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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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Dear Terrified White Dudes: Your Strategy Needs an Update

I know it's hard to climb out of that barge on the ol' Egyptian river, but seriously, denial ain't gonna help. Start with this: The demographic Point of No Return was passed many, many years ago.

No matter how hard you try to keep any NEW brown people from entering the country, at some point within the next couple of generations, there will be more brown people than white people here.

One more important thing to note: Trying to hang onto all the power, all the wealth, and all the control when you're a diminishing minority in the greater population hasn't worked out awfully well over the last few centuries. Starting with France in the 18th Century, and most recently in South Africa, one way or another the majority will tip the balance back, and you'll have to cope.

If you're lucky, the model will be much more like South Africa and much less like 18th-Century France.

So here's a suggestion for a new strategy:

When you're about to become a minority, maybe... just maybe... ensuring that the rights of minorities are vigorously protected in law and economic practice would be a hella smart strategy!

Think about it, white dudes.

Instead of trying to deny minorities the right to vote, you might want to ensure strong protections for everyone's access to the ballot, because one day, it might be YOUR neighborhoods that get left off the "where we put polling places" map.

Instead of trying to restrict access to the best educational opportunities, you might want to guarantee that the admissions process can't be gamed by privilege.

Instead of making it easy for economic predators to practice usury, extortion, and confiscation in minority communities, you might want to codify economic justice for all, now while you still can.

Instead of allowing industrial polluters a free pass to make places where minorities live as toxic and unlivable as possible, you might want to give the notion of environmental justice a little support.

You want to ensure a better future for your children and grandchildren when they are a minority in America? Then make America a place where minorities have the fullest possible equity.

I can think of no better, more effective, more powerful strategy to secure the existence of white people and a future for white children, than by securing the existence of ALL minorities and the future of ALL children.

Just sayin'...


Determined Not To Decide Yet Because of YOU!

Dear Fellow-DUers-

Yes, I'm still undecided. I'm planning on staying that way for a long time. You know why?

Because a good many of my fellow DUers are NOT undecided. And y'all are in here in this forum telling me and everyone on a daily basis why your candidate has your commitment, and what doubts you have about other candidates, and who else you like and might support if your first choice doesn't go all the way.



I know what I think, and what I feel. I know what appeals to me. I look at each candidate in turn and think, "I really like this/that/the other about this candidate. Not so keen on this other thing about this candidate. Keep watching."

And I know this: I am totally NOT a bellwether or an indicator or a Key Demographic-type voter. What I like, and what I think early on during an election cycle is almost NEVER what actually happens. I'm rarely, if ever, correct about what other Democrats are going to respond to in large numbers. I have the opposite of Prognosticatorial Accuracy.

So it's you that I watch.

I know why I like Kamala Harris. There's some overlap with what others like about her, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about her rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like her.

I know why I like Bernie Sanders. There's some overlap with what others like about him, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about him rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like him.

I know why I like Amy Klobuchar. There's some overlap with what others like about her, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about her rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like her.

I know why I like Pete Buttigieg. There's some overlap with what others like about him, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about him rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like him.

And so on, and so on for pretty much all the candidates.

But I DON'T always know why other people like/dislike the candidates. And the more I learn about that, the better a sense it gives me of where my own blind spots are, how my own biases affect my feelings about who "should" be the candidate, and why I should be flexible, stay interested, and keep learning.

My beliefs on issues cross the spectrum from fairly conservative to very progressive. And it's hard for me to see past what I "know" is "correct" or necessary or best for the Party or best for the country to what other Democrats equally passionately but differently believe.

This forum, and the vigorous discussion and advocacy for our candidates, including doubts freely expressed and hopes fiercely championed, is an important resource to me. I want to thank ALL of you who participate here regularly.

So far I think we're doing a pretty good job of keeping the discussion in this forum informative, lively, and constructive. As the primaries continue and the field expands and, eventually, contracts, it's going to be a challenge to keep it that way. Feelings run high. Disappointment and frustration can turn negative. I really hope we can transcend the impulse to let a powerfully desired end justify negative methods of advancing that end- at the expense of other candidates or other DUers.

I make a choice of who I like best every day. The thing is, it's different almost every day. And that's going to continue for a long time, partly because of how much I learn here about your favorite candidate, about your worries about other candidates, about what you think makes someone a good or bad choice.

I like it that way.

I'm not in a hurry.

A little over a year from now, I'll know a lot more. And I'll be able to make a better choice.

But even if my favorite doesn't become the nominee, I'll be delighted to vote for whoever IS the nominee, because I'll know how many of my fellow DUers trust that candidate and why they've been supporting her/him all along.

Thanks, y'all.


