Everybody Knows

standing-rockTrying to decide which of the late Leonard Cohen song titles I should use to title this week’s blog. I used “Democracy is Coming the USA” when Bernie was surging, and it wouldn’t be accurate now, except maybe long term. “You Want it Darker” would certainly apply. I’ll go with “Everybody Knows.”

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Even though we knew, it was a shock. I’d been predicting it all summer and into the fall, but I bought the MSM line that it was a slam dunk for her. I supported her because in my relatively informed judgement, her presidency would be less restrictive of the essential mass organizing that we need to do to turn the country around and preserve the planet. The struggle is so much bigger than one presidential election.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for why this tragic travesty happened. Like voting, who we blame is a strategic question. I blame the Democratic Leadership Council, formed to elect Bill Clinton, for moving the Democratic Party to the right, clearly a losing strategy. We should let no one near them (Dean) take over the DNC. I blame Bernie for not deciding four years ago to join the Democratic Party, install his own folks on the DNC, and for not going after the Southern Black vote soon enough. I blame the Greens for wasting energy for their pitiful 1%. I blame the entire left – those who support Bernie’s vision – for not uniting in a common strategy. Loyalty to leadership is important, even if we disagree. Why did so many abandon Bernie after he got us so far? I blame the media for slavishly covering Trump while ignoring Bernie. I blame the Clinton campaign for pivoting toward the right, ignoring the left in order to reach out to the Bush Republicans, of which they should have known, there were none outside the Bush family. I blame myself for not working hard enough for Bernie (though I did work hard). And I blame all of us white people for insufficiently challenging white supremacy over the years.

Bottom line, it was white supremacy that elected Trump. Even to the point that the Electoral College is a remnant of the states’ rights movement in support of slavery and Jim Crow. And a vote for Trump was a vote for racism and sexism, no matter how you slice it. People who voted for him for other reasons, like the trade deals or because they’re mad, ignoring the blatant racism and sexism — sorry, but that is a racist and sexist position.

But all white people carry around a malignant tumor of racism. We need to own this fact, that if we were as against racism as we like to think we are, white supremacy would have ended a long time ago. By not focusing our efforts toward defeating it, we allow it to flourish.

A good start would be to fully support the Indigenous struggle against the North Dakota Pipeline. Another good move would be to study the demands of the Movement for Black lives and organize people of all races to support them:

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Yet another unifying campaign would be to support National Popular Vote bills in all the states that haven’t passed one, bills that require Electors to vote for the person who wins the national popular vote. 11 states have already passed such bills, worth 165 electoral votes, 61% of the requisite 270.

Whatever we do, let’s end the blame game and focus on building a unified progressive movement. A nationwide summit next summer would be good.

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