Sunday, March 12, 2017

Can You Teach an Old Democrat New Tricks?

Shaun King has a lucid and chilling column on the future of the Democratic Party--or lack thereof. At a time when Donald Trump is the least popular starting President, the Democrats and Hillary Clinton have managed to make themselves even less popular. That's a remarkable achievement. King explains it very clearly--the Democrats fail to stand for anything. They oppose Trump, but take the same corporate cash as the GOP and fail to put forth a much-needed alternative.

No one knows this better than teachers, having lived eight years under an Obama administration that treated us, incredibly, even worse than GW did. in fact, Diane Ravitch wrote that Obama gave Bush a third term in education. The Democrats, in their zeal to "triangulate" and get donations from anti-labor causes, embraced Bill Gates and so-called Democrats for Educational Reform. When teachers are rated by junk science test scores, they have Barack Obama to thank for it.

Then there are, of course, those of us who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Bernie spoke of universal health care for all Americans, as opposed to the compromises of Obamacare, which it appears we are likely to soon lose anyway. He spoke of a living wage for Americans. He spoke of free college for all.

Hillary and her supporters told us that was pie in the sky. You can't have that. You are "Bernie Bros." In fact, just recently a UFT employee attacked me for being a Bernie Bro, and went so far as to say he should not have been allowed to run. Of course, this person misses the point entirely. I had no problem voting for Hillary when the alternative was Donald Trump, but a lot of Americans felt, with a choice like that, they'd just sit it out. I voted. I got everyone I knew to vote. Of course, in our twisted and preposterous electoral system no votes from NY State mattered anyway.

The question then becomes where the Democrats go from here. They just failed an important test by selecting a Hillary supporter rather than a Bernie supporter to run the DNC. In case it's escaped your attention, Hillary was a tremendous failure, one of the worst in the history of this country. It was her turn to run, so she ran, and like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, electoral results showed that being your turn did not translate to becoming President.

All evidence suggests the Democrats are planning to go their merry way and hope for the best. And all results suggest that is a failed strategy. I am personally very angry with the Hillary supporters who berated me during the primary. I am incredulous that they muster the chutzpah to continue blaming me, or worse, Bernie for their miserable, hurtful and humiliating loss. It's like they don't see what's right in front of their faces, or they simply refuse to.

I'm a teacher. A lot of my job entails talking to students. Sometimes I have to explain what they did wrong and try to show them how they can do better. With die-hard Hillary fans, this is tough. Okay, take this gun and don't aim it at your foot again. If you aim the gun at your foot again, it's highly likely you will end up shooting yourself in the foot again. Oops. You did it again. There goes your foot. Let's go back to the emergency room right now before Trump kills Obamacare.

Democrats need  a message more effective than, "We're not Trump." I see no evidence of any such message and that's a shame. Of course we can possibly raise another party from the grassroots, but that could take years. We could easily sit through term two or more of Trump while we wait.

Forget What's the Matter With Kansas. What's the matter with all of us? Can't we do better than this?
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