Tag Archives: black Americans

2020 is going to look a lot like 2016

Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced Bernie Sanders in Boston.

Boston Globe photo

Progressives U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared together in Boston last week, as pictured above. Far from having gone away quietly, Sanders is fighting for such progressive goals as single-payer health care and free tuition at public colleges and universities. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think that the 2020 presidential election won’t devolve into another fight between real Democrats (that is, actual progressives) and corporate, sellout Democrats who think that craven identity politics is a political cover for the establishmentarian, pro-corporate, anti-populist, ultimately treasonous Democratic Party to continue to ignore income inequality and to continue to support the socioeconomic status quo.

Bernie Sanders is, I think, going to run for the presidency again in 2020.

He hasn’t ruled it out, and he has remained in the public eye since the preventably disastrous November 2016 presidential election.

He put a book out in November (and his progressive comrade Elizabeth Warren has another book due out later this month), and while the establishment Democrats’ “plan” remains to just sit back and watch the Repugnican Tea Party, under the “leadership” of “President” Pussygrabber, implode (or explode, I suppose), Bernie is out there advocating for a progressive agenda that would improve millions of lives (as is Elizabeth).

Bernie will introduce legislation for single-payer health care, totally bypassing the bogus argument of corporate-friendly Obamacare vs. corporate-friendly Trumpcare (and necessarily so), and he and Warren have introduced legislation for free in-state community college and public four-year college tuition.

Oh, that shit can’t pass, I hear even so-called Democrats mutter.

Um, leadership is about leading — not following. Leadership is about convincing people to go in a new, better direction. Leadership isn’t about watching and waiting for your inept political opponents to hang themselves, and then to continue to stick with the status quo. Nor is leadership about jumping on board something that is progressive only after it’s clearly politically safe to do so, since the majority of the electorate already has gone in that direction (Billary Clinton, for instance, didn’t jump on board the same-sex-marriage bandwagon until after it was safe to do so, after the majority of Americans had already gotten there first [to be fair, ditto for Barack Obama]).

Actual leadership is selfless, it’s hard, and it can be risky — which is why the worthless, sellout, do-nothing establishment “Democrats” don’t lead, but follow.

Unfortunately, Bernie 2020 probably would run into what Bernie 2016 ran into: anti-white racism.*

Yup. I said it.

Bernie was rejected by many, many so-called Democrats primarily if not solely because of his demographics — they wrote him off as just another old white man. He was, yes, racially profiled.

How else to explain that Billary Clinton won the support of 76 percent of black Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, while Bernie won the support of only 23 percent of them?

Bernie was less well known than Billary, that’s why, you might argue, but then there is this contrasting (and inconvenient) fact: among white Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, it was much more evenly split — 48.9 percent supported Billary, while 49.1 percent supported Bernie, a difference of only 0.2 percent.

Clearly, there was something racial going on.

And it’s interesting that black Americans supported Billary Clinton to the degree that they did; the Clintons brought us “welfare reform,” a crime bill that filled our prisons disproportionately with non-whites, the job-killing NAFTA, etc.

Maybe blacks still struggle at least in part because they tend to vote against their own best interests. Just sayin’. (And I’m not picking on blacks — many, many Americans routinely vote against their own best interests, such as the poor and working-class white people who voted for Pussygrabber for president.)

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, wrote this of Billary Clinton in February 2016:

Hillary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary — or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded.

Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously.

Doingsomething concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we — black people — are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.

The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. He threw on some shades and played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show.

It seems silly in retrospect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a popular slogan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand,” Bill Clinton seemed to get us. When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.

Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries.

Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state — many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life.

Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.

What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?

No. Quite the opposite. …

Read Alexander’s article, and fuck, just Google “What did the Clintons do for black Americans?” (While you’re at it, Google “What did Obama do for black Americans?”)

Clearly, black Americans had no logical reason to vote for Billary over Bernie, certainly not at the rate of 76 percent to 23 percent.

Still, myths die hard. Blacks understood that they were “supposed” to vote for Billary, and so they did.

And the race-based Bernie bashing continues. There were those black-supremacist idiots who called a crowd gathered for Bernie Sanders “white supremacist liberals” while they shut down Bernie’s planned speech in Seattle in August 2015. They had no coherent anti-Bernie argument; indeed, I’m sure that they were mostly if not wholly unaware of his record (including the NAACP’s having given him a score of 100 percent on their agenda [and former NAACP head Ben Jealous went on to endorse Bernie]). Bernie’s record didn’t matter to these black supremacists, you see, because Bernie’s sin was that of having been born while white.

Similarly, in a recent piece for Salon.com, Chauncey DeVega takes two sentences from recent remarks by Bernie (at the rally in Boston pictured above) and then runs with it.

Bernie said, as DeVega reported: “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there.” (“Been there” as in he has met and spoken with these people, I presume he meant.)

Bernie immediately followed that up with, “Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with: It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election.”

That apparently wasn’t convenient to DeVega’s argument, though, so he left it out of his article, which he had begun with:

In the United States, white liberals and progressives have historically shown a serious inability to grapple with the realities of the color line and the enduring power of white supremacy. Many of them are either unable or unwilling to understand that fighting against class inequality does not necessarily remedy the specific harms done to African-Americans and other people of color by white racism.

That’s just a more academic, “nicer” way of calling Bernie Sanders and his supporters “white supremacist liberals,” methinks.

Bernie also had said: “We need a Democratic Party that is not a party of the liberal elite but of the working class of this country; we need a party that is a grassroots party, where candidates are talking to working people, not spending their time raising money for the wealthy and the powerful.”

DeVega didn’t quote that, either. Better to simply paint Bernie as a denier of racism, because it appears that the same black Americans who stupidly supported corporate whore Billary Clinton primarily out of black identity than even for their own best fucking interests are going to try to shove corporate whore U.S. Sen. Cory Booker down our throats as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate.

Booker is black, you see, and for years he cravenly has promoted himself as the next Barack Obama, and it’s supposed to be enough that he’s black.

Booker, whose most recent big act was to vote in the U.S. Senate to deny Americans access to cheaper pharmaceuticals because he takes a lot of money from Big Pharma — I don’t call someone a “corporate whore” for nothing — very much appears to me to be the next one to take the mantle of being Best for Blacks (this mantle was passed from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Billary Clinton and, I surmise, now goes to Booker; the mantle keeps getting passed, even though no one who wears it actually does anything significant for black Americans).

If I’m “racist” for being a while male who has called Corey Booker a corporate whore, know that the managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, a Bruce A. Dixon, earlier this year called Booker a “corporate hooker” and a “corporate whore.” He wrote (the links are his):

After losing the White House to the most unpopular president in history, Democrats have lots to say, but even more to avoid saying, lest they expose themselves as every bit as much corporate tools as their Republican foes.

New Jersey [U.S.] Senator Cory Booker is their ideal spokesperson, a cynical, photogenic and utterly dependable corporate whore who can be counted on to keep the anti-Trump rabble safely inside the Democrats’ big stinky tent. …

The Democrats leading the charge against Trump must meet exacting qualifications. They have to be loyal servants of the one percenters, of banksters, hedge funds, charter-school sugar daddies and privatizers of all kinds. They must be dependable supporters of apartheid Israel, of military contractors, drone warfare and U.S. military interventions of all kinds around the world.

To boost their party’s fortunes in this new era, Democratic Party spokespeople need to be gifted hypocrites willing to pose as advocates of immigrants and champions of civil liberties going forward, even though they unflinchingly supported the biggest deportation and mass-surveillance regimes in history implemented by the Democrat who just left the White House.

They must focus narrowly on the handful of issues on which corporate Dems actually disagree with Republicans, like abortion rights [and, I’ll add, LGBT rights — and other identity politics], and not stray to areas which might indict their own party along with Republicans.

And they must absolve their party of responsibility for running an incompetent campaign by blaming the Russians. Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.

Cory Booker is a great fit. As Glen Ford, who has followed his career in Black Agenda Report and Black Commentator since 2002, notes, charter-school sugar daddies from the Olin, Bradley and Walton Family Foundations and the Manhattan Institute funded his early career. Cory’s wealthy friends bankrolled and promoted a slick Hollywood documentary, “Street Fight,” to ensure his 2006 election to Newark’s City Hall. …

In 2010 on the Oprah show, Booker announced a $100 million “gift” from Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to Newark’s public schools, whose budget was still controlled by statehouse Republicans, to implement the latest “run-the-school-like-a-business” nostrums of Cory’s old friends. Three years later, when Booker left Newark for the U.S. Senate, there was little to show for the money.

The one percenters take good care of their guy Cory, giving him three times the cash raised for all his opponents together in the 2013 Democratic primary, and he takes good care of them.

When the anti-Romney rhetoric in 2012 strayed to touch on how the hedge fund Republican actually made those millions, it was Obama surrogate Cory Booker who stepped up on “Meet The Press” to defend the predatory economics of hedge funds, calling outrage against disaster capitalism “useless rhetoric.”

