Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Red Sea

How do you like your new President?

It’s been a month, give or take, so how about it?

Is the Trump Administration better than you hoped or worse than you feared?

Or is President Trump pretty much what you expected?


What say you, Conservatives, is it everything you thought it would be?


Donald Trump said he would “immediately” repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Day 1. 

Day 1. Repeal and Replace. This was a big deal for Conservatives. Got to get rid of Obamacare on Day 1.

But, not only did he not do that, so far, there’s no actual plan for a replacement. Republicans don’t even have some draft legislation they’re working on. Hell, they don’t even have legislation for a repeal. And that’s kind of funny, isn’t it? Given that back when they knew it was impossible, Republicans voted fifty-two times to repeal Obamacare. But now that they have a President who promised that exact thing, and majorities in both houses, and a divided Court, they haven’t put forth the legislation for repeal.

When they knew they couldn’t actually repeal the law, they made a big deal of voting to repeal it.

But now that they actually can repeal Obamacare, they don’t dare.

It’s almost like those fifty-two attempts at repeal were empty gestures designed to stir up the suckers.

It’s almost exactly like they were lying about Obamacare all along. 


You’d think a guy who’s famous for running business would know exactly how complicated employer-controlled healthcare in America is.

Unless, you know, as an employer he didn’t actually provide healthcare.

But I digress.

Meanwhile, here’s Trump bragging about meeting with Insurance Company CEOs.


And why is it, do you suppose, that you don’t see him tweeting pictures of himself surrounded by cancer patients and diabetics and those with mental health issues?  Many of whom depend for their lives on Obamacare? Why is it that this supposed President of the People goes to the very Wall Street Billionaires who made their fortunes by denying access to healthcare for advice on how to better provide you with healthcare?

He’s your president, so why didn’t he ask you?

Trump promised a lot of things, big and small, from formally calling out China’s currency manipulation to building a wall to not taking vacations to not tweeting.

So far all of his promises are a bust.

But then, we are talking about a guy who conned thousands of people out of millions of dollars via a fake real-estate “university” and conservatives elected him anyway.

So I don’t suppose this is much of a surprise.


Trump is basically the Bush Doctrine realized in human form.


Sure. The Bush Doctrine. We won the war but had no idea what to do after that.

It’s the same with Trump. He won the White House, fair and square or otherwise it doesn’t matter. Trump won. He became the President. And like the dog who finally caught the car, he has no damned idea what to do with it.

This is a man who is woefully, utterly, obviously unprepared for the office.

This is a man who never did anything to actually prepare himself to be president.

He never served in uniform.

He never held an elected or even an appointed office.

He’s got no legislative experience at either state or federal level.

His education, such as it is, certainly didn’t prepare him for the most complicated office in the world.

He didn’t even bother to bone up on the actual duties of the president before he took office.

And his choice of advisors certainly hasn’t helped. He’s surrounded himself with toadies and yes-men, political flacks, cashiered generals who were drummed out of the service by their own peers, and corporate CEOs who have no more experience running a government than he does. 

The only experience Trump has is business. But the government of the United States isn’t a business – not that Trump was particularly good at running a business either.


He’s out of his depth and just like healthcare, everything is vastly, vastly more complicated than he realized.


Nothing in his background prepared him to deal with that complexity.

Nothing about this guy adds up.

He played on conservative fears to get himself elected.

But that was easy enough. Anybody could have done that. Conservatives are particularly vulnerable to it.

Conservatives, and many liberals too, have been conditioned by three generations of fear-mongering. It’s always something. Always something to be afraid of. Commies and Rooskies,  Red Chinamen and Black Panthers, Ebola, the brown horde south of the border, gangs and gays and atheism, with terrorists around every corner. It’s always something with these people. Seventy-five years ago, in America’s darkest hour, a withered crippled man in a wheelchair told Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself, and Americans hitched up their pants and squared their shoulders and faced their fears. But today? Today the politicians tell the people to be afraid. Nowadays we have entire media networks dedicated to inventing things to fear, from Truthers to Pizzagate. Americans as a people are addicted to being afraid, as a nation we embrace fear, we wallow in it, but conservatives?  Conservatives own the market. Hell, they even fear their God. Fear is the very cornerstone of their religion, fear of a crazy genocidal unpredictable deity who just might wipe out the entire nation because he’s mad about the idea of gay people or socialism.

