The Spirit Of Christmas Future Manifests As A Millennial-Will We Listen?
Well worth the time to read this and reflect on it. This was a message from a young person on the foolishness of a particular meme. The meme isn't really important for context, nor is it important who this sentiment came from or where it came from. It is a striking piece and it makes me more hopeful for our collective future, something that is hard for me to get from my contemporaries. As important as it is to listen to our elders it is also important to listen to the voices of our youth, as hard as it may be to listen. They are our future. Here is one of those voices. From a millennial...
This is about more than the current election--it's also about the future of the Democratic Party.
First, I'm not a Democrat. I've been a liberal for years, but I've never had any particular reason to identify with the party in particular. As I've studied history, I've realized I really don't want anything to do with it, though I may still support individual candidates the party runs. The Democratic Party is the oldest existing political party in the world, and for all the good it has done, it has just as many years of corruption, war-mongering, racism, discrimination, oppression, and support for the political and financial elites of the day. These things stem from the basic fact that the Democratic Party is a capitalist party; there's just no getting around that.
The Democratic Party is losing people my age. We've grown up with bipartisan support for wars, financial corruption, mass incarceration and the war on drugs, the dismantling of public education, and many other things. People on here seem to think that millennials love Obama because we voted for him in 2008. I hate to break it to you, but we don't. We don't dislike him, either, but we've seen too many things he's done to believe in the Democratic Party as an effective vehicle for change. We are much more in support of movements like BLM, Occupy, or the current movement growing that has Sanders as its figurehead.
That's the thing with my generation; we have completely stopped caring about the establishment parties. We fully recognize the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats; we're not that stupid. Very few of us are fans of the extremist rhetoric being spouted by people like Trump, but you have to realize that apathy is one of the defining characteristics of my generation. It's so easy to disappear into technology with the knowledge that we're screwed by our loans, our skyrocketing tuition, our joblessness, and our leaders. It's so easy to look at a world threatened by the biggest problem the world has ever seen, climate change, and believe that all hope is lost. It's easy to say that we should just live our lives as best as we can while we have the chance--and I'll be honest, I'm not immune to the charms of a life like that.
In the context of all of that, the Democratic Party means almost nothing to us. I have met three, count them three, people that are full-on Democrats my age. We might support them individually, but we have an almost instinctive reaction against identifying with a particular party.
So why am I starting off with all of this? Because I want people to realize that the Democratic Party is not going to be the party of the future. Sanders supporters here often look at the current mess with DWS and the DNC and still believe the party can be reclaimed--that it somehow can be made "theirs". Now, you can believe me or not, but if you look at the almost 200 year history of the party, that's never happened. It's not going to start now, no matter how much we want it to be true. I think you're kidding yourself if you believe corporations will relinquish the hold they've had for so long.
With all that being said, I'd like to offer a few thoughts on the current Democratic candidates and what they mean for the future of the party, as well as say a few things to each of their supporters.
O'Malley fans, I don't have much to say to you guys. He's a solid liberal, and he'd make a great liberal candidate. Best of luck in your efforts. He's not for me, though.
To me, Clinton is everything that millennials don't like about the Democratic Party. Beholden to major corporations and embodying the half-solutions that neoliberals propose, she comes off as the exact type of establishment politician that we have such a passionate dislike for. Now, she absolutely does have progressive tendencies, but when push comes to shove, she almost always defaults to protecting the privileged. I haven't fully committed to not voting for her should she be the nominee, but there's going to have to be a hell of a case made for me to do so. The Republican bogeyman doesn't scare me, because if it's not now, it'll be next election and we'll be voting for a Lieberman instead.
There's three types of Clinton supporters I've met so far, and I have some thoughts for each of you. There's the people who genuinely believe she is the most progressive option, there's the people who recognize all of her shortcomings but are pragmatists, and there's the anti-Sanders folks.
To the people who think she's the most progressive: are you joking? No offense intended here, but to be blunt, you've gotta be blind. She's receiving literally billions from corporations and funds. She makes speeches for half a million a pop. Call me naive all you want, but it's even more naive to think that rich people give their money away without expecting something in return. Those wonderful rich philanthropists like Gates and Buffet? Yeah, they're investing and shaping, not donating. She supports the death penalty. She supports imperialism. She supports corporate trade agreements. She's not an LGBT ally, no matter how many times you show me her record--she's got ties to creepy religious fundamentalists and it took her until 2013 (2013!) to be okay with me marrying a dude. Come on, now. She can say she supports whatever she wants, I don't trust my rights with her in the slightest. I really can't take people seriously who think she's a progressive hero. I think you'll be shocked by how little support she will receive.
To the anti-Bernie folks, well...can't say I disagree with you on most of what you say. But I don't think Clinton is the answer. Best of luck figuring out your path. I don't agree with it.
To the pragmatists: you've almost convinced me. Almost. She would be a decent tool for getting progressive-ish legislation through. She is a woman, and the value of that cannot be understated. She would inspire thousands, and she'd be sure to expose certain elements, just like Obama has. And she sure as hell isn't a Republican. But...and I ask you to really carefully consider my words here, would she really be progress? Or would she just forestall the plunge that the Republicans represent?
I personally think she would make it much harder for activists to do things. Looking at her recent statements about encryption, that scares the crap out of me. We're already being watched, we're already being monitored on the streets. We cannot have someone who would further police power, and I think she would. She also has been a strong supporter of the prison industry and mass incarceration. I have a feeling she would be worse than Obama has been on those issues, and he's been pretty bad. Her foreign policy is quite aggressive, and another war would be devastating. She has supported things like the coup in Honduras and the mess in Syria. She has planted herself firmly on the side of maintaining power for US military and corporate interests, and that's possibly the biggest issue we face other than climate change. For all the issues we face at home, they pale to the war zones and profiteering we create abroad. And of course, neoliberalism is just awful for anything domestic.
I simply cannot see how she represents anything good other than her (admittedly strong, but still rich white liberal) feminism and the fact that she's not a Republican. And that hasn't convinced me. I haven't ruled out voting for her; I already changed my mind on that. But I really, really don't want to. It's going to take a lot to convince me, and the pragmatic argument so far hasn't. I know this country isn't ready for the revolution that will happen under a Trump presidency. I don't want that. But 8 years from now? We might be in a place for that. I don't know. I think you all should really carefully consider what needs to be done to move us on from the current situation we face. I don't think Clinton helps that.
And that brings us to Sanders. I don't have much to say about him that hasn't been covered on this site. I think he'll call out 85% of the bullshit in our current system, and that's good enough for me. I don't think he'll change much right now, but I think he might nudge us in the right direction for once.
So, to Sanders supporters, I have this: be careful about what you think he represents. He's not the future...yet. Capitalism will not work--any variety of it. Sanders still advocates for that, and that's where we part ways. I'm willing to vote for him because I think he might wake us up, and start preparing us for the revolution that will have to come. But he supports the US constitution. I cannot. He supports private property rights to a far more significant degree than I do. And as far as I can tell, he supports the idea of nation states. I don't.
Basically, I am all for most of what he proposes. But we have to be very mindful of where we are headed after we achieve that. What he proposes will not last. It is only a step on the way to a society that I am confident we cannot yet imagine. If we keep that mindset, we will achieve a ton. If it is the end of the road, then we will fail. Be prepared to leave the party when the party abandons you, because it will.
In the end, I haven't decided who I'll vote for. I don't know if it'll be for the Democratic nominee or not. We'll see. There's lots more for me to learn.
Thanks for listening...