Home > Communication, history, opinion, Personal > So many more questions than answers

So many more questions than answers

My husband majored in American Studies so that he could have “a vocabulary” for his uniquely American experiences, particularly as a Black man.

Recently, I’ve been a little jealous of his already having vocabulary I struggle to find. I’m sure you’ve noticed the struggle in my recent posts, regardless of whether you’ve been attributed it to “vocabulary.”

I’m committed to this struggle, and to this learning. I understand that I’ll say things now that might make 2026-Deborah inclined to smack her head against a wall. Repeatedly.

I’m okay with that. I’m okay with having my learning moments documented and recorded for posterity. More than anything, I want to be honest, and where I’m at right now is that I’m honestly learning a heckuva lot. Which means I’ll say things now that later-me will view with … okay, not chagrin, ’cause she’ll still be me, but some kind of patient indulgence.

One thing that I’m struggling with now this year’s U.S. presidential election. I’ve spent a couple hours daily reading articles and trying to comprehend things I never cared to even think about before.

Of greatest concern to me this election cycle is abundant indicators of potential election fraud by Democrats. This 96-page report details many concerning primary irregularities specific to Democrats (not nearly replicated in Republican primaries), and this post–including video illustration by a math professor–explains how you’re likelier to be struck by lightning or win the Powerball than randomly come upon this convergence of outside-the-margins results.

Because Trump is the particularly terrifying Republican candidate (depending on whom you ask) in the running this election, these concerns are being waved off as the juvenile bleatings of Sanders folks who can’t lose gracefully.

But this is beyond Sanders or Trump:

The prospect that we could relinquish democracy so easily is so much more terrifying to me than Trump.

Trump is a phenomenon occurring in a single election cycle, but dull complicity can happen eternally. We set the stage for it by our (in)actions now.

Once we start embracing acceptance in any circumstance, I fear we the electorate enable ourselves to embrace it in every circumstance.

But that’s not why I’m posting. Honestly. I’m posting with questions, of which I have so many more than answers right now.

  • How can I help ensure equal rights in the U.S.?
  • Do I create another blog to post my political meanderings?
  • Do I post a once-weekly list of the most informative of my readings?
  • Do I run for office myself to address some of the alarming inequities I see?
  • Do I [fill in the blank yourself, seriously, please weigh in]?

Your thoughts and opinions are, as always, welcome, whether or not I agree with any particular point right now. “Right now” is, of course, a very small amount of time compared to all of time, an enormous slice of moments in which I hope to have at least another few decades.

I don’t want to alienate anyone as I struggle to build my own vocabulary. I do want to ensure that I can speak and hear in uncomfortable times and places, and that … that is a skill that can only be gained by practice. If you have comments or questions but don’t want to comment in public, leave a comment stating “contact me” and I’ll reply to the [unpublished] email address you provide while commenting. I welcome you to practice with me, in public or in private.

Many thanks for your patience during my learning period! 

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  1. August 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    You need to go back to the Bush-Rove 2000 and 2004 general elections to see about irregularities and the consequences of GOP shenanigans. Everything I’ve heard against Democrats this year is small beans in comparison.

    • August 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      But, see, I’m concerned with what I perceive this stance to represent, too. “Only 10% the atrocity of previously witnessed atrocities!” doesn’t make the lesser not an atrocity. (“I only raped 1 woman, whereas that guy–he raped 10!”) Did I misread what you’re saying? I do find the implications of what I perceive in your comment alarming … but I’m not sure I’m reading the intended implications correctly.

      • August 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm

        Quite simply, I’m not convinced Hillary “stole” elections, especially since primaries are party affairs. But nobody’s died as a result, we haven’t started two wars, and the Supreme Court wasn’t packed.

        • August 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm

          My question, then, is: How much time have you spent researching the possibility primary elections might have been rigged, potentially in multiple ways? The evidence appears pretty overwhelming to me, so that I’m concerned by how many people say, “Nah, it’s nothing,” because they’re content with the specific candidate results.

