Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Primarily in April..."We Open in" Wisconsin

Our April primary calendar, borrowing from Kiss Me Kate, musical version of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. I've adjusted a song from that show about a travelling band of players/entertainers. What else is our own travelling band of politicians? A video version of the original song follows.
We open in Venice Wisconsin
We next play Verona Wyoming
Then on to Cremona New York
Lotsa laughs in Cremona in New York City,
Our next jump is Parma Delaware
That dopey, mopey menace,
Then Mantua, then Padua Connecticut, then Maryland
Then we open again, where? In Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

So...primaries and travelling players trundle on, all the while pundits, columnists, bloggers and commenters becoming ever more decidedly partisan. That was to be expected, in any election year, but especially in 2016, with two candidates opposing the establishments of their chosen parties. Not only do we have the usual Democrat versus Republican election game being played (prematurely, because we're still in primary mode), we have Hillary versus Bernie, and Trump versus Cruz (and/or Kasich or A. N. Other).

I have only memories of the 2008, 2012 and this election seasons (+ mid-terms), so have not wide experience from which to compare 2016 with long-gone election seasons. The internet has been a great cyber playground available in all US elections of my own experience, with increasing importance as years have passed. This is a good thing, a very good thing, because it unites groups of supporters, aids candidates, highlights untruths - but there's always a dark side.

My own internet reading this time has been confined to websites known for being, at least left-leaning if not exactly progresssive (some might call themselves progressive, but they're truly not and have proved it this time). Feuding between Hillary's and Bernie's supporters, including genuine and planted commenters, has become more unpleasant by the day. This is a side effect of Bernie Sanders' campaign's unexpectedly strong showing. Not much more than a year ago it was expected that Hillary Clinton would be a shoo-in for the Democrats: it was "her turn", "she is a female, the glass ceiling of the US presidency should be broken - it's past time"... etc. When that kind of propadanda began to show cracks, bad feeling began to erupt first from one side, then from the other.

Something I've discovered more clearly this time is which websites and blogs are truly progressive, i.e. they support Bernie Sanders. They are few. The rest are either overtly or covertly supporting Clinton and openly or snidely damping down potential Bernie support from readers. Columnists, and some bloggers, I've respected and enjoyed reading in the past now have been mentally given black marks, never again to be trusted. Yep - I'm as partisan as the next person - in the privacy of my own mind and my own blog.

As commenter "Newton Finn", under a piece at Alternet at the weekend wrote:
[we]have come to the realization that many of these comfortable liberal - primarily concerned with personal or social issues instead of hardcore economic ones - are not comrades in the struggle but rather share the mindset of what Marx called the petite bourgeoisie. Moving forward with a true democratic revolution that fundamentally alters status quo concepts and structures necessarily entails leaving these third-way liberals behind, shaking the dust off our feet, and instead reaching out to the exploited and increasingly desperate working class, so many of whom have lined up behind Trump because the left has often ignored them and looked down on them. There is no better voice to listen to in this regard than that of the late great Joe Bageant.

The 2010 piece at the link is a very, very good read by the way.

I'm conscious of the fact that my support for Bernie has lost me at least two former commenters, two I could ill-afford to lose in this Facebook infested world - yet that's the way it has to be. I couldn't feel right sitting on the fence on such an important issue.

All that remains to be said today: GO BERNIE!


mike said...

Excellent essay by Joe Bageant! Twilight, this election season seems to have enriched your cynicism-pessimism toward the American public...congratulations! One can only blame the abusers for their egregious atrocities to the point that victim-codependency relationships are prosperous for both, particularly in a democratic society using votes as weapons.