After all, Goldman Sachs was and still is one of Booker’s major contributors. Cory hit the Senate just in time to vote for a major school voucher bill in 2014. …

Cory’s a whore, but a loyal one. If he did for passing motorists what he does for charter-school sugar daddies, hedge funds, Israeli apartheid and Big Pharma, he could be arrested for prostitution.

But Cory’s in the big time, and he’s a leading Democratic spokeshead against Trump. If you’re a Democrat, he’s one of your leaders.

He’s Cory Booker, corporate hooker.

The battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party continues. Ain’t nothin’ changed but the date.

To be clear, I wholly agree with Chauncey DeVega’s assertion that “fighting against class inequality does not necessarily remedy the specific harms done to African-Americans and other people of color by white racism.” It is a mistake to ignore racism (and other forms of discrimination) and to focus only on class and income inequality.

However, nor should identity politics supplant the battle against income inequality, and that’s what we saw happen with Billary Clinton’s awful presidential campaign, and that’s what has happened with the establishmentarian Democratic Party, because the establishmentarian Democratic Party’s corporate sugar daddies are OK with identity politics, since for the most part identity politics doesn’t threaten their obscene profiteering (indeed, they even have found that in many instances, they can profit from identity politics).

Significantly addressing income inequality, however, does threaten the establishmentarian Democratic Party’s corporate sugar daddies’ profiteering, and that’s why the establishmentarian Democratic Party has refused to significantly address income inequality for decades.

And further to be clear, a huge chunk of those who voted for Pussygrabber indeed were motivated, at least unconsciously if not always consciously, by racism. I believe that and so I wouldn’t have gone as far as Bernie Sanders did in his remarks (specifically I refer to his remark that “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there”).

Or I at least would have said it differently; I surmise that Bernie’s meaning, which he did not express well, was that not all of the people who voted for Pussygrabber are racists and sexists and homophobes and otherwise deplorables.

I think that that’s most likely what Bernie meant and I think that that’s probably the truth; I think that there are some incredibly stupid white people who voted for Pussygrabber against their own best interests, incredibly stupidly truly believing that (billionaire!) Pussygrabber magically was going to “make America great again,” that he’d bring all of the jobs back, and with those jobs, the 1950s-era national prosperity. For those people, it seems to me, identity politics wasn’t their No. 1 concern; the economy and their own dismal personal experience of it was.

What Bernie is trying to do, I surmise, is get back some of those white voters in the Rust-Belt states who voted for Pussygrabber instead of for Billary and who thus threw the Electoral College to Pussygrabber. No, I don’t think that Bernie wants the racists and the sexists and the homophobes, but that he wants those whose No. 1 concern is the economy. But they probably won’t vote for a Democrat as long as the Democratic Party keeps calling them “deplorables,” as deplorable as many (if not even most) of them actually are.

White Americans still make up more than 60 percent of the nation’s population (per the U.S. Census Bureau), and calling them deplorable probably isn’t a great strategy to win a presidential election. Just sayin’. It’s the numbers, folks; whites remain the racial majority in the United States of America.

And as deplorable as many if not even most Pussygrabber voters are, I still put the onus for Pussygrabber’s “win” of the White House on Billary Clinton. She took the Rust-Belt states for granted because they’d gone to the Democratic presidential candidates since the 1980s, and so she’d thought that she already had them sewn up. She and her team of Billarybots in their bubble fucked up big time, Russia or no Russia.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bernie’s assertion that “It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election.”

If the Democratic Party fronts yet another corporate whore in 2020 — like Cory Booker — then the result will be the same. (Don’t even make me get into the cliche of the definition of “insanity.”)

The fight for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination will be much like the 2016 fight, I think, except that while the 2016 racial battle (Bernie was the “white” candidate and Billary the “black” candidate) for the most part wasn’t very openly, frequently nationally discussed, the racial battle will be quite openly and frequently nationally discussed in 2020 (well, starting no later than in 2019).

It really comes down to this: Which candidate is the most progressive? Which candidate is most likely to carry out policies that would benefit the highest number of Americans possible?

Would that candidate be yet another corporate whore, who has a long record of doing only what’s best for his or her corporate sponsors (and thus his or her corporate overlords)? Would that candidate be a corporate whore who only cravenly can run only on identity politics, since his or her actual record only shows what a corporate whore he or she actually is?

Or would the candidate most likely to carry out policies that would benefit the highest number of Americans possible (which is my non-negotiable litmus test) be an actual progressive, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who has a long actual record of opposing corporate malfeasance and standing up for the average American?

For those of us who oppose the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime, that’s our choice in 2020, as it was in 2016.

I’m sure that if the pro-corporate Democratic Party establishment fronts corporate hooker Cory Booker, it and the Bookerbots (Hookerbots?) will call those of us actual Democrats (that is, we true progressives) who oppose Booker “racist,” just as the Billarybots called those of us who rejected her for the very same reasons “sexist” and “misogynist.”

Calling those of us who rejected corporate whore Billary Clinton (because she is a corporate whore) “Bernie bros” didn’t win her the White House, did it?

Craven identity politics (including slandering one’s actually progressive political opponents as “racist” or “sexist” or whatever) won’t put Cory Booker or any other corporate whore who uses the label of “Democrat” into the White House in 2020, either.

We progressives can — and we will — keep on playing this game.

I and millions of other progressives simply won’t budge. We won’t rest until the Democratic Party is progressive again (or until it has been replaced by another actually progressive party).

Call us “sexist,” “racist,” “crazy,” “Communist,” “radical,” “extreme,” “hippie,” whatever slanderous bullshit you want to call us to lamely try to get us to acquiesce to your center-right, sellout, self-serving, pro-corporate, treasonous bullshit. Our days of supporting the sellout Democratic Party, which is just a hollow husk of what it once was, are long gone.

P.S. To be clear, I don’t want to understate the importance of the Democratic Party (or a new, truly progressive party) standing up for the civil rights of racial and other minorities. It’s that we must walk and chew gum at the same time. Engaging in identity politics (in the good, non-toxic way) or battling income inequality is a false choice. We must do both.

And of course Bernie Sanders can’t know what it’s like to be black. (Or Latino. Or a woman. Or gay. Or…) He can know only what it’s like to be Bernie Sanders. And the state that he has represented in Congress since the early 1990s, Vermont, is overwhelmingly white, which is what it is.

I believe that Bernie’s heart is in the right place, and that as president he’d do the right thing for the highest number of people possible, and that with continued dialogue, he would get even better in terms of understanding and representing minority groups’ concerns.

Sadly and pathetically, though, I sense that blacks’ biggest problem with Bernie hasn’t actually been that he has been deficient on black issues, but that he isn’t black. Under these black supremacists’ “logic,” a U.S. president (at least a Democratic U.S. president) from here on out must always be black, then, even though blacks are only 13 percent of Americans. (Gee, that’s fair! And so democratic!)

I’m gay, but I’m not going to demand that a presidential candidate be gay, even though we have yet to have our first out non-heterosexual president.

I’m going to demand only that a presidential candidate be progressive, and I’m always going to support the most progressive (yet still viable) presidential candidate, regardless of that candidate’s sex, race, sexual orientation or age (as long as he or she can still do the job, I’m not worried about a candidate’s age). Unlike it is for too many so-called Democrats, for me it’s not all about me and my own identity group. It’s about what’s best for the highest number of people.

The Democratic Party shouldn’t be the vehicle through which any minority group tries to gain political control of the majority. I will put that fact out there, because that’s what identity politics, in its most toxic forms, actually aims for: the tyranny of the minority over the majority.

That’s not progressive and that’s not democratic.

Finally, for the record, I’m fine with Elizabeth Warren as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee if Bernie doesn’t run, but I’m concerned that her nationwide favorability ratings aren’t nearly as high as Bernie’s.

That disparity is due, I’m sure, because he already has conducted a presidential campaign, and thus is better known to the national electorate, and I surmise that Warren has been a victim of actual misogyny (recall that Yertle McConnell infamously said of Warren, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”) more than Billary Clinton ever has been. (People just don’t like Billary, regardless of her sex. It’s her personality, her character and her record, not her XX chromosomes. [Nor is it Russia.])

What I hope happens is that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren keep working together as a dynamic duo. A Sanders-Warren ticket for 2020 would be incredible.

*To be fair, plenty of faux feminists also discriminated against Bernie because he is a man, and supported Billary for no other apparent reason than that she is a woman.

To support one person over another primarily because of his or her sex is to be sexist.

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Why I am not a white supremacist

Shit like this blows my mind: The Washington Post reports that these fliers were found at a campus of the University of Maryland this week:

Washington Post images

Reports the Post:

Fliers linked to a white supremacist group were found this week on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, authorities said, part of what appears to be a new effort targeting colleges in several states.

The fliers featured the logo of American Vanguard, a group associated with white supremacy. One read “We have a right to exist” and another read “Defending your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime.”

“We hear it every day: ‘Whiteness’ is evil, and must be destroyed,” the group said in a statement on its website. “Our religion, our traditions, and our identity are dragged through the mud by the globalist establishment while millions of nonwhites flood our nation every year. If current trends continue, White Americans will be a minority by 2044. It’s time to take a stand.”

