I’ve reached my limits as to how much political bullshit I can deal with. Actually, I reached my limit during the election campaigns with all the mudslinging back and forth between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters. As I’ve said many times, I was a Sanders supporter in the primaries, and then I voted for Clinton in the general election. I’m ideologically a progressive but I’m a pragmatist at heart. When this president became the Republican candidate, my mentality became, “Anyone but him.” More specifically, any Democrat but him. I think Jill Stein would have been arguably worse, but that’s not the point of this post.
Once this president won, I naively hoped Democrats would present a united front against him. I knew better, of course, but still, I hoped. Democrats are our own worst enemies, and we’d rather punch each other in the face than compromise with each other. It’s so funny that we preach tolerance and open tent, but we don’t practice it. As someone who wasn’t enamored with either Democratic candidate, I feel as if I’m stuck in the middle. I can see the positives and negatives of each candidate, and it’s frustrating to see both sides (truly both sides in this case) hunkering down in their respective bunkers. I know both sides feel attacked because I’ve heard it from both Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters. “They started it!” each side cries, pointing their fingers vigorously. I got into it (mildly) with a FB friend who was a Clinton supporter, and he said Clinton supporters only started attacking in response to attacks by ‘BernieBros’.
Side note: I loathe that nickname because it’s dismissive and reductive. I know several people who were Sanders supporters, and only two of them were white dudes. The majority are women, and there are more than one PoC I know who supported him. Also, people who are not straight. Yes, I fall in three of those categories, but I’m not the only one. It was infuriating to see Clinton supporters sneer about only white dudes supporting Sanders when it wasn’t true. Then, anyone who was a minority who supported Sanders was similarly dismissed, though not quite as easily. It follows the liberal pattern in general of trumpeting the voices of the oppressed–until said voices disagree with their own opinions. Then, it’s internalized blah, blah, blah, not just a matter of different perspectives.
In addition, it was amazing to watch Clinton supporters attack Sanders for being tone-deaf about race, for example, then shrug off instances of Clinton’s own racial problems. I know it’s human nature to indulge in confirmation bias, but it’s still disheartening to see by people who claim to be open-minded. By the end of the campaign, I pretty much kept my mouth shut as a bisexual, Taiwanese American woman who supported Sanders because I felt so alienated by the Clinton supporters who didn’t want to acknowledge I existed. Any time I mentioned this on Twitter, I had other minorities DM me to tell me they felt the same way. It was really unpleasant, and it jaded me even further on politics.
Anyway, back to the FB friend who argued that Sanders supporters started it. I said he felt that way because he’s a Clinton supporter, so of course he’s going to hone in on examples of Sanders supporters acting badly. I said I saw way more Clinton supporters acting like asses, but that’s because I supported Sanders. The truth is, it probably was equal, but it just depended on what you were looking for. Plus, more people I followed were Clinton supporters than Sanders supporters, so there’s that, too.
I tried to make HillaryHunks happen, but it didn’t catch on. I felt there were Clinton fans who were just as dismissive of Sanders and his supporters as vice-versa. I lost respect for several people during the elections because they showed their asses by being rude and gross to and about Sanders supporters. It reached the point where anything Sanders did was considered defective or wrong in the eyes of Clinton supporters. Vice-versa, too, but I’m speaking from the perspective of a Sanders supporter.
In addition, there is something really distasteful about watching someone in the majority (mostly, white people) denigrating other people in that category. It’s one thing to say something like, “It’s hard to be aware of your privilege when you’re white and steeping in it.” It’s another thing to roll your eyes and exclaim loudly, “White people are the worst!” to all the PoC around you. The former is self-awareness. The latter is someone saying, “Please like me. I’m a good white person, aren’t I? Look how good I can be! I’m not like the rest.” It reminds me of tokens, but in reverse, and It’s disgusting to watch. It’s also a way of putting yourself above others in your category, and it can be an excuse not to actually do anything about racism.
We are nearly a year after the election. We are past the six month mark of this presidency. Our country is going to hell in a hand basket, and there are still some Clinton/Sanders supporters who’d rather yell at each other than yell at the Republicans/this president. In a way, I get it. I don’t expect anything from Republicans in terms of agreement because the split between the two parties at this time is so big. If someone is a Republican right now, I am comfortable assuming they are anti-choice, anti-queer, anti-worker, pro-racism, and anti-taxes. In other words, diametrically opposite of my views. I do expect someone on ‘my’ side to agree to several things. A woman has the right to choose. This is my one make-or-break issue. I don’t give a shit if someone is against abortion in their personal lives, but I do give a shit if they want to make a policy based on their anti-abortion views. If you’re a Democrat, I expect you want everyone to have healthcare insurance. We can argue about the best way to get that done (single-payer, yo), but I expect you to agree in theory at least. I’d assume you believe in equal rights for all minorities, and other things along this line. I bet if you ask both Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters, they would agree on these principles. That’s part of the reason it’s so frustrating to watch the intra-party bickering.
It’s not new, of course. Democrats are really good at tearing each other apart. Social media makes it easier to facilitate the infighting, though, and it seems as if minds are hardening rather than opening up after many discussions. The one thing I admire about Republicans is that they vote lockstep for their candidate. That’s less true this time than in years past, but in general, Republicans vote for Republicans. I wish Democrats would follow suit because in the end, it’s all about numbers. We need more of them than they get when you get down to it. Voter suppression is a huge issue, and if we keep allowing ourselves to be fractured, we’re going to lose more seats to gerrymandering as well as face more restrictions in voting.
I feel like I’m an old fogy in some ways. I’m tired. I want my country to get back on track, and I don’t have the patience for the infighting that I might have had twenty years ago. To be frank, I didn’t really have the patience for it then, either, but I have it even less now. I don’t know why we have to keep learning this lesson, but no candidate is perfect. You cannot have a hundred percent agreement with any politician, and I’d be suspicious of any politician who says they can give me everything I want/need. Sixty percent is good. Seventy-five percent is fucking fantastic. Anything more than that, and I’m on cloud nine.
I’m not mad about it; I’m just really tired. I want to bonk together the heads of the Clinton supporters and the Sanders supporters and say, “We have more important things to do than bicker!” To be clear, I’m not shaking my fist at the fact that there are differences between the two camps; I’m tired of the name-calling and the petty bullshit. There is middle ground, but both sides are refusing to see it. I don’t know how to bridge the differences, and it’s making me sad. I truly think Democrats have more to offer than do the Republicans. I think our viewpoint is more valid, more compassionate, and more humane. I just wish we could get our shit together. One day.