One of the first things that you might notice is that there is no “politics” tab on this website. There’s a good reason for that; I’ve never had any desire to cover politics on this site, or anywhere else, for that matter. With the majority of the articles that I write, I attempt to inject some level of personal insight and perspective regarding the subjects into them — without that, I’m not convinced there’s any reason to post anything, at all — but I usually leave it at that and, while those insights and perspectives can be all over the map, I don’t usually consider them “political.” I will say that, at one point, I did have a friend reference an article by telling me that he enjoyed when I wrote about more political content. My response was that I didn’t consider it political (and still don’t). But everything can be political to some degree, I suppose; even perspectives on weirdo documentaries and noise music, on occasion. With all that being said, there are 2 definite ways to prompt, or even provoke, me to write about something. The first is if I don’t see anything close to my perspective being represented anywhere else — which actually happens, more often than not, it turns out. The other, and much more effective way, is when someone else decides to go ahead and present what they claim to believe is my perspective for me. Even then, however, after the initial compulsion to set the record straight, I often get only so far in penning my elaborate response, before pulling back, scrapping that, and addressing something more related to the type of arts and entertainment based content that I intended for this site. That doesn’t mean that I hold it all in, of course; social media is generally where I vomit this sort of distaste, making sure to let it ooze all over the place without regard for what it stains. To be quite honest, with all of the shit that’s been happening in the world lately, from the election to police brutality, I easily write much more through platforms like my Facebook page than I do here and, too much of the time, I find it eating time away from creating content here. In this one instance, I’m making an exception and finally allowing some of that to bleed over.
I’m sure that a lot of people would agree that this presidential race has been a fairly disgusting display. Depending on what side of the fence you were on and who you supported affected both your experience and perspectives of events during the primaries. Donald Trump‘s ridiculous cartoon ass has said such revolting divisive shit that I typically find no point in even addressing him — the media acknowledged him too much, already, which is part of the reason that the country is in this mess. If you believe that you’re actually going to tell one of his hardcore supporters some news that will suddenly convince them to change their minds and abandon who they are fundamentally at their core, after the sort of case that Trump should have already made against himself, well… then you’re a hell of a lot more optimistic than I am. The Democratic primary, on the other hand, was more fascinating, in my mind, and it was also the one that I paid much more attention to. The idea that you can spend the entire process proving to the American people that their votes are absolutely inconsequential, both verbally and through repeated action, only to then expect those same people to accept the idea that their votes are so incredibly vital, once it comes time where you need them to vote for you, always seemed like an especially absurd miscalculation of psychological tactic, but… what do I know? I’m only their key demographic.
I never tried to tell anyone else who to vote for, or who not to vote for — your vote is not my fucking vote and I’m not concerned with it — and when I did/do have critiques, I left them to critiques of the candidates and their policies. When it hit the point where I started feeling the need to really speak up, it was only because people stopped focusing on the candidates and their policies and began going after their supporters, often people that they, otherwise, considered to be their friends. I’m not a Trump supporter, but I do identify with the idea of being attacked because of my support for a candidate and believe that, when you attack a group of people — “Trump supporters are all ignorant pieces of shit!” etc. — all that’s going to do is unite and strengthen that group further, because you are literally insulting them as individuals. As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I began to get offended by the people that I knew posting condescending shit about how everyone needed to fall in line and vote for Clinton in case Trump became the nominee (which he, obviously, did become), trying to explain that he was “bad,” as if they needed to connect the dots for any of us. As I stated, the problem was that, now, people weren’t just talking about policy, they were attacking each other, directly. These attacks manifested, because it was just how certain people reacted to fear and, in understanding that, I tried to accept and ignore it as much as possible. The issue was that these posts increasingly attempted to explain my own feelings to me, begging Bernie supporters not to cut off their noses out of spite, or to quit being stubborn and to realize how “serious” it all was, as if CBS News had an HDMI cable plugged directly into their voice boxes. Keep in mind that this shit began almost as immediately as the primaries themselves; Bernie was being asked to drop out from the jump, with some publications even writing about how Hillary Clinton had already won, before voting on the first Super Tuesday ever even began. Eventually, I had collected enough notes, sources, endless research and iron clad points in preparation for an article here on the site that it reached a point where I could have written an entire book. But the influx of new material never ended; the evidence continues to roll in, even now. And all of this for an article which had the primary intention of simply telling everyone to fuck off and leave me, and others like me, alone, already.
