My Issue With Bernie Sanders

 

When it came time to cast vote in the Texas primary I made it no secret that I was voting for Bernie Sanders. This wasn’t out of some attempt to say Hillary wasn’t good enough, in fact she was easily more qualified on paper and I was pretty sure she would be our next president or, at the very least, that she would win the nomination.

We expected a run between Jeb and Hillary. Those were the people that the parties wanted to support going in and I can’t really remember if Jeb was still in the race by the time it came our turn to send the conventions our pick for candidates.

But I liked what I heard about Sanders and what he was saying. I thought that his ideas deserved some looking at and I thought that, maybe without the racist sentiment that haunted Obama we could sustain some of the policies that had managed to come out of the last presidency and build on to them. We had fought pretty hard for healthcare and equal rights over the last eight years, after all.

Looking back over the nine months since the inauguration of Trump and seeing the split in the Democratic Party, I’m willing to admit that I was wrong. The different things about Sanders that keep piling up at best make him out to be someone who kind of wants to fight some of the good fight, but that’s okay with those who support him engaging in terrible stuff to get there. At worst he’s actually a sheep in wolf’s clothing that attempted to use the Democratic Party as a stepping stone to build his own party with a platform of some progressive policies. I say “some” like that because his calling Planned Parenthood part of the “establishment” and his endorsement of an anti-abortion candidate paint him as a little less on the progressive end of the spectrum when it comes to women’s issues. Which is what brought this whole thing up because he is the opening speaker at the Women’s March and people are asking why.

Back in late November he also slammed what he called “identity politics” (which is a phrase I take a bit of issue with — more on that later). On Twitter and Facebook whenever there is a discussion about politics there’s no shortage of people popping up to tell you how Sanders speaks for them, even when they claim to fall under the umbrella of policies that he seems to be willing to shed in order to look more appealing.

There in-fighting that plagues the Democratic Party right now boils down to a fight about what happened. Hillary Clinton, a woman who has been in the political spotlight almost all my life, lost an election that she shouldn’t have. Some people think Bernie would have stood a better chance, even though Bernie didn’t win the primaries, even if he was pulling votes from people on the fence about Trump. The fact of the matter is that if you asked me who Bernie Sanders was in 2014 I wouldn’t know who the Hell you were talking about. Clinton has put in the work over the years trying to get healthcare reform, working at the national and state levels of government and more often than not pushing for policies that I agree with and that a lot of people seem to agree with in the Democratic Party. Most of the hate for her extends from leftover ammunition that was loaded into the gun of the Right Wing political machine that has only grown more nefarious with the rise of Breitbart and the proliferation of Fox News.

Bernie Sanders might not have loaded that gun himself, but he used it as cover fire where he could. He drew from their playbook in criticizing Clinton and when things didn’t go his way he attempted to march on Washington. He’s even attempted to hijack the party itself, a party that he really isn’t part of. He’s stolen the spotlight from Randall Woodfin, a black mayoral candidate that won an election in the Deep South who was a Hillary supporter and who ran a pretty successful campaign before Sanders’ group’s involvement. Overall Sanders backed candidates are losing, but you wouldn’t know that from the sound of things in the media. It’s like Sanders can do no wrong.

Another part of my problem with Sanders is the tone of some of the support he gets. It seems like some of it comes from alt-right types that just couldn’t get behind the blatant idiocy of Trump. You see a bit of that Gamer-Gate-Intellectual-Atheist crowd showing up to debate about free speech without seeming to realize that free speech doesn’t mean what they think. People who punch actual Nazis in the face aren’t violating the first amendment. And angry that people protest “anti-identity politics” speakers on college campuses aren’t either no matter what fucking Bill Maher says.

Well, there’s the problem. Identity politics is a conservative issue too. When you look at the fight over Confederate statues that’s tied to a racial identity in the South that has huge roots reaching back to slavery, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights era. The Christian identity of the country is another hot button issue for conservatives. So this idea that it’s impossible to win elections when drawing praise from these things just doesn’t hold water. One entire political party does it and the parts of that party that don’t identify with those things ignore the parts they don’t like.

