Apr 25, 2017

Regarding Chelsea, Part II: Because you guys still don't get it

It was just a few days ago, following a few vodka and sodas, that I felt compelled to defend Chelsea Clinton against her various bullies (mostly male, but not always) in the media. I figured that would be the first and last time I wrote about Chelsea.

Alas, that was not to be. At some time during the night while I slumbered -- something I haven't been able to do much since January 20, 2017 -- all the bros of Twitter erupted in a frazzled mania at once, as if their testosterone cycles had finally synchronized after months of complaining in close quarters.
Clinton has said repeatedly that she has no plans to run. I present to you Exhibit A:
Just for reinforcement, I present to you Exhibit B:
But that's not enough. Brocialist Twitter is convinced that she's going to run for Nita Lowey's seat in 2018. And they will not have that, dammit!
(Note: I realize that the above tweet is snark. But it's snark that pokes fun at an actual fear that brocialist Twitter has and frequently expresses.)

Apparently the issue here is that she hasn't promised to run for anything, ever, and they cannot sleep until they're certain that they'll never have to see her name on a campaign sign for a school board election. In addition to that, they'd also like signed statements from her children, Charlotte and Aidan, that they also will not run. That, and only that, will finally lull them into a sweet, sweet slumber.

Chelsea Clinton running for office is what keeps them awake at night. Meanwhile, my current nighttime regimen is to chase 2 Ambien with a double-shot of Vladimir vodka with the slim hope of getting a few hours of sleep before being jolted awake from my nightmares of nuclear bombs and rapey post-apocalyptic hellscapes.

We are, as a country, facing actual danger. We are led by an incompetent narcissist with obvious mental impairments who uses the office of the president to fill his family's coffers. Surrounding him are Russian sympathizers, opportunistic white supremacists who want to "deconstruct government" -- whatever the hell that means --and two family members, both of whom have vastly superior cognitive functioning, but who are just as shallow and self-serving as the president.

And none of these people care enough stop him from tweeting threats to North Korea from his toilet in the middle of the night.

This whacked obsession the media has with Chelsea Clinton running for office scares me because it's evidence that the media has learned nothing from the clusterfuck of coverage that led us to where we are right now. The media still refuses to take a woman at her word while refusing to take a very dangerous man at his.

This has to stop.

Apr 23, 2017

The One Where 2017!Kara Catches Up with 2008!Kara

I was looking through old blog posts and found this one that I wrote in 2008. There's even a small reference to the '08 primary.

Life has changed for me in the 9 years since I wrote this. I've gone through multiple jobs. I upgraded from a used Chevy Cavalier to a used Honda Civic. I bought a house. The boyfriend I mentioned here -- later, my fiance -- is out of my life, having gone from dead-to-me to being quite literally dead. And yet the external circumstances that led to this essay still remain.


I floated through much of my life unaware that my having a vagina put me at a disadvantage in the world. I'm not even sure if I knew that my gender was considered by anyone until a few years ago when I started dating my boyfriend and his combat-boot-wearing sister expressed dismay at his dating such a "girly girl". And even then I shook it off as an insult by someone hell-bent on hating me.

That being said, I was still insulted. I wasn't a "girly girl". I grew up in an all-male household where I was taught to love computer games and Roger Corman horror flicks - I even watched sci-fi, dammit! Sure I caked on the makeup and lined my eyes with a charcoal black eyeliner, but I didn't even wear skirts and not one item of pink could be found in my wardrobe. It was all blue jeans and black skirts for this gender-neutral girl. Fuck that bitch for thinking otherwise.

And fuck me for being just like her and thinking there was something wrong with being feminine.

I've always tried to be as masculine as possible because I thought there was something wrong with being a woman. I knew that sexism existed but didn't think it applied to me. I thought that if I could throw away all of the things associated with being womanly - the cooking, the cleaning, the pink, and the skirts - and adopt male-oriented hobbies, I would be viewed as an equal.

But I'm still not viewed as an equal. My encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars universe doesn't make me one of the guys. At most, it makes me "pretty cool for a chick."

My workplace is a boys' club. Every day at noon, my male boss takes my male co-workers out to lunch. No girls allowed. The rule is written in the atmosphere. When a new guy is hired, he's invited to this lunch on his first day; no woman has ever been invited. The same is true of their smoking club, which they've dubbed the Fresh Air Club. During my first week of employment, an unknowing male invited me, a chronic chain-smoker, to join this exclusive club. After a week of awkward smoke break silences, another guy pulled me aside and said, "Don't take this the wrong way - I mean, you're a really cool girl and all - but we've discussed it, and you can't be a part of the club anymore because we can't talk about 'guy stuff' around you. We wouldn't want to offend you."

But in that statement, he managed to fart out the one thing that was offensive to me.