As first reported in the school’s Diamondback newspaper, University of Maryland police responded to Marie Mount Hall at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of vandalism and discovered several fliers posted at the main entrance and the south entrance. Another set of fliers was discovered posted to pillars at Tydings Hall at around 10 a.m. Monday, a spokesman for the University of Maryland Police said, and the fliers at both locations were removed.

American Vanguard, based in California, has posted fliers on other U.S. campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Its posters were found at Purdue University in Indiana, the University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and Emerson College in Massachusetts in recent weeks, the ADL said.

Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s center on extremism, said he has been seeing a proliferation of white supremacist, alt-right messaging at college campuses around the country in recent weeks. “It seems to be an extension of this effort by the alt-right and their supporters to try to reach younger audiences,” he said.

Segal also said some white supremacists have perceived Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election as a victory for their cause, leading to hate incidents around the country. “I feel like the alt-right in general thinks this is the time to pounce,” he said. …

Wow. It disappoints me that “American Vanguard” is based in my state.

Speaking of my state, according to at least one source, California was the 48th whitest state in 2004 (with only Mississippi, the District and Columbia and Hawaii having a smaller percentage of whites). That source puts California’s white-alone population in 2004 at 63 percent of the state’s total population.

The U.S. Census Bureau now puts California’s white-alone population at only 38 percent, its Latino population at 38.8 percent, its Asian population at 14.7 percent, and its black population at 6.5 percent.

Yes, a little while ago Latinos surpassed whites here in California, so that now more Californians are Latino than of any other race. And Latinos in California and elsewhere throughout the United States will continue to outgrow whites.

Indeed, apparently the projection is that by 2044 or 2045, white Americans no longer will be the majority of Americans.

Do I feel like my “whiteness” is under threat? (I do have blue eyes, light skin and brown hair, and I did genetic testing some years ago that put my genetic ancestry most likely with the dominant genetic populations of Britain and/or Germany.)

No, I don’t.

Not only are the racial demographics in the United States changing over time, giving us plenty of time to adjust to the changes, but it doesn’t matter what race an American is. An American, to use the definition of a denizen of one of the 50 states, used to be a Native American; then to be an American meant that you probably are or were white; in the future, to be an American might mean that you probably are Latino or mixed.

Nothing is so precious about the white culture, if there is a monolithic white culture (there is not), that it would be an irretrievable loss to humankind should we see fewer and fewer blond-haired-and-blue-eyed human beings born upon the planet. White culture — hopefully only the best parts of it — will be absorbed into the overall culture anyway; it won’t be lost altogether.

As far as changing demographics in my home state of California go, no one is forcing me to learn Spanish (although I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish on my own for a while now), no one is forcing me to change my name to Roberto, no one is even forcing his or her Catholicism down my throat. (I love Mexican food, so if someone wanted to force that down my throat, I’d probably be OK with that.)

I don’t at all feel threatened that Latinos now outnumber the members of my own race in my state. For the very most part, Latinos and whites co-exist in California just fine.

I find white culture to be a bit stiff and boring, and so the injection of other cultures into white American culture is a benefit, not a threat. Other cultures show us still-dominant-in-the-U.S. whites (white-alones still are 61.6 percent of all Americans) other ways of seeing, of believing, of thinking, of living.

And we Americans get to pick and choose. I like the Spanish language. I like Mexican food. I like Cuban music. (I’d love to visit Cuba before I die.) I like the leftist politics that we’ve seen throughout Latin America throughout time. (Yes, I’ve been a fan of both the late Hugo Chavez and the late Fidel Castro — no, I’m not in agreement with everything that they did, but I like that they stood up to the evil empire in the north instead of selling their people out to the plutocratic plunderers of the north.)

But I remain free to hate any or all of those things if I choose. The only thing about the Latino culture that I’m not crazy about is its rampant Catholicism, but, again, no one is forcing me to become a Catholic. (It would take something like the Spanish Inquisition 2.0 for me to “convert” to that oppressive, patriarchal and misogynist, fairly racist [or at the very least Eurocentric], homophobic, backasswards, toxic institutionalized religion.)

In terms of religion, when I’m not feeling atheist-y, I gravitate toward the Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. I’m not a practicing Buddhist, but I’m fairly familiar with Buddhism, and while I wouldn’t swallow, hook, line and sinker all of its teachings any more than I would any other religion’s, Buddhism is the major world religion that makes more sense to me than does any of the others, especially Judaism, what passes for Christianity, and Islam.

I admire Asians, perhaps especially the Vietnamese, whose food I love. My best friend in junior high school and high school was half-Vietnamese; born in Vietnam, as a child he had come to the United States with his Vietnamese mother. He had a bit of a mischievous streak about him, but he was very bright and was a good friend.

Black culture is infused into the culture of the United States to the point that many if not most blacks often complain that elements of their culture have been stolen by whites. Hey, black Americans, we bland white Americans need that spice. Without it, you’d be blinded by our whiteness, too. (Melting pot, baby!)

One of my favorite books is an old one, La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race), by the late prominent Mexican José Vasconcelos. Published in 1925, in his treatise Vasconcelos did assert some things that today we’d find racially stereotypical at best, but his overall theme — that the mixing of the races is beneficial, not harmful, to humankind — was forward-thinking for its time and holds true for today.

Wikipedia notes of La Raza Cósmica:

Published in 1925, La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) is an essay written by late Mexican philosopher, secretary of education, and 1929 presidential candidate, José Vasconcelos to express the ideology of a future “fifth race” in the Americas; an agglomeration of all the races in the world with no respect to color or number to erect a new civilization: Universópolis.

As he explains in his literary work, armies of people would then go forth around the world professing their knowledge. Vasconcelos continues to say that the people of the Iberian regions of the Americas (that is to say, the parts of the continent colonized by Portugal and Spain*) have the territorial, racial, and spiritual factors necessary to initiate the “universal era of humanity.”

Claiming that the Darwinist ideologies are “scientific” theories only created to validate, explain, and justify ethnic superiority and to repress others, Vasconcelos attempts to refute these theories and goes on to recognize his words as being an ideological effort to improve the cultural morale of a “depressed race” by offering his optimistic theory of the future development of a cosmic race. …

Any biologist will tell you that a species that never gets any genetic variation introduced into its gene pool (usually because of isolation) is at risk for extinction because its genetic code never gets any updates, so to speak.

This is true not only for the human animal on the biological level — think of the common results of inbreeding — but it is true for the human animal on the cultural level.

Cultural isolation leads to cultural stagnation, and cultural stagnation often leads to cultural extinction.

White supremacists speak endlessly of strength, but ironically, the genetic and cultural isolationism that they espouse (whites must only reproduce with other whites and the white culture must be “defended” and all other cultures rejected) is a fucking recipe for literal and cultural extinction.

That which does not bend will break in the wind. White supremacists do their fellow whites no favor by advocating staunch rigidity when the changes that we have been experiencing on many levels call instead, loudly and clearly, for flexibility and adaptability.

To be clear, just as there are white supremacists, there are Latino supremacists, Asian supremacists, black supremacists, et. al., people who believe that their race is the best, or, at least, the only race that really matters.

Racial supremacism of any kind is an unfortunate, harmful disease, but in the United States of America of course white supremacism has been the most prevalent and most harmful racial supremacism, but even with that historical fact, no one is really saying that whites don’t have the right to exist, as the flier pictured above alleges.

The supposed war on whites is as bogus as is the supposed war on Christmas (the “war on Christmas,” of course, is just an aspect of the “war on whites”; often, if not even usually, in fact, it’s just code for “war on whites”).

No one, with the exception of a crazy, relative very few, has called for the extermination of white Americans. Very most often it’s white Americans calling for the extermination of other races, or, if not their extermination, then at least their banishment, as is the case with how millions of white, Trump-loving Americans believe that brown-skinned and/or Spanish-speaking individuals all should be banished to the south of the Great White Wall that Der Fuhrer Trump has promised to erect. (After all, these brown-skinned hordes are threatening what it means to be an American — which is to be white!)

So it’s always interesting to see white supremacists claim that whites actually are the victims. Fucking losers.

This is not to say that it’s OK to shit and piss on a white person primarily or even solely because he or she is white. That’s called racism. And you don’t correct racial injustice by committing even more racial injustice yourself.

Nor do you get to punish the son for the sins of the father, so to speak. Because a person is white doesn’t mean that he or she is the descendant of a white slaveholder any more than it means that a person who is a black is a descendant of black slaves. (Barack Obama, for instance, is not. And there are plenty of whites who immigrated to the U.S. after slavery was abolished. And most Southerners didn’t hold slaves during the years of slavery; you had to be pretty rich to hold a lot of slaves.) But even if someone were proven to be the descendant of a slaveholder, do you really get to punish him or her for something that happened when he or she was not even alive?

Slavery was a colossal sin that never should have happened and that can’t be undone. It never should be minimized, but it also shouldn’t keep blacks and whites hating each other in perpetuity. It is the national wound that won’t heal, and even then there are plenty of other wounds, such as the decimation of the Native Americans, who rarely are mentioned in discussions of race; the internment of the Japanese and other mistreatment of Asians throughout U.S. history; and the ongoing prejudice against Latinos, against whom we are told by our pussy-grabbing “president”-“elect” that we must built a huge wall — you know, in order to “make America great again.”