I try my best to not take this election too personally. It seems so perfectly clear to me that Bernie is the absolute best DNC candidate and the absolute best choice for POTUS. Simply knowing that others are highly supporting their non-Bernie choices, contenders with glaring, abysmal faults and multitudinous cracks, is indicative that Bernie is simply too good for our collective. As Bageant so clearly outlines in his essay, America is not ready for corrective action. The adage that denial is a river in Egypt is fitting.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've kept in mind, since I first began following US politics early in my time here, that a commenter at Common Dreams (which, back then was a more vibrant and extremely well-commented website) said that the two best writers on US politics were Joe Bageant and Greg Palast. So, if ever I see something by either I still make a point of reading it carefully. Sadly Bageant died in 2011.

I still feel uncomfortable when anyone paints the entire American public as "stupid", "dumb" and variations. As I've said before I feel that misguided is a better word, on the whole. Manipulation has been taking place for decades and centuries, people have been gullible. Joe Bageant better defines it as "cultural stupidity" and explains what that is, in his own estimation. That's a definition I can agree with. I guess it's a bit akin to the difference between intelligence and emotional intelligence....stupidity and cultural stupidity.

Mainstream USA might prove that it is not yet quite ready for Bernie - but that's still to be decided. He personifies the change that will become inevitable at some point in the future, if not now.

Another feather in Bernie's cap today: While Clinton Backed 2011 Trade Deal, Sanders Foresaw Panama Papers Fiasco


mike (again) said...

Kudos to the Bernster! The flame from the "Panama Papers" is just starting...the conflagration should be interesting.

Your comment regarding persons vs American public vs cultural has twangs of the "corporate personhood" to it:
"The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the U.S. Constitution is that they are organizations of people, and the people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively."

You prefer to view the whole and not the parts, ie "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" (or "the whole is other than the sum of its parts"). There is no "whole" without the "parts".

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I'm not understanding your point....re persons/American public/cultural.
I do understand the corporate personhood thing.

Maybe we're seeing different meanings in the term "cultural". As Joe Bageant used it in "cultural stupidity" I see that as meaning people not being stupid in all areas of life, but in matters relating to the way things are REALLY done here in the US, not how they appear to be done - in politics, business, whatever. Maybe I'm reading it as civic stupidity...not sure.
I'm not from round here ya know...stanger in a strang land an' all that. ;-)

The whole and parts....hmmmm...well, yes, and that's the point of emphasis on cultural stupidity as against pure stupidity and dumbness, I had decided. If we're talking about the whole - goodness knows what'd be included in that lot! That's why blanket descriptions of "Americans" as dumb, or as any other adjective, isn't going to be realistic.

Sherlock said...

Americans are shortly to become enlightened. Bernie has not released his tax papers..
will Hill pounce?

Or is she worried about the Panama Papers? Tune in tomorrow . . . and the next day too!


Maybe Mossack Fonseca just isn't the favored servicer of American corporations and zillionaires. But surely they have some American customers? Yes indeed:

Editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung responded to the lack of U.S. individuals in the documents, saying "Just wait for what is coming next"
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) April 3, 2016

By the by, anyjazz has brought you offshore. Do you have, or have you ever had, any connection to Panama?

mike (again) said...

There are many potential reasons an individual votes for a particular candidate in the primary elections and for the most part, it's the candidate's platform and past history, plus the subliminal of appearance, voice, behavior, etc. A voter may favor parts or the whole. I don't perceive this as an American phenomenon...it was evident in the recent UK election, too.

"Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person's self-conception and self-perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture. In this way, cultural identity is both characteristic of the individual but also of the culturally identical group of members sharing the same cultural identity. Cultural identity is similar to and overlaps with identity politics."

There are cultural subgroups that I would consider offensive and, if an individual had the greater share of those, I would find that individual reprehensible and stupid for having those values.

Twilight said...

Sherlock ~ Looking forward to the rest of the information from Panama Papers! Seems they're keeping the best 'til last!

I'm an offshore asset then am I....cool! Only connection I've ever had to Pananma was a hat used for dress-up. ;-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ It really is different in the UK, especially at at election times!

We took different ideas from Joe Bageant's article, I think - at least on the "cultural stupidity" aspect. My take was probably not the right one. I don't really "get" what he was meaning from that Wiki definition though.