How did we miss that verse in the Book of Revelation, the one that warned us against voting-in the Apocalypse? America’s own democratic process had the power to usher in the era of the AntiChrist, who knew? I guess we all know now.
And as I watched the ascent of Blonde Lucifer, I shuttered my Facebook account. Considering what we were in for, I felt I didn’t have a choice.
My ten-ish years on Facebook were a textbook case of “online rage.” My rants began as soon as I signed-up for the service, at the end of the George W. Bush administration, and rocketed to Defcon 1 during the height of the Tea Party/Obama years — because sometimes you just gotta get loud about injustice, while you sit at your computer screen alone late at night, as your friends watch from the other side of the glass, until all of your acquaintances have blocked you, and all that’s left is the embarrassment.
To my good fortune, half of my friends are forgiving, and most — if not all those of the conservative ilk — stuck it out through my decade’s worth of oversized diatribes. A few even tossed a few bucks into my guitar case (in FB currency, a “Like”). Yet I lost half of this remaining group when I took sides during the heated Democratic primary. Once allies turned foes. Expressing my every political thought proved more destructive than cathartic. And too late I learned that sometimes it’s best to slip your hands into your pockets and step away from social media. Thus this post.
Brother Against Brother (non-gender specific) : Circa 2016.
I’ve been around a while. But I can’t remember a bloodier primary than the Democratic primary of 2016. Okay **awkward** there was that other primary. Eight years ago. Also with Hillary. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, this year:
From late 2015 to the Democratic Convention and on through November’s election, the accusations flew like a non-stop barrage of fiery arrows between Bernie Sanders supporters and those Democrats who backed Hillary Clinton. The barbs (some true, some patently false) weren’t only over issues but also character. And character assassinations can hit the hardest, and they can last the longest, especially when on one side of that argument is a class of people who have been victimized since the start of recorded history — literally, the start of recorded history. We’re not talking color here. We’re talking gender.
But in 2008 came a small token to women from the gods: A woman ran for President of the United States. No, she wasn’t the first, but Hillary Clinton was the first with a shot at winning. At long last, a bullet was aimed at the center of the thickest glass ceiling in the world. Women’s time had come. And for women of a certain age, a female candidate for the highest office in the land was the fulfillment of a lifelong pipe dream. But before that dream was fulfilled, another long-discarded minority entered the primary. (I know women aren’t technically a minority, but they’re treated like one.) And that candidate, yet another male, pushed past Hillary and won the nomination. Barack Obama then made his way to the White House — the first African-American president. And that, too, had been a long time coming, and even Clinton supporters celebrated. “It was about time.” So women again waited. Until 2016.
There was no African-American opposition in 2016. Just an old Jew. And old Jewish men lack the same cachet as handsome black Ivy Leaguers, and lack the same groundswell of support as do women, so Hillary’s nomination appeared a gimme. It was not. Despite no large donors at his disposal and the entirety of the Democratic Party opposing him, Bernie Sanders’ pure liberal message brought him old hippies and underemployed factory workers, high tech coders and cash-strapped millennials, and their youthful energy and middle class desperation drove that old man to within striking distance of the party’s chosen contender. Faced with his challenge, Hillary and the DNC were unrelenting as they fought like hell to hold Bernie and his supporters at bay. And they succeeded. 2016 was, despite the unexpectedly fierce battle, Hillary’s time. Her foolish Republican opponent made that ever more clear. Her glide path was set. All she had to do was stick the landing. But that did not happen.
Books have already been written about Hillary Clinton’s run — about her inability to effectively convey a winning message (hers was well-prepared but ill-timed for this populist era), about the mismanagement of her campaign, about its arrogance, about her presumption in not going hard for those last few votes in swing states. Notice I’m not discussing Donald Trump’s “fantastic” campaign, nor his win. 2016 wasn’t about his electoral college victory. For Hillary’s supporters, it was about her loss.
Loss can fuck with you, especially when you had the win in your handbag. But it’s worse when you lose to a narcissistic misogynistic pussy-grabbing clown. Our new president.
I migrated to Twitter when I bailed on Facebook. Twitter is a better fit for me for three reasons:
- I connect with few friends on Twitter. There’s less opportunity to humiliate myself before people I know.
- Twitter is less “Isn’t this photo of my child/my dog/somebody’s dog the most precious thing you’ve ever seen?” and more “Fuck you, you narrow-minded prick.”
- A 140 character limit limits my rants to, well, less than a dozen dozen characters. And that, like a good stiff drink, forces me to calm down and ask myself if I wanted to use my limited real estate to shred strangers or to make a positive statement that might help the cause. (And to maybe toss a little snark. I like tossing snark.) Increasingly, my choice has been to “occasionally” tweet something “relatively” positive.
These are the political facts in the world within which I tweet:
- Donald Trump won the electoral college in 2016.
- Trump’s damage will be limited if Democrats can wrangle back the House in 2018.
- If Democrats win big in 2020, we could in 2021 hold the same cards the GOP holds today: White House, Senate and House.
- If we win bigger in 2020, we will get to redraw congressional districts, and that could facilitate us holding the House for the next decade.
But a Democratic return to power can only happen if Centrists and Liberals mend their wounds. And that’s far from a given.
Twitter, like I mentioned, harbors few friends of mine. I, instead, surf this wave with strangers from both sides of the Democratic schism. And the bloodshed they’re leveling is splattered everywhere, and rooted in attitudes that are dark, vicious, stupid. Hillary supporters accuse “Bernie Bros” of racism and misogyny and of costing her a November win. Bernie Bros accuse “HillBots” of cheating during the primary and willfully supporting a corporate shill — and of exhibiting a general degree of nastiness (a badge Hillary supporters have, since Elizabeth Warren’s defiance of Mitch McConnell, worn with pride). The animosity is razor sharp. The two sides have reached a point on social media where the mere mention of which primary candidate one supported triggers abuse. Attacks are petty and are childlike — and uncomfortably reminiscent of our toddler president — as Bernie Bros threaten to start a third party and HillBots tell them that they would actually prefer that they leave, as if the DNC doesn’t need every damned vote it can get. This non-stop pathos risks both the 2018 and 2020 elections.
It’s time to wake-up.
Bernie Bros and HillBots share or are kissing distance apart on most policy positions. (Some HillBots pointed this out before the general election in their attempt to bring Bernie Bros on-board Hillary’s campaign.) But in the post-2016 world, those shared beliefs no longer matter to hardcore partisans. They should. Because our failure to step up to the plate en masse in 2018 will give Donald Trump two more years of unencumbered rule, and a 2020 loss would expand his tenure to eight straight years, and would give Republicans the House for a comfortable ten more years of legislative control. And then there’s the Supreme Court.
It’s time for Centrists and Liberals to come together. It’s time to sit at the table and address our common goals and compromise on those concerns we do not share — because our planet is warming, because international tensions are growing ever hotter, and because the poor and middle classes can’t survive GOP rule much longer. Not to sound overly dramatic, but the end is nigh.