In regards to the second white-supremacist flier shown above, I fully agree that “defending [my] people is [my] social duty.” It’s that I define “my people” very differently than do the white supremacists.

While I don’t at all call myself a Christian, as I reject institutionalized Christianity and don’t believe in bullshit like virgin births and resurrections, there is a quote of Jesus that I find interesting. Three of the four gospels give some version of it. Here it is in Matthew 12:46-50:

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

I always have interpreted this to mean that Jesus (at least the Jesus of the New Testament as he is written about in the New Testament, whether there actually was a historical Jesus or not) did not believe that mere genetic closeness was real closeness; real closeness comes only with a shared worldview, a shared philosophy, a shared love that is not racially or otherwise exclusive, but is universal, all-encompassing.

I extend the definition of genetic closeness beyond the genetic closeness that one sees in his or her nuclear and extended family to the genetic closeness within one’s own race; having said that, again, I maintain that mere genetic closeness does not confer real closeness, and that perhaps is where the white supremacists err the most.

That another person is white doesn’t mean that he or she and I automatically have this bond. We don’t. I don’t care what’s in your genetic code; I care what’s in your heart and mind.

All human beings have the right to exist. White supremacists and other racial supremacists, however, care only about the welfare of the members of their own race. Tragic.

Defending our people indeed is our social duty, but our definition of “our people” had better include all human beings.

*It’s true that Vasconcelos is partial to the Iberian Peninsula, probably especially to Spain, but it’s also true that the Spanish conquerors did something that the white, non-Hispanic European conquerors were loathe to do: they routinely interbred with the peoples they conquered.

Thus, today’s populations of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, et. al., have Spanish blood in them, as the population of Brazil has Portuguese blood in it.

The willingness to mix racially is laudable, even necessary for the long-term survival of humankind, as I have established, but it’s also important not to feel that one’s own race is superior or supreme… And one could argue that Vasconcelos in his La Raza Cósmica at times at least verges on that.

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Latest polls: Billary not even 3 percent ahead of Bernie, barely beats Ted Cruz

Current presidential match-up polls show Bernie Sanders beating Donald Trump by a rather whopping 16.5 percent and beating Ted Cruz by 10.1 percent — but the widely despised Billary Clinton beats Trump by only a still-too-close-for-comfort margin of 10.6 percent and Cruz by a frighteningly close margin of only 2.5 percent. Billary doesn’t do nearly as well with independent voters as Bernie does, and you must have the independent voters in order to win the White House; there aren’t enough Democratic Party hacks/Billarybots to win it alone. Quite unfortunately, although Bernie does significantly better against the enemy than does Billary, Billary might win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I acknowledge that it might be too late for Bernie Sanders to still win this thing, but nationwide polling between Bernie and Billary Clinton has incredibly tightened to the point that it’s safe to assert that it has just taken longer for Bernie to catch fire, and that the more the Democratic and Democratic leaning voters get to know Billary the less that they like her, while the reverse is true for Bernie.*

Admittedly, it perhaps is too late for Bernie to still win the number of delegates necessary to win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination — time will tell — but should he manage to win the majority of the pledged/democratically-earned-in-primary-elections-and-caucuses delegates, and if he is leading Billary significantly in the nationwide polls at the time of the party convention in late July, again, that will put a considerable amount of pressure on the “super-delegates” (especially those who will be up for re-election) to vote with the people instead of with the calcified, anti-democratic party establishment that has supported Queen Billary from Day One.

The Huffington Post’s average of recent nationwide polls of Democratic and Democratically leaning Americans puts only 2.5 percent between Bernie and Billary right now. Real Clear Politics as I type this sentence puts Billary at only a staggering 1 percent ahead of Bernie. 

Folks, this is the tightest that the two candidates ever have been nationwide.

Billarybots who still call Bernie a “fringe” candidate are insulting and alienating almost fully half of those of us who are Dems or Dem leaners — not a good strategy for November, should Her Highness Billary actually win the nomination.

We male supporters of Bernie still widely are called “Bernie bros” (we are “misogynists,” you see [um, we rejected Sarah Palin, too]); war criminal Madeleine Albright says that female Bernie supporters are going to hell (she’ll meet them there!); and all of us Berners widely and routinely are called insane and/or naive and/or worse by the Billarybots.

How dare we Berners not obediently, bleatingly get on board with Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton, even though it’s crystal clear to us that to do so would be against our own best interests and even threaten the future of the planet itself? 

Given our treatment by Billary’s supporters and her campaign, it can be no wonder that at least one in four of us Berners (myself included) has no intention of supporting Billary in November should she make it that far: The Billarybots for months now have belittled us, slandered us, tried to guilt-trip us, and have been calling for us to Surrender, Dorothy! Settle for Billary!

Bernie pulls in far more independent voters than Billary does — and pulling in independent voters in significant amounts is a feat that is necessary to win the White House these days (there aren’t enough Democratic Party hacks alone to win a presidential election) — yet Queen Billary and her Billarybots ignore this simple fact of reality and instead say that Bernie isn’t a Democrat!

On paper he hasn’t been a Democrat until fairly recently; that’s true. But in spirit he always has been a true Democrat, a progressive, whereas the reverse is true of the corrupt, self-serving, center-right and incompetent — and yes, where it really matters, unqualifiedmulti-millionaire Billary: She always has been a Democrat on paper only.

Even black Americans, who have been instrumental in Billary’s winning the South (which is nothing to brag about, to win the reddest states, the most backasswards, most right-wing states that never elect Democratic presidents anyway), recently have gotten yet another bitter taste of The Clinton Treatment (first pander to you for your vote [and your money] and then sell you down the river) when Billy Boy schooled Black Lives Matter activists who dared to criticize his 1990s contribution to the widespread mistreatment (including the over-incarceration) of black Americans.

Despite Billary’s glaring flaws, including her deep unlikeability and her unfitness for the White House, I acknowledge that she might win the nomination. It’s her second run for it and she’s had the party machine behind her the whole time. She started off way ahead of Bernie, who has done remarkably well, given the mountain that he has had to climb.

But because it’s an uphill battle doesn’t mean that we Berners just stop fighting. We Berners haven’t stopped fighting, and the nationwide polls reflect that fact. (Here is The Huffington Post’s graphic of the nationwide polls of Dems and Dem leaners right now:

Yup. Again, the difference between Bernie and Billary is just 2.5 percent, per HuffPo.)

The presidential match-up polls also reflect the strength of us Berners and the weakness of Billary. Real Clear Politics’ average of recent presidential match-up polls right now puts Billary Clinton at 10.6 percentage points ahead of Der Fuehrer Donald Trump (still too close for comfort for me, anyway) — and frighteningly, only 2.5 percent ahead of Ted Cruz.

Bernie Sanders, however, beats Ted Cruz by 10.1 percent and beats Donald Trump by a much more comfortable margin of 16.5 percent.** (Again, Bernie does much better with the independent voters than does Billary, and you can’t win the White House without the support of enough independents.)

If your true objective is to keep the White House in Democratic hands come January 2017, the clear choice is Bernie Sanders.

If you want to lose the White House to the Repugnican Tea Party in November, Billarybots, keep on alienating us Berners; it’s a fairly sure path to Billary’s defeat in November, should she win the nomination.

I surmise that it’s more like one in three of us Berners who could not in good conscience vote for Billary in November — and even that estimate might be too low to capture our sentiment.

*Indeed, recent polls (that is, polls taken within the last three months or so) of Bernie’s and Billary’s favorability still show Bernie favored/liked more than unfavored/disliked by single or even by double digits, whereas Billary is disliked/unfavored more than she is liked/favored by double digits in all of the polls.

**Billary Clinton loses to John Kasich by 6.6 percent and Bernie beats Kasich by only 2.7 percent, but I’d be very shocked if Kasich were to emerge as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee.

Note that Bernie beats all three of the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders while Billary beats two of the three, and that Bernie does better against all three of them than does Billary.

It is we Berners who supposedly live in La-La Land, yet the Billarybots remain conspicuously silent on the facts that Billary’s favorability numbers among the American electorate for a long time now have been in the sewer and that Bernie for a long time now has outperformed her in the match-ups against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders.

Somehow, a candidate whom a clear majority of Americans dislike is going to win the White House, according to the Billarybots, who have the monopoly on reality, you see.

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No-brainer: Bernie would be better for black Americans than would Billary

Updated below (on Friday, January 22, 2016)

Cornel West, rapper Killer Mike and Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina, before the Democratic Party presidential primary debate. (“BernieSoBlack” is shown “whitesplaining” in the video grab above, I’m sure…) MLK famously proclaimed, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” In today’s degraded environment of toxic identity politics, however, many judge Sanders not by the content of his character, but by the color of his skin. (Here’s a video of Cornel West’s endorsement of Sanders, by the way. West is an electrified speaker whom I once had the privilege of hearing speak.)

