First, an apology to my dozen or so regular readers. My intentions for this blog in 2019 have fallen into disarray. I have been posting only sporadically, mostly because I find myself with less time to write, or even to read the stack of books on my bedside table, and even less time to think deeply about what to write. Work, home life, and artistic endeavors have made my plate fuller than usual thus far, not that that's a bad thing in itself.
In re-reading recent posts, it has not escaped my attention that my attention has focused on some Democratic politicians. Why would this longtime Green even care about the political ambitions and positions of Reps. Gabbard and Ocasio-Cortez? It's not because I'm a middle-aged white dude with a thing for attractive young women who can talk intelligently about matters of policy. (I'll candidly admit to heavy long-term crushes on Abby Martin and Eleanor Goldfield, but those two are NOT Democrats and that's NOT the explanation.)
The best answer I can offer to that is that the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party has fascinated me from a distance. Can this ethnically diverse, mostly young freshman cohort swim against the tide and pull their party back to the left? Can they get their agenda past the neoliberal gatekeepers in the Capitol?
There was a reason—well, several—for my giving up on the Democratic Party more than 20 years ago. If anything, Team Donkey has become more corporatized and corrupted than it was when President Clinton took his political triangulation performance art to DC. I'm not exactly optimistic about a party that Sen. Joe Manchin can call home even trying to dismantle late-stage capitalism and all its feudalist tendencies.
But I'm rooting for that outcome anyway. Socialism or barbarism, y'all.
This is just a quick one, without any ponderous pondering. Common Dreams has a an article or an opinion piece involving Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez almost every day. Two recent pieces about her Madd Twitter Skillz have caught my eye: this one and this one. And almost every time there's a teaser about an AOC item, I click through.
While I'm under no illusions that Alex from the Bronx is a dyed-in-the-wool Democratic socialist or the Millennial political savior for US Progressives, she is a phenomenon well worth watching. Seeing how Republican legislators respond to her very presence in the House and her public statements interests me. Seeing how members of her own party respond—not just her colleagues in Congress, but other high-profile liberals as well--fascinates me. (See Mike Figueredo's analysis of Whoopi Goldberg's gentle condescension below.)
AOC fits into my "public service" model of political figures. Her progressive stances on various issues contrast sharply with those of the corporate Democrats in Congress. Progressives who somehow break through the neoliberal wall and get elected, or even get regular allotments of TV time, provide a public service by showing just how corporatist the Democratic Party leadership has become.
In public appearances with AOC, establishment Democrats twitch uncomfortably, worried that she might start talking about Green New Deals and Medicare for All. In op-eds, they whip out adjectives like naive and unrealistic, or more diplomatic equivalents.
AOC may be 28, and not as well schooled in How Things Work in DC as her colleagues. But she knows one very important and undeniable fact: Shit is fucked up, and it's up to ordinary people to fix that. Elected representatives won't do the right thing until the people force them to. The corporate Dems need to get used to that ASAP.
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still all over the news, and Edie has been paying attention to AOC's evolution from outsider to Democratic back-bench Congresscritter. She doesn't like what she sees. She has asked me to withdraw her laudatory essay from a few weeks ago and replace it with this one, which also has plenty to say about Senator Bernard Sanders (Independent, sorta, from Vermont).
This essay rambles a bit, but Edie assures me that it rambled more before she cut it from 16,000-plus words to fewer than 4,000. I have omitted almost all the photos and other graphics that Edie lovingly inserted into the original document. Saving them and inserting them here is more work than I can manage right now without risking repetitive motion injury.
Disclaimer: I don't agree with all of it, but I present it for your consideration.
Desperately Seeking Bernie's Balls
Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have faithfully and dutifully taken up the Democratic Party’s mantra: "You have no choice; you have nowhere to go: it’s either us or the Republicans. T.I.N.A.: 'There Is No Alternative.'”
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez can head up a third party movement and, in doing so, they can free electoral politics from the two-party stranglehold. But they refuse to do that.
Click here for an amazing video [from Jimmy Dore]. It begins with Bernie Sanders back in the 1990s arguing passionately for a third party movement. Then we hear from the all-new version of Bernie Sanders—the 2018 version of Bernie Sanders—arguing, just as passionately, against a third party movement.
His own words identify him as a sellout.
What Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are saying to those on their left is: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with us.” Which is the same thing Hillary Clinton said to those on her left when she ran for president in 2008 and 2016: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with me.”
As far as the Democratic Party is concerned, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are safe. They’re in the fold. Wanna hear a joke? Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claim they’re socialists. Please! That doesn’t pass The Gag Test. Like the Democratic Socialists of America, they use the label of socialism to advance politically. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA are socialists like my Uncle Dominic wears a bra and poses for Playboy. They’re not about to rock the boat. They’ve been neutered.
Bernie Sanders isn’t a socialist, he isn’t a radical and he isn’t a revolutionary. As Alexander Cockburn, one of the co-founders of Counter Punch, put it:
Bernie Sanders, the hot air factory from Vermont, wouldn’t know a revolution if it stood up and bit him in the ass.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.