Home > Reflections, School > Not with the Kremlin

Not with the Kremlin

I took Russian in high school. I took it again in college.

Why? Because my father was a military linguist, for a time, and I wanted to have adventures abroad like he did.

I also took German, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, and Swahili. I never studied Korean or Japanese in school, though I picked up bits and pieces when living in South Korea and Japan while trying to figure out what else I wanted to do with my life. (Paid to travel! Like my dad! Yes!)

I really, really wanted to know how to speak to people in ways they could understand, and thus have them also truly hear me.

Recently, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time following politics.

I’ve learned that most mainstream U.S. media is owned by just six companies and that “the Clinton Foundation has received donations, some of them very large, from most of all the major media companies directly.”

I’ve discovered that everything sinister can now be attributed to Russia.

I’ve seen that many people aren’t aware of the difference between “leaks” and “hacks.”

When WikiLeaks publishes materials, they have been leaked to WikiLeaks, not hacked by WikiLeaks.

Indeed, I laughed when I watched the Maher-Assange interview where Assange said they were “working on” getting Trump’s tax returns. I understood that the comment was intended in jest, and was thus surprised when countless articles recounted how WikiLeaks was “working on hacking” Trump.

Folks posting this and retweeting it had not only not watched the video but had no idea the difference between “hacking” and “leaking material provided by someone else.”

In an age of unprecedented access to information, I saw that folks willingly refuse to access information first-hand in acceptance of second-hand recounting.

They see the recounting and feel as if they have seen the original.

Feeling it doesn’t make it true.


I took Russian in college. If you’re an American reading only one or two political articles a day, you might be asking, “So what?”

But if you’re really following U.S. politics, you understand that this statement is not a neutral one. In the new/returned era of redbaiting, you know it means that I might have suspicious connections with the Kremlin.

This chills me.

(Actual connections: none. Russian language ability: can read Cyrillic letters with close to zero actual comprehension.)

I, one of four children of an impoverished single mother abused relentlessly by her husband, am sensitive to assertions of power masquerading as truth.

I have no way to telepathically convey all the things that alarm me about our current political environment, especially to anyone who actively strives not to hear.

But I can tell you this: When I consider voting Jill Stein, my vote is not a vote that war hawk Clinton has lost to a naive, misogynist Bernie Bro. Mine is a vote that Clinton only barely, briefly had, and then with grave misgivings.

Mine is a vote not earned by a Democratic party that’s long shown–though I failed to see the signs–it has no interest in peace. That’s revealed time and again how it, too, is bought and paid for by billionaires and corporations who speak more effectively in money than I ever could in words.

In a world where the U.S. Republican party opposes the TPP and wants to break up big banks (!), Democrats court former Republicans in efforts to show they’re not soft on terror. They’ll fight to the end!

I was a Democrat until two months ago. Right now, I feel pretty certain I’ll never be a Democrat again.

That won’t be changed by shouting at me, shaming me, calling me a Kremlin supporter, or otherwise.

But the fact you think I might be a Kremlin supporter because I took Russian in college?

That tells me everything, everything, about the state of U.S. democracy in 2016.

p.s. I promise not to bombard you with political posts here moving forward.
Instead, I’ll post articles and reflections on my new “Politics” page.
Please check there often for new materials.
(I have bunches yet to post.)

p.p.s. I’m still wearing a safety pin today!

  1. August 8, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Amen! I again had a long and deep conversation this past weekend about politics in general that meandered through sub-topics of main stream media. GMO, war, financial systems, and finally ending back with Trump vs. Clinton. I like the idea of splitting out the political stuff to a separate page so visitors can choose to read it if they want, which is a subtle reminder we’re living in a free society where there is some choice lingering around. This has been a really difficult year for a lot of people that I fear is only going to get worse before it gets better. I’m thankful for the fresh perspectives that others’ writing provides, keeps me fighting to stay grounded.

    • August 8, 2016 at 6:07 am

      Belladonna Took suggested it in my last political post, when I was wondering how to express a lot of what I was reading/considering without beating anyone over the head with it.

      It was such a great idea, I’m very glad for it! I did get a little more aggressive than I’d have liked in my comments there, but that was a good learning experience for me in seeing how ideals and real life can interact with each other. (Better communication with more practice!)

      I do hope folks give some of the articles I’m linking a peak and contemplate the possibility I haven’t reached my conclusions be being “low information,” as I so often see. What I’d really like to do is help demonstrate that difference of opinion is not about anything as simple as anyone else being “low information.”

      If we can see each other as people instead of hostile interlopers, we’ll have a much better chance of achieving long term results that benefit more people instead of select swaths of the population.

      So … thanks for continuing to have those conversations, and for commenting here in ways that make my shoulders relax a little. I appreciate it!

  2. August 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I have been back and forth on Hillary and Jill, too, lately. I feel that Hillary hasn’t earned my vote, yet a Trump presidency scares me, and with Johnson polling high, my red state might not be automatically Trump’s anymore. But I will not be shamed into voting HRC. It’s fine if people don’t understand the reluctance, but playing the shame game really doesn’t help their case.

    • August 8, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      The more I read about Hillary, the clearer it becomes that she and hers have created the very problems we’re facing. In an astonishingly short time, I’ve gone from being a hostile “yes” to a “not likely.” The only way I envision that changing is through her acknowledgment and accountability, sinilar to what I told my dad in our last face to face conversation. Without accountability, everything is built on falsehoods and unwarranted hope, a shaky foundation on which no lasting good can be built.

  3. August 8, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I, for one, have never thought you were a low information voter. I know that I need to hear your point of view because I believe, after years of reading your posts, that you’ve come to your conclusions after much research and critical thought. You represent a specific part of the voting public that I didn’t quite understand, but understand better now. I think I agree with the heart of your basic arguments. (I love that you’ve studied different languages. All of them are important because communication is important.)