It’s deeply unfortunate that the contest between Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination largely is being painted as a contest between black Americans and white Americans who vote for Democrats, but that’s what it has come to.

Of course, we have Billary to thank for this in no small part; in the last Democratic Party presidential primary debate she did her best to equate any and all criticisms of her by the Sanders camp as a direct assault on Barack Obama. It’s classic Clintonian race-baiting and it’s classic Clintonian triangulation, but for the low-information voter – Billary’s base – apparently it works.

Bernie Sanders also has come under unfair attack by black slacktivists themselves. Only Black Lives Matter* slacktivists commandeered a public appearance by Bernie in Seattle in August, calling the white people gathered there “white supremacist liberals.” Nice! (Seriously — that’s the way to treat your allies and to maintain a coalition against the right wing!)

Bernie having dared to speak about his history of support of black Americans – and liberal Jewish Americans like Bernie have been instrumental in the civil rights movement (some died in the South fighting for civil rights for black Americans) – quickly was belittled as “BernieSoBlack.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa!

The majority of black Americans’ Democratic presidential candidate of choice (at the moment, anyway) is Billary Clinton, her actual record and her husband’s actual record be damned (again: low-info voters are her base). Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie notes:

… Minority voters — and black Americans in particular — are the firewall for Clinton’s candidacy and the Democratic establishment writ large. As long as Clinton holds her lead with black Democrats, she’s tough (if not impossible) to beat in delegate-rich states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio and Texas.

Even with momentum from wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s hard to see how Sanders overcomes Clinton’s massive advantage with this part of the party’s electorate. That’s not to say he won’t excel as an insurgent candidate, but that — barring a seismic shift among black Democrats, as well as Latinos — his coalition won’t overcome her coalition.

This, in itself, raises a question. Why are black Americans loyal to Hillary Clinton? What has she, or her husband, done to earn support from black voters? After all, this is the era of Clinton critique, especially on questions of racial and economic justice.

The Crime Bill of 1994 super-charged mass incarceration; the great economic boom of the 1990s didn’t reach millions of poor and working-class black men; and welfare reform couldn’t protect poor women in the recession that followed. And the lax regulation of the Clinton years helped fill a financial bubble that tanked the global economy and destroyed black wealth. …

Indeed.

But Bernie Sanders has been singled out as the one to scapegoat as not being nearly good enough on black issues. (It’s true that Vermont, which Sanders has represented in Congress for decades, is in the top-three whitest states, but that isn’t exactly Bernie’s fault, and that doesn’t mean that Bernie isn’t an inclusive politician. I mean, how to explain the many white supremacists in the South if your argument is that one must be around a lot of black Americans in order not to be a white, anti-black racist?)

Recently Bernie was asked if he supports reparations for black Americans. (I’m pretty sure that no one has dared to ask Queen Billary this question. [If so, I haven’t seen it reported anywhere.]) Bernie responded:

No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African-American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African-American community, we have a lot of work to do.

So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent-paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African-American and Latino.

Bernie is quite correct; there is no way in hell, of course, that reparations for black Americans would pass Congress any congressional session soon, and our best and probably our only politically possible avenue to try to reverse the lingering effects of slavery and its aftermath is to try to help significantly all of those who are struggling (which is what democratic socialism, to which I subscribe, is all about).

And, of course, there is no viable presidential candidate currently publicly supporting reparations. (Certainly the Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton is not!) No one wins the White House without enough of the “swing voters,” the “independents,” and one sure way to lose them is to publicly support reparations. That’s the ugly political reality for now and for some time to come, as best as I can discern it.

(Indeed, there was a time until quite recently when publicly supporting same-sex marriage, which only this past June finally was declared to be a constitutional right, at least was perceived as a sure way to lose the White House — ask Barack Obama and Billary Clinton, who didn’t publicly support same-sex marriage, at least on the national stage, until 2012 and 2013, respectively.)

For the record, I support reparations for the American descendants of slaves on principle,** even though I don’t know how slavery that went on for generations and the continued race-based oppression that for generations has followed slavery’s official end ever could be made anything even remotely approaching right.

But actual, non-theoretical reparations would have to be doled out in the real world, and I don’t see how that could be done fairly and justly. (That important consideration should have been part of Bernie’s answer to the question about his support for reparations for black Americans, and it is unfortunate that it was not, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

Yes, Japanese Americans in the late 1980s received some reparation for their internment during World War II; but World War II was much more recent than was American slavery, which ended, at least legally, a full 150 years ago. It was much easier to prove which individual, still-living Japanese Americans had been wronged by the U.S. government than it ever could be to sort out which black Americans alive today are the descendants of slaves and to calculate how much the damage of slavery set them back in their lives of today.

On that note, how, exactly, would we determine who gets reparations and who pays those reparations (and how much)?

Barack Obama, to name one prominent example, and who knows how many other black Americans are not the descendants of slaves. Would they get reparations because white privilege nonetheless affects them also?

Should I have to pay reparations (that is, anything above and beyond any reparations that would be paid for from all Americans’ tax dollars, as the Japanese-American internment camp reparations of $20,000 per individual were paid for) because I’m a white man?

I’m white, but I’ve never heard of any of my ancestors having lived in the deep South. My parents’ families moved to Arizona no later than in the 1950s from Missouri and from Texas. (Texas usually but not always is considered to be part of the South, but I consider it to be more a part of the Southwest, which is not to say that it’s not an incredibly backasswards state, because it is, and both Texas and Missouri were slave states at the time of the Civil War.)

Nor have I ever heard of any remarkably rich forebears of mine (I would think that if there had been any filthy-rich whiteys in my family’s history, I would have heard about it by now), and I certainly never have heard of any actual slave-owning forebears of mine. But even if I do have any Southern forebears, this PBS educational resource states:

The standard image of Southern slavery is that of a large plantation with hundreds of slaves. In fact, such situations were rare. Fully three-fourths of Southern whites did not even own slaves; of those who did, 88 percent owned 20 or fewer. Whites who did not own slaves were primarily yeoman farmers.

Practically speaking, the institution of slavery did not help these people. And yet most non-slaveholding white Southerners identified with and defended the institution of slavery. Though many resented the wealth and power of the large slaveholders, they aspired to own slaves themselves and to join the privileged ranks.

In addition, slavery gave the farmers a group of people to feel superior to. They may have been poor, but they were not slaves, and they were not black. They gained a sense of power simply by being white.

I wholly acknowledge this sociopoliticoeconomic phenomenon of white privilege. White privilege incontrovertibly is, as they say, a thing.

But where it comes to doling out reparations in a way that is just, equitable and fair – even assuming that Congress would pass and that the president would sign such legislation – again, how, exactly, do we determine who receives and who gives, and how much? Could it be the case that if I’m white I’m automatically “guilty” and therefore I must dole something out (above and beyond my normal tax dollars, I mean)? Could it more or less come to that? Wouldn’t that be just another form of racial profiling? Is that racial profiling actually “justice”?

I mean, I hope that I have no slave owner as a forebear, whether he or she owned “just” one slave or many slaves, but if even I don’t know whether I do or not, how could you know? No, you (the advocate for white people paying reparations) primarily or even solely would be going off of the color of my skin – something that you say is wrong.

In any event, even Barack Obama never publicly has stated that he supports reparations, so why is Bernie Sanders being burned at the stake for his truthful, honest answer on the issue?

That mostly was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: I believe that Bernie Sanders is perceived by the Only Black Lives Matter slacktivists and their sympathizers as just another old white man (and all old white men, and all white men, in general, of course, are bad, you see – not that that’s a racist notion or anything), even though it wasn’t until relatively recently in American history that Jews like Bernie were even included in the definition of “white” (and again, even though liberal Jews have been instrumental in positive social change in the United States).

So it’s anti-white black racism (yes, just like white privilege and anti-black white racism, that is a thing, too) and it’s toxic identity politics: BernieSoWhite! (He shouldn’t be white, you see, but, if he must be white, he must feel awful and guilty about it, and he must be perpetually apologetic about the fact that he was born with pale skin, you see. [Really, get with the new race politics already! It’s not your Grandpappy’s civil rights movement anymore!])

The bottom line is that Bernie Sanders’ proposals, if manifested, would lift all boats. He is advocating for all Americans.

Political weather vane on crack Billary Clinton, on the other hand, pays lip service to certain historically oppressed groups, such as women, blacks and other racial minorities and gay men and lesbians, in a cynical (and quite successful) ploy for their campaign cash and their votes. (I feel a blog piece about the establishmentarian, calcified Planned Parenthood’s and the establishmentarian, calcified Human Rights Campaign’s stupidly, blindly recently having endorsed Billary for the White House coming on, but I won’t give birth to it today.)

Nothing in Billary’s political history (or her husband’s) indicates that in exchange for their votes (and their campaign donations), she’ll actually do very much for the downtrodden. (After all, she is quite comfortable!) She’s even more or less promising to be the third and perhaps even the fourth term of the fairly do-nothing Obama administration.

I don’t know if our nation and our planet can survive another four or eight years of much happy talk without much actual action (although, to her credit, perhaps, compared to Obama circa 2008, Billary has cut down, way down, on the happy, hopey-changey talk).

