Tag Archives: Bernie

The Primaries Come to the Boonies

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This is truly an unusual primary. Usually New York State conducts its primaries quietly in solitary splendor. In general, the Empire State does not play a deciding role in selecting a general election candidate for either party, even though we have a lot of delegates. The New York primary is so late that the early states have already settled the issue.

So it is really quite bizarre to have the candidates I have been writing about traipsing around even the most out-of-the-way places in NY, such as my city (Syracuse), Utica, Rome, Dexter – Dexter!

It started two weeks ago with Hillary. She met her public in a large roofed shed usually used by crafters at the Farmer’s Market on summer weekends. I thought I would have to stand in a long line for hours, and I did stand in a longish line for about half an hour, before I walked through the metal detector and slid my shoulder bag over to the secret service so they could pat it down.

I did see Hillary. She looks nice in orange (SU was in the Final Four) and, when I left, when the concrete floor got too hard to stand on any longer, I still liked her and wanted to vote for her. I took a few pictures. One is of Adam (no last name) who was in line by me for a while. He is in the teacher’s union and had on his AFT tee shirt.

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The second person is called Jovan (John to us), an eighty-four year old man who came to America from Macedonia and still has a thick accent. (He worked in Bldg. 7 at GE, my Dad was in Bldg. 5.) His children have done very well, one graduating from an Ivy League school, one a doctor trained at John Hopkins. He wants nothing to do with socialism even if it does have the word Democratic in front of it. Jovan has boundless confidence. He wended his way to the very front of the rally.

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My third picture is of Hillary and was taken by the tall man in front of me – the one I had to sway back and forth to see beyond, taken with my camera. We yipped and cheered and raised our arms in the air and even did a slightly disorganized wave. No signs were handed out but I don’t know if the concerns were for security or cost. I bought three Hillary buttons on my way out.

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Since then John Kasich came to town, Bernie Sanders has been here, then Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump, then Bill Clinton. I don’t think we have ever, in my lifetime been romanced by so many politicians in any election season. I did not go to any other rallies – I watched them on TV as if they were happening somewhere else. There are only so many concrete floors I will stand on in any two week period. But my spidey sense felt them buzzing around and I wish I could have hovered comfortably overhead, or been the proverbial “fly on the wall”. (I have no idea where all these bugs came from.)

It was interesting to see that Ted Cruz held his Syracuse rally in a northern suburb, Cicero, where a group of locals publish a newspaper called “The Patriot”, full of some well-known right wing conspiracy theories from which I culled the phrase “Luciferian Church of the United Nations”, because Agenda 21 and the UN plan for world domination.

Dexter – Donald Trump went to Dexter – a small rural town west of Watertown, NY on Ontario Lake, a town full of campers, hunters, fishermen, aging hippies, and farmers, and these days, very few factories. Fort Drum is nearby though, so perhaps he attracted a lot of soldiers and their families. That would have to be fact-checked. I’m sure Dexter is still in shock having rarely been singled out by such a famous (infamous) personality. It’s been a helluva* two weeks in the North Country (*also, until recently the name of a local cheese company).

It’s sort of fun feeling like the hot center of America for a while. We can use the excitement. Primary day is Tuesday, April 19th and then the entire circus will move on. Most candidates have left already. I think Donald Trump will be the last one out.

By Nancy Brisson

 

Who Will End Obstructionism?

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I will fight for Hillary Clinton right to the end, whenever that is. I do think women can do as well in the Presidency as men have done. I am tired of women being expected to wait until some perfect moment which of course will never arrive. There are no perfect moments. Even Obama’s seemingly perfect moment was ruined by racism and obstruction. If we get Bernie I will be fine with that but I have to stay in the fight.

The only question that bugs me is which of these two will be able to bring back regular order to Congress, to send the “teabaggers” packing and the Evangelicals out to do good works?

The Conservatives hate Hillary possibly even more than they loathed the idea of an Obama Presidency. Their hate has become rabid and personal. Will we have four to eight more years of obstruction and hate speech, this time against women? Will they just vote over and over to impeach her? There could be 60+ more votes against the ACA. How many more votes will there be to defund Planned Parenthood? More of this will not be good for America. It will not be good for the world, although perhaps it is emotional baggage we must sort through. Does Hillary have a plan to change things just in case we don’t win some seats back in the Senate?