I was offended in a way that was much different than how I was offended when my boyfriend's sister called me a girly-girl. This time, I wasn't offended because I'd failed in my quest to become genderless, I was offended because someone had discounted me on the basis of my gender. I'm not worthy of talking to at lunch or on a smoke break just because I have two X chromosomes. If I had an X and a Y chromosome, my personality would be acceptable.

It's akin to how two presidential candidates can run on nearly identical platforms, yet the one with less experience gets the nod because he fits the XY qualification. The XX candidate can put on a pantsuit and pick up a rifle, but she's still a woman with a gun. The macho guys will be threatened by her power, the girly-girls will laugh at the color of her pantsuit, and the hardcore feminists will say that she's wearing too much eyeliner.

Many feminists have been going about this the wrong way. It's fine to wear combat boots, watch sci-fi, and shoot a gun if that's the kind of gal you are, but doing it just because you think it will make men see you as equal isn't going to work. And telling other women that they can't curl their hair, bake cookies, or watch soap operas because such things are "girly" makes you an asshole. When a woman derides another woman for being too feminine, she's only feeding the belief that feminine is bad.

Feminism should be about choice. It should be about women being able to choose their own paths in life instead of being forced onto a path by an external force by anyone - and that includes men and women. And, yes, that choice even extends to the woman who wants to stay at home with her kids.

Take a moment to bitch about the woman who uses her kids as an excuse to make you do her work - letting off steam is healthy - but try to be more forgiving of the woman in the cubicle next to you whose only fault is wearing passion pink lipstick. She's not the reason your male boss hasn't given you a promotion in two years.

Apr 21, 2017

Regarding Chelsea

We need to have a talk about Chelsea Clinton. More to the point, we need to have a talk about how the media talks about Chelsea Clinton.

Look, I’d prefer to not have to write this. I am not what Annie Karni of Politico derisively calls a "Chelsea lover." Unlike T.A. Frank stated in his rambling Vanity Fair piece about why Chelsea Clinton annoys him so much that he just has to write 1,300 words about it, I don't believe that the "love of Chelsea correlates closely with love of Hillary." 

I'm not a Chelsea hater. I am, in fact, Chelsea agnostic -- something that is becoming as rare as a winged hippopotamus in the irritable bowels of political Twitter. The truth is that I've never thought about Chelsea Clinton much. And I've always gotten the impression that she prefers it that way. And I've never gotten the impression that anyone is trying to push Chelsea Clinton on us as so many journalists seem to believe. 

In 1993, when Bill Clinton was inaugurated, I thought that it was pretty spiffy that he had a daughter who was just a year older than me. I felt for the awkward pre-teen who was suddenly shoved into public view, and, as she aged in that public light, occasionally felt pangs of sympathy when she was teased by perverted grown men who should've known better than to comment on a teenager's journey into puberty. Past that -- past those things that were reflections of my own insecurity with my changing body -- I had no opinion of her, bad or good. I certainly didn't have bitchy takes about her smiling on magazine covers.

I don't know Chelsea Clinton. I don't know her parents either, but I know a lot about them having seen them on the public stage for 25 years, as well as having read their autobiographies and various biographies written about them. I admire her folks. And unlike many Americans, I like most of what I know about Bill and Hillary Clinton, separately and together, and like them enough that I can accept their various warts and imperfections as part of the package. I don't know enough about Chelsea Clinton, good or bad, to form an opinion. What I do know is that this is bullshit:

Chelsea Clinton is not a political figure. Chelsea Clinton is a woman who has political figures as parents. There is a difference. Ivanka Trump is a political figure. Jared Kushner is a political figure. They, respectively, work in their father and father-in-law's administration, and that's political. Chelsea served as a surrogate for her mother. Now you can criticize her for things she said while serving as a surrogate for her mother -- that is fair -- but she is not a political figure.

But I understand where one would get that impression. For example:

This, of course, has no basis in reality. Clinton herself has said that she is not running for public office. And yet the idea of Chelsea Victoria Clinton running for House, Senate -- oh my god, perhaps even president! -- is a fear that keeps dudebros of these United States up at the darkest hours of the night. It's so galling that it turns into recurring nightmares that yank them out of bed before dawn, drenched in sweat, terrified for their lives, forcing them to spill their greatest fear out into the endless void of fucking ridiculous political tweets. 

No, no I've never had that "unsettling feeling". What's unsettling to me is that Josh Barro spends what many would consider an unhealthy amount of time thinking about some dreamt up hypothetical that Chelsea may run for office, and that he spends the rest of his time fretting over the idea that Chelsea would get an award from Lifetime Television Network.

The World is Being Run by Irresponsible Spoiled Brats (and You're One of Them). 