Republicans have been leveraging that fear to get elected for decades, they’re coming for your guns, they coming for your religion, they’re coming for your daughters, they’re coming for your jobs, they’re coming for your way of life. Be afraid! Be afraid!

Trump was just better at tapping into that fear than anybody else.

He promised a wall to keep out the terror. As if Conservatives – if they were to stop and think about it for a minute – really want to live in an armed camp surrounded by barbed wire and mine fields. And he promised to make Mexico pay for it, but it’s us who are now going to foot the bill for his boondoggle. And conservatives just sort of shrugged at the switcheroo and refuse to meet each other’s eyes, at least they’re getting the wall, right? That’s the important thing.

He promised to round up and deport violent gang members and dangerous criminals and rapists. Because who isn’t afraid of that, right?

I don’t think any of us, conservative or liberal, would have a problem with rounding up criminals, but ICE isn’t raiding East LA or the South Side of Chicago and clearing the streets of gangbangers. We not bussing truck loads of Sinaloa Cartel and Mexican Mafia to the border, are we?

Instead Trump is making America safe by deporting people with brain tumors, day laborers, and arresting housewives as they pick their kids up from school.



What the hell kind of nation does that?

Look at those comments. As if you want to actually live in a country that would let a person die of a brain tumor over politics, as if we are really – really – going to use the (alleged) money saved by letting this women die to save an actual American child. Because we’re not going to do that either. We used to be the place that happily took in these people. We were famous for it. It says so right on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty. 

The hell kind of a country, the hell kind of people, arrests a woman dying of a brain tumor and throws her in jail for deportation?

We’re not rounding up criminals, we’re deporting children and sick people who never wanted anything but a better life.

Tonight he’ll promise tax cuts…


…while at the same time he’ll talk about increasing Defense spending by $54 BILLION dollars.

It’s going to be “simple” he says.


Billions in tax cuts. Billions in lost government revenue, which will result in repercussions throughout the largest, most complex budget in the world, while at the same time increasing spending on military hardware and operations. Massive budget changes across half a dozen major Departments and coordinated by Congress.

Simple, he says.


But he can’t do it until he figures out a new healthcare plan for millions upon millions of people. Which he promised to have ready on Day 1. And that healthcare plan will do all of the things people love about Obamacare, while eliminating all of the things Republicans hate, and cost half as much. But he doesn’t have even an outline for it.

And he’s complaining that it’s a lot more complicated than he thought.

Simple. Right?


Forgive me if I look a bit skeptical.

Meanwhile, Trump says he’s going to pay for his $54 billion dollar military increase by cutting the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department (specifically foreign aid).



The EPA’s total annual budget is about $8 billion.

US Foreign Aid is about $43 billion, of which about $10.5 billion is military aid (a significant fraction of which is to Israel), leaving about $32 billion and change in economic aid. Of that economic aid, about $18 billion is disbursed by USAID under control of the State Department.

Now, since Trump said he plans on paying for his military buildup by taking from the EPA and foreign aid (specifically foreign aid under control of the State Department) and leaving aside the part where those are the very things which help prevent war in the first place, even if Trump liquidates both USAID and the EPA in toto (and assuming he could without, you know, actual legislation), that only gets him to $26 billion.

Leaving him about $28 billion short.

And I don’t care how you cut it, that’s a whole lot of short.

Especially for a guy who brags about his financial acumen.

And remember, that number is based on total liquidation of the EPA and all foreign aid disbursed via USAID – including to Israel.

Likely he’s a whole lot more than $28 billion in the hole here.

Now, it’s entirely possible I’m missing something, but in my defense Trump hasn’t been exactly specific about his budget. He makes some vague pronouncement, like healthcare or border walls or tax cuts, it’s gonna be great, folks, great, and waves his hands around and here we are.

I mean look, really look, at the last 30 days.

Never in the history of the United States has a president started out like this, jumbled, utter chaos, disorganized – and remember, he’s got both the House and the Senate in his pocket and no Supreme Court to stop him.

If he had an actual plan and competent people to execute it, he’d be unstoppable.