So, I cooled off and stepped away from the whole thing again, trying to focus on writing about something else. That’s when the “Bernie Or Bust Supporters Are Privileged” articles began to roll in. After a number of starts and stops, I finally began to pen an article shortly after the Nevada caucus fiasco where there was an attempt to suppress the minority report and reporting of a mystery flying chair and violence that never really existed, although the narrative was widely embraced by mainstream media with lack of evidence, let alone footage (video of Senator Barbara Boxer blowing antagonizing kisses at Bernie supporters did exist, however). Seeing these articles about “privilege” really struck a chord in me beyond anything else, not only because it was so off-base to me, or even because they were inaccurately explaining my own perspectives to me once again, but because of very particular groups of people who I felt they were spitting on, which had endured endless tragedies that were being trivialized. In response to seeing one of these articles, I scrawled out a long post on Facebook on the spot, which became so long that it evolved into a “note.” Few read it, but having it out of my system was the point and it allowed me to move on and get back to whatever I was doing (probably stressing about police shootings or editing photos of John Carpenter). Somewhat recently, I read back over that note and realized that, although it was written hastily, wasn’t packed full of ALL of the original content and didn’t cover a number of really important issues that I’d originally intended for an article, it definitely still addressed some key points and was long enough to be a post in its own right. I’ve considered publishing it here, on and off, but ultimately opted to leave it where it was… until now.
Over the weekend, a massive Wikileaks release of hacked DNC emails proved, once and for all, that the supposedly “impartial” committee was definitely involved in corruption working to tip the scales in Clinton‘s favor, conspiring to sabotage the Sanders campaign from the beginning through such tactics as slander and direct collaboration with the media. This resulted in the widely reviled chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, resigning among controversy, only to be embraced by Clinton, who immediately hired her on as an honorary co-chair of her campaign, while her position as chair of the convention was filled by Ohio representative, Marcia Fudge, who was notoriously calling for Bernie to get out of Clinton‘s way and drop out of the race, way back in March, questioning his status as a “real democrat” and accusing him of wasting the committee’s time and money by running, at all. Still, among all of these disastrous revelations, Hillary supporters only doubled down, as anti-Bernie Or Bust articles containing accusations of “privilege” began flooding social media again. With the convention underway, it felt as if it might be time to finally address this. After watching the first day of the convention, which was filled with subtle — along with not so subtle — digs at the Bernie supporters by speakers who claim to desire unity, I know that it’s time. Formerly die-hard Bernie supporter, Sarah Silverman, called “Bernie Or Bust people” “ridiculous,” while Minnesota congressman/Sanders delegate, Keith Ellison, claimed that “not voting is not a protest, it’s a surrender,” a statement which almost makes sense, in this context, if you don’t bother to actually think about it for too long.
So… here it is. Below is my original statement in response to the Bernie Or Bust attack articles. Typically, we are incredibly welcoming of comments under all articles, only stepping in once they become racist, or homophobic, etc. Sometimes, this is true to a fault. In this rare instance, however, I’m shutting the comments off. The reason for this? Well, as I attempted to explain on one of the first posts that was the catalyst for me addressing this subject matter, this post isn’t really a discussion. Since this was written in response to the assumptions and false representations of my intentions and perspectives by other people, there’s really nothing to discuss here and there’s definitely nothing to argue about. You can disagree with my perspective, but I can’t be wrong about the way that I feel, only someone else can be wrong with their assumptions about the way that I feel. Of course, that won’t stop them from trying to argue that point. I’ve seen enough written about what my intentions and belief systems, apparently, are. I do, however, hope that there’s something in here that you can connect with, because, while I take sole responsibility for the viewpoints in this post, I’m only posting this with the speculation that there are others out there like me who have similar perspectives and might appreciate finally seeing something that’s a little more representative and that acknowledges those perspectives than what we’ve been seeing, elsewhere.
