Guns vs Butter

Today on Face Book, I read about a dozen posts stating that, if a person is considering voting for a third party candidate — rather than for Hillary Clinton — they were betraying others in such a manner that requires an apology. This reminded me of two lessons that I learned as a young man. First, my father pointed out that only republicans always voted as directed; second, that attempts to manipulate others’ behaviors by guilt and shame are rarely effective.

If one’s behavior is defined by what an external “authority” directs, it means that they are without the insight and understanding to think for themselves. They are, in effect, mere cogs, lacking the human qualities that democracy requires. If someone is convinced that voting for a specific candidate is in everyone’s best interests, surely guilt and shame are not necessary in attempts to convince other like-minded people.

I have felt that the Clinton campaign has run a terrible operation. Several months ago, on an internet forum, I pointed out that they were clearly aiming at getting republican support, from both moderates at the community level, and from the establishment. For example, once Trump had done his alpha-male routine on poor Jeb Bush, it was obvious the Bush organization would quietly support Clinton. Weeks later, Laura “Pickles” Bush expressed her support of Hillary.

At the same time, they dismissed Bernie Sanders and his campaign. The old assumption that progressives would have nowhere else to go come November, and would fall in line in another “the lesser of two evils” mindset. By the time they grasped how strong the Sanders Revolution had become, they were running a confused campaign. The attempt to pretend that there are only “minor” differences between the two Democratic candidates, and that they shared social values, has not played well. And for good reason: it’s not true.

What they have failed to confront honestly is the reasons that progressives support Bernie, and nor Hillary. They refuse to actually discuss the legitimate concerns about their candidate. Instead, they rely upon the mantra that progressives are parroting the great right-wing conspiracy. I’ve had equally stimulating discussions with Moonies in the Los Angeles airport.

Let’s consider a few of those concerns. First, during this year’s primary contest, the Sanders Revolution voiced concerns that the DNC was actively supporting Clinton, and opposing Sanders. The Clinton supporters dismissed this as a “conspiracy theory.” Indeed, it was, and the release of the DNC’s poison e-mails on the eve of the convention documented that it was 100% accurate. In response, the Clinton campaign has attempted to divert focus with a conspiracy theory involving Russiia.

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz was forced to resign in disgrace. Still, the corporate media ignored the glaring fact that the DNC’s tactics — in coordination with the Clinton campaign — are basically the same that the Senate Watergate Report detailed in the historic Ervin Committee’s report’s Chapter Two, on political activities between 1968-’71. Hillary should be fully aware of this, considering that she served as a legal adviser to the 1974 House Judiciary Committee’s inquiry on impeaching Richard Nixon. Yet, in response to the DNC corruption, Clinton opted to provide Wasserman Shultz with a comfortable position in her general election campaign.

Clinton’s supporters point to the party’s platform as “proof” that their ticket represents us all. Yet in the history of modern politics, a party’s platform is merely served as “feel good” words for conventions. They are far less important, for example, than the nominee’s selection of a vice president. Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine definitely provides greater insights into her opinion of progressive values, and how she plans to serve Wall Street, than the platform.

This past weekend, Hillary made her first television appearance on Fox News. Again, this clearly indicates who’s support she seeks in November. More, she attempted to blur what FBI Director James Comey stated in his press conference, and his appearance before Congress. He did state she had not lied in her interview with the FBI. But he made painfully clear that she had lied to the American public, and to s congressional committee.

Clinton’s supporters do not address the problems with her dishonesty, but instead attempt to blur the issue by noting that her e-mail system was no different than Colin Powell and Condi Rice’s. Think about that: is being no different than those two a good thing? Is that really what the Democratic Party should be honoring?

I understand that human beings have both “good” and “bad” sides. And that these impact how we each attempt to get our needs meet. When any person is running for president, it is fair to take a full inventory of how these play out in their public life (as opposed to their private affairs). This type of evaluation should be based upon rational thought, not emotions.

Any and every progressive that I know recognizes that Hillary Clinton has some good qualities that have benefited our society. But they have sincere concerns about her bad side, and how that has played out while a Senator and Secretary of State — her two most important positions. Unless and until these are addressed by her campaign, it’s unlikely that the majority of the progressive community will support her.

The e-mail server issue shows that she is highly secretive. Obviously, she believed this would work to her advantage, because republicans have attempted to smear her with “scandals” over the years. So she didn’t want them to have access. But this does not grant license to ignore laws and policies on national security. Or to lie to the public. Shades of Richard Nixon that go far beyond being a close associate of Henry Kissinger.

Last fall, Robert Kennedy, Jr., spoke to the media several times about the actual reasons for the US involvement in Syria and Libya. In both instances, those policies — advanced by Secretary of State Clinton — were directly tied to the interests of US “energy” corporations. Similarly, Clinton advocated fracking for gas, both domestically and in foreign nations. I think it is important for progressives — and all people — to consider the implications.

In the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary compared Barack Obama to Martin Luther King, Jr., and herself to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Now, that’s interesting. In 2016, it would be difficult to place Obama and King on the same level. But the LBJ bit could be considered more accurate. Johnson was effective in making some significant domestic advances. But he couldn’t say no to the ugly war in Vietnam. His supporters continue to insist others were to blame, and many of his advisers were. Yet far more important in the “guns or butter” conflict was LBJ’s character.

These character issues are among the reasons that many in the progressive community are not embracing Hillary.

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