I believe that as president, Bernie Sanders would try to lift all boats (well, not any of the yachts). How much success he would have in the face of mind-blowingly-well-funded political opposition to an actually aggressively progressive political agenda I don’t know.

As president he would need, as he has said repeatedly, enough Americans, millions of Americans, rallying behind him to push through a progressive agenda in a Congress that long has been beholden to Big Money. And Americans’ favorite pastime is to sit on our asses and complain while we let someone else do all of the work.

But I believe that as president Bernie Sanders would try, and would try hard. (What I have held against Obama the most is that I don’t believe that, even with both houses of Congress in the Democrats’ control in 2009 and 2010, he even much tried to push through a progressive agenda, when he still could have; after the House of Representatives went to the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the election of 2010, the window of opportunity slammed shut for the remainder of Obama’s time in the White House.)

So: Which is the true “white supremacist liberal” – the presidential candidate whose actual history and political ideology actually indicates that he truly would try hard for all Americans, especially downtrodden Americans, or the pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic candidate whose actual history and political ideology indicates that she promises one thing for political gain but then does another – and who lectures us at length on what can’t be done, tries to induce us to accept her unacceptable incrementalism, all the while neglecting to tell us that she won’t even try to do these things she promises because it would upset her Big Political Donors if she dared?

Kudos, though, I suppose, to Billary for her Machiavellian success in duping the majority of black Americans into believing that she would be our “third” “black” president (recall that Bill Clinton was our “first black president,” which, I suppose, would make Obama our “second,” and Billary, by marriage, our “third”).

Again, Billary similarly has duped many if not most feminists (hello, Planned Parenthood!) and gay men and lesbians (hello, Human Rights Campaign, whose initials just coinky-dinkily happen to be Billary’s, too!) into believing that she would be better for them than Bernie Sanders would be, and/or that while she can win the White House, Sanders cannot. (The polls say quite otherwise – indeed, they have Sanders doing better than Billary against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – and they say otherwise because while Queen Billary is largely despised by the American electorate as a whole, Bernie is not.)

Black Americans have the right to embrace Billary Clinton and by so doing to vote against their own best interests and to shoot themselves in the foot, and they have the right to hold out on Bernie Sanders if they wish. (Goddess knows that I’m holding out on Billary – I won’t give her a penny and certainly not my vote, no matter which demon emerges from the fire and brimstone as the Repugnican Tea Party’s presidential candidate.)

But black Americans who call themselves Democrats (or who tend to side with Democrats, anyway) reject Bernie Sanders primarily if not solely because he’s an older white man — not because as president Billary would do more for black Americans than would Bernie. Because, of course, she would not. (Again, she is promising a continuation of the Obama years, under which, ironically, most black Americans’ lives have not improved much at all.)

Let’s at least be honest about that much.

Update (Friday, January 22, 2016): Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie returns to this topic today. Among many other things, he notes:

… The Sanders revolution is multiracial and multicultural, but — like any political victory in present-day America — it depends on white Americans. It’s why he can’t support reparations. They’re too alienating to the white voters he needs to transform the nation’s politics. …

Yup.

To blame Bernie Sanders for this fact — to criticize him for not promising or even proposing something that no other viable presidential candidate would dare to even propose — is patently unjust and unfair bullshit. He does operate within political constraints.

(Bouie correctly adds that “it’s important to see that the forces that make reparations impossible can also, in diminished but powerful form, curtail [Bernie’s progressive] agenda too.” Absolutely. That doesn’t mean that you don’t try to push a progressive agenda [which apparently is Billary’s “strategy” — to not even try], but it does mean that you be aware of the potential roadblocks, that you remain aware of your political reality.)

That Bernie so often is singled out for special criticism while others — perhaps especially Billary Clinton — get off scot-free for the same exact “sin” — contributes to my strong sense that many if not even most of Bernie’s critics on racial (and some other) issues just don’t like him primarily because he’s not of their own race and/or gender.

Again: It’s toxic identity politics more than it’s anything else.

*Yes, the tone and the stance of many if not most of the Black Lives Matter “activists” apparently is that they care only about the welfare of their own group, the selfishness and short-sightedness of which is pretty fucking off-putting. (I, a gay man, for example, apparently am expected to be markedly gung-ho for the Black Lives Matter slacktivists when they historically haven’t been very supportive of my rights. Um, yeah, support needs to be a two-way street.)

And because most members of the Only Black Lives Matter crowd are sad imitations of those who came before them, and are burning bridges instead of building them, therefore apparently doing more damage than good on the whole, I can only think of them as slacktivists. Real activism is hard, selfless work — it’s not reckless, selfish, short-sighted hit jobs.

**Ta-Nehesi Coates, an advocate of reparations (perhaps the most well-known such advocate), proclaims most recently on his platform, The Atlantic:

… Reparations is not one possible tool against white supremacy. It is the indispensable tool against white supremacy. One cannot propose to plunder a people, incur a moral and monetary debt, propose to never pay it back, and then claim to be seriously engaging in the fight against white supremacy. …

I agree with at least some of this, but again: Reparations are one thing in theory, as an abstraction. But what about practicality? In practicality, we’d have to determine many things:

Who pays reparations and who does not? And how much do those who must pay reparations pay? Would these reparations come out of the U.S. Treasury, so that everyone who pays federal taxes pays reparations (meaning that many if not most black Americans would be funding at least part of their own reparations…), and/or would we (try to) extract reparations from those whom we deem especially guilty, perhaps certain corporations and certain wealthy individuals, especially if there is a clear link to their and/or their forebears’ having profiteered from slavery in the past?

Or is it good enough that if you’re white you “owe” reparations — because white privilege?

And who receives the reparations? Do they have to prove that an ancestor was a slave? (If so, what constitutes adequate proof?) Or is it good enough that they are black and that blacks are victims of white privilege? And how do the recipients of reparations receive their reparations? A check or a debit card from the federal government, I presume, but would it be one lump sum or would it come in installments? Would there be any limitations on how the reparations could be spent, or would they simply be payouts to be spent by the recipients as they wish?

Do I, a gay man, receive any reparations because it was not until just this past June that the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that it is my constitutional right to marry a member of my own sex? Do I receive reparations for that oppression and for other anti-gay treatment that I have received during my life?

Can I get reparations from the 70 percent of black Californians who voted in favor of the now-unconstitutional-we-know anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition Hate in November 2008?

How am I to be made whole after I spent 47 years as a second-class citizen whose constitutional guarantee of equality under the law routinely was shit and pissed upon by the heterosexual, heterosexist, homophobic majority?

I’m not being flippant; aren’t there a lot of groups of people out there — women (who couldn’t vote everywhere in the nation until 1920and do we issue back pay to millions and millions of women for the gender pay gap that still exists today?), Latinos (whom also have been chronically underpaid for their work, whom millions of Americans [mostly right-wing whites] don’t want to vote today [claiming that if you are Latino you’re probably an “illegal”] and who now are the nation’s largest racial minority), Native Americans (’nuff said), non-heterosexuals, non-gender-conforming individuals, atheists, Jews, Muslims, et. al., et. al. — who have a valid claim to reparations?

If we give black Americans reparations, then out of fairness don’t we also owe reparations to other historically oppressed groups of people?

These are not teeny-tiny questions. And in a democracy, especially one as messy as ours, what kind of agreement could we get on the answers to these questions?

These are my problems with the proposal of reparations for black Americans, and I suspect that they are Bernie Sanders’, too.

But it’s easier, and more politically convenient — and certainly more dramatic — to just claim that Bernie and his supporters are “white supremacist liberals”!

Especially when the main problem that the Only Black Lives Matter slacktivists (many if not most of them very apparently black supremacists themselves) have with Bernie and with his white supporters is that we were born white.

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Attacking their allies isn’t a winning strategy for black-rights activists

As dozens protesters shout, Tia Oso of the National Coordinator for Black Immigration Network, center, walks up on stage interrupting Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, as moderator Jose Vargas watches at left, during the Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Associated Press photo

Black-rights activists commandeered a progressive forum in Phoenix on Saturday, even taking the microphone from the frustrated moderator, left, while Democratic presidential aspirant Martin O’Malley, right, who had been trying to speak, looks on. This was a bad political move. Those gathered at the event weren’t there to have an outside group take over the event, and those gathered at the progressive forum aren’t the enemy. It was a safe target for a hostile takeover, however, since the attendees at the progressive event didn’t really need the lesson.

So if I understand the “#BernieSoBlack” meme correctly, democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t black.

Wow.

Of the five-thus-far announced candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination (all of them white), a President Sanders probably would be the best booster of black Americans – probably even better than Barack Obama has been (which isn’t saying all that much, I know [I mean, Obama is great with the rhetoric…]) – but Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t of the “right” race. (Not that that’s racist or anything…)

As I’ve noted, yes, it would be nice if the most progressive presidential candidate weren’t another older white man, as we’ve had more than our fill of older white men in the White House and in other positions of power, but the bottom line with Bernie Sanders is that he is the most progressive presidential candidate that we have today.

