Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Other tribes’ lives matter

I have been fretting, lately, about which if any 2016 presidential candidate will speak up against America’s ongoing campaign of bombing and shooting up predominantly Muslim countries. Gradually, I have resigned myself to the fact that the answer is “no one on the official candidates list.”

This feels just a bit more disappointing, this year, given how much the official list has been gatecrashed. As Ben Norton opined recently, “both hegemonic parties in the U.S. love war,” and any difference is one of hawks vs. warmongers, rather than doves vs. hawks. Yet Bernie Sanders, who is now in a neck-and-neck chase for the Democratic Party’s nomination, is not even a Democrat! If ever there were a year for a breach in support for the military-surveillance complex, it seems like 2016 might be it.

Apparently, not. Norton wrote that within a two-party universe, “Sanders is almost as anti-war as it gets.” But that isn’t very anti-war, it seems.

This quote from an interview has finally confirmed what I’ve suspected for some time, which is that Sanders would basically continue the Obama administration approach. If only by default, this seems to be the overwhelming verdict of the Democratic Party at present: as long as you don’t put enough “boots on the ground” anywhere that people start using the word “war,” the Pentagon, CIA, etc., can pretty much kill whom they want. Over at Slate, Joshua Keating recently made a great point that in the 21st century this is not really a relevant determiner of “at war” vs “not at war.” We should be at least as concerned with drones in the air and bombs on the ground as we are with “boots on the ground.”

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Reminder to Democratic Party, Black Lives Matter

This almost feels too important to write anything about, here. i.e., this is just my dumb blog with a maximum readership in the low fews; it almost feels like trivializing something as important as racial equality to post about it. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, though, so anyway a note on one or two recent observations.

Last week I attended a meeting of the Lakewood Democratic Club. Though a registered Dem, I’m not a member of this very small organization, and was only there because of a discussion related to Lakewood Hospital. It was interesting beyond that, though, as this same meeting included by chance a long-awaited appearance by the Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper.

His presentation was mostly encouraging. The party leadership, at least here in Ohio, seems to have noticed its big problem with voters only showing up every four years. Doing something about it will be more difficult, but the program outlined by Mr. Pepper seemed like a credibly serious plan.

The only big problem that I noted was two-fold: 1) the suggestion that every important Democratic message ties into economic inequality, and 2) the fact that Mr. Pepper and, I think, everyone listening to him may be presumed to check “white” on the census form.

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Peak President

The proposal that America fixates too much on the presidency is not exactly new or novel.

It has probably been more than a decade since I began marking midterm elections’ completion by suggesting, sourly, that “it’s so nice this is out of the way, and journalists can devote themselves exclusively to presidential politics once again.” I believe it has been at least a few years since Matthew Yglesias argued—I don’t recall whether it was at Vox or Slate, and in any event it was probably not a totally new suggestion—that liberals in particular have invested too much in pursuit of the White House while neglecting every other component of American government. Earlier this year, Yglesias’s Vox colleague Dylan Matthews wrote an essay suggesting that the eventual outcome of America’s political dysfunction will be neither collapse nor coup but, instead, gradual transformation of the presidency into an “elective dictatorship.” I found Matthews’s scenario quite easy to imagine.

Today, though, it occurred to me that revisiting this issue might permit some fruitful juxtaposition of two or three phenomena that have been bugging me, lately.

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