          How many articles have you read? Did you watch the videos? Did you read the 96-page report? I truly am not trying to antagonize you. I’m just trying to understand, since this is a position I’ve seen posted often on Twitter (since I deleted it and can no longer engage). So many people have called Sanders supporters “juvenile” and “ill informed” (etc.), when many Sanders folks have made sure to keep themselves extremely well informed on a nigh daily basis, outside of mainstream media actors now overwhelmingly contributing to Clinton as a result, in part, of her husband’s actions. When someone tweets, “I read this one article that said …” I want to reply, “I read these two hundred articles that strongly suggest …”

          Happily, I don’t have a Twitter account & thus cannot engage, but the desire to do so arises at least dozens of times daily. 🙂

  2. August 2, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    I think it’s a good idea to remain balanced and not get drawn into the drama of politics. As you know, most politicians have not matured. Just because they are rich and powerful, doesn’t mean they are wise souls. Change is slow on Earth but things are improving nonetheless. Many people around the world are waking up and starting to demand integrity from their leaders… 🙂

    • August 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      That’s a lovely thing, IMO! I wish I had caught on earlier … but life is hectic, and I’ve done what I could in the circumstances. 🙂

      • August 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        And you are most honored for your effort. I also acknowledge your compassionate concern for USA. Have a great day!

        • August 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm

          You, too! 🙂

        • August 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm

          (I should add that my concern extends to the world. Artificial human-made boundaries don’t impact the love in my heart for fellow humans within or outside of any given human-made boundary.)

  3. August 2, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Please run for office. For two reasons: most important because truth and justice is first and foremost in your mind and desire. Second, because you can find out how things go when you have to work with people who don’t have those things in mind. Maybe you can figure out how to do it better. We need the majority of people who run for office to be more like you.

    • August 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      One of my sisters has encouraged me to run for office. I like the thought of using my past pain to effect (what I perceive as) positive change.

      I’m genuinely not interested in power. It won’t help keep me alive longer. It won’t make my kids safer. It won’t protect any of the things that I wish could be protected. One of the biggest things that’s with me as I face new questions is, “Would this do my mom’s memory honor?”

      That “Is this who I want to be?” question is about me. It’s what I ask myself about eighteen times a day. Sometimes I answer in ways that make later-me go, “Nooooooo!” More often, asking the question makes me pause and reframe what I’m saying, and how I’m saying it.

      I really, really, really, want life to be better for more people. Some days, trying to love my family well and writing a blog seems enough. Other days, I wish there were something more I could do to ensure “better” for more.

      • August 3, 2016 at 8:22 am

        I get behind any strong, smart person like yourself running for office, particularly city council or school board. These are places where your insight and expertise would be of great value.

        Another way to look at it would be to find out how to get involved locally or in a state-wide organization. Go to city council meetings and being engaged locally and speaking up and get noticed. Or join an organization that is in area you can champion. For myself, I’m getting involved in the local homeless coalition. Not only is this an area of interest for me, but it is a place where my passion and interests are needed. It is terribly localized here, going against the state and nationwide focus on housing-first policies. It is fractured and everyone is protecting their pet projects. There is little focus, little ambition, and many, many holes in our community. That is something I can do to get engaged locally and a place where my skills can help.

        I have a friend who is the president of his local Democratic chapter of the state party. He has run for state office and is looking to again, but getting involved in party politics has allowed him insights and opportunities he would never have imagined. And incredible frustrations, BTW.

  4. August 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I will vote readily for someone with a wish for better for their constituents. Even more readily if that someone is not grasping for power.

    • August 2, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      I hear that. Right now, I see a lot of what feels like “I am holding onto my power for me and mine,” when what I really crave … is something better for my kids, and their kids, and all those all of them love.

  5. August 2, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    How can I help ensure equal rights in the U.S.?
    You have to find your own path. Maybe you have it in you to do something huge! For me, all efforts to make the world a better place start with my own small decisions. Small acts of kindness, small commitments to help people (or dogs!), small decisions regarding what to buy where. The change that achieves is tiny and slow … but it’s incremental. Even paying for a stranger’s coffee at the drive-through – maybe it just improves someone’s day for a moment, but maybe it gives them hope when they need it. Maybe that encouragement is what THEY need to step out in faith and do something huge.

    Do I create another blog to post my political meanderings?
    Please NO! Your blog is about you, who you are, what you’ve experienced, what it’s like to be a (white) mom of (black) kids … Your “political meanderings” are part of the whole. Please don’t go making a separate box for them!

    Do I post a once-weekly list of the most informative of my readings?
    I would find that very interesting. I suggest you create a separate page and just list stuff, maybe with a brief comment or review, as you read it. Then once a week you can highlight whatever was particularly interesting. The advantage of doing it that way is you’d create a library we could access any time. I would find that useful! I don’t always have time to read the documents you link to, but when I do find time they are invariably interesting.