Can Bernie defuse and render harmless the Conservative push to pursue every policy that would be harmful to America? He certainly understands what is harmful about the right wing agenda and he will hold the line against any progress toward the Conservative way. But will he also be unable to breach the obstructive moves of a party that owns 3o state governments, both houses of Congress and the courts? Will it help that he pushes Republican buttons by pursuing policies that are far outside their ken? Will he blow them up to smithereens when he moves to break up the banks and rein in Wall Street? Will revolutionary zeal be better than the strategies of someone who knows everyone and knows her way around the politics of DC? Or will there just be two revolutionary groups in a war of words?

Is there any candidate the Democrats could have put forth who could “treat with” today’s GOP? If a Democrat wins the Presidency and the obstruction continues will the people finally get involved? Will we the people insist that it is not OK to go to Congress if it is your intention to hold the American government hostage until it does what Republicans want?

It is troubling that we cannot see into the future and know who would be able to make headway in America right now against the misguided and unenlightened mess that is today’s GOP. We can, though, and we should certainly contribute to the movements by the Democrats to change as many seats in Congress as possible in 2016. Emily’s List tries to get Democratic women elected. If you contribute to the DNC the dollars get spread around. Even Hillary donates some of her dollars to down ballot elections and Bernie is talking about doing that.

The people’s dollars are stretched thin by all the causes that need our contributions to fight for right, but at this moment winning the election must be a top priority. You don’t have to contribute much because small donations grow very big when millions of people contribute, and there are often richer donors who match or multiply small donations. Think of it as creating a war chest in case we need it.

By Nancy Brisson

Bernie Sanders Unfair anti-Hillary Tactics

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Bernie Sanders is playing a tricky and dishonest game in his recent political rallies. He is asking Hillary Clinton to run her campaign according to his rules. Bernie is a “revolutionary”. He’s deliberately changing the topography of campaigning without the benefit of any changes in the actual rules of the Democratic Party. He is staging a revolution before he even wins the election.

Mr. Sanders doesn’t like campaign financing as it currently operates. He’s not alone. Many of us want less money in politics; more “we the people” in politics. And he does get kudos for sticking with his principles. What does not seem fair is to ask Hillary Clinton, who came up through the ranks and learned campaign fundraising from the “big boys” that Bill Clinton hung out with, to decide to throw out all that she knows about campaigning. It is unfair to indict Hillary for not following Bernie’s rules when he is the only person in modern politics who ever has done all grassroots fundraising. Bernie, we have not had the revolution yet!

Come the revolution, Bernie believes, super delegates shall be banished. Here’s another Bernie rule that Hillary is being chastised for breaking. I understand that putting super delegates between the candidate and the popular vote is elitist. I am all for less elitism in politics. But super delegates have not been outlawed, in fact they are part of the Democratic Party primary process. In fact, winning super delegates is still “state of the art” in Democratic primary voting.

Now Bernie is trying to steal Hillary’s super delegates, to turn them “Bernie side up”. Since Bernie discovered he could not win without super delegates he has decided (too late?) to play the Super Delegate Game. Bernie – Mr. Sanders – the revolution did not happen yet. Hillary Clinton does not have to play by your rules. If you become President you can work to change the election process. Meanwhile, you are sounding quite like a curmudgeon. Cut it out. I assume you knew what the process was like when you entered the race.

The point you seem to be trying to make is the one that paints Hillary Clinton as the “establishment” and you as the “anti-establishment”. She has never been elected to the Congress as anyone who planned to start a revolution and the times certainly have not been amenable to the kinds of changes that Bernie Sanders has wanted to bring to American governance.

We are just entering a time when some Americans are, perhaps, willing to make actual changes to the role money plays in government and in elections. The times do seem somewhat conducive to legislating a truer Democracy in our nation.

But there are just as many signs that people who want to hang on to the traditional politics of elitism and the powerful impact of money are as dug in as those who want change and they are much more numerous and better organized than those on Bernie’s side.

You may all fault Hillary Clinton for moving to the left, but Hillary has shown that she has a sensitivity to the political climate of different eras and Progressivism is having its day, so it totally makes sense that Hillary would move to meet the current needs of the American people. She is a politician, not an ideologue. Bernie is an ideologue, not a politician.

