilot Gary Powers.  Later, in 1986, a CIA agent named Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua while bringing weapons to President Reagan's terrorist Contras.  "President Reagan and other U.S. officials have denied that the plane or its crew had ties to the U.S. government. In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams said Hasenfus was not telling the truth because of Sandinista threats and intimidation," as the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.  As with the capture of Pope, the capture of Hasenfus was not merely embarrassing, it was inconveniently timed: "For the last two years, the CIA has been prohibited by law from helping provide the rebels with military supplies. If the CIA was involved in the operation despite denials from the Reagan administration, it could renew the debate over aid to the contra rebels just as Congress was about to release $100 million for them."

Another familiar theme was the 'fixing' of intelligence to justify Eisenhower's Cold War paranoia about Communist influence in Indonesia.  American officials and agents who didn't tell the President and his fanatical CIA chief Allen Dulles what they wanted to hear were ignored at best, replaced and transferred out at worst.  Those who want to contrast Eisenhower with George W. Bush will find no comfort here.  That's not necessarily to single out Eisenhower; the desire not to hear what one doesn't want to hear is a normal human impulse (you could call it human nature).  All the more reason for people in high places, who are especially susceptible to the tendency, to be aware of it, and make efforts to overcome it.  If they can't, the rest of us must do it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

There Is One Orwell, and Hitchens Was His Prophet

Recently I read The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens and the New American Century (Pluto Press, 2004) by Scott Lucas.  Lucas shows how Christopher Hitchens anointed himself as George Orwell's spokeman for the twenty-first century.  It was a good read, and reminded me of a number of things I needed to be reminded of, such as this:
Hitchens charged that Chomsky, in The New Military Humanism, was guilty of 'double standards' in criticising NATO's bombing of Yugslavia while supporting intervention in the case of East Timor.  Chomsky replied, 'There is a double standard only if the intentions are humanitarian …. My book found no evidence of benign intent [over Kosovo] …. hence no double standard but rather the familiar single standard of power interests with little concern for human consequences'  Hitchens, after the cheap jibe, 'It is no disgrace to be condescended to by Noam Chomsky nor to be instructed in matters of formal logic and argumentative procedure', wrestled with double standards before settling on a simpler call, 'We appear to be in a new era, where old reflexes serve us less well.  However, this does not relieve us of our responsibility to take the side of the victims, as Chomsky once taught me and many others to do' [66-7].
Quite.  But who are the victims?  Hitchens lost sight of that question, except for thinking that he himself was the victim, of Left Orthodoxy.  Those who were killed or maimed or made into refugees by American (or NATO, which amounts to the same thing) bombs, missiles, and bullets were never on his radar, as Lucas points out:
At no point did Hitchens acknowledge that, his clearly defined 'war against Saddam', the Iraqi people rather than the leader were likely to be the first casualties and those dealing with the long-term consequences [85].
What I want to focus on, though, is Hitchens's accusation that Chomsky applied a double standard, allegedly opposing "intervention" in Kosovo but advocating it in East Timor.  This is a popular claim among liberal and progressive enthusiasts for US state violence.  I first encountered it, I think, when George H. W. Bush invaded Panama in 1989, and numerous times since then.  I haven't yet heard it in connection with US support for the Saudi invasion of Yemen, but that's probably because most Americans, regardless of their location in the political rainbow, are doing their best to ignore that one.

As far as I know, Chomsky never called for the US to "intervene" in the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor, which lasted from 1975 to 1999 and killed hundreds of thousands of people -- roughly a third of the population.  This was largely because the US had already intervened in that action, by approving it in advance, by arming and training Indonesian forces, by Presidential evasion of Congressional prohibition of US support, and by blocking United Nations action.  Not until the East Timorese had courageously voted for independence in a referendum, did President Bill Clinton finally instruct Indonesia to withdraw.  In 2002 journalist Allan Nairn (who along with Amy Goodman was badly beaten by Indonesian troops in East Timor in 1991) questioned Clinton about this, and Clinton bravely dodged the question.  He conceded that the US had "ignored" and been "insensitive" to the situation, which was false, since US presidents including Clinton had worked so hard to support Indonesia for a quarter of century. (There's no transcript for that clip, but a partial transcript is available here. It's worth listening to the clip, which includes not only Clinton but Richard Holbrooke and Henry Kissinger lying wildly about their records.)