It’s not Sanders’ fault that no black (or Latino or Asian or…) American is running for president on the Democratic Party ticket (but hey, black Americans have Ben Carson!), and the demographics of Sanders’ home state of Vermont aren’t exactly his fault, either. (Vermont was about 94 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate.)

Thus far there isn’t a “#BillarySoBlack” meme because, I suppose, Billary Clinton is seen as an extension of Bill Clinton, whom black American writer Toni Morrison in 1998 billed as “the first black president,” even though his “welfare reform,” his support of NAFTA, and his other right-wing, pro-plutocratic and pro-corporate policies harmed, not helped, black Americans as well as Americans in general.

The Clintons are great at saying that they’re on your side; actually acting in your best interests, however, is much more challenging for them (as it has been for Obama).

But, I believe, I get it: Barack Obama is in office for only another year and a half. Statistically speaking, while the door has been at least cracked opened, we probably won’t see another black president any decade soon. If the Repugnicans take back the White House in November 2016, of course Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be replaced, and if the Democrats keep the White House, she may or may not be kept on (I’d like to see her kept on).

Black Americans very apparently are concerned, and rightfully so, that the work that Obama’s Justice Department has started on civil rights won’t be continued after he leaves office. If the Repugnicans regain the White House, of course that work will stop. If the Democrats keep the White House, black Americans want to ensure that they don’t drop the ball.

It’s a big ball to drop. Unarmed black Americans are more than twice as likely to be slaughtered by a cop than are unarmed white Americans, and in 2009 almost 5 percent of black Americans were incarcerated, compared to fewer than 1 percent of white Americans. Black Americans have the lowest median household income of all of the races in the U.S. (Latinos have the second-lowest, while Asian Americans have the highest and white Americans have the second-highest).

I could give many more such statistics. Black Americans, by almost every measure, indeed struggle more than the members of any other racial group, and of course institutionalized racism is the largest factor in that. And of course symbolic actions alone, like banning the Confederate flag (while that’s a necessary step), aren’t going to reverse these grim statistics.

As much as these statistics capture the real suffering of real human beings, it disturbs me that mindless, knee-jerk political correctness has driven us to the point that it widely is considered to be quite unseemly to assert these days that all lives matter. Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley now know this after both of them made the political mistake of recently publicly asserting that “all lives matter,” which very apparently is interpreted by many if not most within the black American community and the black American community’s uber-politically correct supporters to mean that black Americans’ concerns are being minimized by the blithe pronouncement that “all lives matter.”

All lives do matter, of course, but of course it’s critically important to note that not all Americans have it the same, that the average white American and the average Asian American, for instance, have it much better than do the average black American and the average Latino American.

I know – I’m not supposed to mention Latinos and Asians, because so many of us are addicted to the binary view of race relations, the view that race relations really are only black and white (and black vs. white and vice-versa).

But that’s just not the reality of the United States of America.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2013 are that 62.6 percent of Americans were white only, 17.1 percent were Latino only, 13.2 percent black only, and 5.3 percent Asian only, with the rest being of another race (such as Native American) or of more than one race. The pie graph looks like this:

(The lettering of this pie graph, which I found online, is small, so, if it helps, the blue area represents whites, the reddish-pinkish area represents Latinos, the green area represents blacks, the purplish area represents Asians, the turquoise represents those of more than one race, and the orange-ish represents Native Americans.)

Seeing it graphically helps to give us some perspective, I think. We are a diverse nation, but we also are supposed to be (in my book) a fairly proportionately representative democracy, albeit one that still protects minorities’ equal human and civil rights.

To those who think it’s just awful that Bernie Sanders was born white (as a Jewish American, however, he is a minority [Wikipedia notes that Sanders’ “father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland whose family was killed in the Holocaust, while his mother was born to Jewish parents in New York”]), I’d point out that a solid majority of Americans are white. (And, of course, Jewish Americans weren’t always considered to be white in the United States. And we’ve yet to have a Jewish U.S. president.)

I state this obvious fact (that most Americans still are white) because “Black Lives Matter” so often off-puttingly, offensively comes off as “Only Black Lives Matter” – especially since you get into trouble for asserting that “all lives matter” or even that “black and all lives matter.” Again, black Americans inarguably have it worse, as a racial group, than does any other racial group in the U.S., but black Americans, at 13 percent of the U.S. population, don’t comprise even one in five of all Americans (Latinos, whose numbers in the U.S. overtook blacks’ around 2000, are reaching that point, however).

For such a relatively small piece of the American pie to be demanding political power that is much greater than its actual numbers – such as the apparent demand that Barack Obama be followed only by another black president (even though the only black American who is running for president right now is the unelectable wingnut Ben Carson) – is not only unseemly and undemocratic, but it’s a shitty political tactic.

I can think of no better way to sink your own minority cause than to act like your minority cause is the only cause, or at least, the most important cause.

As a gay man, I’ve long recognized that without the help of our heterosexual allies, we of the non-heterosexual minority never would have achieved same-sex marriage (we still have a long way to go toward full equality, of course).* I’ve never advocated that we non-heterosexuals kiss heterosexual ass or beg for crumbs from the heterosexuals’ table, but at the same time, some political tactics that alienate one’s supporters or would-be supporters – such, as, oh, say, interrupting presidential candidates who are trying to speak to the members of a progressive group, even commandeering the microphonearen’t smart.

These tactics make you feel good about yourself – you rebel, you! – but they run counter to your own stated objectives. People who already are on your side or who could (have) be(en) on your side now have less respect for you; you have shown that you have no concerns outside of your own immediate concerns for yourself and your own group, and those toxically narrow identity politics don’t work anymore (if they ever did).

And when justifiably aggrieved blacks attack a progressive like Bernie Sanders, isn’t that just because they know that he won’t respond in a vicious, violent way? I mean, are these same people going to even try to similarly crash right-wing events? I much doubt it. So why attack those who already are on your side? Just because you can?

I hope that the “Black Lives Matter” movement continues. It’s vital to keep the issue of police brutality against blacks in the national spotlight. If it’s not, the deaths – the (negligent) homicides and the murders – of black Americans at the hands of the police will continue unabated.

But if the “Black Lives Matter” movement wants to succeed in the long term, it’s going to have to stop attacking allies (because they probably won’t fight back, being allies), and it’s going to have to realize that blacks comprise a minority of Americans, and that there are other oppressed minorities of Americans – and that yes, all lives do matter.

To acknowledge that simple fact is not to dismiss the living hell that the United States of America is for so many of its denizens, a disproportionate number of them black and Latino (and otherwise non-white). To acknowledge that fact is to gain and to keep allies on your side, because as powerful as you think you are, you can’t do it alone. You do need allies in this fight, and that means taking an interest in others’ interests and concerns, too.

Echo chambers are an awful lot of fun, but they don’t bring about a lot of lasting political change.

P.S. I see that long-time Billary Clinton stooge Joan Walsh of Salon.com predictably used the Phoenix incident to try to bash Bernie Sanders and boost Billary (even though Billary, like her hubby, always has been all words and promises but little action), as though Sanders needs a lecture from the DINO-loving Walsh, but vox.com notes that “Hillary Clinton was invited [to speak to the progressive group (Netroots Nation) in Phoenix on Saturday], but declined the invitation.”

At least Bernie showed up. You can’t fuck something up if you can’t even be bothered to be there, can you? No, Queen Billary prefers much more controlled, stage-managed “events.”

And of course Walsh won’t point out that it’s pretty shitty to interrupt and commandeer someone else’s event, no matter how just your cause might be, and that it’s pretty pointless to attack those who already support you — um, how about crashing a police officers’ convention when your main grievance is police brutality? — because that doesn’t fit in with her little narrative.

Some have posited that Billary was behind the crashing of the Netroots Nation in order to try to make her challengers look bad. That doesn’t strike me as impossible.

But after Bill Clinton’s record, anyone who believes that Billary Clinton would be “the first female black president” needs his or her head examined.

Finally, I note that not to be outdone by “Black Lives Matter” in alienating allies based upon toxic identity politics, Joan Walsh gleefully indirectly but surely calls Bernie Sanders’ white-male supporters “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives” — because to be a white male by definition is shameful and bad, you see — even though about a third of Americans are white males, a group that’s too large for progressives to be able to afford to alienate entirely.

All white males should support Walsh’s DINO candidate, Billary Clinton, you see, simply because Billary is a woman who calls herself a Democrat, or they’re — we’re — to be demeaned as “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives.” (Har har!)

You know, some might call Joan Walsh a “femi-Nazi.” Not I, of course, but some!

*On that note, on the day that I cast my vote for Barack Obama for president in November 2008 – happy to be able to vote for the first non-white president in U.S. history – 70 percent of California’s black voters voted for Proposition H8, which banned same-sex marriage (which the U.S. Supreme Court just last month ruled is unconstitutional).

It was, to put it mildly, a slap in the face to have had the black community’s back but to be betrayed by the black community like that.

Barack Obama didn’t come on board with same-sex marriage until 2012; he had to “evolve,” he said. Bernie Sanders already had publicly “evolved” on same-sex marriage before both Obama and Billary Clinton finally did, and arguably, Sanders publicly was supporting same-sex marriage way back in the 1970s.