By Nancy Brisson

Racism and Hillary Clinton

 

 

 

If it wasn’t for seven years of the blatant resurgence of racism in America then we might not need Hillary Clinton. Sadly Obama’s presence in the Oval Office allowed racial meanness to rise to the surface in Washington, DC and outside our nation’s capital. When we should have felt proud of America on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when we should have been celebrating, we were instead seeing the festering remains of racism being exposed in far too many areas of American society.

The Supreme Court struck a huge blow when it said that certain southern states were no longer subject to clearance before they could change their voting laws. The GOP shamelessly began passing restrictions on voting in those same southern states where clearance had been used to guarantee racial fairness in voting. They justified their actions as necessary to circumvent voter fraud, which turned out to be almost nonexistent. They said they were not being anti-Black, they were just making it harder for Democrats to vote, but they knew, all the time, how important the Black vote was to Democrats. They got two licks in for the price of one.

We have seen all too many unarmed Black folks shot under suspicious circumstances by policemen. It begins to seem as if certain individuals join the police force to deliberately wipe out Black people, a sort of vigilante routine. I don’t know if there is a group that has planned this or if this is just lone racists acting on their own and I admit I may be seeing a trend where there is really only a series of terrible accidents, but we should not have racists on our police forces and if there is any way to root them out we should do it.

We have allowed Black folks to languish in poverty in our inner cities – and I don’t mean languish in a nice way – I mean it in a hopeless way. We have not found strategies to entice all young African-Americans into the schools and that is what we need to do. We also need to learn how to make school relevant enough that they will stay and go “all the way” through. We need to stop concentrating poor black, brown, and Asian people in our center cities and find ways, perhaps through real estate options, to intersperse poor Americans in more affluent neighborhoods where people can afford to help lift them up.

Yes, we have finally been made aware of how over-zealously and unequally the War on Drugs was conducted. We have been shocked by the staggering numbers of Americans of African Descent incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the role unaffordable cash bails have played in this. This was one of those cases where a program that folks thought would help solve a problem, exacerbated the problem and created new ones. I’m not sure it was intended as a “racist” policy, it was supposed to “scare people straight” in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, but, in retrospect, we can see that the enforcement of this program affected Africans-Americans far more than white Americans and either the program and/or the enforcement of the program was racist in the way it was implemented in the lives of real people. In this case a flawed answer intended to solve a social problem has produced terrible consequences and most of these consequences were visited upon Black people. If may take decades to turn around the effects of over-incarceration and inappropriately harsh sentencing.

We have also seen how we have allowed the South to revere the defeated Confederacy and to turn the white folks in Southern states into martyrs and heroes in a Civil War we should never have had to fight. We see how this has become another way to keep racial hatred alive – to remind Black folks of their “shameful” roots in our nation and to insure they don’t get “uppity”. How any of this shame accrues to Black folks is impossible to even imagine, unless you grew up in the South I guess.

Americans of African Descent have been here longer than most Americans, although not by choice. If they did not have black or brown skin they would have blended in long ago. Why can’t we get over this idea that the more pigment one has the less human one is? We have to all get past this. What will happen if we are confronted with a truly alien species?

Because the GOP has shown itself to be especially prone to letting “racial” traits and their own fears inform their behavior (or misinform it) we cannot elect a President from among the Republicans. If you consider all of the candidates for the 2016 election Hillary has shown the best understanding of what America needs to do to address fairness, equality, and opportunity for Americans of African Descent. I don’t think Bernie is any more racist than any of us, but I do think he believes his policies will lift all boats and perhaps doesn’t understand the unique obstacles Black Americans face.

I think it might be true that we are nicer when we feel more affluent, when our economy is humming along; but how long must these Americans, who have been here since our beginnings, be kept from the freedoms that should be theirs as well as ours. Clearly this particularly stubborn issue of “racism” did not disappear in more prosperous times, but there was a more generous spirit and it looked, for a while, like things might have turned a corner.

If the existence of all this hate and inequality and separation had not bubbled up from the depths it had been stuffed into, up into the light of day – that would be a bad thing. Let’s not try to contain it away from view of white eyes once again. Let’s try to solve this and heal America once and for all. At the risk of sounding corny perhaps that is what Hillary means when she talks about making America “whole”.

By Nancy Brisson