This stream of thought occurred to me this morning, after I read a few pieces heralding the imminent demise of “identity politics” — you know, the political orientation that acknowledges the diversity of our society and addresses the individual needs of disparate portions of the population?
I tweeted a series of thoughts about it. And I’ll elaborate on that more below. Original tweets are bold. My thoughts here are not
Maybe I’m not paying attention enough, but it seems to me everyone calling for an end to “identity politics” is straight, white, and male. Granted, I haven’t dived deep into all the pieces coming out about it now. I’ve been sick with a nasty sinus infection & flu-like symptoms, so my capabilities are somewhat limited. But from what I gather, it’s time to “get beyond identity politics” and start gathering the Democratic party around our shared values, etc.
I dunno… abandoning the recognition of our inherent diversity seems… fraught to me. In my experience, whenever we’re pushed towards “unity”, the conversations and priorities very quickly center on the priorities of straight, white, abled, privileged (you know you are, let’s face it) males, who feel entitled to push their agendas. That’s for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is that the guys who start calling the shots have the time, energy, and resources to push their agendas over the rest of us — who have been at a disadvantage for a long time, due to the lack of recognition of our individual situations and needs which exist in parallel universe to the guys who say our concerns are “irrelevant” or “distracting”.
To this queer, intermittently disabled gal, it seems like getting rid of “identity politics” is another form of erasure. I mean, seriously, it’s just pathetic, to hear a straight, white guy whose wife has been making it possible for him to do his thing for all these years (Bernie Sanders, in the case I’m thinking of), and whose roster of accomplishments just pales compared to his onetime political opponent, it’s the ultimate kick in the face. The thing that actually drew me to HRC over Bernie, was that she got the deal with disability, and she’d actually done something about it — rather than suggest yoga and deep breathing for chronic pain, as Bernie had done. Never once, was I convinced that anyone other than Hillary even a glimmer of recognition about the true nature of disability, let alone had plans for how to address our issues. I’ve been in and out of chronic pain for 30 years, and it’s no fucking fun. Likewise, to be constantly told that being queer is “no big deal” and that I can be every bit as mainstream as the next person, is a slap in the face, all too often handed out by well-meaning straight folks who prize uniformity as the greatest accomplishment of all. To have individual situations like mine – and worse – glossed over during the campaign by every single candidate as Hillary… and then have those who failed to acknowledge the importance of our differences summarily dismiss them as “irrelevant”, is a double-whammy of indictment against this idea of pitching identity politics out the window. Maybe, just maybe, the reason that Hillary got so many more votes than Trump was exactly because she embraced “identity politics”.
PLUS, if there’s Any discussion of HRC’s campaign “weaknesses” can only be taken seriously in light of a 100% trustworthy result, free of voter suppression hacking influence, voter intimidation, absence of threats of violence, etc. We all know there were issues. Hell, Trump himself encouraged the creation of those issues – veiled references to armed intimidation, veiled threats against his opponent. And members of his campaign actually came out and announced proudly that they had three different types of voter suppression in play. And when the NSA says the Russians had an influence over the election, and talk of hacking had been making the rounds for months prior. So, no, nobody who’s been paying attention would say any of the above was possible.
And all the facts indicate those were NOT the conditions we had. You don’t have to say it out loud, but you do have to acknowledge the facts.
So, no – it’s NOT
accurate good form to loot the shipwreck of the HRC campaign b/c they steered their ship onto the shoals. Everyone is carrying on now as though it was the HRC campaign that screwed up. They did this wrong… they did that wrong… the DNC was a love-fest of American Exceptionalism that ignored the plight of suffering Americans, a sign of things to come. Hillary’s message didn’t resonate. She didn’t do well enough. She was totally off-base about everything. So, hey, let’s all climb onto the foundering frigate and start dismantling the ship for its hardware and booty. We can take the pieces we need… like, all her disappointed followers looking for a plausible ideological reason she “failed” so miserably. And we can kick her even more when she’s down, because if you can’t win against a raving, bigoted, Nazi-quoting, misogynistic, serial sexual assaulter who can’t even let his wife vote without looking over her shoulder, what good are you? Maybe all her internal Democractic opponents, the ones who recognized her relevancy and power, who wanted a piece of the action, but could never fully commit to her for whatever purist rationale, think it’s good form to board the foundering ship and start dismantling it, but guess what – you’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg. And you don’t even care.
They were torpedoed. They were. And worse yet, WE were. People don’t seem to get it. Team-sport politics has blinded us to the realities that the hacks, as well as the voter intimidation and suppression were an attack on us ALL, a direct hit to the heart and soul of this nation. Regardless of your political leanings, if you do NOT demand an audit of the vote and an investigation into fraud and outside influences, you are contributing to the problem. And you’re attacking your own country at its most fundamental level.
And anyone who gorges themselves on the “lessons of history” (tsk-tsk-tsk) about how to NOT run a campaign & steers political discussion in a direction away from the HRC focus on acknowledgement of ALL and inclusion of those not white, not straight, not male, not 100% abled is taking advantage of a situation created by outside influences – anti-American influences – and that makes them complicit in it as well. Ultimately, do any of the Ones Who Think They Should Run Things really give a damn about principle, as long as the principles don’t favor them? I’m quite tired, actually, of people getting all high ‘n’ mighty about principles when they’re losing… and then suddenly think they’re irrelevant when they’re winning. For some reason, those who feel they’re entitled to tell everyone else what to do, are ever so quick to disenfranchise those of us who were actually served by the discourse of identity politics, falsely drawing conclusions about its “failure”, when what really failed was our democractic process, as well as our vaunted Office of Homeland Security. Where the fuck where they, anyway, when all the hacking evidence was rolling in? It wasn’t like they didn’t know. For months ahead of the election.
Which is NO cause for celebration. There’s a taint of Schadenfreude to this whole sordid aftermath, something out of a post-apocalyptic movie, where the losers along the way are taking advantage of this for their own needs. That’s why Bernie Sanders will never, ever have my full support. And I’m cooling to Elizabeth Warren. Where have they been, in defense of our most fundamental right? Where have they been, in defense of the Constitution? Everybody’s “girding for the good fight”, and never once lifting a finger to prevent that unwarranted, illegitimate fight, to begin with.
Sign of the times: sell out your very own democratic process for a “win”. Because a Trump victory gives you the chance to showcase your own brand of Democratic progressivism, and it will stand in sharp contrast to your own platform. And now you’ll have four years to perfect your message and build your base, build your mailing list, build your political connections. It’s all about strategy, now. Screw the American people.
Note: You’re *not* winning. And at least some of us will remember this, in the years to come.