There's a part of me that could come to understand this resentment. As I mentioned earlier, I'm around the same age as Chelsea. Unlike Chelsea, however, I was raised by a single father who, when he wasn't laid off and delivering pizzas for Dominos, worked as a machinist. I had to scratch and claw my way to my current position in life. My position in life isn't all that great, not even with the chipped, bloodied, dirt-encrusted nails I have to show for my minor achievements in life. I can understand being a little pissed off.

But Josh Barro has no reason to feel that way. His father is Robert Barro, the famous Professor of Economics at Harvard University, who no doubt greased the wheels for his son's entry into the college and into an internship for Grover Norquist. I've seen little about Josh Barro that convinces me he'd have advanced to his current stature without having the boost of well-to-do parents.

Matt Yglesias's father is the one and only Rafael Yglesias -- you might remember him as the screenwriter credit on Death and the Maiden, directed by Roman Polanski and starring (my hero) Sigourney Weaver, and From Hell, starring Johnny Depp. His grandfather, Jose Yglesias, was also a writer -- albeit not as recognized as he should have been, especially for his beautiful, eye-opening "A Wake in Ybor City." But I digress: Matt came from a background of well-established writers. Chelsea's privilege should not rankle him.

Olivia Nuzzi? I know nothing about her. But at 24, she either has great connection, luck, or talent that I haven't seen demonstrated yet. Regardless, she should not, with all her success, have a reservoir of resentment for Chelsea Clinton.

What's Your Damage, Heather? 

So what causes that resentment towards Chelsea?

I'd love to chalk it all down to simple misogyny. It would make writing about it much easier, because then I could combine it with the obvious misogyny her mother faced in 2016.

But not all female offspring of politicians get this. Let me present to you an example from T.A. Frank's article "PLEASE, GOD, STOP CHELSEA CLINTON FROM WHATEVER SHE IS DOING," which I linked to earlier:
But let’s have a reality check. No one bothers George W. Bush’s daughter, Barbara Bush, who quietly works on her nonprofit, Global Health Corps. On the other hand, if you’re posing for magazine covers, granting interviews, doing book tours, placing your name on your parents’ multi-million-dollar foundation, and tweeting out daily to 1.6 million people, then—guess what—you’re a public figure. And if you’ve openly entertained the possibility of running for office if “it was something I felt called to do,” then assurances to the contrary aren’t quite good enough. You’re a public hazard.
He conveniently left out Jenna Bush, who is very much in the public eye. Why did he do that? He explains that below.

He also leaves out that Barbara Bush has put herself out there. Barbara not only attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in Paris, but she also served as a keynote speaker at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

Jenna's obvious life as a public persona and Barbara's obvious political stances didn't make it into Frank's article. They didn't fit into his preferred narrative.

I haven't looked that far into his other writings, but a quick scroll through his Twitter feed shows propensity to retweet The Young Turks and Michael Tracey. And while that certainly indicates latent misogyny, it also indicates an unhealthy case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Clinton Derangement Syndrome: Candidate for the DSM 6

There was always a part of me that thought that CDS was bullshit, even after years of sitting through my grandparents' Nazarene church services where I was shown videos about Bill Clinton supposedly trafficking drugs through a podunk airport in Arkansas while Hillary Clinton, who was obviously a lesbian, shot her supposed lover -- a man -- in the head and then dragged his body to a public park in Virginia.

No one actually believed that shit -- right?

But they did. And people believed other equally batshit insane things, such as the idea that Bill and Hillary married and made some pact about being joint POTUSes for 16 years straight.

I never considered any of that. When I learned that Bill Clinton brought his brilliant, educated Yankee girlfriend down to Arkansas and that she left great career options to do so, I thought, "Woah, that was stupid. Love is fucking stupid." I made a similar choice, only it ended with me leaving a really great opportunity in writing to work as a corporate peon and spending far too many years with a dude who, as it turned out, was a heroin addict. (Pro tip: Sometimes moving to be with your man won't work out for you. Other times, he becomes POTUS.)

But a lot of people saw all of this as suspect. And a lot of those people were in the media.

Bullying is About the Bully

In 1992, the New York Times published an article by Jeff Gerth about what came to be known as the "Whitewater Scandal." The article got most of the facts wrong, and years of investigation on the matter would prove that, only coming up with an unrelated scandal regarding an affair that Bill Clinton had with an intern.

The New York Times never wanted to accept culpability for this story and its aftermath, not even upon realizing the reporting was bad. Rather than publicly admitting their mistakes and moving on, they made it their goal to prove that the Clintons were as corrupt as they had claimed. None of their reporting of fumes ever came to anything resembling smoke or fire, but, heck, it saved some face and gave them bi-partisan credibility.