Oh… and one last thing. While I believe that there is still plenty of merit to this post — specifically, where it pertains to aggressive bullying and accusations of privilege — it’s probably important to keep in mind that this was originally written prior to Bernie‘s endorsement, or the convention — that’s a whole other fiasco that’s unfolding right in front of us. It already seems like a lifetime ago, but these calls for him to drop out of the race and accusing people of privilege aren’t new revelations coming about now, prompted strictly by his endorsement. As evidenced by Marcia Fudge‘s comments, they existed throughout the entire primary with claims that Sanders was only holding up the process to inevitably crown Clinton. The points are the same, but the context was even more fucked up that lead to me writing this. Supporters were shamed for ever even voting for him in the first place. But here’s something to think about; the general election isn’t until all the way in November, so anyone that’s losing their minds right now should probably just try and calm down. It’s pretty much guaranteed that we’re gonna see a lot more chaos go down before that comes around, so let’s just sit back, wait, and see what happens.
Originally written on June 10th, 2016
My feed just alerted me to a post that a friend “liked” which was just another link to an article about how the people who won’t vote for Clinton are “privileged.” The person that posted it appears to be another upper middle-class well-groomed white man in a crisp dress shirt and tie, who either does or has worked at Microsoft, and has joyous photos from his, no doubt, costly, traditional wedding. These sorts of posts offend me on multiple levels — a major one being someone inaccurately assuming my perspective and then chastising me through that false narrative, which they’ve created — but the fact that I regularly see so many of these critical and insulting posts coming from the most privileged demographic in our society, while it may be completely expected, pisses me off. There’s a not so subtle oppression occurring right now and a free-for-all is being encouraged where people like this, who are surface level “progressives” and enjoy claiming that as part of their identity above all else (see Southpark episode about “smug“) are all too enthusiastic about finally being allowed to fling the word “privileged” around at other people, mostly those who have always been and will remain much less privileged than they will ever be.
There are several ways that one can find themselves as a minority, but, when you are a minority, that essentially translates into the reality that you live in a system that is not only not designed for you, but one that may also find very little interest or motivation in even acknowledging you or your disadvantages and misfortunes. The reason that this matters, in regards to these Bernie Or Bust attack articles and reposts, is because they generally stem from those who the system works for insulting and demonizing those who it doesn’t work for, or even works against, simply because the latter aren’t willing to be complacent in that “agreement,” across the board, anymore.
I used to have issues finding changing tables when my son was an infant and I accepted that; since I was a minority in that respect — a male as the primary care provider — it was to be expected. I’m a minority in several other ways too, of course (ethnically and otherwise), and, in being one, I understand what privileges I don’t have, but worse than that, I have accepted them. Hopefully, it also makes me more sympathetic to the disadvantages of others, or, at the very least, prevents me from assuming that they are inventing them. The world isn’t designed for trans people, or single mothers, or women in general. It isn’t designed for the disabled, ethnic minorities, or even the left-handed. This we understand and, to go slightly off topic for a moment, those angry about being accused of white privilege or male privilege aren’t guilty until they become angry and become dismissive about that position.
What I mean is that no majority should, necessarily, be reasonably expected to consider what they have never encountered, naturally or immediately. If you build a restaurant and someone points out that there are no wheelchair ramps, the acceptable response should be to apologize or, at least, acknowledge that you hadn’t considered that aspect and offer to make accommodations, if possible. The disabled should understand that and do, because they have been indoctrinated with that truth their entire existence as a minority. The fucked up response would be to say, “Fuck those cripples! Eat somewhere else.” Unfortunately, this happens regularly when such privilege pertains to race, and even more so when it’s as easy to gloss over as the minorities dealing with more nuanced institutionalized complications. You become liable for that privilege once you are made aware of it and reject embracing this knowledge, not before that. White guilt far too often exhibits itself in defensiveness and denial. “All lives matter!” etc. Of course, a rich white man can have a hard life, but it’s the “because” that makes the difference. Your problems aren’t BECAUSE you’re white like it can be because you’re black, or disabled, or female, or gay, or transgender, have dwarfism, etc. But that’s a whole other topic that I’m attempting not to splinter too far off into, right now. The point, as far as these articles about the supposed “privilege” of not voting for Hillary Clinton are concerned, is that there is a disgustingly large amount of overwhelmingly privileged people judging, insulting, shaming, guilting and attacking others without even being conscious of the fact that the very attacks that they are launching are born directly from that institutionalized privilege.
