Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Democratic Convention Comes Fast Upon Us

The Democratic Convention Comes Fast Upon Us
(and the Republican Convention Is In Full Swing)

Last week Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Sec. Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. And I am afraid that many of my fellow supporters of Sanders have seen this as betrayal of our revolution; our revolution because it was our money, our calls, our canvassing, our rallies, our use of the internet that brought Sanders so close to the nomination; our revolution because it has not been about Bernie or about Hillary but about what most concerns us - justice for all, peace, the very Earth itself.

I applaud Bernie Sanders for endorsing Hillary, not because I am happy about her candidacy (a neo-liberal and a "hawk" whose policies have been difficult to distinguish from a neo-con's) but because the Democratic Party must come together as a united front against the terrifying threat of Donald Trump, an outright fascist of the most virulent kind hardly important in himself but more for what he represents and calls forth in the U.S. psyche: a corrosive and divisive racism that has infected the culture and the nation since its beginning.

I understand those friends and acquaintances who say that they would vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, or write-in Bernie Sanders, or not vote at all so objectionable to them is Clinton (a neo-liberal the press is fond of calling "centrist," the Democratic Party having drifted, been pushed, dragged so far to the right that center is now damn smack in the middle of right field.) They say that in consciousness they cannot bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

But in conscience we must vote for and elect Hillary Clinton as president, not to do so would be the height of irresponsibility and foolishness. Let us be very clear, democracy has been a national myth from the very inception of this U.S. of A. Slavery (and its attendant racism) is inseparable from Capitalism. Our choices have ever been between the lesser of evils as long as uncontrolled Capitalism rules. And so it is now - absolute, brutish, neo-con fascism under the Trump or a less rigid neo-liberal fascism under Clinton. A third party under the present circumstances is a dream devoutly to be wished. Of course all lives matter just as all men/women are created equal - but, let us face it, some lives in actual practice matter more than others, some men/women are created less equal than others.

Justice under the system, as Cornel West maintains is a mockery. Where he and I part company is in his avoidance of a distasteful choice between neo-con Trump and neo-liberal Clinton in saying that he would vote for admirable but unviable Dr. Jill Stein. I see it as an avoidance of a very hard but clear choice, an extremely dangerous course to take and espouse at this point in the elections. Conscience without prudence can be indulgent, and indulgence at this moment of crisis would be disastrous.

Rafael Jesús González & Cornel West 
Bernie Sanders rally, San Francisco 6/6/16

 That said, let us recognize and be glad that our efforts in supporting Bernie Sanders have given us the leverage to begin the necessary reform of the Democratic Party, to bring Hillary Clinton closer to our positions, to make the Democratic Party platform conform more closely to our democratic ideals and concerns. Supporting Clinton does not put an end to our revolution; electing Clinton is now our best option for carrying it forward, certainly not the ideal option, but the best one we have given how things are.

Let us recognize the past, let us learn from it, but do not let us be burdened and incapacitated by it. Revolution means a belief that things, and people, can change. Hillary Clinton is no different; she has shown that her positions can change and modify at least in what she says. Let us hold her to it. She too can be part of our revolution. Ours is a revolution of consciousness, of hearts and minds. So let us embrace and unify as a party - and change it to become truly democratic.

The Democratic Convention is fast upon us. It must be a family affair to which we bring our revolution. Certainly there will be contention; every family has its differences. It will not exactly be a love-fest of the ideal family of popular culture, but it must not be the dark circus of the dysfunctional family. Let us test and push, but most definitely let us fully support Hillary Clinton as the best path toward our goals and bring to bear all the organizing, the commitment, the unity, the vision that carried Bernie Sanders to the very threshold of a nomination to elect Hillary Clinton - and the most progressive representatives and senators. Let our campaign be not so much for her as for what we would like our government to be. After all, our revolution is not about Bernie or about Hillary or even about the Trump; it is about realizing a democracy in which justice and compassion prevail, a society that respects and cares for the Earth and the life she bears. Our revolution must be waged in love and in joy. Let us celebrate the presidency of a woman, and work hard that her presidency be a good and honorable one. For truly, love trumps hate, and we are stronger together. Let us prove it.

- Rafael Jesús González


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