Sunday, July 24, 2016

No argument: Hillary Clinton does not, will not listen to Sanders supporters

Hillary Clinton's pick for Vice President says to Bernie Sanders supporters and other progressives in the Democratic Party: I want your vote, but not your ideas.

The facts speak for themselves: Tim Kaine is not a progressive.

Just before being named her running mate, Kaine signed two letters on Monday urging federal regulators to go easy on banks ― one to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another to help small banks avoid consumer protection standards. That alone is enough to make me outraged. But there's more.

As noted in Mother Jones, Kaine has supported offshore drilling in the Atlantic and supported a bill to fast-track the construction of natural gas terminals. Fossil fuel interests have taken a liking to him. "We're encouraged by the reasonable approach he's taken on oil and natural gas, that he hasn't been swayed by politics and ideology," Miles Morin, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, told Politico. What is he swayed by regarding our environment?

A die-hard Catholic, he says his religion guides him in his governing, and that while he is personally opposed to abortion, he's Pro-Choice - yet, he supports abortion restrictions, like on third trimester abortions - something sought by only the most desperate of women - and legally requiring under age girls to get permission from a parent to terminate a pregnancy - but not to carry such to term. He has been all over the place regarding teen pregnancy, first saying he believes in fighting teen pregnancy “through abstinence-focused education”, which is the version of abstinence-only education where they DO mention birth control, but emphasize its failure rate, then, two years later, under a mountain of political pressure, he defunded abstinence-only education in the schools. What will he do as VP? We just don't know.

The young people of the Democrat Party - and many of us 50 and over - have said we want a new party, a progressive party. And the establishment has answered with a not-at-all progressive, very establishment, bank-loving, corporate-loving old-school Democrat.

But we're not supposed to complain! We're supposed to be good little Democrats and not question and just swallow all of our criticisms, however legitimate, and not say anything negative and vote for the Party's nominee. If we don't, we hate America and want the other party's pick to be President! Which, of course, is exactly what Trump is telling Republicans they have to do too. Remember, if you criticize Hillary Clinton, you are being sexist!

Will I vote for Hillary Clinton in the Fall? Now, at this moment, I'm not sure. I said previously I would, because I was convinced that she would appoint staunchly pro-choice people to the Supreme Court, and that the incredible success of the Bernie Sanders campaign in attracting massive numbers of supporters, far more than anyone ever dreamed, would wake her up to the progressive direction the party needs to go in. With this appointment, I am not convinced of that at all of any of that.

I had planned on getting involved with the Democratic Party in the county where I live, volunteering to help with get-out-the-vote efforts for November 2016. I'm not doing that now, even if I do end up voting for Hillary Clinton. I have absolutely nothing to say to someone to convince them to vote for Hillary Clinton, other than that she's not Donald Trump. And that's just not enough to motivate me to work for her.

But I'm not quitting the Democratic Party. Not yet. If I quit the party, I leave it to people who are determined to keep it the way people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz want it. No, I want to change the party - that's a hell of a lot easier than starting another one. We are the people that elected Barack Obama TWICE to the presidency, NOT the party establishment. It's time to use that energy again, this time to permanently change our party.

In January 2017, when the election is long over, I will start attending local Democratic Party meetings, and I hope my fellow progressives will too, all over the USA. I hope you will run to be one of your local party precinct captains. Bring your friends to join too and run for leadership positions - chair, secretary, treasurer, a committee chair, whatever. Read the web site for your local party chapter carefully, and think about what you want to do locally to start steering your party in the direction that is its future: on a progressive path. It can be surprisingly easy to do all this: in many communities, many leadership positions are empty due to lack of volunteers, and many people currently in positions are in their 60s, or older, and oh-so-ready to retire.

Look at your city's web site and look for all the citizen's committees, and find those that are interesting to you, that you want to be a part of, and volunteer for such if there is an opening. City's often have parks commissions, safety commissions, public engagement commissions (dealing with land issues), planning commissions, library commissions and more. Get on one. Get on two. Start making your progressive voice heard and your progressive vote count.

Write your elected representatives regularly - local, state and national - especially the Democrats, and let them know what you think of their voting record. Be polite but firm: you want progressive action, and you will call them out when they avoid such. You want votes for legislation that curbs the power of banks, that promotes paid family leave, that promotes a living wage and worker protections, that protects our environment, that protects women's reproductive choices and medical services, that protects LBGT people, and that restores tax levels on corporations to at least what they were under Ronald Reagan (the 1950s rates would be better, of course). Reward them with a donation, however small, when they do what's right. We're not asking for ideological purity, we're not asking for absolute uniformity in every belief, but we are asking for a foundation of progressive beliefs in every candidate. I'm a lot more forgiving of a policy or stand I don't at all agree with if the candidate espousing such has dozens more that I do agree with (such as Bernie Sanders' lackluster record regarding gun control versus his stands on most everything else).

Do all of that and think about running for office yourself!

Ignore the people who say that you aren't being a team player, that the party needs to "unify", that you are helping the opposition win, that you aren't willing to compromise, and on and on and on. They do not have the future of this party, nor of this country, at heart. They'll say yes in the future to the progressives as they take power, because they've shown they'll say yes to whatever the Democrats do.

And you vote for whomever YOU want to in November 2016. Please, please vote for someone - you aren't seen unless you vote. If you vote Green or Socialist or whatever, and Hillary loses, it's not because you didn't "get on board" - it's because she didn't.

If, come the Spring or Summer, Hillary Clinton proves me wrong by appointing staunchly pro-Choice Supreme Court justices and an ethnically-diverse, progressive cabinet and by not sending our troops to Syria and escalating other conflicts, then, hurrah, I'll issue a hearty mea culpa. And I hope I'm wrong. But nothing she's done in the last 10 years gives me any hope at all that I'm wrong.

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