Saturday, April 2, 2016

You Say You Want a Revolution. Well, You Know...

My ears pricked up when I heard that Bernie Sanders didn't have nice things to say about George Clooney's big-dollar fundraiser for Hillary Clinton and downticket Democratic candidates. See, I know Bernie Sanders is new to this "being part of the Democratic party" thing, but I did not think that his campaign would actually despise the idea of celebrities with money offering their support, because celebrities are people, too, and maybe they prefer what the putative "liberal" party stands for, altogether.

But then Susan Sarandon, a celebrity Sanders supporter, intimated that she wasn't sure that she could support Hillary Clinton if she was the Democratic party nominee, and that maybe some people out there thought that if Trump was president, it would hasten the revolution.

And don't even get me started on Rosario Dawson.

To be blunt: what the actual fuck, you guys? Are we just pretending that there aren't two political parties that dominate US politics, one of which is on the actual verge of nominating a white-supremacist-endorsed clueless billionaire and the other which actually has a semi-solid record of supporting nifty things like civil rights, LGBT rights, and the environment when they get an actual run-up to do so?

My darlings, hashtags don't make legislation happen--congresspeople do. And since the revolution hasn't happened yet, it still takes gobs of money for people to actually get airtime on the television and radio, so maybe if people with money want to give it to progressive candidates--that isn't actually corruption, but informed choice. Maybe if instead of waiting to be Tweeted into supporting progressive legislation, we had people already showing up to vote in midterms? Because getting a progressive Congress--you know, the branch of our government that actually passes laws? Could be useful.

We need progressives in congress. We need John Fetterman for Senate in PA. We need Zephyr Teachout for congress in NY. We need Khary Penebaker in congress in WI. We need the kind of people that love what Sanders and Clinton are saying, but need the support of the Democratic party to get their message out there for themselves. We need a party that can support a DeRay McKesson for Baltimore mayor.

We need to recruit great, motivated people from the grassroots who love this country and want to make it greater--just the way our founders wanted a "more perfect union". We need money to support those people right now, and while small dollar donations don't hurt and please give to these super people--let's not forget that rich folks aren't "the enemy". A revolution is not a cult of personality about one person, but a movement of many.

And I am going to give the side-eye to Sanders about fronting that "fossil-fuel industry" donations--from private citizens who work in that industry, mind you--have corrupted Hillary Clinton, when he also has fossil fuel industry folks contributing to his campaign, and also so many more defense industry people. Are we really going to pretend that some fractional amount of employee cash equals being bought by that industry? More so than the gobs that go to Republicans? Is Sanders "tainted" by the military-industrial complex? Let's be real!

If we want a revolution--we need the numbers. Playing purity politics is narrowing our support. I want to win not just the White House but make a good run at changing Congress and changing the SCOTUS for a generation or more. That doesn't happen with playing "Hillary is so corrupt" or "Maybe Trump will be better". Truly--bad politics have more oftener resulted in increased apathy--not mobilization. We need increased turnout--not turning things over to the party that has limited the franchise with voter ID laws, fewer ballot places, etc.

Don't let some idea of "perfect" be the enemy of the good, or let worse win because we don't agree on the same idea of "better". We need people who will turn up for better every time. Including and especially US congressional and state elections. It takes all of us. It takes a village. It makes a revolution, eventually. But if candidates have no room to dance, I don't like the sound of your revolution.

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