It also created a divide between the Clintons and the press that exists to this day. The Clintons, quite understandably, were wary of the press. The press (most of whom were obviously not the NYT), also understandably, became wary of the Clintons because they pushed back on their availability.

Hating TheClintons -- and pushing that together wasn't a typo -- became de rigueur amongst journalists. It became the fashionable thing to do, especially when it became clear to people in the then-establishment DC circles that TheClintons would decline party invitations and nights at the opera to stay home with their kid. They thought it was a rejection. It was considered an insult.

Politically -- at least outside of Arkansas -- Bill and Hillary Clinton were tone deaf. They paid for that. They continue to pay for that.

The New York Times hunts them down because the New York Times is insecure about fucking up so hard 25 years ago. They don't want to admit to having been wrong, so they seek to find the wrongdoing, even if it means paying for rights to the Breitbart-funded "Clinton Cash", talking endlessly about "shadows and optics", and putting numerous stories about Comey's October surprise letter above the fold when there was no "there" there. 

Bullying is Generational

You've seen the Back to the Future series, right? Of course you have. If you haven't, watch it.

If you've watched it, like a proper American, then you know that bullying has a tendency to be passed from one generation to another. And we all know we can trust in the wisdom of the Back to the Future series because it predicted the rise of Donald Trump

And so my hypothesis -- and I believe it is a solid one -- is that journalists have projected their negative feelings about Bill and/or Hillary Clinton onto the one thing is undoubtedly their accomplishment: their daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

There is no other reason to hate their daughter, whom they've taken such care to guard against public scrutiny, to the degree that journalists seem to hate her.

At some point, it became "cool" amongst journalists to shit on the Clintons. Junior staffers sensed that and adopted it as a way to insert themselves into the cool crowd. And with the results of the 2016 election, there are no Clintons in politics to openly shit upon, and they feel aimless and in danger of losing their Cool Kids Club cred. That's why you see random tweets like this:

Chelsea has certainly not earned such vitriol on her own. Her forays into public life -- even her Twitter presence -- has been focused on pushing issues she cares about, not about promoting herself. 

I've known this woman's name for 24 years and still have no idea what her favorite ice cream flavor is. Your snarky tweets and (for whatever reason) published hot takes have very little to do with her and a lot to do about you.

Grow the Fuck Up

It's time to get past your weird Chelsea Clinton obsession and face the reality of what faces us right now, which is a fight for the very soul of our country. What we do -- what we write -- over the next few years is what will define our history. I hope that what we have to say is more important than snarky takes on Chelsea Clinton's children's books. 

Apr 3, 2017

Democrats: Shape Up or Ship Out

This message should not have to be coming to you from some insignificant nothing in Western Pennsylvania. I am not paid to do this. This is why I donate money to you. You're supposed to keep your eye on the ball for me. And you have taken your eye off of it.

While I sat in a cold office watching as my co-workers were taken into an office, one by one, and told that they no longer had jobs -- as I waited for my own time to come to be taken into that office, which thankfully, in this round, did not -- my attention kept slipping from my current predicament to the state of the world and, by extension, the state of the Democratic Party, which is something I shouldn't have to be worried about at such a moment.

You're probably thinking right now that I'm pissed off at The Man, and that I'm upset that you didn't protect me and my co-workers from The Man. You're wrong; that's not it. My situation, unlike a lot of other people's, wasn't brought upon by greed; my co-workers and I are here because of poor management and a lack of insight into the future. We're here because the people who led us spent so much time trying to stay afloat that they grabbed on to every bit of detritus in the general area while failing to look out for the obstacles they faced upriver.

My company was bogged down because we grasped at the weeds. Weeds don't grow to support; weeds grow to take advantage.

Bernie Sanders is a Weed

Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat. Whether or not you think that is a positive is a matter of view, but my point is that he isn't one. Bernie only ran as a Democrat for media coverage. Again, some of you reading this may think of that as a bonus. If you're looking for an essay that celebrates that, this isn't the one for you. I'm writing this for Democrats.

And Democrats should recognize Bernie Sanders for what he is. And Bernie Sanders is an invasive weed that that needs to be removed from the garden before he causes even more damage to us.

The Weed has Already Done Damage

Blah, blah, blah. Hillary ran a bad campaign. Blah, blah, blah. It really wasn't that bad of a campaign. Mistakes were made, as they are in all campaigns. She shouldn't have spread out to Arizona and Texas. She maybe should've spent more time in WI and MI (though, to be clear, the campaign *did* spend time in both of those states).

And I'm not at this point going to blame Bernie Sanders for her loss. Any number of factors could've gone into it. Hell, she would've won without Comey's intervention; the data makes that obvious.

