not in our stars, but in ourselves
It’s settled, it’s final, there’s no chance to change it now: Hillary Clinton is the official Democratic candidate for president, and Donald Trump is the official Republican candidate. I just have a few things I want to get out, and then I will try to restrain myself to cryptic tweets at most. The dream is dead. No need for the funeral to last forever.
The DNC is underway. I haven’t been watching it. But of course, many people I know have been watching, and expressing their opinions/reactions on various internets. That’s their right, and I shouldn’t hold live-tweeting against anyone, but…well. Monday night, Bernie Sanders spoke, and he offered a clear and compelling case to urge everyone to vote for Hillary. He has been gracious in defeat, and he is trying hard to convince his die-hard supporters that they need to do what they can to make sure the Paul Verhoeven character that is Donald Trump is never elected. Well, well, well. Despite that, the overwhelming impression I got from people who have been #With [clap emoji] #Her [clap emoji] from the beginning was that Bernie is still the problem, his supporters are still enemies, and they all – Bernie and his supporters – deserve to be mocked and ridiculed and shamed. Here is what I think about that:
– Some of us are genuinely heartbroken that Bernie lost. The sting is all that much greater when you consider that there was some serious skullduggery happening in the upper echelons of the DNC to try to fuck him over at every opportunity – but regardless of whether it was fair or unfair, he lost. When you get people excited, and get them to believe in a real possibility of progressive change, and then you take away that hope, they get upset. Making fun of them for it is shitty.
– Clinton would probably be a strong president. I don’t trust that she’ll keep any of her progressive promises if and when she’s elected, but she’d be tough and smart. No one disputes that, except idiots. What is also indisputable, however, is that she is running a TERRIBLE campaign. Trump is opening the doors of Hell, or of fascism if you prefer, and what is the Clinton campaign offering as an alternative? Nothing. Just that they’re not Trump. Wow, inspiring. “We’re better than this!” is not an effective antidote to the anger Trump is tapping into. That doesn’t solve anything. That doesn’t fix anything.
– If Bernie were running against Trump, it wouldn’t be this hard. They wouldn’t be neck-in-neck in every poll. This should be the easiest election in recorded history, but – smart as Clinton is – her campaign is obviously run by fuckwits. Besides, Bernie was acknowledging that people have a right to be angry, but he was offering real policies as a way to fix what’s broken. People liked that. Huh.
– Getting mad about a lack of decorum from Bernie supporters? Kids, let me tell you about what you’re in for if Trump loses. You think those people are going to fade quietly back into their destroyed little hometowns? You think they’re going to say to themselves “well, the candidate I liked didn’t win, but I guess this is the way it is now”? You think they’re going to be satisfied with a second Clinton administration? You think 2020 will be anything but a fever dream of hatred and fear that’s had four years to organize itself? There’s something REALLY bad in the post, and it’s coming, and we all have to prepare ourselves to keep the real darkness from winning. It’s coming. Don’t fool yourselves.
To that end, there was a great column by Laurie Penny in The Guardian yesterday: My night out in Cleveland with the worst men on the internet. In case you’re not in the scrum, as I am, there’s this now-former Twitter personality. I won’t name him, he’s named in the article, I don’t want to invite his ilk onto this blog. But anyway, he was one of the main orchestrators of the torrential downpour of racist, sexist, disgusting shit that was unleashed on Leslie Jones on Twitter recently. He and his goons have done things like this before, but the target was too visible and too vocal this time, so he got perma-banned. That doesn’t mean he’ll shut up, though. Please pay attention, all you pearl-clutching neolibs, to what’s on its way:
He is leading a yammering army of trolls to victory on terms they barely understand. This is how we got to a place where speakers at the RNC are actively calling for the slaughter and deportation of foreigners, declaring that Hillary Clinton is an agent of Satan, and hearing only cheers from the floor.
They ventriloquise the fear of millions into a scream of fire in the crowded theatre of modernity where all the doors are locked, and then they watch the stampede.
I’ve seen enough. This is an evil place, as airless and soulless as the inside of Pamela Geller’s head. We have to get out. In the humid dark of the plaza outside the event, a dozen young activists have got together an impromptu protest. Shellshocked members of the press stumble out into the street.
“It’s just – there’s so much hate,” says one as she breaks down in tears. “What is happening to this country?”
What’s happening to this country has happened before, in other nations, in other anxious, violent times when all the old certainties peeled away and maniacs took the wheel. It’s what happens when weaponised insincerity is applied to structured ignorance. Donald Trump is the Gordon Gekko of the attention economy, but even he is no longer in control. This culture war is being run in bad faith by bad actors who are running way off-script; it has barely begun, and there are going to be a lot of refugees.
If you think the spectre of brocialism was bad, kids, you’re in big trouble. But anyway. You smug, sore winner shitlibs can have this fucking election. Most of us, if we’re in states that might go Trump, will hold our noses and vote for Clinton. But we hate it. Your candidate is a war criminal and a profiteer, and it just so happens that she’s up against Chaotic Evil this year. There’s nothing good or inspiring about any of this. The apocalypse is already here, and it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse.
P.S. Bernie’s brother, whose name is really and truly Larry Sanders, brought down the house yesterday – in case you wanted a moment of genuine emotion, rather than the slick poshlost everyone else is fawning over today. I see quite a lot of commentary from people further left than I am, saying that we’ve got to forget about one candidate and move on; and they’re right, of course, but let us mourn. We’re not gonna get another candidate this fundamentally good and decent for a long, long time.