There are plenty of pseudo-progressives — DINOs like Billary Clinton and Barack Obama — whom one can attack as being pseudo-progressives, as not really having oppressed minorities’ interests in mind or at heart.

Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them.

If all that matters is that our next president is black, then by all means, let’s elect Ben Carson, right-wing lunatic that he is.

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Is Ferguson a symptom of black American panic?

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Notes on the mess in Ferguson

robberystrongarmedrobbery2.jpg

A screen grab (above) from a video apparently showing Michael Brown roughing up a convenience store clerk on the date of Brown’s shooting death by a white police officer apparently belies the idea of Brown having been a gentle giant, at least on the day of his death, but of course the unarmed Brown didn’t deserve to die for allegedly having stolen cigarillos. And law enforcement officers need to adopt non-lethal means of subduing subjects they deem dangerous or possibly dangerous, and of course we have way too many white cops shooting unarmed black men. All of that said, though, shit like torching police cars, as was done in Ferguson, Mo., last night (see news photo below), accomplishes exactly nothing.

A man runs from a police car that is set on fire after a group of protesters vandalize the vehicle after the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Associated Press photo

I’ve yet to write about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., for several reasons, including the fact that I wanted to wait for things to play out and the fact, to be honest, that I’ve been Fergusoned out, much like I’ve been Benghazi’d out. Not to compare the two (one is an event that is a symptom of our broad and deep societal ills, and the other a comparative non-event drummed up by the right wing), but because the sensationalist media have beaten both into the ground.

First: Let’s acknowledge, as taboo as it is to do so (on the left, anyway), that Michael Brown apparently was no angel. There very apparently is surveillance video, for fuck’s sake, of the 6-foot-4-inch, almost 300-pound 18-year-old (whose nickname apparently was “Big Mike”) very apparently roughing up a convenience store clerk on the day that he later was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson (that day was August 9), and Wilson has claimed that when he encountered Brown, Brown had a handful of cigarillos that he’d apparently stolen from the convenience store.

(Whether this is true or whether Wilson was lying in an attempt to retroactively “justify” his shooting of Brown by trying to link Brown to a crime that Wilson has claimed he had been aware of is quite in dispute. [It seems to me that it’s quite possible that Wilson had had no knowledge of the convenience-store robbery before he encountered Brown on that fateful day in August, and if memory serves, early news reports [such as this one] indeed were that Wilson had not known about the convenience-store robbery when he encountered Brown.])

I’m no angel myself, but the exact number of times that I’ve roughed up a convenience store clerk while stealing from him is, um, zero. As there not only is surveillance video, but as Michael Brown’s companion on that fateful day, Dorian Johnson, apparently also has testified that Brown committed the convenience-store robbery (to Johnson’s surprise), that Brown committed the crime is, methinks, fairly indisputable, and it is not “character assassination” to divulge unflattering facts about Brown’s unflattering actions on that day, as Brown’s defenders have alleged. Brown’s character, at least as it was on that particular day, it seems to me, rather speaks for itself. On that day, anyway, very apparently, Brown was no gentle giant.

But: Did Michael Brown deserve to get capped, even if he had committed a crime? Brown was unarmed, and photos of Darren Wilson’s “injuries” allegedly caused by Brown show only some red marks (maybe one light facial bruise) that appear as though they even could have been pre-existing. (Wilson, by the way, is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs around 210 pounds and is 28 years old.)

The fact that it’s verging on the year 2015 and despite all of our technological advances we still have no widely used non-lethal way of effectively subduing those whom law enforcement officers deem need to be subdued is testament to what degree life (especially non-white life) is considered to be cheap here in the United States of America.

Sure, we have Tasers, but those are good for only a limited range, and whenever cops claim, correctly or incorrectly, truthfully or untruthfully, that they feared for their lives, they don’t use Tasers or the like, but they use live rounds. With all of our technological advances, why do we allow this beyond-sorry state of affairs to continue? Why don’t we care enough to force the cops to change their tactics?

And, of course, it’s inarguable that black men are treated as automatically guilty by many if not even most white cops, who often act as judge, jury and even executioner, and that cops disproportionately are white males, like Darren Wilson.

It’s also inarguable that Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg. The main function of cops is to protect the socioeconomic interests of the plutocrats, the ruling elite. Cops serve and protect, all right, but whom do they serve and protect? Cops are tools of the elite, whether the cops know this or not, and whether the cops even care if they do know this.

So there is that dynamic that’s baked into the socioeconomic dynamics of the United States, as well as is the dynamic of institutionalized racism.

That said, while institutionalized racism rages on, we still must view every incident as an incident, with its unique details and factors and with its unique, individual actors, and we have to be careful not to allow individuals to become standard-bearers or stand-ins for our own views on race.

Just as Michael Brown apparently was no angel, I’m sure that Darren Wilson is no angel, either, and so to see black Americans portray Brown as what he apparently wasn’t (an innocent angel) and to see white Americans portray Wilson as what he probably isn’t (a “hero” who was just doing his job and protecting himself from a dangerous thug) has been disappointing, to put it mildly, because this is much more about sticking up for one’s own race than it is about any respect for the truth.

Indeed, the Ferguson case has been turned into a race war, in which Brown has been the proxy for black Americans and Wilson the proxy for white Americans – to the point that the grand jury’s decision, to many if not most Americans, apparently was supposed to go far, far beyond the very specific events surrounding Wilson’s shooting of Brown on August 9 in Ferguson, and was supposed to be a decision, a judgment, on whether or not American cops (most of them white) on the whole treat black American males unjustly, or even, more broadly, on whether or not the United States still has problems with racism.

That’s an understandable misunderstanding, I suppose, but it is a huge misunderstanding of the purpose of the grand jury nonetheless.

There was or there was not enough evidence to show that Wilson, in his capacity as a law enforcement officer, probably illegally shot Brown. (If the laws governing this question are fucked, that’s something else, and if the laws are fucked [and they are], then we need to change the laws.) That, however, was what the grand jury was to have decided: whether or not Wilson probably violated the letter of the law. That was the only job of the grand jury, and it was a narrow job.

And neither you nor I was there when Wilson shot Brown, which is another reason that I’ve yet to write about Ferguson until now: Most of us have an opinion on an event that we didn’t even witness, and for which we have only significantly different claims from different parties as to what did (and did not) transpire. Lacking that specific information, we fill the vacuum with our own opinions and prejudices and our biases that stem primarily from our own racial-group identity. Which is a sort of mob mentality.

Speaking of which, lobbing rocks and bricks and bottles and Molotov cocktails and smashing store-front windows and setting cars and buildings ablaze, while perhaps loads of fun for the participants, doesn’t do anything, that I can tell, to even begin to change the entrenched socioeconomic ills that plague the nation, the socioeconomic ills that are behind Michael Brown’s death.

I’m not staunchly against the use of violence as a political tactic – the plutocrats, our overlords, certainly never rule out the use of violence against us commoners, so we commoners never should rule out the use of violence against our plutocratic overlords, either – but violence, if used, should be strategic and it should get results. I don’t see that vandalizing store fronts and blocking roads and even setting businesses and other buildings and cars, including cop cars, ablaze do anything to even begin to change our corrupt system.

While the sources of the rage that induce individuals to take it to the streets are entirely understandable – those sources include institutionalized racism, ridiculous socioeconomic inequality from an economic system (capitalism) that is all about screwing others over for one’s own selfish gain, and the police state that we live under that protects and preserves this ridiculous socioeconomic inequality and institutionalized racism – again, I don’t see that the tactics that most of the enraged use on the streets actually are effective in bringing about real change.

Our fascistic, plutocratic overlords don’t exactly quake in their jackboots at the specter of small businesses having their front windows smashed out, and of course if a police car is torched, it is we, the taxpayers (which doesn’t include the tax-evading plutocrats), who will pay to replace that police car, of course. What do the plutocrats lose in these cases?

The plutocrats are perfectly willing to sacrifice a small, token amount in periodic property damage in order to perpetuate their ongoing socioeconomic rape, pillage and plunder of the masses and of the planet itself. (And it goes without saying, of course, that our plutocratic overlords are entirely untroubled by the periodic shootings of black men by white cops. After all, thus far the responses to these shootings, while they gain plenty of media coverage, haven’t threatened in any serious way the plutocrats’ iron grip on wealth and power.)

Finally, we Americans need to recognize that it wasn’t only Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown. Almost all of us killed Michael Brown. (Ditto for Trayvon Martin, as I have stated, and for many others.) Because we have continued to allow the inexcusable bullshit to continue, and as long as we continue to do so, as long as we continue to refuse to dive more deeply than the surface (such as by looking primarily or even solely at race and not nearly enough at class, and by failing to effectively hold accountable the plutocratic puppet masters who always are hiding behind the scenes and thus always get away scot-free), and as long as we continue to refuse to do the long, hard, sustained work of making – of forcing, if necessary – significant systemic changes (yes, including up to true revolution [“reform” always leaves the power structure intact, doesn’t it?]), there will be plenty of more Michael Browns and Darren Wilsons.

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