And yet, look at the last 30 days. What’s the most important thing? If you look at Trump’s statements, his emphasis, his focus, where is it? What’s he talk about? What does he Tweet obsessively about?

Yeah, his image in the press.



Maybe if he spent as much effort focusing on his neglected intelligence briefings as he does obsessively combing through public opinion polls he’d garner some of the respect he so desperately craves. Maybe we wouldn’t have lost a SEAL in Yemen – something he today blamed on the military and as Commander in Chief refused to take responsibility for.

This is what you get when you elect a leader out of fear.

This is what you get when you cater to the basest elements of society.

This is what you get when you hire an amateur to run the most complex country in history.


This is what you get when liberals and progressives and rational conservatives don’t show up.


Oh stop, just stop.

I see you. You were with me right up to that last line, but now you’re mad.

How dare you? Right? That’s what you’re shouting, isn’t it? Goddamnit, man, we did show up. Why, we won the popular vote, didn’t we? Well, didn’t we?

Yes, you did. You won the popular vote. So?

The president isn’t elected by popular vote.

The president is determined by the Electoral College. This is by design. Is that a good design? The founders put this system in place for what they thought were very good reasons. Are those reasons still valid? Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. For the moment, it is what it is and the popular vote doesn’t elect the president.

And so while liberals and progressives keep shouting “But we won the popular vote!” Donald Trump is still the president and Hillary Clinton is not.

Like it or not, that’s how our system works.

But here’s the real kicker: Trump – or Clinton for that matter, any president – no matter how terrible, should be constrained by a reasonable and cautious Congress. The Founders designed this country, this government, so no one person could exercise power without opposition – or so they thought.

But that entire system of checks and balances depends on one weak link.

The citizens.


Trump should be constrained by Congress.

But he’s not.


Because liberals didn’t show up in 2010 or 2014. That’s why.

Because conservatives keep electing their representatives out of fear.

Because we keep catering to the lowest common denominator.

The Electoral College determines the president, but it’s the popular vote that determines your Senators and Representatives. And in the elections where the popular vote actually matters, well, liberals didn’t show up.

And so we have a House led by a Tea Party hack and a Senate run by a self-serving power-mad ideologue who’d rather burn the country to the ground out of pure spite than compromise with anybody. Our representatives, the congressmen who are supposed to be our voice, they don’t show up for town hall meetings because they don’t want to hear what we have to say, because they’re actually afraid of us, because they don’t even have the guts to face the kind of crowd any women has to push through just to get a goddamned pap smear from Planned Parenthood.  

And it’s that way because liberals didn’t show up when the popular vote actually mattered.

Conservatives, they always show up. Always.

They’re afraid not to.

But here’s the real problem, liberals don’t show up at the state level.

They don’t.

Sure, you might. Sure, those of you who read this blog. But in majority? Liberals don’t show up.

Look here:


That’s the how the popular vote shook out.

Sure, Democrats might have won the popular vote by taking California, but the vast, vast majority of the country is red.

Which means the Electoral votes looked like this:


Which is why Trump is now president instead of Clinton.

Now, remember last month when the streets of St. Louis were filled by tens of thousands of people in pink hats?  On January 22nd, more than 10,000 people massed in downtown St. Louis. The event was billed as a Women’s March, but thousands of men showed up too. Those people were there in defiant opposition to everything Trump.

Right smack in the middle of the reddest of the reddest red state. There they were by the tens of thousands. Dead center in that sea of red.

Where did those people come from?




That’s St. Louis, that little cone of blue on the eastern border of Missouri.

But the whole rest of the state is red.

Do you see?

Look carefully, what does that map tell you?

Now I’m not pointing out anything that you likely don’t already know, cities tend to be more progressive than the rural countryside, but look at that map. What that map appears to show is that there is this little enclave of liberals surrounded by a sea of conservatism, like the British facing the entire Zulu nation at Rorke’s Drift.

You’re telling me the people of St. Louis are that much different from their country cousins?


I don’t buy it.

Those people marching in the streets of St. Louis on January 21nd weren’t all city folk, many of them came from the surrounding country.  How many? I don’t know. I can’t find any reliable data. But what matters here is that there’s this little island of blue in the middle of a vast sea of red.  And the people in that sea of red show up to vote for state officials.

