The silence of the sheep…
One of the most exciting aspects of this political season is presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He is addressing issues that really matter to regular folks, such as the cost of college tuition and regulating the banks and other Wall Streeters who visited tons of misery on hard-working, decent families by playing fast and loose with other people’s money and causing the 2008 financial crash. Sanders may not be framing income inequality as a civil-rights issue, but in the ultimate analysis that’s what it is.
At the other end of the spectrum, one of the most distressing phenomena is the tendency of Democratic partisans, minions, and sycophants—aka sheep—who refuse to challenge or hold accountable their political friends and who have a double standard when it comes to political ethics. Not much integrity or courage is required, say, to criticize Donald Trump and his blatantly racist stupidities about Mexicans and Muslins. That’s not even going after the low-hanging fruit—it’s picking the fruit that has harvested itself by falling to the ground.
What takes courage, integrity, and principles is to confront those who claim to be on our side but who act against our interests. By “confront” I don’t mean attack. Check out the cable reality program “Intervention,” which features
situations in which family members, colleagues, etc., who actually love and care for a person involved in negative-destructive behavior stage an intervention session and try to get the person to change his/her behavior. The theme of the people’s comments during the intervention session is “We’re doing this because we love you and care about you…” Democrats should care enough for their candidates and elected officials to do an intervention regarding actions that are contrary to the principles the party purportedly stands for.
Following are some examples (which by no means is an exhaustive list) of this “sheep” syndrome, which is quite universal. Although I cite some local (to Tucson and Arizona) examples, I’m confident similar examples exist in other communities.
“Send them back!” and protect Wall Street
When Central American children fleeing violence and starvation arrived at our border, armed members of KKK-affiliated groups and their allies surrounded the buses carrying the children, shouting “Send them back!” In a CNN interview (June 17, 2014) Hillary Clinton, when asked what we should do about these children, categorically said “Send them back … We have to send a clear message. Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”
Clinton opposes the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall law, which separated commercial and investment banking. According to experts, the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a key factor in the 2008 financial crisis, and they predict that without its reinstatement (or something like it), another greater catastrophe is inevitable. By opposing the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, Clinton is providing comfort to the big banks and traders who made fortunes on the backs of working- and middle-class families and ruined the lives of millions of Americans.
According to one report, Clinton has received approximately $20 million in fees for speeches and campaign contributions from Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers, and other fat cats. (Politico Magazine, December 16, 2015) One has to be abysmally stupid or hopelessly myopic to believe that the Wall Street folks are philanthropists—they are buying a product: access and influence, a politician.
Invading Indian land and loving Russell Pearce…
Arizona Democrat House member Ann Kirkpatrick, whose district includes the Apache reservation, teamed up with Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Republican-Tea Party House member Paul Gosar to sponsor legislation that allows Australian corporation Rio Tinto (a virulently anti-union and anti-environment outfit) to build a copper mine in Oak Flat, an Apache ancestral sacred site where religious ceremonies are held and acorns, an Apache dietary staple, and medicinal herbs are gathered. Since February, Apaches have occupied Oak Flat, protecting the sacred site and have vowed not to leave until the land exchange is repealed.
Arizona Democrat House member Kyrsten Sinema, as a state senator, worked hand-in-hand with chief Arizona Mexican hater Russell Pearce (author of SB 1070) in fashioning and sponsoring legislation that would have made a felon of anyone who gave a ride or a meal to an undocumented worker. In his relentless attack on Mexicans Pearce sponsored rallies for neo-Nazi groups and mentored neo-Nazi J.T. Ready. Still and all, Democrat Sinema asserts that “Actually, I love Russell.” (Phoenix New Times, February 14, 201)
“Segregation today…segregation forever!”