19 July 2016

The 'privileged' anti-Clinton left

Tom Templeton of Delmar NY doesn't want to hear it any more from those he describes as the "Bernie or Bust" crowd. These are the people who voted for Sen. Sanders in the Democrat primaries and now refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election despite Sanders' endorsement. Templeton tells us he supported Sanders during the primaries but will unapologetically vote for Clinton. Those progressives who refuse to do so suffer from a "sanctimony," in Templeton's diagnosis, that makes them insufferable to him. He informs his readers that he actually blocked someone on Facebook because he couldn't stand her apparent indifference to the "harrowing consequences" of making Donald Trump's election more likely. People who dismiss those possible consequences are guilty of "privilege."

[T]hese folks are blinded by their privilege to accurately see what we as a nation would stand to lose if Trump fulfills his campaign promises. Anecdotally, I have observed that most on the "Bernie or Bust" bandwagon are both young and white. To date, their world includes legal protections they take for granted. Indeed, they are comfortable and therefore fortunate in their ability to wallow in self-righteousness. But what about those who rely on Obamacare? What about those who need Planned Parenthood to maintain their reproductive health? What about those whose love is finally legally permitted and protected by the federal government?

You see, Templeton is not "self-righteous" because he's concerned for others, while those who espouse "Bernie or Bust" are either preoccupied with their own principles or else indifferent to those, already worse of than they, who will be even worse off under Trump. There's no room for "self-righteousness" or even "righteousness" in the face of the eternal Republican threat; since Trump must not be President, progressives must vote for whatever the Democrats serve up. They must always settle for that because the Republican threat never goes away. Is it "self-righteous" to say this? Is it "self-righteous" to propose that so long as the Republican is always worse than the Democrat, there is no limit to how bad the Democrat can be? Templeton, I'm sure, would say: yes, Samuel Wilson, you're being self-righteous because you refuse to acknowledge that what is not Republican is a priori not bad but good, and just for that I won't follow your blog anymore, so there! And I suppose it's privileged of me to reject Templeton's hedonic calculus as an argument for Clinton, though for what it's worth I suspect that not only the poor and the historically disadvantaged but also I and the nation will be worse off under Trump than we are now. But the argument against Trump is not an argument for Clinton, much less the absolute mathematical formula Templeton takes it to be. I could believe that Trump is the worst option for the nation, but so long as there are more than two choices for President this fall my feelings about Trump would not oblige me to vote for Clinton. It's part of my franchise as a citizen to choose whomever I deem the best candidate without being blamed for the worst one winning, as Templeton intends to blame any progressive who doesn't vote for Clinton.

In effect, Templeton is saying that I have no moral right to choose the truly best candidate. My only obligation, as he sees it, is to prevent the suffering a Trump presidency will cause. Here again is all the proof Republicans need (may they choke on it) for their contention that Democrats exploit dependency to retain power. The poor and the historically disadvantaged are the Democrats' hostages and human shields; neither Republicans nor people on the left can hope to take the Democracy down without hurting the helpless, or so Democrats threaten. Does this mean that I'm indifferent to the plights of these groups? Absolutely not. I would expect any candidate I endorse to be the best candidate for all those groups in their particularity -- to the extent that their identities "matter" -- as well as for the nation as a whole. It's my right to propose a cure for their ills rather than the Democrats' palliative care or the Republicans' malpractice....and if anyone really thinks the Republicans have worse than malpractice in mind for the patient -- if the GOP is the existential threat to the disadvantaged that people like Templeton seem to think they are -- those people should ask themselves whether allowing Republicans to treat the patient really should be left to a vote at all instead of blaming the rest of us who don't plan on voting Republican. It seems privileged of Templeton himself, if you think about it, to let the Republican party continue existing, to let that threat hang over the poor and the minorities during every election, instead of exterminating it if it's as awful as he says. His beef shouldn't be with prospective independent voters but with the two-party system, if not the U.S. Constitution, for allowing such a state of affairs. To think voting Democrat actually solves this problem is a privileged position, indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton has already proven herself to be incompetent, lacking honor or willingness to take responsibility for her errors. She has proven herself of being on a level with Nixon, since her use of a private server for, what should have been, public emails was in order to bypass the Freedom of Information Act. There is enough evidence to support the accusation towards the DNC that the recent primary was a coronation of Clinton, rather than a true and honest contest between Democratic rivals for the support of the left.

As much as I detest tRump and the conservative right, I would rather see tRump really make a public spectacle of himself then give that p.o.s. the position she feels entitled to.