The Leaders I'm Trusting for the Future: Women of Color

Standard disclaimer about this being my opinion which no one else is required to agree with, share, etc. Things I assert as facts, unless linked to references, are the facts as I experience them, so please save your reams of factual refutal, but you're welcome to express your differences in the same terms.

The longer I live, combined with the more attention I pay to what's going on in the world, the more I'm convinced that the root of most of humanity's collective problems is our stubborn reliance on hierarchies of privilege*. This is partly because of the festering anger and resentment they breed: In the excluded and oppressed, while the hierarchies hold unquestioned sway, and in those who benefit from privilege when the hierarchy is challenged and/or change is demanded.

But the other damage done by the hierarchies of privilege is one of lost resources and foregone benefits: How many creative thinkers, geniuses, dedicated public servants, brilliant ideas, innovations, and solved problems have we missed because of those excluded from full participation in our culture and our economy?

The hierarchies of privilege that affect Americans most ubiquitously and most powerfully are racism and misogyny. Based on physiological differences that are generally obvious, they're hard to escape. They've been around virtually forever- certainly since before the founding of the Republic. They shape and pervade all of our economic and social systems.

You can diagram the experience of these two hierarchies pretty simply in four squares: On one axis is gender: Cis male, and everyone else. On the other axis is skin color: White, and everyone else.

The square that includes white males is the square of exclusive privilege. (This is not to say that white males experience no oppression: they certainly do-- homophobia, class discrimination, religious bigotry -among many forms of exclusion- can all apply to white males. But with rare exceptions, they have no experience of living without the assumptions and privileges their gender and skin color bestows.)

Two squares, men of color and white women, live the experience of privilege AND the experience of oppression. We have a broader experience than white men, and a wide variety of options in how we will respond to our own privilege and our own oppression, and how we will use them in connection with others different than ourselves.

Then there is the fourth square, devoid of any privilege at all: Women of color. Their experience and understanding is entirely based in being excluded, being "other", being "not default" or, more simply, struggling against oppression. And that experience is uniquely valuable in a culture that must dismantle two powerful hierarchies of privilege if we are to survive.

I'm not idealizing all women of color as Perfect Warriors in the fight against privilege. The wide variance in life experience, ability, character, exposure to influences, that is a human norm applies to women of color also.

But women of color did not get us into this mess, and their stake in perpetuating it is as minimal as it gets. Their stake in change is greater, accounting for individual variance. And we have finally pried loose enough structural cracks in the system for women of color to wedge their own experience into.

All other variables being equal: Four people born into middle class families in a mid-size American city, bright and motivated enough to acquire good educations, avoid major pitfalls, with similar resume's and holding generally similar ideological preferences, and oriented toward leadership. One from each square.

My first inclination (hey, it's human nature) is to support and trust the one "most like me". The one who shares my experiences. My natural bias is toward believing that she would be the one most likely to 'understand' my needs and define 'what's best for America' in the terms most similar to how I instinctively think of it.

I'm not automatically going with my first inclination anymore. Because it's shaped not only by my lifelong experience of misogyny, but by my lifelong experience of white privilege. That gives me a helluva blind spot. I do my best to stay aware of that privilege, to counter it wherever possible, but I can't turn it off. It defines everything about me as surely as my experience of misogyny.

The disunity and policy chaos of America's current 'culture wars' is toxic enough to make me fear for my grandson's survival. If we can't re-prioritize and innovate radical new social and economic structures for a nation rapidly approaching 400 million very diverse people, everyone's grandchildren are at risk.

We got here because of the blind spots inherent in three squares on that four-square diagram. So, given relative similarities in other variables, I'm inclined to look for leaders who don't have the blind spots of a life of either type of privilege- gender or skin color. I'm inclined to trust their experience in the ways it differs from mine, as well as the ways it is similar to mine.

And therein lies a tremendous opportunity: Women of color share some type of experience with everyone who isn't a white male. Not all, but some. So I'm re-working my screens and re-weighting my filters. I'm looking at women of color who are applying for jobs, opening businesses, reporting the news, creating media, running for office, and above all, sharing their experience of life in America with attention.

I don't want to make demands or load expectations on women of color-- I expect they've had a bellyful of that shit. The expectations are on ME.

This is going in my Journal, because sometimes I think more clearly when I write things out. That's what this is. Me clarifying my own thinking. If you're moved to respond, I'm grateful for the opportunity to "think further on" in the process. But even if no one responds at all, I'm holding myself accountable for not stopping here.


*Hierarchies of privilege (my definition) are those created based on characteristics over which humans have little or no control, such as skin color, gender, place of birth and its attendant language or culture, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, etc. Religion is still included as many religions are associated with ethnic and cultural identity that transcends doctrine or practice. There are other hierarchies- I think of them as "Hierarchies of merit" that are established based on performance and cultural values for specific talents and achievements. They have their own functional value and inherent problems but they're not what I'm talking about here.

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