On Truth and Reconciliation

The process known as "truth and reconciliation" has two parts to it, because one must proceed the other. Reconciliation requires truth-telling, always.

Sarah Silverman can stare daggers all she wants, but that will not help defeat Donald Trump. Rachel Maddow can affect bafflement that we are not mollified by a progressive platform, but that will not help defeat Donald Trump.

Given the real and legitimate anger among voters about the rigging of our election, it will not work to simply tell Sanders supporters to STFU and get in line for Hillary. 

With the DNC email leak, we now know for sure what had already been clear: that the process was rigged. This is no small thing, no politics as usual. It is a heartbreaking and frightening and infuriating thing for Americans who still believe in the idea of fair elections. It is a very real trauma to our national psyche, on top of other traumas we've suffered in recent years. If we fail to see it and acknowledge it, we make ourselves weaker against the fascist on the other side. 

Saying “It’s over, get over it” is dangerous. That is an arrogant, tone-deaf posture, a way of going into deep denial and projecting blame onto the victims of the corruption we’ve witnessed simply for having witnessed and spoken about it.

Clinton, of course, has not helped by immediately giving Wasserman Schultz another position in her campaign. That is a petty move that indicates her utter lack of respect for the process and the voters. We see it for what it is: another "fuck you" from the establishment, another punch in the face to the progressive movement, another political hack rewarded for loyalty to the party when what was needed was loyalty to the country and to the democratic process.

Yes, Donald Trump is dangerous as hell. But so is election fraud by one of the two major parties — the manipulation of debates, the changing of rules to favor one candidate, the laundering of campaign money to evade legal limits, the lies fed to the complicit media about Sanders and his supporters, the miscounting of votes by party officials in Iowa and elsewhere, and the fraudulent removal of hundreds of thousands of registered voters from the rolls.

This corruption needs to be acknowledged, admitted to, and accounted for before there can be any hope of a united front against Trump. It is equally dangerous to dismiss and mischaracterize the concerns of Sanders supporters as it is to dismiss and mischaracterize the very real concerns of disaffected Americans who are flocking to Trump out of fear and frustration. Either one sets us up for our own version of Brexit — a massive vote of nullification that denounces a system that has been purchased by and for the 1%.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party sees right into the corrupt core of the party and is disgusted by what it sees. But even if, despite that, we were all to fall in line for Clinton, even if we were all to acknowledge that Trump is worse (as I do), that does nothing to win over the independents who will decide the election in November. 

Sanders polls extraordinarily well among independents. Clinton is largely despised by them.

The party has known this all along, but insisted on manipulating the outcome to ensure her nomination at all costs. Now progressives are being insulted and intimidated, told to shut our traps and tow the line. Many will, for one reason only: fear of what a Trump presidency might do.

But millions of independents will not — especially in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida that will determine who wins. And rather than allow the more popular candidate, the candidate of change in a year of change, a fair chance to to win, the Democrats have recklessly, brazenly played chicken with our country, propping up an establishment candidate disliked and mistrusted by independents and large numbers of Democrats.

Toward what end? Two things only: The aspirations of a political dynasty, and fear of the change Sanders (and, more importantly, his millions of followers) would force on our system in order to make it accountable to the people.

Many comfortable liberals, who will be more or less okay no matter who wins, are angered when we speak the truth. They don’t want to hear it. And that refusal puts us in a very dangerous place. They don't understand — refuse to understand — the legitimate anger of Sanders supporters just as they dismiss Trump supporters as uneducated rubes.

I am frightened by the very real prospect of a Trump presidency, which ought to be unthinkable. But it’s no longer unthinkable, because the party that used to be for and of the people has turned its backs on us and supported the oligarchy, by any and all means necessary.

No matter what happens in November, we must leave the carcass of the Democratic Party behind and create one that will speak the truth.

Reading Nick Kristof on Welfare