Those state officials are the ones who appoint the electors of the Electoral College.

And this is the same across the entire middle of the country.

Those liberals showed up for the march, but they don’t show up to vote on local elections. It’s right there on the goddamned map.

And that’s why Trump is the president instead of Clinton and why we, all of us liberals and conservatives alike, are stuck with this incompetent ass in the White House.

All politics are local.

You’ve heard this, right?

Well, it’s true, and liberals, progressives, they don’t show up where it matters. When it matters. Not enough of them anyway.

Trump is a symptom, not the disease.

Trump is a reflection of that map, that sea of red.

He is the end result of decades of fear and division.

Those colors on that map? They’re not really conservative and liberal. They’re not really republican and democrat.


What those colors show you is fear.


The people in those little red squares are afraid. And they should be. Because they’ve told to be afraid for seventy years.

They’re afraid that transgender people will assault them in public restrooms.

They’re afraid gay people want to get married in their churches.

They’re afraid foreigners with strange accents and religions and ideas will come to take over their towns.

They’re afraid gangs of criminals will come from the cities to kick in their doors.

They’re afraid illegal aliens will come to take their jobs.

They’re afraid drugs will destroy their children.

They’re afraid terrorists will murder them in their places of worship or their shopping malls or their businesses.

They’re afraid the government is coming to take their guns, their freedom, their rights.

They’re afraid that their voices are being ignored.

Most of all they’re afraid of change. They like who they are, they’re proud of their heritage, they don’t want to change and why should they?

And they aren’t necessarily wrong.

We’ve all been fed a diet of fear and terror and doom since the 1950s. We don’t duck and cover nowadays, we don’t dig fallout shelters in our backyards (most of us), but it’s there that fear of Armageddon imprinted on our hindbrains.


And that, that right there, is why Donald Trump is the president and Hillary Clinton is not.


If we want to change this, then we have to start showing up.

I’m not just talking about just voting, Folks. I’m talking about showing up.

The day after the election I wrote a long essay, similar to this one, called Bug Hunt. In that essay, I told you what I thought the last 30 days would look like, what the coming four years would look like. Enough time has passed that I can say I think my prediction was pretty accurate.

Liberals are going to lose … well, everything. All the gains of the last eight years.

And they haven’t got anybody to blame but themselves.

Right now, liberals, progressive, democrats, and the more rational centrist conservatives are all fighting among themselves.

They’ve had since November to get over their defeat and get organized and get a plan on the table and get to work. Time’s a wasting, folks. But liberals haven’t done any better at getting organized than Donald Trump has at organizing his administration.

Two days ago, the DNC elected itself a new Chairman, and predictably liberals fell to fighting amongst themselves. They’re all bitching and moaning and rehashing the election, slinging blame and arguing over candidates that are long lost and who will never be president.


And they’ll still be fighting when Trump wins his second term unless they pull their heads out of their asses right now.


Look up there.

Look at that map.

Look at that sea of fear.

Democrats, liberals, progressives, they lost because they ignored reality. Because they dismissed that red sea as unimportant. Because they dismissed those fears as ridiculous. Because they saw the whole middle of the country as nothing but a bunch of ignorant hicks, dumb rednecks, and unimportant. Because they were confident they’d win the popular vote.

That, that right there, is why they lost.

And that, that right there, is why they will continue to lose.

All politics are local.

Liberals, progressives, democrats, are going to have to show up. At town halls. At community meetings. At local elections. At school boards. Everywhere in that sea of red, and they are gong to have to address those fears.

In Bug Hunt, I said that liberals are going to have to compromise some of their vaunted ideals.

And for weeks afterward I got mail telling me I was a sellout. Liberals told me they would not, could not, compromise, not with racists, or bigots, or homophobes, or Islamophobes, or anti-Semites. No. No way. No how.


But, I never said that you should compromise with hate.


Believe me, as somebody who daily gets death threats and hatemail from neo-Nazis and the KKK and Bikers for Trump, I’d be the last guy to tell you to compromise with hate.

That’s not what I said.

But I find it interesting and instructive – and frustrating – that many of you thought that’s what I said.

It’s not.

I didn’t ask you to compromise with hate.

