"How To Survive This Election"
Just read this article at Counterpunch by Peter Cohen, an anthropology professor at Columbia University. It elucidated for me almost word for word exactly how I feel about the situation. Although I must also admit that I've been gathering more and more steam for an active commitment to volunteer for Bernie, though I felt just as the author has that the bald-faced, lies and cheating of 2016 led to a rejection of feeling compelled to follow coverage of the never-ending quadrennial presidential election that was increasingly like watching ESPN.
It reminded me again of the one aspect that angered me above all else. I recalled having an intense phone conversation outside a venue at which I was scheduled to play with an old friend who was trying to convince me that no matter what I thought about how the 2016 primary was conducted we all had to come together to elect Hillary. I was having none of it. I told him how fucking demonstrably evil it was that the coalition of collusion between the DNC and Hillary's camp and their courtiers in the media had just for all intents and purposes crushed the most essential civic spirit of support for a candidate that drove the kind of passion and commitment that literally is the force behind any real substantive change. Having been at the rallies (apologies for link to the Pestilent Neoliberal Cesspool), watched the Twitter coverage bypassing a colluding media, there was inarguable evidence, I told him, that Bernie's campaign was the winning one and would have crushed Trump. I said that I would never again have fealty to a party or its candidates that would do such a thing. There was no way I was voting for Her. And we weren't alone in this regard. Many chose not to vote for her, including lots of two-time Obama voters.
So it is humbling to see just how extensive, passionate and committed the following Bernie has yet again engendered, against the backdrop of all of this and to do it all over again. My cynicism for the process and deep loathing of the mainstream media and their role to protect the Duopoly charade hasn't allowed me to to muster up any real drive to get involved until now. Last night I chucked Bernard a few bucks. Damnit, the guy is a wrecking ball, a force of nature, a fearless warrior, the humblest of servants, a mensch of the highest order, an unflappable fighter, a reservoir of righteous indignation. His message is almost 100% Occupy. It's not him, it's Us.
To me this piece pretty much summarizes the zeitgeist of C99 since its inception.
Having closely followed the 2016 Election, from the clear signs of manipulation and potential fraud in the earliest Primaries to the finger-pointing and hysteria over alleged Russian “election hacking” after one of the most unpopular US Presidential candidates in History beat another of the most unpopular of the US Presidential candidates in History, I resolved to stop following the media circus that passes for “politics” in our country. I thus managed to steer clear of what promised to be a remake of the 2016 Election – until last week when the CNN attack on Sanders finally drew me in.
Moved by a morbid curiosity, I soon found myself rubbernecking in this slow-motion train wreck, as the ensuing onslaught by Warren, Clinton, Biden and the usual DNC corporate media suspects rolled out, including the NYT’s wink-and-nod endorsement of Warren and Klobuchar (lucky for them there were still three women in the race so that they could ignore Gabbard).
But lending one’s neurons to the cynical machinations of our faux politics is highly corrosive for the soul: it’s difficult not to be tainted by the sheer insincerity, hypocrisy, mendacity and negativity of the spectacle, even as one seeks to deconstruct and expose it.
The current lamentable state of US electoral politics is not an aberration that can be blamed on anyone individual or political party. While Trump is both its product and poster child, he is not its cause but merely an example of the sort of person who naturally who thrives on it. Our electoral and legislative system runs on money the way our economy runs on debt, our industry runs on oil and our campaigns run on petty personal drama and distraction. The reality TV that Trump mastered before entering politics was the perfect preparation for the meaningless spectacle of US party politics and we will not beat him – or stop the emergence of something even worse – until we root out the deeper culture from which he emerged; a culture that, whether by chance or design, prevents us from seeing the true roots of our problems.
The division of our population into “Liberals” and “Conservatives” and the near-total erasure of the rest of the political spectrum; the ever-mounting mutual demonization of these two groups via identity politics, emotionally-charged buzz issues (Gun Control, Abortion, Gay Marriage…), and an obsessive focus on personalities rather than policies all mask the deep structural similarities between the two “sides”: support for Endless Imperial War, the unchecked expansion of corporate power, the dismantling of our civil liberties, the transfer of wealth to the economic elite and rising social inequity, the deepening of the Surveillance State, the War on Whistleblowers and increasingly, journalists, to name a few.
Rather than simply expressing opinions, however, it can be helpful to make predictions that can be verified based on one’s observations and assumptions, so here are a few predictions:
1) The attacks against Sanders will get increasingly ugly and transparent as his popularity rises;
2) We can expect more cheating of the kind we saw in 2016, but this time there are likely to be quicker responses, including possible lawsuits;
3)The attacks are likely to have the effect of bringing more media attention to Sanders and thereby ironically increasing his support;
4) If the DNC are forced to deploy Super Delegates to shut down a Sanders win, it will trigger a crisis not see in the Democratic Party since 1968;
5) If Biden gets the Nomination, he will name Warren as his Running Mate;
6) A Biden-Warren ticket (or a Biden-Anyone ticket for that matter) will result in a second Trump Term in November;
7) A Sanders Nomination will mean a Trump defeat in the General.
With these predictions on record, I will now return to my former strategy of ignoring the corporate media electoral noise. Still, there is one positive thing in this Election that we can focus on: the Sanders campaign and its potential as the launchpad for a truly transformative popular movement of national renewal....
Reports from the ground in Iowa testify to the emergence of an extraordinary spirit and momentum there not seen since Occupy. It is this sort of movement and community building, and not the election of any one individual to the White House, that we should look to at this moment as our greatest hope for meaningful change. For those who see defeating Trump as the main goal of this election, the latest polls are also showing Sanders topping his rivals in General Election matchups (just as they did in 2016, when they also showed Hillary in a dead heat with Trump). There is thus absolutely no reason that we have to choose between desperately needed policy change and beating Trump.
What we really need in this country – if there is still any chance left of saving it – are three things: (1) the birth of a broad popular movement for structural change; (2) the development of a serious program for Election Reform to take our democracy back from the banks and corporations that both major parties currently serve; and (3) a mass popular rejection of Corporate Media with its management of the political debate and manufacturing of consent. The Sanders campaign is the best vehicle we have for achieving these things. Not only can we have a positive politics in 2020 but, a from the looks of what’s happening right now in Iowa, we already do.
They're gonna try to steal it again, folks, we know that. It's been all over Left media these past few days. But all the shenanigans and corruption this time will have a boomerang effect. We've already seen it in the polls.
I'm seeing this more and more as an existential moment of now or never. In which the nobility of this enduring fight between empathy and selfishness is touching the hearts of many, and will
possibly probably be enough to steer this big, fucked up ship away from social and political (and hopefully ecological) oblivion. At least for a while.
Which is why I'm very close to accepting an invitation from another Dad in my neighborhood who belongs to the Queens DSA to hop a ride with him to go canvass in New Hampshire this weekend.
We better strap ourselves in, and then be prepared to fight when necessary. It's way past time for the collective dander to be up.
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) January 20, 2020