    Do I run for office myself to address some of the alarming inequities I see?
    YES! Seriously, if you have the capacity for that work, please do it!

    • August 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      I have so much to consider from your comment–thank you! I really do, like you, believe that “[s]mall acts of kindness” can have profound, profoundly positive consequences.

      The thing from your comment that I’m reading over and over again right now is the part where you suggest creating a separate page for what I’m reading. I’ve bookmarked a ton of stuff as simply “Politics,” and was today wondering how to break that down into separable pieces. Maybe this is how I do it: by identifying a few main categories and splitting links into those, with short descriptions, on a separate page. That way they’re out there for whomever might be looking for a few additional points for thought … without anyone’s having to sift through additional noise outside of or within their feed. It also captures what I was reviewing/thinking at a particular point in time.

      This frankly seems like the perfect way of capturing what all I’m reading without feeling like I’m beating anyone about the head with it!

      (For work, I just completed a training where I had to explain, pre-approval, that what I learned wouldn’t just grow stale within my own brain. Having a page for this stuff feels like the perfect way to ensure not-staleness here, to say: This is what I’ve read recently, and what’s in my thoughts, and you can read it or not … though I’d sure love your thoughts if you did read it! Thank you!)

      More and more by the day, I’m considering running for office. I think a lot of people would want to throw tomatoes at me, but I think some would … feel heartened to know I was out there trying to do better by them.

      • August 2, 2016 at 7:48 pm

        If they throw tomatoes, make salsa! I really do think that might be a good path for you. I mean, good in the sense that you could make a difference. Definitely one worth exploring, anyway.

        • August 5, 2016 at 7:27 am

          FYI, I added a politics page: https://deborah-bryan.com/politics/

          I have tons more to add, but this is a start!

          I wish I’d already linked a couple of articles on how steps taken by Bill Clinton during his presidency have dramatically shifted the media landscape. I’ll add them in their own category later, because they are some of the most alarming I’ve read.

          This election cycle has seen so much anti-Trump opinion presented as objective fact. I am no Trump fan, but there is no way to now suggest the U.S. media remains neutral. Indeed, looking at WikiLeaks reporting confirms this; without reporting (or barely reporting) on their substance, U.S. media reported far more resoundingly on the potential source of the leak than the disturbing content that was leaked. Overwhelmingly, this election cycle has left me concerned we effectively have state-sponsored media now.

          I am strongly leaning toward voting green. I cannot in good conscience endorse a party that has (beginning with Bill Clinton) shown so little regard for the average ciizen.

          I’m not ready to write a post on that yet, though. I’d like to see what the next few rounds of leaks reveal. Assange says there’s enough to get Clinton indicted, but … I’m not certain anything would yield an indictment in this political landscape, no matter how compelling any evidence.

          • August 5, 2016 at 11:45 am

            Ugh, the media is an embarrassment. Reminds me of the first presidential debates I watched – Dubya and, I think, Gore … The speeches themselves were meh, and the “questions” were so carefully orchestrated, but I was really looking forward to the comments by the political analysts. (My father used to be a political reporter.) And what did they offer? A thorough comparison of their choices in tie … and an analysis of Dubya’s grasp of grammar. UGH!!!

  6. Paul
    August 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Belladonna nailed it. All I would add is that I would paraphrase Micheal Jackson’s comment : If you want to change the world look in the mirror and change the person you see standing there. If you feel that you could contribute by running for office – please do. Basically changes can be made by changing ourselves or by changing our environment. Personally I find that I make the most positive change in the world by changing myself. By seeing the humanity in every person, but seeing the glass as half full, by applying myself in an ethical and moral way even when it does not benefit me, by having faith in goodness, by accepting that there is an intelligence in this universe far greater than me, by acting with honor and not by principles, etc. All internal changes.

