Sunday, June 05, 2016

The subtext of the 2016 presidential election is slavery

I have a confession to make. I would love to be phonebanking, door knocking and canvassing for Bernie. But I have a family and a job. So I blog about Bernie and I promote my blog. This used to be a technology blog, but every day, I'd look at the headlines and read. Then I'd ask myself what is the priority? Another article about some shiny tech? Or getting Bernie elected? Bernie wins every time. Been like that for months and it's not going to change for the foreseeable future.

I've been writing this article in my head since about 2 am. The house is warm, I'm thinking of Tuesday and hoping that we can build a giant wave of votes for Bernie and get the nomination.

So here's the deal. Bernie has suffered through a press that would rather ignore him, massive cuts in polling places, closed polling places, purged voters, party preference changes without notice to voters, closed primaries, more than 450 superdelegates that already pledged an oath of fealty to Hillary before even the first vote was cast, and a national political party that has already anointed their candidate as president in a secret ceremony in the basement of the capital building in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Yet, Bernie presses on because it's not over. He's going to the convention and that's it. There is still a chance he could win and that's because the math is there. Neither candidate can clinch the nomination based on pledged delegates before the convention.

All of this abuse, voter suppression, voter purges, closed polling places, odd hours, even the ridiculously inaccurate training for California election poll workers to give independent or no party preference voters provisional ballots, all of that is encompassed in one word, "disenfranchisement".

Note: If you live in California are not a registered Democrat, and want to vote for Bernie, do not take a provisional ballot. Go to your polling place, get a Democratic "crossover ballot" with his name on it. Find instructions here.

When I went to high school, I learned about slavery and the civil war. The slaves were "the disenfranchised negroes" of American history. What made them slaves was their disenfranchisement, absent the right to vote, they had no say in their fate. The civil war was prosecuted by the 1% of the south. They were the ones who convinced everyone else that slavery was something worth fighting for.

Everyone is born to breathe, eat, poop, pee, and do what they can to get their needs met and then they die. If they're lucky, they procreate to pass on their successful genes.

Over the last 30 years, the middle class has taken gigantic hits from all around. Free trade, anti-union laws, austerity, forced binding arbitration everywhere, all in an economy that is becoming dominated by rent seeking while at the same time reducing them to service workers. In other words, it's getting harder and harder to breathe, to get our needs met.

It would seem then, that the 1% derive their security from making it harder for others to get their needs met. Is that how they raise their families? Do we raise the family of homo sapiens by making it harder for most of our family members to get their needs met and destroy the biosphere at the same time? Should we deny everyone but the 1%, education, health care, paid time off for paternity and maternity, a decent vacation and make sure that the wealthy get every possible nickel and dime by making anyone left in the middle class put their lifestyle on the card at 18% interest?

That's not how I raise my family. I have a job, I get a check, I put it in the bank, pay my bills, use no credit cards and I give my time to my family. I blog when everyone else sleeps. I make sure my kids get their needs met by spending time with them, playing with them, feeding them, clothing them and everything else that I think they might need. My wife stays at home and does what I can't do for them, and she continually amazes me in the process. As parents, our job is to make sure our kids get their needs met and teach them how to do it on their own.

We're slowly devolving into a nation that does not do that for each other. But if you're a member of the 1%, then you're OK.

Someone once said that in any country, revolution is just one missed meal away. Nick Hannauer says that the pitchforks are coming. He also says that the 1% may not be able to get to their Lear Jets in time to make their break for New Zealand if they keep this up and it doesn't work out.

Kennedy said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". Bernie Sanders is heading up a peaceful revolution because we don't want the other kind. If the 1% would like to double down on neoliberalism, a really nice, confounding word for slavery, they can expect that Hillary will win the nomination. If they would like a peaceful revolution, they might prefer to have Bernie as the nominee.

This election is not just about getting Bernie Sanders into the White House, though that's a part of it. This election is about restoring the right of nomination to the people (yes, there really is a right of nomination). It's about restoring the right to vote to the people and restoring the right of all to have a voice in our collective fate. This is why I support Bernie Sanders.

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