The level of anxiety in the pre-midterm zeitgeist has been cranked up to 11.
It hurts to listen, just like it did at the Newport Festival in 1969 (?) when the band who invented heavy metal, Blue Cheer, took to the stage and literally blew (parts of) the audience away during their rendition of Summertime Blues. I know, I was there. People got up and ran. (I’m just not sure what year it was. It was the 60s
I urge you to remember all this noise is deliberate; aimed at inducing a nihilist stupor on the left and a rabid frenzy on the right. One thing you must not forget is your participation in the election. (Don’t worry, there’s more to do past November 6th. We’re just not there yet.)
The temptation is strong to just tune all this out. More terrror? More hate? More lies? More Whataboutism? More deflection? Who wants to hear all that?
No matter what the results, the next steps in our lives will be deterimined by what happens on Tuesday, November 6. Elections are far from the end-all or the be-all, but voting is the necessary next step we must take on our journey.
Columnist Paul Krugman hit the nail on its head early on Tuesday with this, via Twitter:
To prepare for the next 7 news cycles, remember three principles:
- There are no limits
- 2. There is no bottom
- 3. These people lie about everything
As long as most of this country’s mass media continue to amplify the claims of Dear Leader, no matter how untrue, they will continue abet his campaign of divide and conquer.
It doesn’t make any difference if an article appears later or elsewhere saying “this can’t be true,” because the headlines built upon past fallacies will get all the attention.
Two things both true:
1. Trump & R’s use xenophobia strategically to rally their base for elections/shift media towards narratives they perceive as beneficial
2. This is a white supremacist administration and the damage they are causing every day is real and unimaginably evil
— Don’t BOO, Vote! Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) October 30, 2018
I can predict what’s likely coming soon, based on what’s currently being circulated on far-right beyond the fringe social media and internet postings.
- A horrible violence (or disease) story concerning the Central American refugee pilgrimage (sounds a lot different than ‘caravan, doesn’t it?) currently more than a month away from the US Border.
- A sex scandal concerning Special Counsel Bob Mueller. It’s being talked up as a GOP operative is offering money to women to implicate him in sexual harassment. One reporter has already gone public about being approached.
- This one happened before I could publish it: Deny the birthrights of some Americans under the 14th Amendment.
But what about her emails? (Note the date)
FACT: Donald Trump would end birthright citizenship. https://t.co/RJfgxTC2Ou
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 5, 2016
What we don’t need to hear at this point is the lets-be-reasonable pablum being spewed by the cowardly pundits afraid the truth will cost them ‘access’ to the halls of power.
The left is driving people to the polls. In cars. Via hundreds of thousands of postcards urging people to vote, sent from small gatherings around the country. Via the more than a thousand (if you add them all up) people who walked door-to-door in precincts all over San Diego County this past weekend. Via the ten thousand people who came to the San Diego Free Press site yesterday looking for voting information.
The right is driving people crazy. Via fear. Via the numbnuts on Fox News warning of ‘leprosy’ in the hordes of ‘illegals’ ready to ‘invade’ the United States.
Via idiots like the wanna-be USA Today version of Politico at Axios:
Everyone knows what’s happening here. Axios gullibly bugs a wingnut argument that Trump can amend the constitution via exec argument. Drives coverage. Just because they bought it doesn’t mean any other reporters need to. https://t.co/vA0Ro775Pu
— Vote November 6th 🌊 (@neeratanden) October 30, 2018
But what about…?
Here’s a quote from Krugnan’s column in yesterday’s New York Times:
Bothsidesism is, it turns out, a fanatical cult impervious to evidence. Trump famously boasted that his supporters would stick with him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue; what he didn’t point out was that pundits would piously attribute the shooting to “incivility,” and that Sunday talk shows would feature Fifth-Avenue-shooting advocates and give them a respectful hearing.
This needs to stop, and those who keep practicing bothsidesism need to be shamed. At this point, pretending that both sides are equally to blame, or attributing political violence to spreading hatred without identifying who’s responsible for that spread, is a form of deep cowardice.
‘Both sides’ or ‘what about’ have nothing to do with common sense.
And, as Brian Beutler points out in Our GOP Problem From Hell, this is a problem that will exist long after the votes are counted.