But Bernie doesn't get a pass. Dragging out the primaries as long as he did, well past his date of expiration, made an impact. Dragging them out whilst still painting Hillary Clinton as the pinnacle of government corruption did even more damage. Bernie's failure to give a full-throated endorsement of her did even more damage. Bernie's sour puss at the convention -- and his unwillingness to help get his delegates in line -- did even more damage. And Bernie's several month absence, even with his half-hearted "don't vote Trump" calls at the end, did nothing to help. His wife's tweet reminding people to not necessarily vote as Bernie told them later did not help.

Bernie did nothing to help us. 

The Democratic Party has always been, for the most part of the last half century, a party of collaboration. It's been a large tent full of ideas. It's been a place where blacks, Latinos, Latinas, women (of all colors), atheists, Muslims, Jews, and whites (even those elusive working-class ones!) who hold similar views of civil rights will come together and do their best not fuck each other over. Sometimes someone does get fucked over, but we make a deal not to fuck the others over regardless -- to protect each other. It's an unwritten pact that we keep.

That pact was broken when people like Sanders and Susan Sarandon told us that our suffering was good for some cause, which apparently is all about free college (that many of us won't ever get to) and something about punishing banks.

Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, and Justice Democrats: Salting the Earth

None of these organizations want to work with Democrats to enact change. If they did, that might be a worthy cause.

But they don't want to work with us. All three of these organizations are aimed at overtaking the Democratic party. They want to push a(n overwhelmingly white) vision of socialism forward without doing the work that it takes to build a party from the ground up. They want to use the existing infrastructure of the Democratic Party to push forth their views.

This has been obvious to everyone who has been on social media for the past year. And the narrative has been pushed by Russian bots. Get ahead of it now.

Don't Be Fucking Idiots

You may think it's savvy to let them in now -- I'm addressing you, Chuck Schumer -- but they will do with all of you what they did with Hillary Clinton. You will all be tarred and feathered as corporate establishment whores. They've already started in on Cory Booker just for not backing a nonsensical pharmaceutical bill that was lesser than what he'd signed onto previously. They'll continue to do that. They'll do it to anyone who has decent 2020 prospects. 

And I should add that most Democrats, while you may not have some of Hillary Clinton's baggage, also don't have the 40 years of verifiable social justice work behind you. Almost all of you can be smeared (rightly or wrongly) with banking donations by overzealous populists, but so very few of you have a record like Hillary Clinton's of verifiable social justice work to counter it. That'll make you all the more fucked. You won't be able to win your new 'progressive' friends or your old liberal ones.

Such a shame.

The Enemy of the Enemy: Not Always the Friend

I give you money. Even when I've been at my poorest, I've given you money. A lot of it, because I've believed in you to do the right thing.

The moment you stop protecting my reproductive rights, you get nothing. No money. No volunteering. No support.

And because this is not just about me, you don't get any money or support when you "soften" your views on anything that Our Revolution, DSA, or Justice Democrats derisively term "identity politics."

What they derisively call "identity politics" are civil rights, and they are non-negotiable. 

I'm Serious. We're Serious. 

Civil rights aren't a matter of negotiation as far as our support of the Democratic Party goes. The majority of us have been around the block on this, and we know that submitting our "identity politics" in sacrifice of pure economic advancement gives white dudes happiness and puts the rest of us at a disadvantage.

I, for one, am not going back to a place where I have to live with an abusive, neck-bearded dick in order to not worry about where my next meal is coming from. If I wanted to live in a world like that, I'd have voted for fucking Trump.

Bernie Fucking Lost. Bigly.

Bernie Sanders lost by 4 million votes. It wasn't even close. This wasn't like '08 where Obama had clearly won in delegates but Hillary was hella-close in the popular vote. (And where she, y'know, did 100+ events to get him elected.)

Bernie lost. Handily. He fucking lost.

You're trying to sell out your goddamn base to a guy who lost the primary by 4 million votes just because his voters were louder than Hillary's.


In Conclusion

Yinz haven't thought this through nearly as hard as I have. I can tell, because you put someone who hates Democrats in charge of Democratic outreach.

Ignore, for a moment, all those New York Times articles on Trump voters. Actually, y'know what? Think about those articles.

Four years from now, those voters you're trying to reach -- the ones who, let's be clear, voted for Trump because they don't like brown people -- will realize they've been fucked and will move towards you as long as your arms are out. You don't have to do anything special; you just have to wait and say, "I will try to help you."

Once a quarter of white people in Appalachia realize they have just as little shit as black people in Detroit or Cleveland do, they're ripe for the picking. And they will realize that soon enough.

You don't have to do anything special for that. You don't have to give up civil rights for that. You just wait until the tipping point, and then you exploit.

These are just my views as a lowly peon who lives in Western Pennsylvania and may not even be employed in a month. But I hope a few people will read it, do some research, and take heed, because I don't think I am entirely off base here.