  7. August 2, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    First of all, let me commend you for being a concerned citizen. You’re a pro-active Mom and I applaud you for becoming concerned about what kind of gov’t you want your children to be part of. Koodo’s to you! That being said, though, take care not to “burn yourself out” …..What many of my friends have done is actively gotten involved with “gov’t” on a local level. I really think it empowers them in not feeling so helpless and totally overwhelmed with everything that’s going on at the federal level. Continue to educate yourself, Deborah, and get involved as much as time (and ENERGY!) allow….educate others in lunch time conversations, your blog, dinner conversations, etc., but be careful not to let this “political circus” ruin your special times with loved ones and friends…life is so precious and so very short…..Namaste, my friend. Be well…..Hugs, Lucie

    • August 3, 2016 at 7:22 am

      Thank you for the sage advice lovingly given, Lucie. I thought about this on my morning drive and was warmed by it. ♡

      • August 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        I’m glad, D, because it was lovingly given…..(((((Hugs)))))))

  8. August 2, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I’ve been so caught up in being terrified and disgusted with the thought of Trump actually winning the Presidency that I haven’t been aware of just how convoluted things have actually gotten on the Democratic side of things. To be honest, I will probably still vote for Hillary this election because I’m afraid if I vote for anyone else I might help Trump move into the White House. Normally I wouldn’t be worried that my vote counted for anything since I’m a Liberal living in fiercely Conservative Utah, but Utah isn’t impressed with Trump and there’s a possibility things might go a bit differently this year. I know that it’s better to vote FOR someone than it is to simply vote against someone, but I am legitimately terrified of Trump…
    That being said, reading about all of the fraud and suppression within the party I thought was mine has been sickening. I was a Bernie Sanders supporter but I never hated Hillary the way a lot of my friends do. I honestly thought that Bernie lost because Hilary Clinton simply got more actual votes. I haven’t read the 96 page report, but I did read the article you linked to (plus the one he wrote about voter suppression in California) and when I read that exit polls were simply *cancelled* when people started to ask questions (that may have been in the California article) my stomach dropped.

    I really do have to wonder if they decided that this was the election season that they would be able to get away with this because of Trump getting the nomination on the other side. If they are maybe counting on people like me who are so repulsed and scared by the thought of Trump winning in November that we feel we can’t take a chance on voting third party or not voting at all. I haven’t decided how I’ll actually vote yet, but the thought of voting for Hillary Clinton makes me feel complicit now… (Even though I do like her in some ways)

    Also, if this election was rigged in Hillary’s favor it has robbed us of a real milestone for this Country. A woman nominee for President in a major party. It was past time that it should have happened, but we could have done it honestly. 😥

    (Sorry for the super long comment. I don’t usually comment at all, but I guess I had a lot to say this time.)

    • August 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      I’m really, really glad you commented!

      A lot of folks–principally those who’ve long considered themselves Democrats, and thus a force for good in the world–aren’t paying too much attention to the specific details bringing Clinton, Obama, and other neoliberals under fire these days.

      To me, it’s very hopeful that someone–you!–who supported Sanders but isn’t averse to Clinton would pause to reflect on the issues in question here, where so many sweepingly say they’re not a big deal … because of the very specific circumstances of this election, without regard to any others that might follow.

      I have read so much in the last few months. With each article I’ve read, I’ve become more and more disenchanted with our purported “democracy,” understanding a little better that what the people want only matters if it also aligns with what party elites wants.

      I’m still leaning, slightly, toward voting Clinton this election, but with a bird up toward the DNC (even with its supposed reforms at the hands of someone implicated in the leaks) and all it purportedly represents. A vote for Clinton, in my case, will truly be a vote against Trump, whose presidency would wreak even more immediate, profound terror upon my family than would Clinton’s.

      I would be happy to vote for a woman I admired. Clinton is not that woman. The fact that I (might) vote for her with grave reservations isn’t indicative of misogyny. It’s indicative of deep mistrust for a specific woman who basks in the privileges of longstanding wealth, deigning to help the poor because/when it makes her look good, not of women as leaders in general.

      I’d happily cast a vote for many not-Clinton women. For me, potentially casting a vote for this woman has nothing to do with women’s right and everything to do with not ushering in a potential apocalypse … voting for a minion, if you will, instead of the devil himself.

  9. August 3, 2016 at 7:12 am

    I did a little research because this was the first I heard of it and I watched the primaries closely, even watching/reading right wing news sources. Anyway, first, of course the DNC was biased for Hillary – it’s the way politics works – you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. The Clintons have been in the DNC for something like 4 decades and have raised more money than any one else and have campaigned for just about every nationally elected Democrat and Bernie joined just for the election. There are reasons why it’s easier for an insider to win than an outsider. I’m not saying I like it, but that’s the reality. And I’m sure people pulled strings and maybe bent rules a lot more than is ethical, (I’m 100% glad DWS quit) but voter fraud? I’m not so sure.