Hitchens and other apologists for state violence might claim that Clinton "intervened" by finally stopping US aid to the Indonesian invasion, but this ignores the ongoing intervention that preceded it.  They also hope to confuse the issue by equivocating.  Chomsky and other critics of US foreign policy don't necessarily object to diplomatic "interventions," it's military interventions that we oppose.  President Obama could intervene in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, for example, by withholding material and other support for the Saudis, and Chomsky would surely approve of that -- provided the aid wasn't merely continued by diverting it through other channels, as normally happens in such cases.  But what liberal and progressive supporters of state violence want is military intervention, marketed as "humanitarian," with enormous costs in human life and well-being for its supposed beneficiaries.  There's no double standard.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Beat Me, Whip Me, Make Me Feel the Bern!

I first read John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me in seventh grade.  I found a paperback copy in a classroom at my junior high school, picked it up and began reading, and couldn't put it down.  I have a vivid memory of sitting there reading it in the failing light of late afternoon.  I believe it belonged to a teacher, who let me borrow it.  Which, now that I think of it, took some courage on his part, in Indiana in 1963.  What if my parents had objected?  The book's radical (for the period) racial politics were only one reason to worry about parental backlash in those days and that place; it also contained many sexual references, most of which I didn't understand very well at the age of twelve.

Since then I've read Black Like Me at least four more times.  Until recently the only book that equaled its impact on my understanding of American racism was Jonathan Kozol's first book, Death at an Early Age, which I read soon after it was published in 1967.  But perhaps "understanding" is the wrong word, though both books have a lot of intellectual content: they affected me on a gut level, ensuring that I would never tolerate white racism or give any credence to the excuses and rationalizations white racists make for their bigotry.  Death at an Early Age brought home for me what it would mean to children to lose the opportunity for education because racism gave them destructive schooling: even if the Boston schools Kozol described had been repaired and improved immediately, it would do no good for the children who'd passed through themMeanwhile whites dragged their feet to ensure that the destruction of children's hearts and minds would continue.  The issue of reparations is relevant here; reparations are needed not just for slavery, but for racist oppression that continues right down to the present.  

Black Like Me showed me what it was like to be on the receiving end of what Griffin called the "hate stare," to have to waste hours searching for a public restroom, a restaurant that would serve you, a bank that would cash your traveler's checks; to know that any white person could view you as their servant, and demand not only obedience but subservience, always with the threat of lethal violence if you didn't comply.  (It occurs to me now that any kid, of any color, knows what this is like.)

I was bothered, though, by a theme Griffin took up a couple of times in the book.  First the white doctor who helped him darken his skin, and later Griffin himself in conversation with an older black man, lament the bad behavior of many blacks that prevents them from getting equal rights.  The older man sums up the situation:
"... So a lot of them, without even understanding the cause, just give up.  They take what they can -- mostly in pleasure, and they make the grand gesture, the wild gesture, because what else have they got to lose if they do die in a car wreck or a knife fight or something else equally stupid?"

"Yes [replies Griffin], and then it's these things that cause the whites to say we're not worthy of first-class citizenship."
It seems to me that Griffin had it backwards here. "These things" don't "cause" white racists to conclude that blacks are inferior -- they're invoked to rationalize the conviction that racists already hold.  (Karen Fields and Barbara Fields hammered this point home repeatedly in their brilliant Racecraft.)  What occurred to me when I read these exchanges was that white men, and not only poor ones, also "make the grand gesture, the wild gesture" and die in car wrecks or knife fights or something else equally stupid.  Better-off white men like George W. Bush will simply be bailed out of the trouble they get into; white trash may not, but no one will argue that whites are obviously inferior because of their propensity for violence and self-degradation.  The misbehaving, self-destructive whites are pathological individuals, a few bad apples, not representatives of their race.  Since whites are unmarked racially, nothing they do can give them a bad name as white people, in mainstream (i.e., white) discourse anyway.  Later still in the book, Griffin points out to a white interlocutor that certain social problems cited against blacks also occur among whites, but neither goes near the implications this fact has for white supremacy.

