Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Salon, Heal Thyself!


Salon is at it again.

In "Bye bye, Bernie: He’s not fit to captain the Democratic ship if he can’t stop chasing the great white male," Anna March writes:
Economic populism and what are commonly erroneously and dismissively referred to as “social issues” — such as reproductive rights, immigration reform and civil rights for people of color, those who have disabilities, people of all faiths, LGBT people and women — are indivisible.
How?  We are not told.
Sanders routinely divides matters of race and gender and class — which, again, cannot be untwined — by discussing the “pain” and needs of working-class voters and perpetuating the dangerous myth that the Democrats have ignored them. Sanders has insisted that Democrats have failed to reach these voters, while dismissing the fact that 75 percent of working-class voters of color voted for Clinton, not Trump, last year.
This paragraph makes clear exactly why Sanders is correct in saying the vote of the white male working class must be sought after.  You already have the vote of 75% of working class voters of color.  It's the white male ones they don't have, and that they should go after if they want to improve their performance over 2016.  Are we to surmise that Anna March would rather not have the votes of the white male working class because they are white male?

Based on the content of her article, that would be a wise assumption.
Despite all of this, cisgendered, heterosexual men are quick to explain why “identity politics” cost Clinton the election. So frequent is this occurrence, I have started using the term “Solnit’s Law” — in honor of Rebecca Solnit, author of the book “Men Explain Things to Me” — to shut down conversations that include men’s mansplaining to me how Clinton blew it and other “facts” about the 2016 election. 
Solnit’s Law — a version of Godwin’s law — is that the longer a debate thread goes on, the more likely it is that someone will mansplain. Once the effect of Solnit’s Law has been declared, the conversation ends and the mansplainer has “lost.” Try it and see how often the conversation will end once Solnit’s Law is called.
I doubt the conversation ends because the "mansplainer" has lost.  It ends because he assumes, quite rightly, that further discussion would be wasted on someone so egocentric and childish as Rebecca Solnit or Anna March.  The only suitable response at that point is to shake one's head at the narcissism, and from there make the decision to have no further interaction.  I mean, we can simply ignore the fact that many people who did abandon the Democrats in the last election supported Obama - a black man, or that many who abandoned the Clinton ship in 2016 opted for Jill Stein - a woman.  After all, when upper middle class feminist bloggers with audiences of thousands need to feel like the victim because of their vaginas, who needs facts?
Democrats should instead focus on translating how inclusion translates into economic advancement.
Well and good.  But then March grumbles about how Sanders actually thought that reaching out to the white male working class might have been a good idea. Hell, she even uses terms like mansplaining unironically. Some chick wants to lecture us on inclusiveness, then brushes off criticisms of her favorite candidate because they come from white cishet males. Okay.
It seems that men — including and especially Sanders — would rather blame inclusion for Clinton’s loss than take a look at themselves, at sexism, racism and bigotry. Apparently it is easier to blame “identity politics” than to seek to change hearts and minds, in order to dismantle bigotry."
Inclusion wasn't the problem. Intersectional feminism is not inclusive. That's precisely what's wrong with it. Intersectional feminism is all about competitive victimhood where whomever has the most marginalized identities is given carte-blanche to be as big of douchebag as they want and insulate themselves from being called on it through cries of "white male fragility!" Not exactly a means of dismantling bigotry.

March figures men should look at themselves.  Perhaps they should.  Many working class white males did vote for Trump, identity politics was a factor in that decision, and look what they got for it. Trickle down economics and deregulation.  What's the Matter with the white working class?  It's a fair question to ask.

Physician, heal thyself, however.  It was your candidate, Anna March, that lost, after all. That's usually where the self reflection is most needed. It seems that the Anna Marches of this world would rather blame "men explain things to me" for Clinton’s loss than take a look at themselves, at decades of neoliberal policy beneath a thin veneer of pandering to cultural smugness passing itself off as progressivism. Apparently it is easier to blame “mansplainers” than to seek to change hearts and minds, in order to dismantle bigotry.

And then there is the purity testing.

She questions Sander's progressive credentials because he brushes off "Identity Politics." Inclusiveness is precisely the reason you do brush off identity politics, and campaign instead on ideas that can benefit everybody: universal health care and so on.  Sanders attempted this, with some deviations that he doubtlessly judged, rightly or wrongly, as politically necessary, and did surprisingly well.  He may well have won, had the internal DNC deck not been stacked against him to begin with.  By moving away from identity and by speaking to issues more specifically, the dialogue becomes inclusive by its nature.  
We persist though we are blamed for her loss, while a historic voter gender gap showed that a majority of women, not men, as supporting Clinton over Trump.
White women favored Trump over Clinton, if I'm not mistaken, though not by a tremendous margin. A fact that intersectional feminists are all too eager to take hold of when they scold "white feminists."  Apparently, what we all need is more condescending lectures and scolding from people with more marginalized identities. All of us. White feminists need it from women of color. Cisgendered white gay men need it from transgender and nonwhite and nonstraight women of color. Black males, cishet ones especially, need it from black women, and especially nonstraight women. Kind of makes one wonder who's going to be left standing when next the music stops in this sick game of competitive victimhood musical chairs?

The media has not done nearly enough lecturing on how all of us need to hang our heads and check our privilege. Salon, the HuffPost, the Guardian, Mic, Upworthy, Being Liberal, Everyday Feminism, Occupy Democrats, not to mention tumblr and twitter, to say nothing of every college or university in the western world. They haven't done enough of that. Had there been more, Clinton would have won.

And more purity testing:
Further, we need to expect the Democratic Party to stand firm on its pro-choice platform and not lend national support to down-ballot candidates who are not pro-choice. We must refuse to debate choice again within the party. One hundred percent pro-choice is the only pro-choice position. One hundred percent pro-choice is the only pro-choice position.
Because purity testing always works. Not that I'm against the pro-choice position, mind you. But the last thing progressive thought needs now is more of a sacred cow mentality.
There is no tactical reason to abandon women’s rights and civil rights and every reason for Democrats to entrench more on these issues, now that our liberties are being revoked and under siege. It is upon all of us who care about the future of the Democratic Party, and indeed the nation, to say so.
I highly doubt Sanders, or anybody in the Democratic Party is suggesting that women's rights and civil right should be abandoned.  They are not going to abandon a core constituency.  But perhaps you should consider putting your money where your mouths are.  White and male does not always equal privileged, however ego stroking it may be to tell yourselves that.  However gratifying it might be to have someone to look down on, to blame your problems and your woes on.  Much like the white working class themselves scapegoating immigrants in minorities in much the same way.  You are no better than they.  You are as much a part of the problem as the reactionary working class is.
Don’t abandon us, Democratic Party. Don’t abandon we, the voters who by 3 million votes said, “I’m with her.” Let’s see you kiss Sanders goodbye and embrace the rest of us.  Let’s see Sanders give up the spear. Let’s see you say, “I’m with you, all of you” instead.
You will not be abandoned, Anna March.  Calls for the Democrats reach out to the white male working class are not calls for it abandon women and minorities.  They are calls that the Democrats become still more inclusive than they would be if they continued to exclude the underclasses that the Anna Marches as opposed to the Archie Bunkers of this world choose to scapegoat and look down on.

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