    Here is an interesting article in the NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/upshot/exit-polls-and-why-the-primary-was-not-stolen-from-bernie-sanders.html?_r=0

    A couple of things – if exit polls are so good, Al Gore would have taken Alabama, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina and yet Bush took them by between 6 and 15 points. Exit polls showed that John Kerry won, but he lost.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. I doubt if the DNC could pull off that type of voter fraud even if it wanted to.

    • August 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Exit polling was pretty static in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, developing methods which created a high level of predictability. In 2000 and 2004, those methods yielded very different results in a certain number of (in play) states. This may be that exit polling suddenly stopped working. It could be nefarious actions on the part of the election leaders ({cough} Florida/Ohio}. It could have been those new computer systems which failed whole counties and made it impossible to get a fair count. Or it could be that something was happening in the country that meant that exit polling methodology was no longer working as it was. What bothered me most after those elections was the kind of worry Deborah is expressing: the sense of malaise around the subject that set in.

      In the end, some of the voting machines have been improved (but not all and not universally, and quite the opposite in many places as some machines are now nearly 20 years old and the software is corrupting), independent investigations of the voting machines themselves have proven them remarkably easy to hack, but again, little has been done, and the exit polling was actually changed after the fact to paper over the irregularity (so that the polling agencies wouldn’t look like they had failed).

      It is entirely likely that exit polling no longer works as it once did. However, the lack of basic improvement of the voting practice, little criminal investigation, and the GOP’s neutering of the Congressional investigation (which found rampant problems), leave us with a system which many distrust and many more shrug their shoulders and say “well what can we do about it?”

      And I say, much. Ask the Carter foundation for a list of what they look for when they observe elections internationally and start from there.

      • August 3, 2016 at 9:01 am

        I get that there is a big issue with mistrust. Donald Trump has already said he thinks there will be huge voter fraud in the election so he’ll never admit defeat even if he loses.

        My small town uses paper ballets and I’ve helped count them in the past. It is a very good system, but I think with CNN and Fox expecting immediate results the minute polling is done puts pressure on finding a faster method, particularly in voting locations with many times more voters than my town. If computers need to be used for voting they should be very, very tightly regulated and the code should not be propitiatory as they are now (or where the one time I looked into it.)

        You are right that we need to look into ways to prevent it in the future. There should be no way to question the results.

    • August 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      First off, thank you for commenting. I have a lot to say in reply, none of which is directed at you personally! I am concerned with some positions, as you’ll see, and hopefully have done a decent job reflecting the distinction between personal and position in my comment.

      “There are reasons why it’s easier for an insider to win than an outsider. I’m not saying I like it, but that’s the reality.”

      If I read you correctly, voters should not only expect but accept corruption–selected versus elected representation–from the organizations entrusted to with representing the people. Is this a correct reading? If so, I’m concerned by the seemingly casual acceptance that our democratic institutions need not be truly democratic as long as they’re close enough. The fact it’s undoubtedly been this way for ages before our awareness of its reach does not absolve us from working to change it after we become aware of deep cracks.

      I’m currently reading two books that underscore, in different ways, how race bias among even purportedly “liberal” U.S. representatives has crushed black and brown populations (The End of White Christian America; The New Jim Crow). Because destructive changes were couched in race neutral terms by representatives across offices, notably and prominently including Bill Clinton, these changes skated through. I cannot overstate the devastation these “new Jim Crow”* laws have wrought. Nor can I emphasize enough how critical it is that we all work to ensure our representatives are (1) actually elected by us, the people, and (2) truly represent all of us. We cannot do this and simultaneously shrug off undemocratic representation as “just the way it is.”

      You say “voter fraud? I’m not so sure.” On what basis do you doubt? One NYT article? NYT was the publication that first made me question neutrality of media via this Eric Garner article. Most recently, its insistence the DNC Leaks are Russia’s work–despite evidence!–furthers my questioning anything/everything it publishes. Even one NYT editor has just talked about “The Story You Didn’t Read Here, because of–my reading–Clinton-era changes to media, which media are now one of H. Clinton’s key contributors.

      I am concerned this reflects the self-comforting doubt I’ve witnessed repeatedly in my life. As you know, I’ve written at length on some of my many experiences with predators. This has shaped my understanding of how many people deny hard truths to maintain their personal comfort. From my experience, conversations, and readings, this works the greatest trauma on those with the fewest resources to mitigate it.