    I also voted for Bernie Sanders, having considered myself for years to be an independent who would never consider voting for a Republican because nothing they want to legislate goes in the direction of the good I want for the world. The older I get, the more I am saddened by the things all politicians do and say, but they need to win votes from human beings, and I have to accept that many human beings don’t want what is good and decent and just. They only want to feel that their own lives are going to be ‘better’ no matter the cost to other citizens. They want to vote for the ‘rock star’ who says they’ll do that. I worry about what the world is coming to.

    I want to simply vote for the Green Party because to date, they say they want to do the things I want my elected officials to work on, but I choose to vote stragegy instead because one candidate in particular scares the hell out of me and I fear his being elected will set a dangerous precedent and pave the way for a slicker, better liar to replace him the next time. I see a man who will stoop to evil and I feel compelled to vote against it because so many are voting for it, but I understand that you and I may be going about that in different ways.

    • August 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      I appreciate your kind words. I understand your fear. I now choose a strategy–and, yes, that is what it is, though it looks otherwise through fear-tinted glasses–with a longer view and a dismissal of the fearmongering derived “strategy” about which I hear so much by the minute. Please know also that my vote for Jill would not be a vote that otherwise would go to Clinton. You can read more about this in comments on my recent “more questions” post–specifically, the one talking about the difference between voting front-stabber versus back-stabber. Neither for me, thank you.

      • August 8, 2016 at 5:49 pm


        • August 9, 2016 at 6:12 am

          I’m sorry. Much of my comment was directed at a million people who aren’t you, when 100% of it should have been directed to what you actually said. I’ll do better by you/folks here next time.

  4. August 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t speak Russian; I only speak English. And I haven’t been more than 50 miles from my home since 1990. Yet, on Facebook, I have several friends from areas far outside of the USA — and it is through them that I find much more accurate news, not only about American politics, but about what’s happening in the world overall… Unfortunately I also have a nephew that works at the State Department, and has a high security clearance. It doesn’t matter that I’ve chosen to have no contact with my nephew (he’s a complete ass.), I know all of my computer usage is “followed” by the NSA. I strongly believe there is no freedom, no way to have political corruption fully exposed without a free press. (Look at Turkey right now. Coup attempted, defeated, and the *first* thing it does is shut down radio, TV, internet – any way to get news that isn’t government sponsored.) HRC is managing to do the same thing, without being quite so obvious about it. Nor am I willing to vote for a crazy person. Nor am I willing to hide from the NSA… Yet more and more “country codes” are being removed from our computers.. Who’s doing it, and why? Is there a “good” candidate to vote for this year? Is there anything that’s going to actually prevent the wars in the middle east from spreading? I will vote. I’ve never failed to vote, and I’m not about to start now. But not for a crazy man, or HRC…

    • August 8, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      I absolutely agree with you about a free press. Until a few months ago, I was under the illusion we had one; the last few months have helped me understand otherwise.

      Between, for example, Hillary’s connections with Lafarge (“secretly sponsoring the Islamic State for profit“), “Cash Flowing to Clinton Amid Russian Uranium Deal” (astonishing when coupled with her active redbaiting), and “Clinton Foundation Donors [Who] Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” I cannot say with a clear conscience that voting for her represents the lesser evil. It would be comforting to be able to say and believe that, but I’ve long since passed the point of comfort.

      I feel like the Deep State will almost certainly win this election … regardless of which face that takes. I cannot cast my vote for that. I cannot cast my vote for endless bloodshed and acts to destabilize other countries in ways that end up expanding violence outward. I am not less concerned for the children of areas where the U.S. now bombs than I am for children within U.S. boundaries. I want peace, and I cannot be part of peace while casting my vote for profitable violence.

      I’m glad Bernie opened my eyes, although it’s been painful. I’m sorry I cannot vote with him just because he helped open my eyes. I admire and respect him, but we diverge in our conclusions on what “a vote in good conscience” means.

      I’ve read enough now about Hillary and our corporate-favoring government to feel comfortable moving on. Where I’m moving on to is figuring out how to be part of positive change. Michelle Alexander linked a book on this (see April 29) that I’ll be buying tonight.

      I don’t believe constantly choosing evil is the way to combat evil. That takes something else. Now, it’s up to me to figure out how I can be a positive part of that something else.

  5. August 9, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I personally like when you post about politics, but that’s because I always heartily agree with what you’re saying. :p I registered to vote for the first time this election and I registered as democrat just so I could vote for Bernie Sanders…to say I’ve been discouraged by this election is more than an understatement.

    • August 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      I’ve struggled to find a way to make myself follow Bernie’s lead.

      I finally realized that I can be grateful for his opening my eyes without following him unequivocally.

      I’ve read so much the last few weeks that I cannot vote for HRC without … wanting to penalize myself for an eternity, quite literally, if I were to actually vote for her. It’s not because of her as a human being, though; it’s because of the entire DNC and what it now represents. It’d take me an eternity to explain all of this, though I’ll try eventually.

      In the meantime, though … I cannot vote for eternal war and everything else HRC stands for, no matter how many people troll me for voting otherwise.

      Again, ♥ May we be lead by our hopes, not our fears!

  6. Paul
    August 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Good Luck Deborah. i’d be interested in how this plays out – politics has become very dirty and I doubt any of the candidates are clean.

    • August 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      I agree about the clean bit, but:
      (1) there’s a difference between skeletons and entire graveyards in the closet; and
      (2) with some candidates, the skeletons/graveyards in the closet are intermingled with horrifically many more from their equally devious cohorts.

      This isn’t about any one individual, but the confluence of many whose desires and preferences are held above the numerically far greater many.

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