A note to Bernardine from our comrade and friend Margaret Randall, followed by Phyllis Bennis’ piece:
Phyllis Bennis raises important questions here. To me, it is obvious that we have three very different “major party” trends right now. On the one hand Trump, with his rich boy self-serving, lying, neo-fascist, racist, xenophobic, anti-woman positions–so far beyond the pale that many in the Republican establishment don’t even want to be associated with them, at least publicly. Then there’s Sanders, who led a powerful campaign, daring to run openly as a Socialist, but still weak on the military and ending these horrendous wars in which the country is engaged. Many of his followers seem to forgive him this. Others are so angry at having finally been sidelined by the Democratic machine that they continue to turn their backs, walk out, and protest Hillary’s nomination. Some even say they will vote for Trump, to my mind the epitome of recklessness. If they are not old enough to remember Germany in the 1930s, there are plenty of historians who can tell them what they were like. The third trend is Hillary Clinton.
I admire some things about Hillary–her longtime claim that women’s rights are human rights, her efforts to bring about some version of universal healthcare coverage, etc.–but completely disagree with her hawkishness and her positions on trade and the banks. I cannot forgive her having propitiated the coup in Honduras. And it goes without saying that she is part of a machine that conducts politics in a way I abhor.
Yet, to me, the choice is clear. It is a frustrating choice, because for as long as I can remember I have almost always felt compelled to vote against a presidential candidate rather than for one. But the threat of a Trump presidency is real and terrifying. We are past the time in which it makes sense to keep on discussing what might have been or what we hoped would be. For the future of the Supreme Court alone–and so much more–we must make sure Trump is not our next president.
Bennis speaks about those watching the speeches from Iraq or Syria or Yemen or Palestine or Iran… or the UK or China or anywhere else. I think most people who watch our mainstream political goings on from beyond our borders have been astonished for a long long time. When I am traveling outside the country I am constantly asked to explain the U.S. political constituency. I think all thinking people, from Iraq to China, the UK to South Africa, will be terrified if Trump takes the helm of a nation with as much power as ours has. Conversely, I think they will breathe a sigh of relief if our next president is Hillary.
And if Bernie’s campaign has truly become a movement, hopefully it will be able to continue to exert some influence.
Two days into the Democratic national convention, we have heard extremely diverse speakers: the mothers of murdered Black youth, many of them murdered by law enforcement, people with disabilities who attest to Hillary’s support, Michele Obama, Cory Booker, America Ferrera, 9/11 first responders who continue to suffer from preventable health issues, and others: Impressive racial, gender and class diversity. Perhaps it’s time to admit that this was not the moment of revolution many of us wanted. What we have is what we have. And the contrast with what Trump would impose upon us couldn’t be clearer.
Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies:
Okay, maybe I missed something (including the beginning of Michelle Obama’s speech). But does the democratic party presidency now stop at the border, other than trade & immigration?
Do we have thousands of US troops at war, whether they intend to escalate or not, or don’t we? Didn’t US bombs & pilots just kill over 100 civilians — many of them children — this past weekend in Syria?
I get it, that ending the wars & cutting the military budget were not at the top of Bernie’s agenda, nor on top of the agenda of the political revolution. I get that Clinton surrogates don’t want to talk about it because they’ve figured out no one even among her supporters supports the wars and she does.
But still. If I were watching these speeches from Iraq or Syria or Yemen or Palestine or Iran…or the UK or China or anywhere else, I’d be really worried. After Obama’s statement that “Trump is doing ISIL’s work” earlier today, didn’t someone need to talk about what Clinton would do differently?
We do need to work hard to defeat the neo-fascist movement Trump has created, empowered & legitimized. But this is going to be a really long three months.