I asked you to compromise with fear

I asked you to compromise with the specific fears that put Trump in the White House and will very likely keep him there unless we find a way to turn that sea of red purple.

Look here: I said, “They’re afraid gay people want to get married in their churches.”

What do you say when a conservative voices this fear? What do you say when a conservative says, “The liberals will force our church to marry homosexuals!”

You laugh. It’s stupid. Right?

But that’s not how fear works. People don’t stop being afraid because you think their fears are stupid.

Religion matters to these people. Their religious ideals are important to them, just as yours are important to you. And so when Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Alex Jones or Ann Coulter or the local priest or Donald Trump tells them that you, you goddamned stinking liberals, are going to force their church to marry gay people, well, they’re afraid, they’re angry, they’re outraged at the idea.

Now, ask yourself something, during the election, what assurances did Hillary Clinton offer to counter those fears?

How many times did democrats, liberals, Clinton, visit local churches and promise on record that those institutions would not be forced to go against their principles?


It doesn’t matter if the Constitution already grants those churches the right to marry, or not, whomever they please.

Fear doesn’t work like that.

And so when I said you have to compromise with fear, well, this is what I’m talking about.

How do you prove that you will not force churches to marry LGBT people if they don’t want to? Especially if you yourself find the idea of such refusal stupid and bigoted and wrong and you get angry at the idea of any institution that would discriminate against people for any reason?

Churches are easy. The Constitution already protects them. It should be a simple matter to offer that assurance, to address that fear.

But what about business?

People who own catering companies and flower stores and pizza parlors in small towns, what about them?

Sure, I admit I feel some vindictive glee when a bigoted bakery goes bust because they wouldn’t make a cake for a lesbian wedding, but …


But the people who own those businesses in those small red towns, those people are often on the town council, they’re often members of the Chamber of Commerce, and they show up, every time. And this, this right here, this fear that gay people are going to put them out of business, is why they voted for Trump.

Now, ironically, tragically, very likely Trump is going to be a hell of a lot worse for LGBT people than not having the local pizza parlor cater their reception.  You won the battle, and lost the war.

Is that wrong? Hell yes.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to make this trade off. But we don’t live in that world. Maybe we will some day but that day is now further away than closer because nobody on the Left was willing to compromise. And yes, it’s a damned dirty rotten thing to ask people to wait for that world, to wait for the rights they should have as citizens of the United States, but that is the lousy choice we are faced with. That’s what fear does, it puts us in that position. And we can either deal with it … or get used to Donald Trump and have no rights at all.

How do you assure the people in that sea of red that immigrants and refugees will be vetted thoroughly?

How do you assure those people that you are serious about crime? That those gangs won’t come kick in their door, won’t force drugs on your kids, because you’re going to be right there with them, with law enforcement, with law and order? That you’re NOT going to take their guns, their means of self defense against crime and against tyranny? How do you convince them that illegal aliens won’t take their jobs? If you don’t believe in a wall, if you don’t believe in rounding up people with brain tumors and mothers with kids, if you believe that dangerous illegals should be jailed or deported, then how to you convince them of your sincerity?  Trump might never build that wall, but to these people at least he cares enough about their fears to try.

What do you got that’s better?

Republican congressmen refuse to listen to your voice, but how do you convince the people in those little red squares that you’re any better when you don’t show the fuck up?


That is what liberals should talking about right now. That is what should form DNC strategy right now.


Listen to me, this isn’t 1870 or 1920 or even 1960.

Americans in the cities aren’t that much different from Americans in the country.

TV, the internet, mass communication, mass media, have in many cases reduced the distance between points to zero.

Hell, look at your kids, they play games online via Xbox Live and other similar technologies. They don’t care where their allies or opponents are located physically. For them physical geography doesn’t exist. The virtual world has eliminated the differences between East and West, city and country, left and right, and nations for that matter. And this cosmopolitanism will only grow as connectivity increases (this is what will eventually defeat the communists of China, not guns or bombs, but gaming networks and Facebook. But that’s a different essay).

We Americans, left and right, city and country, have more in common than we don’t.

Me? I don’t have all the answers.

I have the outline of a plan, the basis of a strategy.

It’s going to require a hell of a lot more work. It’s going to require organization. It’s going to require rational liberals and rational conservatives to work together and find common ground.

