Years after Billie Jean King wiped the Astrodome floor with Bobby Riggs, NBC allowed (perhaps even encouraged?) Collins to compile "Bud's Beauties" segments to profile the most slammin' babes competing at Wimbledon. Even after protests from feminist tennis fans and others brought the segments to a halt, Collins continued to serve as a color analyst for major tournaments. Was he chastened by the outcry? This piece that Collins contributed to the Guardian ten years ago suggests otherwise. It's downright icky. I agree that all that grunting and howling makes tennis difficult to watch, whether from women or men, but OMFG. Reading it brought back memories of his cringeworthy comment during a match about "the grunt of King and the squeak of [15-year-old Tracey] Austin!"
These televised descents into creepiness made up only a small, regrettable portion of Collins's contribution to the game. The quality of his writing was at times superb, bordering on poetic, and he was almost as Damon Runyan–esque when speaking off the cuff. He advocated for equal pay and respect for women, at least in professional tennis. Feminist icons like BJK lionized him and considered him a personal friend.
Now what does this slog down memory lane have to do with the headline for this entry? It was not designed as a lead-in to a rant about the aforementioned brouhaha, but to feelings that arise when reading PDiddie's two items (one and two) about progressive Democrats filing to run for office in 2018.
Don't think for a minute that I'm even suggesting that PD & Bud have anything in common. Srsly, don't even look in that direction. But it's worth noting that very little in politics, entertainment, sport, or journalism should be taken at face value (unless you're Phil Collins, I suppose).
A little like Bud Collins waxing rhapsodic about Maria Sharapova's well-toned glutes, PD seems genuinely excited about Democratic candidates whose positions seem genuinely progressive. His excitement is infectious—or perhaps that's just the empath in me feeling what PD feels.
At least one of these Democratic prospects, US Senate candidate Sema Hernandez, even states outright that she is a socialist. It's enough of an anomaly even to draw Lee Camp's attention on Twitter (via here interview with Tim Black).
One wonders, because one is given to cynicism about such matters, whether each of these candidates is:
- a true progressive who checks off all the left boxes;
- a Sanders progressive swings a socialist hammer on domestic and economic issues but is milquetoasty on the morally repugnant US foreign policy; or
- a cagey Democrat betting that 2018 will be the year of a progressive rebellion within the Democratic Party and hoping to ride that wave.
One also wonders, because one has identified as a Green for far too long, why these people haven't long abandoned the Democratic Party and brought their talents to the Green team. Even if the progressive rebellion happens, it isn't a question of whether the Democratic establishment will actively fight against it, but of how hard and how dirty it will fight.
Since some of these folks are running for county and state offices, it's hardly appropriate for them to pitch a fit about US military aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia on their websites. But if you ask Tom Wakely—whom Diddie calls "a reincarnation of my favorite Texas politico ever, David Van Os"—his position on Yemen, I expect a nuanced denunciation of the Saudi bombing campaign and the US role in supporting it, something that goes well beyond progressive talking points.
It's a #DemEnter Thing
Even if all these progressive Democrats do is make a lot of noise, and fail to win nominations, and even if they aren't progressive enough to make me Blue Anew, together they can accomplish something important. Primarily (pardon the pun), when the corporate wing of the party crushes the progressive uprising, I expect them to document for the world just how resistant their party is to progressive ideas and those who embody them.
That's the beauty of combining the tactics of DemEnter and DemExit, when it moves from a hashtag to actuality. DemExit: Millions of us are fed up, refusing to play by the duopoly's rules, and either voting third-party or giving up on the process. DemEnter: Those who have the stomach to beat their heads against the wall of corporate money are welcome to do so; they can then use the experience as evidence of non-support, neglect, or open hostility from party regulars to indict the Democratic Party and the whole rotten system.
At the top of the Democratic Primary ticket, Hernandez has less than three months to get her name known as a challenger to front-runner Rep. Beto O'Rourke for the Senate nomination, a superior alternative who puts populist passion over platitudes.
Will Hernandez be the straw that breaks my 20-year streak of not voting in Democratic primaries, preventing me from signing the Greens' ballot access petition? Highly unlikely. Am I categorically ruling it out? Nope. A lot can happen between now and the 6 March primary. If, between 13 March and Memorial Day, I collect hundreds of signatures from those who haven't cast a primary vote, the number I gather would far outweigh my missing one.