      From my Woody Allen post, a quote from Gavin de Becker, a renowned security expert whose expertise flowed from his rough childhood (here, via Protecting the Gift:

      Deniers, more than any other people, have it in their hands to protect our children and change our nation. Why? Because the solution to violence in America is not more laws, more guns, more police, or more prisons. The solution to violence is the acceptance of reality.

      From my Forget Phylicia post:

      Forget convenient disbelief.

      Forget favoring dishonest comfort over honest discomfort.

      Forget denying assault, and thus being complicit in all future violence worked by the perpetrators (inevitably) around you.

      So now, thinking of all this, when I hear people saying we must vote “the lesser evil,” I cannot tell you with confidence which candidate–or party–that is.

      The fact that one is better about concealing its evil acts and legacies from plain sight–stabbing from behind instead of face to face as does the other evil–does not make it the “lesser evil” in my book.

      Where I’m at right now is: Do I embrace the evil that stabs me in the face, or support the one that stabs me–and especially the black men in my life–in the back? I don’t view either favorably. I don’t think either represents me or mine, or the bulk of the American people. I’m especially skeptical of people who call themselves “liberal” with some 40-years-gone definition of what that means, even while my husband cautions that I should be more supportive of them because they’re at least trying.

      Neoliberalism is a blight upon the earth, as far as I’m concerned. Both Clintons are advocates of neoliberalism; “liberal” Bill ushered it in and destroyed entire populations with his War on Drugs.

      So if I do cast a vote for a Clinton this year, as I’m mildly inclined to do come this election, it will be with a clothespin affixed to my nose coupled with intention to work to curb her and hers in the years before the next election.

      It’ll be thinking of Nina Turner, a Sanders delegate who was not allowed to speak at the DNC and who rejected an offer to be Green Party VP. She opted to fight the corruption from within, and she’s a pretty compelling force to me. So while I’m inclined to tell the DNC to go to hell (even with its nudging DWS to resign so Clinton could snatch her up as Honorary Chair, and then three resignations yesterday while those folks head off to other lucrative “Democrat” endeavors, while another person–Donna Brazile–implicated in the leaks temporarily chairs the DNC), I’m torn by the question of whether it’s better to start anew or try repairing what’s profoundly broken but already in place.

      My personal inclination is to give the DNC the bird. My more moderate husband’s inclination is to try working with folks who are trying to be more inclined to listen well, even if they fail in practice.

      * Writes Michelle Alexander in her painstakingly supported The New Jim Crow:

      As the Justice Policy Institute has observed, “The Clinton Administration’s ‘tough on crime’ policies resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.

      Clinton eventually moved beyond crime and capitulated to the conservative racial agenda on welfare. This move, like his “get tough” rhetoric and policies, was part of a grand strategy articulated by the “new Democrats” to appeal to the elusive white swing voters. In so doing, Clinton–more than any other president–created the current racial undercaste. He signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which “ended welfare as we know it,” replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with a block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). TANF imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, as well as a permanent, lifetime ban on eligibility for welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense–including simple possession of marijuana.

      It goes on and on, and none of the “on and on” is good for the Clinton who passed the reforms or the other Clinton who supported them … and now intends on making her husband one of her chief advisors.

      See also “I’m Not With Her Because I’m Petty (And also because I’m a superpredator).”

      • August 4, 2016 at 4:13 am

        Never argue with a lawyer ;)… So just a few sentences.

        I don’t like the party system and hate two huge parties monopolizing (diopolizing?) power in this country. I am a person who doesn’t see black and white, I see infinite shades of grey and infinite colors and infinite dimensions. Giving me just two choices is wrong. I know we can’t outlaw parties and have it work. Also, being independent doesn’t work – Bernie joined the DNC to run for president because he can’t as an independent. But I wish we had 6 major parties.

  10. August 3, 2016 at 9:43 am

    This line is so, so very true: “dull complicity can happen eternally. We set the stage for it by our (in)actions now.” I don’t care who you favor and who you dislike. I am very concerned about the erosion of our system of checks and balances.

    What was that old saying (I think in reference to the Holocaust) about how people kept silent when “they” came for others? And then there’s nobody left to speak out when they come for me.

    • August 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Hear, hear.

      I am super concerned by the number of people going, “Eh, it’s not a big deal, I’m okay with the outcome.” What if they weren’t okay with the outcome? What if it were a Republican race in which Hitler scored even more favorably than Trump? Would it be okay then?