Mar 31, 2017

Joe Biden is Being a Misogynistic Dick

This morning, I woke up to this quote from Joe Biden:
"What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for -- and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," Biden said during an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. "You didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 bucks a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in restaurant."

He added: "And they are making $90,000 and they have two kids and they can't make it and they are scared, they are frightened." (CNN, Joe Biden indirectly knocks Clinton's failed campaign)
I sighed. Joe Biden, like nearly every other Democratic male, had is perpetuating this myth that she lost the working class because she didn't talk about the economy. And then I rolled my eyes, because he's just the latest person to jump on the Hillary-sucks-but-I-woulda-won train.

Disclaimer: No, I don't think Hillary Clinton ran a perfect campaign. 

I'm tired of prefacing everything I say with this, but I have to. If I don't, it's inevitable that someone will hop into the comments section and claim that I'm excusing Hillary Clinton and her team from mistakes she made during the campaign.

I am not. And because you still don't believe me, I'm going to create a list of obvious campaign mistakes. 
  • The campaign was so data-driven that it sometimes forgot that it needed a human touch. No one left leaflets in my neighborhood. No one knocked on my door. I can only assume that they didn't feel it necessary to spend the money because my neighbors and I all fit into textbook Democratic demographics.

    But many of my neighbors forgot to vote or didn't feel their vote was needed. Some contact may have helped that. 
  • They mostly ignored my hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. As a result, the solidly blue area went red for the first time in decades. I'll never understand why they focused more on Luzerne County than on Erie, where the Clintons were beloved (and mostly because they always took time to come to Erie). 
  • They did run too many anti-Trump ads. 
  • They did a great job registering voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, but they didn't make sure the folks they registered had valid photo IDs.

    This is a "hindsight is 20/20 issue." We need to remember this for next time. 
  • They spent money in states they shouldn't have, such as Texas and Arizona, because they wanted a historic win and a mandate. I criticized this when they did it. 

Hillary didn't lose because she didn't talk about the economy. 

Hillary Clinton talked more about the jobs than anything else on the campaign trail. Coming in at a close second was the economy, with mentions of workers and college education not far behind. I was in the overflow* (take that, people who said there was no enthusiasm!) for two of Hillary Clinton's rallies in Pittsburgh, and I can attest to the fact that she spent most of her time in front of the speaker talking about jobs and the economy. She laid out specific policies, and once even mentioned an idea she had of assigning Bill head up a task force dedicated to creating jobs in the Rust Belt/Appalachia. 

Despite the all-too-common rewrite of history, her focus on jobs did reach voters. In fact, Clinton won voters in nearly every state, including the Rust Belt swing states, who cited the economy as their primary issue. She was also considered to be the person most likely to create U.S. jobs.

(She also topped the list of people who claimed foreign policy as their top priority. I'm throwing that in there even though most Americans could give a toss about it.)

Repeat after me: Hillary Clinton did not lose because she had no economic message.

Trump won racists. 

Whereas Hillary Clinton won voters who were most concerned about the economy or foreign policy, Trump won voters were more concerned about immigration and terrorism

No one took exit polls that asked explicit questions about racism. But given the reaction to his rallies, his endorsements by prominent white supremacists, and the uptick of hate crimes following his election, I think we can safely surmise that concerns about "immigration" and "terrorism" translate into a general fear of brown people taking the white man's shit away. I would prefer to have solid data here in order to prove my point, but (1) no one's bothered to collect the data, and (2) most people would just lie if they were asked.

Trump won misogynists, too. (And most misogynists are white.)

Everyone seems intent on ignoring this, but the 2016 race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump resulted in a large gender gap -- the largest since the advent of exit polling. This was mostly white men, of course, although there was a  7-point dip for black males who voted for Hillary versus Obama in '12. (Black women, on the other hand, voted 94% for Hillary versus 96% for Obama in '12 -- well within the margin of error.)

But let's not pretend misogyny is reserved for men. White women voted 53% for Trump versus 43% for Clinton. And that's also the biggest gap between people who voted for one of the main candidates versus people who voted for another. What does that tell me? Well, I can't say for certain, but it indicates that a lot of white women couldn't bring themselves to vote for Trump, but they also couldn't bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

I have no concrete explanations for why white women voted the way they did. I only have a hypothesis, which I constructed from my own experience as a white woman who grew up in the Rust Belt. My hypothesis is that many white women were not raised to recognize their own value -- that many were raised to see themselves as inherently inferior to men.

Black women don't have the inferiority problem that white women have; black women are far more likely to aspire to powerful positions than white women. I haven't studied the underlying reasons for that, but it's certainly a trend. And it's a trend that makes black women the most educated group in the United States of America. It's also a trend that allows 94% of black women to apologetically vote for a female candidate while only 43% of white women can bring themselves to do so.