It’s going to require that we respect the people in that sea of red – and for some of us that will be the hardest step of all.

It’s going to require liberals to show up, every time, no matter what. Just like Conservatives.

It’s going to require compromise.

Compromise not with hate, but with fear.

And if we can do that, if we can compromise with that fear…

…well, then the rest will take care of itself.


  1. Just FYI, the brain tumor patient is a woman- 26 years old, only known as "Sara"- she only came to the USA in Nov 2015, fleeing a gang affiliated relative. She had been through at least one immigration hearing. Such a threat. http://www.snopes.com/2017/02/23/woman-brain-tumor-placed-detention/

    1. Sorry Stonekettle, you've got it maybe 1/2 right. You've mistaken all that red acreage for actual people. Nobody lives there. 77K is all that separated Hillary from the WH despite that vast empty red sea and despite liberal lassitude. Compromise? What compromise did I see from the Right for eight years under Obama > with much greater mandates and election victories? What possessed Barry Goldwater to say this about the Evangelical community that disgracefully ignored Trump's moral "shortcomings" because - abortion: “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”

      "Forgotten man" - yeh right. The ultimate entitled American. Most of them the same Reagan Democrats who got all weepy about the "invisible hand" and "cities on the hill" while unknowingly supporting (according to the conservative Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/trade/report/the-north-american-free-trade-agreement-ronald-reagans-vision-realized)the actual source/father of NAFTA! - i.e. the trade agreement that screwed them so badly these past 30 years, and from which they NOW seek relief. My advice to forgotten man - get a clue!

      I have a different tack than you. It involves the arguments I make in this essay at KOS (The Tail is Wagging the Dog in America: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/2/15/1633797/-The-Tail-is-Wagging-the-Dog-in-America)...the underlying political structure that is designed more than ever to frustrate the will of the majority must be challenged. What reward did the most productive counties (contribution to GDP) and the majority of voters obtain this election? Nothing. Time to play hardball.

    2. And I'll disagree with Leaning Left. IMO the essay was more bigger picture than worrying about how short Hillary was from becoming President. The last 8 years have shown us what a Republican controlled Senate/House will do when matched with a Dem President: stonewall. The bigger picture in this case is 2018 and how to communicate with the "other side:" remove fear, show compassion (without having to agree), and if we can at least begin to dissolve those fears, the reds might turn into blues and we might have more politically-balanced individuals in our government because we voted them there.

    3. “What compromise did I see from the Right for eight years under Obama — with much greater mandates and election victories?”

      I keep going back and forth on this in my mind.

      On the one hand, I think that it's pretty clear that the gloves have come off. At least, the Republicans have taken theirs off. And therefore, it behooves the Democrats to do likewise; insisting on continuing to fight by Marquess of Queensbury rules when the other side has decided to go full scorched earth is pretty ridiculous, tactically.

      On the other hand, what about ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and ‘turn the other cheek’ and non-violent resistance and all that? Isn’t somebody — anybody — supposed to be the one to take the high road?

      But then I realize that none of this matters. Having a crisis of conscience over how to wield power means nothing if the other side has all the power.

      In the end, then, Jim is right. If we want things to change, WE HAVE TO SHOW UP. Vote in every election.

    4. Just admit it guys - no one wants to change and no one wants to compromise and no one wants to work. So you are just going to tear this essay apart, and pretend instead of waking up.

    5. You've mistaken all that red acreage for actual people

      You didn't actually read what I wrote, did you? You just wanted to get to the end so you could pimp your KOS article.


      Let's jump to the end: Time to play hardball

      What do you think you mean by that? Be specific.

    6. I want to give a thoughtful reply Jim. I read your entire piece carefully. I thought it admirable and want to share it with others, but I do think it's a little one-sided. I spend and have spent a LOT of time debating with conservatives in middle America - I see no pressing desire on their side to compromise about anything, especially the religious oriented voter, and I think Goldwater's assessment of them is pertinent. Plus, we all saw what a right-wing spirit of compromise Republicans brought to the table under Obama. Where was/is their responsibility for reaching out?