After Griffin published his experiences, the backlash, while predictable (and he'd predicted it), was still chilling.  He was hung in effigy in his Texas hometown, and the standard threats of death and mutilation were phoned in by cowards.  Judging from later statements, some of which are included in the Griffin Estate edition I read this time, Griffin became much more radical about American racism than he was in the 1950s, and was harshly critical of white media that tried to use him to speak for African-Americans, while refusing to turn to African-Americans themselves.  Of course it's doctrine that blacks can't be trusted to talk about American racism -- as the white racist philosopher Antony Flew put it, they're "prominently positioned to discover racism," because they're "generously paid" to do so. 

Damn, there I go again, pissing myself off; but it's not over nothing.  I've been reading a number of things lately that both informed and infuriated me: not just Black Like Me and Racecraft, but Ira Katznelson's When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America (Norton, 2005).  Katznelson details how white racists were able to hijack social programs, from veterans' benefits to the New Deal and the G.I. Bill, so that American blacks would be excluded from coverage.  In general, liberals gave in quite easily to their efforts.  So, for example,
The South's representatives [in Congress] built ramparts within the policy initiatives of the New Deal and the Fair Deal to safeguard their region's social organization.  They accomplished this aim by making the most of their disproportionate numbers on committees, by their close acquaintance with legislative rules and procedures, and by exploiting the gap between the intensity of their feeling and the relative indifference of their fellow members of Congress [22].
It didn't help my mood when, a few weeks ago, some (white male) Bernie Sanders boosters erupted angrily over Black Lives Matters' decision not to endorse a presidential candidate: "Cutting off the nose to spite the face, by not supporting Sanders at this important time ..." wrote one.  Another wrote, "This group seems to be wearing blinders, only focusing on what they want to see. It is a great big world out there and economics is always the key no matter what race or ethnicity you may happen to be part of. Senator Sanders appears to be focusing on income inequality which certainly affects at least 99 percent of ALL people. We can all work together or we can all go down the toilet together."

They were sure that a Republican would become President because of BLM's treachery.  So, I asked them, no one will vote if BLM doesn't endorse a candidate? Or everyone will decide to vote Republican if BLM doesn't endorse a candidate? No one is capable of making up their own minds?  I didn't get a satisfactory answer, just more fulminating about how these blindered traitors were giving aid and comfort to the Rethugs.

I can think of numerous reasons why BLM might choose not to endorse a candidate.  It might be, for example, that the organization was too divided within itself to select one.  Partisans love to claim that they are political realists unlike their airy-fairy idealistic critics and opponents, but this simple political reality escaped these guys' notice entirely.  Maybe neither Clinton nor Sanders, in their belated and rather resentful attempts to 'reach out' to communities of color, persuaded BLM that they really deserved to be endorsed.  Sanders has talked about "making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino."  This sounds very nice, and might have impressed me more before my recent reading, which taught me that white supremacists are very effective at making sure that such "massive investments" are structured so as to exclude black people, and that white liberals and progressives are not very effective at preventing these exclusions.  Sanders no doubt means well, but it seems that he doesn't realize just how "divisive" (the word he used to dismiss reparations) it will be to invest in communities and people of color as well as white ones.

This wasn't the first time I've encountered such authoritarian behavior among Democratic partisans during this cycle (leaving aside past ones), and once again I'm amazed by their evident belief that they can win votes for their candidate by insulting and abusing the voters they're ostensibly trying to win over.  Put simply: you want my vote, so you must give me a good reason why I should comply.  Attacking me, whether honestly or dishonestly, doesn't seem like a good way to persuade me.  Castigating BLM as ungrateful darkies doesn't seem like a promising tactic for persuading them to reconsider their decision.

Now, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, I intend to vote for Sanders in the primary and will surely vote Democratic in November.  Doing so doesn't mean I can't criticize Sanders, Clinton, or any other candidate or politician; and criticizing them doesn't mean I hate them or will vote Republican.  I'm not going to change my vote because some of a candidate's supporters are assholes.  But if I were Sanders (I'm not sure about Clinton), I would not be pleased to know that my supporters are behaving like assholes on my behalf.  It's curious, really: liberals and progressives like to fantasize that they are well-informed and rational as opposed to the idiot Rethuglicans, but they also believe that the electorate (everyone except them, I guess) are stupid and can only be won over by appeals to emotion.  Even if they're right about that, you win more flies with honey than with vitriol.