Privilege is what allows others who aren’t directly affected by Clinton‘s policies to write off those who have been devastated by them, have loved ones who have, or are concerned for their futures and that of those they care about as trivial and work to discredit their decisions as being a result of ignorance and stubbornness. What better defines privilege than to never have to acknowledge the struggles and fears of others, simply because they aren’t your own and don’t affect you? Instead of genuinely inquiring about why people might take the stance that they do, bullshit fear and shame pieces are penned based on presumptuous false narratives, as if dismissing that base, after relentless attempts to demoralize them, will inspire them to enthusiastically endorse the very people who are employing those tactics. But, I don’t think that it really matters, as long as they are attacked and shamed into going against their consciences, better judgment, and interests for those that benefit. Privilege is what allows anyone to write and spread this trash and propaganda masquerading as genuinely well-intentioned think piece “articles” and “journalism.” It’s the equivalent of not only asking a female coworker to not report an employer for sexual abuse, because it could affect the company and everyone’s jobs, but shaming them for being inconsiderate if they refuse to enthusiastically endorse them, while denying what they’ve experienced during an internal investigation. “Think about all of us who haven’t been raped or harassed!” Privilege is never having to consider that this candidate and what they represent to someone else may be entirely different than what they represent to you and, if that perspective isn’t intentionally/methodically crafted and distributed as a tactic of manipulation, then it’s either ignorance and arrogance that prevents someone from doing their research on Clinton‘s policies, history, and the various ways that they have and continue to yield various devastating results for various groups of people, or ignorance and arrogance that prevents them from researching the viewpoints of others, before inaccurately determining that they must know the reasons behind them not reacting in a way that they feel that they should be entitled for them to. Privilege is the idea that you are entitled to someone else’s decisions or rights, especially, including the right to their vote.
Of course, I do welcome the continued perspectives of financially stable white men condescendingly writing and spreading “information” (read: judgement) to Hondurans, Haitians, Libyans, Palestinians, and their families, in the US and abroad; along with poor single mothers; those with loved ones incarcerated for life in for-profit prisons for minor drug offenses; people whose communities were eviscerated through horrendous trade policies or through the vilification of their entire race and financial bracket; those whose children are brain damaged from contaminated water supplies, while Clinton globally promotes fracking alongside Chevron; victims of sexual abuse (some at the hands of Bill Clinton, who were then harassed, publicly slandered, and vengefully audited), etc, etc, etc. for letting them know why they are selfish, childish, and, most of all, privileged.
And it doesn’t even matter whether or not the writers of these articles, or the people that repost this stuff believe the insurmountable level of evidence behind any of these tragedies that Clinton is directly linked to and holds an enormous amount of accountability for; all that matters is that there are a number of people that have been on the losing side of these policies and actions, live within these realities every single day, and who are not privileged enough to have them be non-factors in their lives and the decisions they have to make. There are people for whom this is their truth. There are people who believe that a vote for Clinton may essentially constitute them writing a death sentence for their children in the military, or their families over seas in a country with a target on it; or that they are signing off on the exportation of their own jobs, or that of family members; endorsing the policies that worked to incarcerate and demonize their entire race as “super predators” — a perspective that is still consistently utilized, consciously or otherwise, directly or indirectly, to excuse sanctioned homicides by militarized law enforcement — without ever working to invest in their communities in ways to help put an end to that cycle, which the government was already responsible for creating, in the first place. “We can talk about how they got that way,” and the government’s role in removing industry and strategically manufacturing these environments, but first they needed to be “brought to heel” and locked up as a direct result of having limited alternatives while trying to survive within what are, more or less, modern day, post apocalyptic urban wastelands. You don’t have to visit them, and that’s understandable that you won’t, but don’t assume that the families trapped within them prefer to live there. Again, nobody has to agree with those experiencing these concerns and who believe that there is validity to Clinton having any connection or responsibility to any of this, but to refuse to acknowledge that their fears and their reasons are incredibly sincere and may be just as real as yours, if not much less trivial, is beyond insulting and incredibly dismissive of the plight and realities of others. If that doesn’t matter to you, or that hasn’t occurred to you, or even if it has and you’ve still perpetuated this dismissive, shame based, fear mongering — in fact, especially, if it has — THAT IS privilege.