As long as our political system responds to the bloody and divisive nature of right-wing politics by decrying “fear,” or incivility on both sides, or by ignoring the moral dimensions of the Republican scam, treating it only as a political tactic that might or might not “work,” the ruling illiberal alliance will soldier on as they have been. It will only come apart if their interests outside of politics are imperiled by their involvement in politics—if decent people engage in the kinds of boycotts and acts of targeted social censure that can change people’s incentives.
Progressive boycott campaigns helped drive Bill O’Reilly out of Fox, and almost ended Laura Ingraham’s career there, and should be expanded to encompass the entire network. Companies that market products to the masses should fear
Democrats could similarly name and shame the right-wing plutocrats like Trump, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, and others who support and benefit from the arrangement, and progressives could organize protests and boycotts of their properties and other interests. Social media companies that allow propaganda and racist incitement to thrive on their platforms for profit would also need to feel the sting.
Speaking of social media, ‘What about?’ and a lack of common sense has already impacted Facebook. Did you know (particularly if you happen to be a lefty) you can’t say the word ‘depressed’ in a Facebook ad?
Not ‘depressed’ as in wanting to sell you a snake oil remedy. Nope. “Depressed’ as in asking folks to remember how they felt after the 2016 election. Yup. Happened to SDFP last week. All appeals were rejected. It’s their policy. Maybe some contemporary version of George Carlin will put together a routine about the words you can’t say on Facebook.
Here’s the offending copy:
Here’s the response from the Facebook ads team:
My name is Brigitte with the Facebook Ads team. I took another look at your ad and I found what seems to be the problem.
In your ad’s body text you’ve mentioned, “Depressed?”. We don’t allow ads that refer to the viewer’s attributes. To get your ad running, Try focusing on your product or service, rather than the audience, with your ad.
I have learned my lesson. No more $20 “boosts” on Facebook.
Another Aside:-Last week–before the ‘depressed’ debacle, the company set me up with a ‘consultant’ to more tell me how to get more results. The poor woman who called me had no idea what we did or why we advertised. I did my best to explain in my garbled prosthesis of a voice. She promised to send me helpful materials. They never came. I’m not going to waste my time trying to figure out why.
There was a vigil at Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla Monday night to honor the Pittsburgh shooting victims. People from all walks and faith came together in song and prayer and vowed to stand against hate.
There was an overflow crowd. There were SDPD snipers on nearby roofs, just in case, according to NBC7.
Local elected officials, including Mayor Kevin
So was District Attorney Summer Stephan, who had her security intervene when a reporter from the Times of San Diego asked her about the thinly disguised anti-semitic material used by one of her campaign websites.
But when shown an archived image of a website she used in her recent campaign — threattosandiego.com — she went silent.
“Do you regret putting up a website that labeled George Soros as a funder of your opponent?” Times of San Diego asked her.
Stephan stared, turned and walked away, with her security blocking a reporter — all recorded by a bystander who asked not to be identified.
I return for one more quote from Brian Beutler:
Elections are important. But absent a concerted effort to marginalize the people and institutions that engage in and facilitate this kind of politics, the politics itself won’t change, and the march toward right-wing insurrection will continue.
Finally, a passage from Pittsburgh resident Jacob Bacharach, writing at Jacobin:
We have got to say, frequently and to everyone who will listen and everyone who will try not to: this hatred and this murder is a project of the political right, who deploy xenophobia and antisemitism to incite senseless violence whose unpredictability drives us first to despair and then to learned indifference. And we have to say “fuck them.”
The November 2018 Cheat Sheet and Progressive Voter Kit has a little bit of everything, from our endorsements in a printable format, other voter guide info, and answers to questions about the process of voting.
Here’s a list of online voter guides and endorsements
San Diego County Democratic PartySan Diego County Republican Party (I’m assuming you’re curious about who NOT to vote for) Courage Campaign has a chart listing 10 liberal/progressive/labor organizations with positions on the 11 State Ballot Propositions. CALmatters has an interactive site covering the California State PropositionsVoice of San Diego –podcast explaining state ballot propositions, plus a guide to local measures.San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Indivisible Downtown Midterm Voter Guide
Defending Our Future: Indivisible in CA 52nd District -spreadsheet comparing endorsements by local publications and organizations.
Finally, may I suggest The San Diego Free Press General Election Progressive Voter Guide, featuringwebsites, social media links plus more than three dozen candidate endorsements, along with yea or nay on 23 state, county, and city propositions. Don’t vote without it.
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