      I’ve been thinking a lot of that quote you reference. It seems so abstract in day to day life, but I feel what we’re witnessing right now is that in the not-abstract. We’re active participants in shaping a future that could be very, very disturbing, and all because of this “dull complacency” of … “someone told me it was so, and they were an authority, so I just kinda accepted it. Why shouldn’t I?”

      That is terrible and terrifying to me. The terror isn’t in the Trump candidacy, but what everyone around it does in response to it. One individual alone isn’t a problem, IMO; it’s that individual in the actual context of the present-day reality that makes a problem, and today’s “nah, it’s fine,” is exactly what makes an apparently minor hiccup an actual potential for someday’s historical terror.

  11. August 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a lifelong Democrat and have supported Hillary all along and I did not read the entire 96 page document. I read much of it, but not all. I did also do a cursory glance at articles on the web regarding them and some of their claims.

    Was the DNC biased against Sanders? Of course they were. This is a man who has shown nothing but contempt towards the Democratic party both before and after he chose to run as one. Do we want people in those positions to be impartial in their position? Of course, but is it realistic? Whether external or internal, bias is present within all of us, despite how hard we may try not to be. This is the same regarding the press as well. How bad was their bias? Well, out of the thousands of emails that were released, there were what? Eight or so that showed that bias? Twelve maybe? And not one thing in any of those emails affected the race in any way. Considering how much Bernie vilified the party establishment and that the DNC is the party establishment, I think they showed a lot of restraint. I will take the time to research this information, but when Election Justice USA says that Bernie would have won by a landslide, I have to laugh. Possibly won, I doubt it, but I’d take them more seriously. By a landslide? They lose much credibility with me, I will look further and will keep an open mind as best as I can.

    That all being said, I agree with others that suggest you run for local/statewide office. Your honesty is refreshing. However, something Bernie didn’t understand, is that compromise is necessary. Sometimes you may have to vote in ways that are distasteful to you in order to get what you think is important to pass.

    Today its been released that Trump asked his advisors why we can’t just use our nuclear bombs since we have them. This man is terrifying. I have several lifelong friends and family members who are Republicans or Libertarians and all of them said they are voting for Hillary because Trump is too dangerous to be in office. If you look at the Republican party, some elected officials, and high powered individuals have announced they are voting for Hillary. Considering they know a Democrat will nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court, yet still plan to vote for Hillary, speaks volumes.

    The last thing I want to say is, why in the world are you apologizing for your vocabulary? Your post and comments are eloquent. Better than most bloggers I know, including those that are close friends of mine.

    Politics are nasty everywhere, but keep the faith and do the best you can.

    • August 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      I think you’ve read several of my posts about the fact that government actors must not only acknowledge but conscientiously work to mitigate their implicit biases in order to effectively represent their constituents. This is true of police, who touch dozens of individual citizens daily, and also of representatives who touch several times more citizens daily.

      “Of course they were” biased against Sanders isn’t a defense of them, but a castigation of them as government actors, IMO. They, having worked to put in office someone whom they preferred regardless of the will of the people they’re supposed to represent, have circumvented true democracy by their acts. This isn’t a little “oops.” This is a huge “oh shit, our democracy is failing, hard.”

      The fact that liberals are going, “Oh, because Trump is the opposing candidate, anything is okay,” is terrifying to me. So much more terrifying than Trump!

      The whole point of representatives is that they’re supposed to represent the people! If they’ve already decided who they want elected apart from the people, they. have. failed.

      This in itself is terrifying. The fact that so many liberally inclined folks give it the thumbs-up is a billion times more terrifying to me.

      No! Either democracy represents the people, or it does not! If it does not represent the people, it is no longer a democracy but something else altogether.

      I’d much rather people just owned up to their not-democracy than supporting not-democracy and calling it democracy because it sounds better given this nation’s history.

      I truly, truly am not trying to pinpoint you as an individual. This response is not only to you, but to dozens–hundreds?–of like responses I’ve read the last several weeks.

      We need to care about implications to democracy whether or not we like the end results of any particular electoral race. If we only care or only act when we don’t like the end results, we have already lost democracy … as, Princeton researchers recently indicated, is indeed the case.

      We are a plutocracy that calls ourselves a democracy. That being the case, I’d much rather people just own up to the U.S. being a plutocracy–owned by the votes of the wealthy, in ways overwhelmingly ushered in by Bill Clinton–than trying to pretend we’re still a democracy.

