Online Anger is Fine, Action is Better

Lately I’ve noticed that although the 2016 Democratic Primary was over a year ago, there have been an increase in tweets, hit pieces, and slander directed at the left and of course, Bernie Sanders.

Clearly, there is a correlation with Hillary Clinton’s book and her interviews the past month where she partially blames Sanders for her loss in the 2016 Presidential race. I sincerely don’t want to talk about Hillary anymore, or the 2016 debacle, but if you’re a progressive on social media it seems the narrative is constantly being forced upon you, and you then find yourself defending being a progressive, defending yourself for having supported Bernie Sanders, and defending the entire progressive movement in general. And while all sides are guilty of insulting each other especially online, one thing I consistently notice from Hillary’s side is when they hurl insults they feel it’s somehow justified, but if a progressive defends their position or hits back, it’s harassment. This is a perfect example:

Against my best judgment, I keep allowing myself to be sucked into arguments on social media. For anyone who follows me on twitter, you’ll probably remember I was in a fight for days with Joy Reid. It started when I called out Joan Walsh and Joy Reid for using the term alt-left and Berniebro. Joy responded back with a condescending tweet calling me dear and implied that I was a racist. A week later, I called her out on another tweet asserting that Hillary supporters aren’t represented enough in the media. It was such a ridiculous statement that I sarcastically ended the comment with dear as she had called me a week before. Joy became enraged and attacked me in a 10 tweet melt down. Jimmy Dore talks about it in the video below:

Oddly, I made it through the entire Trump campaign not engaging with Trump trolls, so I had to ask, “Why am I allowing myself to be sucked in now? Why am I fighting with people on Twitter when before I let the trolls roll off me and never fed them?”

Actually, I rarely even make a Trump tweet anymore. He’s a ridiculous garbage clown, and I’ve said it one million times in the past 2 years. Christ, I don’t know what else I can say about it. He’s a one man human centipede of endless shit, the end. I slammed Trump repeatedly since 2015, and was attacked constantly for these type of anti-Trump tweets in the past 2 years:

And honestly it’s fine, I stated my opinion about how much I hate Trump, and his defenders have the right to hit back. I wasn’t a victim, this is politics, people are angry, and that’s fine. We should all be angry. What I don’t get is Hillary’s claim that they’re the only ones that have been targeted online. I’ve seen grotesque words from Hillary’s supporters:

Okay, yes, I called her SadLy, I hope she can handle my ‘harassment.’ I can tell you first hand Joy Ann Reid’s mob attacked me for days and said just as bad, if not worse to me than any Trump supporter ever did. And that’s fine too. They love Hillary and think centrism and Republican-light is the way to go, I don’t. But don’t play victim, it’s disingenuous horse shit and anyone with any experience online realizes this for what it is: garbage.

However, the larger question still remains, why can’t I ignore the people attacking progressives online the past several months? Why am I so much angrier now than I was at Trump supporters? There are several reasons, but I want to keep this short so I’ll stick with two: the entire establishment media is largely against Sanders and the left and use their vast and far reaching platform to smear us. They spread misinformation and lies. Secondly, it infuriates me that we should be past all of this, that we should be focusing on a strong progressive Democratic party, but we’re stuck relitigating 2016 on an endless loop. It’s like Groundhog Day, except no one ultimately falls in love and everyday you go to bed angry after wasting time arguing online with dozens of Peter Daou type trolls who have zero interest in ever hearing a word you offer.

While the Joy Ann Reids, the Kurt Eichenwalds and the Al Giordanos would have us believe that Sander’s ideas are to the left, all polling indicates that what Progressives seek are overwhelmingly popular with the majority of Americans. Pundits on MSNBC, Twitter, and major media claim that if Democrats run in 2018/2020 on Medicare for All, or a $15 minimum wage, for example, that they will be considered radical and won’t win. There is no current data to back up that claim, yet they constantly push this narrative.

The list below are the Resistance, if by resistance you mean resisting progressive ideas and attacking the left online.

I’ve been a life long Democrat, and in 2008 I was a precinct leader to get out the vote for Obama’s campaign. I’m currently a committee person at my local DEC, so I’ve been involved in politics for a good amount of time. But on social media I’ve been told, “I’m not a real Democrat” or “An obvious Russian troll” or “Bernie bro” because I stand up for progressive values. Since Democrats turning their back on the New Deal in the early 1980s, the American middle class has felt left out by mainstream politics.

It is not me that’s changed, it is the Democratic party.

Sadly, I see a cult like behavior with Hillary loyalists right now, and I honestly don’t understand it. Why #stillwithher? Is she running again? Are we still with her to help her sell books? Is Hillary going around the country talking about Medicare for All or a $15 minimum wage? I don’t mean this to be hateful in any way, I sincerely don’t understand. I’m not ‘still with Bernie’ I am however still with progressive policy.

It was never abut Bernie, it has always been about policy. It was and is about moving our country away from money in politics, from capitalism run amok, from endless profit driven war, and ultimately making sure all Americans finally have a decent quality of life. I realized I’m so angry because it’s not about Sanders, or Hillary, or any particular politician. This is all a very carefully orchestrated campaign to tear down, exhaust, and keep progressives too angry and overwhelmed to do the real work- getting involved in local politics, registering voters, and taking back the Democratic party. And I get wanting to argue with people who smear you, and spread propaganda. I do, but there’s so much more we should be doing.

Here’s my ask to my fellow progressives, to my dear friends on the left, to all of you who care so deeply and fight the good fight daily: if you are not involved in your local political parties- get involved now. I know the Democratic party has let us all down, and there’s deep corruption, but here’s the thing: right now our best option is to overtake it and run progressive candidates.

I’ll briefly share what I’m doing locally. Every month there’s a Democratic Executive Committee meeting. A few days before I meet with local progressives. We go into the DEC meeting as a united front and make our voices heard. We use our private monthly meeting to educate ourselves on local issues, national issues, strive to be knowledgeable and have all of our talking points polished and succinct as possible before DEC meetings.

The best way to have a successful 2018 and 2020 election is to show up at your local DEC meetings now, become involved, find your fellow progressives, and take over. Take the power back. And when you find people, start organizing voter registration drives- especially to register young people. They are the future of the Democratic party and overwhelmingly vote progressive. Become a precinct leader, and recruit your progressive friends to be precinct leaders. This is how we change the system. And remember resources like Our Revolution and Justice Democrats, just to name a few.

And consider this: If a viable progressive third party truly gains momentum, obviously looking at Draft Bernie at this moment, and if the Democrats double down on neoliberalism, then personally I will leave the party, change affiliation, and work my ass off and bring my army of well organized progressives with me.

And finally, since we’re all mad online anyway, find accounts on Twitter that are active politically, that do the hard work out in their communities. Let them inspire you as well. Three of my favorites I check in with daily:

This can’t be stated enough: Democracy is not a spectator sport. So go ahead, punch back online, argue from time to time, god knows I’ll be there with you. But let that anger inspire you to go out and try to change the world, because let’s face it, we’re all we have.

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