I don’t think Sanders deserved the nomination and I don’t think that he could have won. I don’t have any solid proof of that, but neither do the people claiming he would have coasted to victory. This country is racist enough against Jews that even we denied them Visas during WWII and it’s still racist enough that there’s never been a Jewish president and you can still find countless people peddling bullshit theories about the Jews doing evil things. A guy at Starbucks came up and started talking to me about Jewish mind control. That’s not even a rare thing.

And I don’t blame Sanders for the entire election loss. There is a lot things that went wrong including voter suppression, Russian intervention in the process and propaganda, and Hillary’s own decisions to campaign in certain places over others. But I do believe that Sanders being slow to back her and his march on Washington during the DNC had some affect and I think that now his attempt to gain popularity runs the risk of costing Democrats the 2018 mid-term and the possibility of Trump getting elected to a second term.

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Pornography is Media too and it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

A woman who has her reputation built in the pornography and sex industry has come out in support some troubling things. Jenna Jameson, who had earlier backed Trump, defended the KKK and spoke out about the “Muslim rape gangs overrunning Sweden” on Twitter.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with selling sex, pornography, or even prostitution in theory–but there seems to be a long history of people exploiting women rather than empowering them in these industries and in the case of porn, there’s a long history of racism, in fact there’s enough of it that it’s probably the only thing you can Google with the word “porn” in it and not find actual porn on the first page. Here’s another link for the sake of having it here.

 

No one should be saying that she doesn’t have the right to an opinion. I don’t believe in the argument against celebrities stepping into the limelight to voice their problem with something in the country. After all, they’re citizens the same way we are, the things that plague our country affect them and their children and families.

The issue I have with this is it all seems kind of odd what she’s defending. The KKK, the extremist wings of the Christian Right, the Alt-Right and their band of Neo-Nazis propped up by the likes of Breitbart are the same people who claim women don’t have a voice or claim that women are worthless. Remember that there was some claim that women voting was part of the problem when it looked to most people like Trump was going to lose.

I don’t think that it’s a hard line connecting the racism of the sex industry with the racism of one of it’s workers. Every person in an organization doesn’t have to subscribe to the tenants of where they work. But doesn’t it feel odd that one of the favorite insults of the Alt-Right Gamer Gate types has it’s roots in porn where a white man watches as his wife is taken and used by a black man (we’re talking about the word “cuck” here)? Doesn’t it feel like something is up when the men who label porn online can’t seem to stop referring to the women as sluts, whores, cunts, or whatever else long enough to write a title?

We talk about attitudes about race being affected by the entertainment we intake. Minorities being normalized by appearing in normal roles in television shows and movies and books. Movies still get blasted when they change the race of a character in a way that might be perceived as more “PC” or even when roles are written from scratch and cast with minorities in mind.

These things aren’t brought up in reference to pornography though. The advent of the internet brought with it the unexpected golden age of porn. Where someone fifteen years older than me grew up hiding crinkled images stolen from an old magazine in a lock box a teen in the early 2000s  could find a treasure trove of pictures just by typing a misspelled “pussie” into his search bar. There is already talk about what that does to a kid sexually, but what about what it adds to their view of other races and sex?

Look at the front page of a porn site’s long list of categories. Click through some even. It’s hard to find a video of someone black having sex where their blackness isn’t what the video uses as a selling point. The same can be said about other types of people too. Everyone is broken down by category. Blondes. Redheads. Chubby. MILF. But finding a black couple is like finding a four leafed clover and when your view of sex and relationships is shaped partially by porn from a young age (which it shouldn’t be in the first place) everything in porn is telling you “these people aren’t the norm”.

Now, does this shit doesn’t really matter? The good porn is on Tumblr or Reddit anyway and it’s made by regular people who are brave enough to put themselves out there, not an industry that’s breaking everyone down into categories…but then what about this generation? The one right now. People younger than thirty-five and in middle-class America grew up on this. Shaved genitals have become such a big thing that crabs are almost gone and that came about around the time the internet showed us that women are supposed to look like Barbie Dolls down there. Porn might even be changing how we feel about sex.