      Ironically, at my first Indivisible meeting I said something very similar to what you've said here about reaching out to that church-goer who is supposed to be about morality but somehow pulled that Trump lever despite all that they saw and heard for a year from him. Like - how can we bridge that gap (the Goldwater assessment is pertinent).

      As for my KOS piece - look, we're all out running to other districts trying to "flip" seats, yelling and screaming at meetings about "issues," but I'm sorry, the majority of Americans, especially large-state Americans, together with the most productive counties in the USA are going to be permanently frustrated until the underlying formulas of 2 Senators per state, the electoral college allocation, and the amendment process itself are recalculated. As I stated in that piece, we are told to fear a tyranny of the majority, but the only thing worse is a tyranny of the minority (exacerbated by filibuster abuse) which is exactly what we are experiencing today in America (6 of the last 7 Presidential elections are further evidence).

      That number 66-1, the ratio in 2017 of largest state to smallest....in 1789 that ratio was 11-1. The system makes no sense.

      "Hardball" - kind of like asking me for my formula for world peace, but it must consist of some combination of the largest ten states (comprising 167 million people)expressing formal displeasure/misgiving with the existing formulas of vote, representation and amendment that work to their disadvantage. If negotiations to voluntarily - in view of the many specific examples and numbers I discuss in my piece which are clearly indefensible in 21st century America - adjust these formulas are rejected....then plans to withhold funding to the federal government plus well designed plans to withdraw from the Union should be on the drawing board. Not crackpot plans, real plans designed by economists, political scientists, philosophers, etc. I think a "New Democratic Party" should have policy statements to this effect in a forward-looking, aspirational platform. Why? Because it acknowledges reality, because what I describe is real, and it's not changing w/o courageous and aggressive (in a good way) new thinking. I gave the example of going to war - little Wyoming has had 22 soldier deaths since its two Senators "gallantly" approved the two post 9/11 wars, CA 758 deaths + Wyoming pays $5 billion a year to Feds to fund those wars, CA $415 billion in 2015 - this is not just. Like I said - The Tail is Wagging the Dog in America - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/2/15/1633797/-The-Tail-is-Wagging-the-Dog-in-America

  2. I hate your article with a passion. I can not disagree with a single word of it.

    1. This why I vote every time it is on the books to vote.

    2. I love your comment, and have tremendous respect for you for being able to put those two sentences together.

  3. Walk a mile in their shoes so you know what types of fear they face. Then compromise with fear and use your understanding to create a country that embodies the words of the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self evident..."

    1. An American Election There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 and Clinton 57. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 and Clinton won 16. Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 2.5million votes. In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond and Queens Clinton received well over 2.5 million more votes than Trump. Therefore these counties alone accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country. These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles. When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. OR.....Clinton won California 5,860,714 to Trump's 3,151,821. 61.6% to 33.1% exclusive of the other candidates. But, deduct her California vote from her national vote leaving her with 54,978,783 and deduct Trump's California vote from his national total, leaving him with 57,113,976.

    2. I think you are too afraid to publish my answer to your dribble.

    3. And if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their ass when they jump. Your point?

    4. Jill Wilkins - I believe you are confusing counties and square miles with actual voters. Let's look a the least and most populous states. California at a population of 38,502,000 has 55 electoral college votes and 58 counties. Each electoral college vote, therefore, represents 691,662 citizens and each county - on average - represents approximately 660,000. Now let's look at the least populous state - Wyoming. Wyoming's population is 576,412 and they have 3 electoral votes. Each electoral vote represents 192,137 - 499,525 individuals less than an electoral vote in California. Wyoming has 23 counties compared to California's 58 and yet the votes of its relatively small population are weighted 3x as much as someone who votes in California. I do not know if this is a system that sustains itself. If I could not find a job in sparsely populated Wyoming and moved to California for work opportunities, I might be a little upset that the small group of citizens living in Wyoming had such a disproportionate impact on the selection of who is our president. One final comment, 65% of the productive capacity voted for Clinton. Given this statistic, it is highly unlikely someone looking to improve their job prospects would choose to move to one of the counties that Trump carried as these counties - although numerous in size - do not contain the majority of the productive capacity of the US. Once again, land does not vote - people do. This is why I believe your answer is the one that is dribble.