But more white men voted for Obama than Hillary! 

Yeah, because Obama still had a dick. You don't get a Get Out of Misogyny Free card because you voted for a black man. All that means to me is that there was a small percentage of white dudes who weren't racists but are misogynists.

Racism and misogyny are very closely related, but they're not the same thing. You can think women are equal to you and still be a racist. You can think races are equal and still think that women of any race are lesser than you are.

Yes, I'm sure that if you were asked to fill out a survey, you'd totally say that you'd vote for a woman. That's a lot easier in theory than it is in practice. I'm sure you honestly think that you'd vote for Tulsi Gabbard or Elizabeth Warren if they ran -- and I'm sure a couple of you would -- but for most of you, they are girlfriends in Canada. Take not of this: Elizabeth Warren is now free to run for POTUS, but I haven't heard any neckbeards lift her up as their next leader.

Back to Joe Biden: He's being really unfair to Hillary. 

During the primaries, in the first months of 2016, Joe Biden criticized both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for being "too negative" about our current situation. (I don't have a link right now, but I will find it.)

I imagine that what Joe Biden meant by this was that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders weren't giving Barack Obama and Joe Biden enough credit for what they had accomplished over the past 7 years. I'd argue that, in Hillary's case, he was wrong; she rode very close to Obama's record and simply improving upon it. Bernie...well, Bernie did run against what Obama and Biden had accomplished.

But let's forget Bernie in this. He's not relevant to the current discussion. The important thing is that, back in early 2016, Biden didn't want to hear any criticism of the Obama administration. He wanted to hear that all was well and great, and that the person who won would just carry on the torch.

I'd argue that Hillary Clinton did just that. She took great care not to disparage the Obama/Biden team on anything, even in places where she should have (such as foreign policy). She ran on continuing Obama's (and by extension Biden's) legacy.

There were flaws in that legacy.

No one wants to hear it -- everyone wants to pretend that Obama and Biden were absolute perfection -- but they weren't. No one is.

Obama and Biden didn't sell their accomplishments. And that's on them. 

Hillary Clinton ran on the idea that she'd be Obama's third term, at least on the domestic front (which is what Americans care about). She would continue his legacy. She's continue his path on the economy. And she'd save Obamacare.

But it turns out no one knew what the fuck Obamacare was. The white working class in the Rust Belt only became concerned about it within the last couple of months, because this was the first time they realized they were the recipients of Obamacare. Thanks to an extended propaganda campaign set forth by Fox News and other right-wing outlets, they thought that the Affordable Care Act was some existing thing that aided them while Obamacare was something that just insured black people with their tax dollars.

My own mother -- a staunch Democrat with three jobs who lives very, very slightly over that fine line between poverty and the working poor -- thought that she'd have to pay $600 in penalties this year because she couldn't afford anything in the insurance exchange but made just a few hundred dollars too much to qualify for Medicaid (next year, she will be eligible for Medicare). She didn't realize she was exempt and had no idea where she'd get the money to pay the penalty. I had to explain it to her, as someone who works in insurance, and she still didn't believe me until she did her taxes.

My mother also had no idea how to sign up for the ACA. She's 64 and technology averse. If my siblings hadn't lived close to her, she'd have never visited the site to even know she couldn't afford anything in the exchange. She had no idea where to go to sign up. She had no one to talk to about her fears of having to pay the penalty.

Obamacare -- the Affordable Care Act, because those are synonymous -- is a great accomplishment. But it needs to be improved upon. And it was a massive failure on the part of the Obama administration that Fox was allowed to get away with propaganda that split the Affordable Care Act from Obamacare. And it was a massive failure on the part of the Obama administration that they didn't inform people like my mother that (1) there were places they could go to help them navigate the insurance exchange and that (2) they wouldn't be penalized if they couldn't afford it.

Hillary campaigned on saving Obamacare/ACA. But it's not her fault that people didn't know what that was. The Obama administration had seven years to inform people, to sell it, whereas she had just a few months. 

That's a fuck up that Biden needs to own, because it was a factor in this election.

But Biden/Bernie would've won!

Possibly. But if they had, it would've been because they have dicks.

Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton, voted for the Iraq war. But unlike Hillary Clinton, he didn't cast his vote with a strong speech about his reservations, hoping that it was just a strong-arm tactic to get Iraq to acquiesce to UN inspectors. And Bernie Sanders has had no issue supporting funding for wars, and Bernie's willing to fund an expensive (and fiscally fruitless) plan for a new airplane as long as it's built in Vermont.