Hillary Clinton is a woman, but she’s not as much of a minority within the system as she’s marketing herself. When she asks what could be more of an outsider than a woman president — besides the fact that she should be forced to clarify that she’s referring to a woman president “in the US,” not globally — I would counter with the following question, “How about somebody who hasn’t already lived in the fucking Whitehouse?” The reason that I’ve found it nearly impossible to ever trust politicians is because what always separated us was, fundamentally, a class issue. The Clintons have millions and millions of dollars, and that’s just what they actually claim — never mind what is laundered through their faux philanthropic organization funded by huge unsavory corporations and dictatorships like Saudi Arabia. The thing is that, in one particular case, being the way that I’ve been disenfranchised in this system, I’m actually not in the minority. So, Clinton is almost right about one thing, there are a lot less of the rich and powerful than there are the rest of us. That being said, WE are not the insiders.
As minorities, we’ve been trained to appease others within a system that was never intended to work for us and, because of that, we accept that we deserve less, while being more willing to offer what we have to others. The more marginalized you are, it seems the more likely you are to have empathy for others that are struggling, because you understand it. The reason that a movement behind Bernie Sanders coalesced at all is because, for so many that reject this system that continues to reject us, he represents an alternative to it, and that’s the only reason that so many people have stood behind him; it’s because it seemed as if there might be a chance to rebuild this corrupt system into something that actually addressed the concerns of the people that we know and care about. So, to vote FOR that system and to strengthen its grip now would completely undermine the entire point. Sanders “brought new people in,” because a lot of those people wanted to tear the system down, not because they wanted to help strengthen its current state further. A major part of this is because, instead of continuing to be complacent, based on the idea of “Well… these are just my issues and I need to understand I’m in the minority,” these huge numbers shed light on what we’ve always secretly known, we are NOT, actually, the minorities, at all. Just from a structural perspective, a social pyramid is much wider on the bottom. The guilt that you might be acting selfishly is a result of manipulation targeted at exploiting the idea of being less deserving, which is something that is already instilled within us, but when it continues to be delivered so blatantly from the truly selfish, it can very easily transform into anger. It turns out that the privileged minority is telling the under represented MAJORITY to fall in line and, because of this, it creates a situation where you realize that, by fighting for the concerns that affect you personally and which concern those around you, you are, actually, now also fighting for the future of everyone, because you aren’t alone; it’s just that nobody had the platform or a loud enough voice to hear each other, before. That only works within a “not me, us” mentality and for people who have been indoctrinated with that philosophy, not through a selfish and privileged one of entitlement. The problem now is that the privileged few are still trying to exploit that angle of “think about the greater good for everyone,” while it’s perfectly clear that we’re being selfishly asked to continue to work, struggle, and die for the select few. It’s the antithesis of working for the collective and an attempt to quell an inevitable uprising, perpetrated under the guise of unity. So many are just blind carrier pigeons frantically flying in the fear based messages and false warnings that they’ve had stapled to them, after being spun around into a wobbling daze. They are just reacting, and it’s fear, and it’s understandable. But when it comes to these privileged fucks continuing to write and post these accusations attacking the negatively affected for being privileged…
I don’t get as upset for myself, but the idea that somebody whose family is living in danger in Honduras as a direct result of Clinton’s refusal to stop funding a military coup might have read that, or even someone with a kid who was sexually abused and they were rubbed wrong by Clinton‘s interview where she laughed while bragging about discrediting a 12-year-old rape victim who was violently assaulted of being “emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing” to get the sentence of the attacker that beat her reduced to a year (time served) and 4 years probation, in the mid 1970s; or the striking workers concerned about their family’s futures who are well aware that Clinton sat on the board of Walmart for six years, up until entering the Whitehouse (her and Bill flew around on Walmart corporate planes during his presidential campaign), while they openly worked to suffocate unionizing efforts — for them to have to read about why they are selfish, because they may choose not to vote for her, I find these attacks to be reckless, offensive, dismissive, irresponsible, and disgusting. I also find it privileged.