Sunday, July 24, 2016

Before the Democratic Convention


On the eve of the Democratic Convention convenes, I trust that it will be very different from what I saw of the Republican convention, a dark circus of buffoons and clowns not in the least amusing, leaving one gravely doubtful of their intelligence and sanity but not at all of their lack of compassion and decency. It was a fest of bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia, chauvinism, bellicosity, arrogance, fear, hate, and lies. Not a pretty sight or sound. I forget how long it has been since it was respectable to be Republican.

But, to be truthful, for a politician to call himself or herself a Democrat is no indication of sound values either, so far right has the Democratic party drifted corroded by neo-liberalism, its policies often little different from those of the neo-cons. For that reason we should expect, nay, demand that the Democratic convention be contentious though certainly with more civility and dignity than what we saw in Cleveland, but contentious still; there must be debate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for us to stand behind Sec. Hillary Clinton and so we must. We must stand behind her to back her against the Trump/Pense menace but also to push her to leave off or significantly modify her neo-liberal policies.

Her choice for Vice-Presidential running mate “centrist” (read neo-liberal) Sen. Tim Kaine, who favors Wall Street and supported the TPP and such “Free Trade” treaties, is not encouraging. (Though she could have done worse with Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack on her short-list, an advocate for Monsanto who also supported the TPP, reflecting her neo-liberal values.) But we must nevertheless elect her to thwart an outright, brass-knuckled, oppressive fascist regime under Don Trump.

Of this let us be very clear: we must elect her overwhelmingly, not as a mandate to neo-liberal policies, but as an unequivocal rejection of the Trump/Pence threat and to buy us time and space in which to carry on our grassroots revolution we began with Bernie Sanders’ campaignIn campaigning for her election, let us be clear that we are campaigning for the issues that we demand she promote whether they appear on the party platform or not:

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Stop the TPP

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& a 15$ an Hour Minimum Wage

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Just Immigration Reform

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Fight Climate Change

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& Free Public Education Through College

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Ban Private Prisons

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Expand Social Security

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Universal Health Care

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& Control the Banks & Wall Street

Let us make no mistake; it will not be easy. Trump taps into a deep and extensive vein of misogyny in the U.S. psyche that will be leveled against her, and of a racism that made Pres. Barack Obama the target of more threats than any other president in U.S. history. This is why we cannot risk the temptation to vote for a third party candidate, a write-in, or not vote at all — to do so might soothe the conscience but might lose us the struggle. Many of you disagree with me, I know, but consider carefully before casting your vote.

It will not be easy for we come to the struggle in grief and justified rage that what we most love is threatened and at stake. It is about great human suffering here and throughout the world. Black lives do matter; and Latino lives, indigenous lives, Moslem lives, women’s lives; the lives of our homosexual and transgender brothers/sisters matter; as do the lives of those who die for lack of food, shelter, health care; the lives of those who die in our perpetual wars in the interests of the 1% matter. The life of the Earth herself matters. Our joy is compromised and our anger is justified. Let it empower us to take action but not corrupt the action we take that must be firmly rooted in love and compassion.

It will not be easy, but let us not be immobilized by fear or loathing. Let us wear all our pins, be steadfast in our love and compassion and do what we must do with as much joy as we can garner, with as much color and song and dance as we are able, for only light can conquer darkness. Let the gloom, the sneer, the twisted smirk on our opponents’ faces be their undoing. If we make our revolution a celebration of life, who in their right minds could resist? Let us keep in mind the things we love and struggle to defend — and celebrate them.

I will be glad to vote for a woman president; I only wish it were a woman I could support whole-heartedly and with full trust. But, hey, we are forced to what choices we have and must do the best we can with them. Let it be our very best. In our love is our power, in our joy is our strength, in our hope  our endurance, in our determination our victory.

Rafael Jesús González

Berkeley, California



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