      I’m not apologizing for “vocabulary” in the sense of individual words, by the way, though I appreciate your compliment here! The way I’ve used it here, “vocabulary” means “ability to articulate upon complicated social phenomenon while only understanding 10% of what you’re witnessing, and thus hard-pressed to express it.” Only by trying to express my gut mistrust of Clinton was I able to learn a little of the vocabulary to express that as related to “personal accountability narratives.” I didn’t know enough to use these words before. I didn’t have the vocabulary. Now, understanding I earn the vocabulary by seeking it, I try to seek it … even wishing I already had it firmly established.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I have lots to consider, apart from the handful of thoughts with which I’ve replied here.

  12. August 3, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I think you keep on just as you are doing — asking the hard questions, and seeking the hard to find answers..There are several ways of “rigging” an election: gerrymandering, having PAC;s, super-PAC’s and “super delegates”, not to mention all of the crap that was done in the 60’s and 70’s (Proof of ability to read, proof of knowing the constitution, proof of (fill in the blank.) Most of which is “justified” by either equalizing campaign money, or stopping the endless votes from the dead.

    The only thing I think we could do “right now” has never been done successfully — constitutional amendments that start, not in the legislature, but directly from “the people.” I think it’s the only way we’ll get things like “term limits” and get rid of the “Super-PACs” and “Super delegates” — and make the “rules” for ALL political parties identical.

    For education, I think the place to start is two fold: attend *all* the open city council and school board meetings in your city or county and then run for either the school board or the city council, depending on which one is actually making the decisions.

    Don’t be “politically correct” — be correct, and have proof of what you’re saying. Never accept the sound bite of a speech, read the whole speech. And don’t let anyone shut you up when you’re sure you are right. Write letters to the editor if there is a newspaper, answer at length any questionnaire that has a “document tracking code” AND free return postage. (Scammers don’t pay for anything, even postage, a real opinion poll *does* pay for return postage and is never an “online” poll.)

    And don’t worry about your vocabulary! And for heaven’s sake keep blogging!

    • August 3, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      I don’t have enough words left to reply to this properly tonight, so for now … I just want to say thank you. I intend to start attending city council meetings pronto, with that being just an entry point to trying to make things better.

      I so, so greatly appreciate your encouragement, and your insights. ♥

  13. August 4, 2016 at 5:57 am

    There are a lot of really really good comments here. I’ve come back to this post the last two days to absorb them all. What I wanted to comment on though is the first paragraph of your post. My personal opinion is that you underestimate your ability and your vocabulary. None of us really have a sense of how what we say now will be viewed in the future, that’s the harsh reality of hindsight. What I fall back on is the fact that my words feel right for me at that time based on my feelings and the facts available. Some of my best writing is often inspired by an idea from someone else that I connected strongly with at the time.

    • August 4, 2016 at 6:08 am

      I used to feel constrained to write only after I felt reasonably certain about something/anything. I now realize that’s a great way to miss out on lots of learning opportunities, so … I’ll have the learning conversations.

      By “vocabulary,” I don’t mean individual words so much as ways to describe phenomena I’m witnessing. Before I took Sociology, for example, I saw that I behaved one way with some people, another with a different set of people, and still another with a third set of people. I could see it but couldn’t explain it. Then, in Sociology, I learned that it was called “code switching.” Having the “vocabulary” for it meant a way to explain something I’d only barely understood apart from the words.

      It’s like that with this political stuff for me. I see something that sparks an alert in my brain and recognize there’s some kind of patterned behavior reflected in it, but don’t even know where to begin explaining it until I’m given a phrase with a more nuanced explanation of the phenomenon. I’m building my vocabulary by seeking it, and by reading tons and tons of articles before then trying to translate some of that into my own words.

      Sometimes it’s frustrating ’cause I want to know it all now, dang it. Most the time, it’s exciting. I have at least one “aha!” moment every day, which is pretty darn invigorating. 🙂

      • August 4, 2016 at 6:33 am

        Ahhh, that makes more sense. Similar to me explaining technology to someone who doesn’t have the context or knowledge to initially understand. Politics is a hard nut to crack!

  14. August 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Perhaps contribute to some other blogs/news websites with a larger audience with some of the commentary you’ve posted here? You’re such a talented writer, and your words flow in a way that’s conversational, so I think you’d get through to them more so than other writers. I also think running for office is a great idea!

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