If it can do all that, why would we say it can’t have an affect on the kind of couples we see as normal? Why does it matter that a woman with more than 35 Adult Video Awards to her name is saying racist shit on Twitter? We don’t exist in a vacuum and, like it or not, the things we intake do have some effect on us. Did porn make Jenna Jameson racist? I can’t say one way or another. But being told that you’re more valuable than someone as a performer because of their color of your skin seems like it is the kind of thing that might start to sink in after a while.

Scared For The Future of My Country

I’ve been stressed. I stopped by Wendy’s earlier and couldn’t finish a medium meal, which is not normal for me. Sleep is hard to come by and in the mornings I’m awake but don’t want to get up.

I lay in bed on my phone talking to friends and trying to avoid the bad news on sites like Reddit or Facebook. I throw on the MBMBAM podcast, but part of the way through I realized I’ve zoned out and don’t know what they’re laughing at. I missed the entirety of the last goof.

Work is surprising in that it is calming. No one really brings up the outside issues there and not many people really talk to me. I kind of like it that way. But the fact of the matter is it’s an election year and the things coming out of this election are causing me to be really afraid for my country.

Think that a few years ago a statement about binders of women or a weird scream was enough to get you flack. I miss the days of Bush and Romney when I look at the candidate that people have chosen to support.

There’s such an undercurrent of hatred in this election and the odd thing is that the guy stirring it up is somehow saying he’s the victim. He’s calling Mexicans rapists and bragging about sexual assault. He’s saying he wants to bring back unconstitutional stop and frisk laws and that he wants to default on our debt (which puts the world economy at risk). He’s asking why we don’t use nukes more often.

Notice I didn’t cite any of that. Mostly because it doesn’t matter. I’m on a phone and I won’t waste my time making the buggy copy paste system work for people who either know all that already or refuse to believe it. Even though it’s fact. It’s recorded that Trump has said these things; we’ve become anti-fact.

And the thing is what he’s taken advantage of scares me as much as Trump, because it will continue win or lose. There’s not really a chance for a conversation with people who are threatening to commit acts of terror against foreigners or “grab their musket” if they don’t get their way.

I’m thinking maybe America isn’t the place for me and a lot of people seem to not want people like me here. I’m thinking maybe this doesn’t get better after this.

Since people question my personhood still of ponder the idea of women not being able to vote can we really even say that we tried?

Tay Tweets and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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I consider myself a veteran of the internet; I can remember a time when 4chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and rotten.com were the barometers of what it meant to be desensitized on the internet.

Being desensitized meant something. It was one of the first cultural movements on the internet that meant something and early on in the chat rooms and bulletin boards of old I distinctly remember being told “it’s just the internet” and “you’re being too sensitive.” When I was thirteen or fourteen I felt the most grown up thing I could do was care less…and see a vagina.

Those two things shaped a lot of early interaction online and it took a few years for the internet to move from being a thing social outcasts, deviants, and nerds did to the thing we basically carry access to on our persons at all times. That culture of the internet is entrenched now: desensitization and a lack of care for the feelings of others. It’s part of my internet upbringing and it’s why when I first heard about Tay Tweets and read how she declared that the “Jews did 9/11” after being online less than a day I couldn’t stop laughing.

Brief explanation: Tay Tweets refers to a Twitter based artificial intelligence that Microsoft created as a test to help them with customer interaction software. She was designed to speak like a teen girl and learn from those who spoke to her. Microsoft encouraged the internet to talk to her…and they did.

You would have thought the people who have had more than a decade of X-Box Live conversations behind them would have realized the kind of people that are on this thing.

The laughing stopped when I realized we’re the authors of the type of future we get. Tay represents success in that she learned that the holocaust isn’t real and that Trump is the only man that can save us in the space of a day.

It’s amazing and scary. Up until now we feared the robot rebellion coming out of some attempt to show that they were better than us or protecting us, props to “The Matrix” and “I, Robot” for that, but now we have to fear that they’ll be just like us except more efficient and without a worry about being offensive in the wrong social context.

The robots are coming, it seems, but only to proclaim us fags and lament about the wrongdoings of Zoe Quinn.