Joe Biden wrote the infamous '94 crime bill that Bill Clinton signed, Bernie Sanders voted for, and Hillary Clinton gave a speech for. Joe Biden was also instrumental in the disparity between crack and powder cocaine

Bernie Sanders? Well, Bernie wanted to end the disparity between crack and powder cocaine, but by raising the offense of powder cocaine to meet the penalty for crack cocaine.

I don't think Clinton (Bill or Hill), Biden, or Sanders deserve blame for the '94 crime bill. If you had been alive and socially conscious at that time (which I was, even at the tender age of 13), you'd know that this was something that was demanded by the people. And it was supported by blacks -- and the majority of the CBC -- as their communities were the ones being targeted at this time. No one on the left meant to do harm with that bill; it wasn't some grand conspiracy to imprison black men (Why would Democrats write a bill that kept an important part of their base from voting? That would be fucking moronic.). It just...happened.

(I recommend David Simon's "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"and David Simon's "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood" for more insight into what created the crime bill and then what became its disastrous results.)

Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders have all committed similar "crimes". The things I'm told that made Hillary un-electable are present in both of the men who'd have supposedly won.

Men never, ever fucking listen to us. 

I've blathered on and on, but I think I've made my point here: Everyone has been willing to forgive Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden things that they would not forgive Hillary Clinton for.

And so it comes down to likability. Bernie was more lovable, you say. Bernie was passionate; Hillary was screechy. Biden says what he means; Hillary was always scripted. But Hillary made stupid gaffes, like saying that many of Trump's voters should be sent into a basket of deplorables. Bernie and Joe, of course, may have thought such things, but they'd never have been stupid enough to say them.

Fuck, why can't Hillary just say what she means unless saying what she means isn't what we on the far-left and what Republicans want to listen to? Like, why does this chick keep saying things we don't want to hear (such as "health care is hard") instead of things we want to hear (such as "we can totally make single-payer happen in 2 years), and then going off and telling the other side things they don't want to hear (such as a lot of them are responding to racism)?

Note: She was saying what she meant and giving you a realistic view of what she thought she might accomplish, and you just didn't want to hear it.

So it goes....

This is what it is to be a woman, whether men want to believe it or not. I've come to accept that, which is really fucking sad.

Men rarely listen to what we actually have to say. While we're talking, they're sitting on the sidelines thinking about what they'll chime in with after we're done talking -- if they even bother to wait that long.

If they'd paid any attention at all, Hillary Clinton talked about the economy, about workers, and about the middle class constantly. Constantly. The data proves that she did. But men didn't want to hear that. They were sitting back, waiting for their chance to speak, and they occasionally just caught on to things they didn't want to hear, such as "equality", "white privilege", and "equality for women is the unfinished business of the 21st Century."

Fuck you, I've decided not to accept that anymore. 

In spite of what I said in the last section, I do not accept your misogynistic bullshit. I recognize it. I've acknowledged it as a fundamental part of the 2016 election. But I do NOT accept it.

Fuck that.

Fuck you.

Expect me. Expect us. 

Mar 2, 2017

To All the Little Girls

"And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams." ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton, 11/09/2016

I have two nieces, one nearly three and the other nearly nine months, and every day I'm grateful that they're too young to be conscious of the world as it is today. Someday, I'll talk to them about the 2016 election. But by then those will just be some stories relayed to them by their eccentric auntie who just doesn't get what the world is like in 2030, with its second female president -- who is, by the way, the third black president -- and its easy access to birth control and work opportunities for young women.

That's my hope, anyway. It's my wish that by the time my nieces are old enough to roll their eyes at my stories that there will be a reason for it other than teenage angst.

But wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up first. (That's a bit of wisdom from the girls' grandpa that I'll be sure to relay to them.)

The truth is that the future doesn't look so good now for women. The truth is that the present turned out to be less hospitable to women than we assumed it was. The truth is that, in the United States in the year 2016, we thought we could elect a female president when we couldn't. The truth is that we underestimated the deep-seated misogyny that existed in our culture. The truth is that we did that after underestimating the deep-seated racism that existed in our culture. The truth is that the combination of misogyny and racism led to a President Donald Trump.

And the truth is that too many of us were lulled into a false sense of complacency on both fronts that allowed too many of us to ignore what was coming.

This specific post, however, is for women -- and to all the little girls of this moment in time who will someday become women.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't forget that you have not, throughout history, been considered equal.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't let anyone tell you that you are equal until you see evidence of your equality.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't forget about the other people who have not been considered equal.

And to all the little girls who will someday become women, fight to make this a better United States of America than the one we left for you.

Mar 1, 2017

Pardon My Mess

I had this template sitting here from long, long ago -- in the before time -- so I'm just using it. I will change it in the future.

Or maybe I won't. At the rate we're going, we may not even have a future.

So, yeah, just read the words and ignore the design. My apologies to the alien visitors who find a way to read this thousands of years from now.