    5. Ms. Wilkins- you'd do well to look at the maps here so that you can better visualize how absurd your argument really is. http://www.businessinsider.com/2016-election-results-maps-population-adjusted-cartogram-2016-11/#heres-the-basic-electoral-college-map-with-states-that-hillary-clinton-won-in-blue-and-states-that-donald-trump-won-in-red-assuming-that-trumps-narrow-lead-in-michigan-continues-to-hold-1

    6. Ms. Wilkins, I hate to tell you, but no one's actually afraid of those of you who believe that empty land should be able to vote. It's not likely to become a popular opinion, even in a country gone this awry.

    7. Ok jill, and?

      See that map of the counties?
      See the bottom two on california? That's San Diego and Imperial counties. Between them they have a population of 3.5M.
      See Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota? Between them, they have a population of 3.2M.

      The two california counties account for 1/10th of the population of Cali, which gets 55 EC votes - they're worth 5.5 EC votes.
      Those four states each get the minimum 3 EC votes.

      So on one hand you get 3.5M people worth 5.5, and the other you get 3.2M worth 12.
      Now, wanna guess which are givers, and which are takers, and which are more of a net contributor to the economy?

      The EC worked as a compromise when there were some big towns spread out, and a mostly agrarian society.

      Over the last 80-90 years, we've urbanised, and coalesced, into certain economic regions (the coasts) which now means the mostly empty, mostly economically unproductive regions now have disproportionate voice in presidential votes.

    8. The word is "drivel" and your argument is ridiculous. The country is made up of people. People vote. Dirt, rocks and grass do not vote. By your reckoning, Alaska would pretty much control the country.

    9. Ms Wilkins-
      There are multiple things wrong with the "countys" argument as folks have pointed out. Gerry Runte's link points to better breakdown by population than the county map does. We don't count by counties , we count by districts because districts count population.
      For me, the argument fails at the gate . Districts are supposed to have roughly equal numbers of people throughout a given state but don't correlate with other states which is why low population density states have a disproportionate per-vote power in the Presidential race. Electoral College votes are apportioned in relation to Congressional districts- which quite often cross county lines ( to get the required number of people per district)
      See Alabama et al...
      Of note to me:
      For here in Alaska, with only one representative / district the map makes it appear that we are one big county. We don't have counties, we have boroughs and the largest part of the state is called the Unorganized Borough. In my borough Ms Clinton won handily. In my district ( state district) she also won handily. Doesn't show that- never does. Montana gets counties, we don't get our boroughs . Pfft.

    10. Perhaps Ms Wilkins is proposing an even stranger version of our electoral college; wherein only square miles of land would get a vote, regardless of how many people lived on it.

      Got 10,000 people living in this square mile? Great! It has the same number of votes that this square mile over here gets, with one single voting age resident.

      One square mile, one square vote!! Helluva slogan, helluva slogan.

  4. Thank you for this thoughtful piece. Would you mind posting it at least once a month so we remember how much we have to do.
    Appreciate it.

    1. YES. WE need to be held accountable and on track. Any ass kicking is appreciated.

  5. Excellent as always, Jim, and your point about liberals and progressives (especially the "unicorn progressives" and their eternal quest for absolute purity) is something I've been screaming about for a while now. Blogger Milt Shook (of Please Cut the Crap) has been railing about them forever, and pointed out that their antics really go all the way back to the Goldwater era, at least. It's not a new phenomenon at all; it simply reached its nadir with the nauseating election of Vichy President Trump.

    One small correction, though. It's "town council," not "town counsel." Though, to be fair, some of them might actually BE lawyers. :-)

  6. As a liberal, I agree with you completely! Thanks!


  7. Sometimes the truth hurts. Pain causes avoidance at all costs. Hopefully we will respond to our pain with action, in order to alleviate it.

    1. It also leads to denial that there is a problem.

    2. Pain is our greatest motivator for change...

  8. Yes, yes, and yes. Spot on. I would also add: fight against gerrymandering so we all can show up and have a playing field where there's a reasonable chance that the cards are already stacked against us.

    1. By which I meant, the cards *aren't* stacked against us, of course. Bloody typos!

  9. Exceptional piece Jim Wright. Vote potency increases geometrically the closer the election is to us. City Council, School Board, Mayor, Statehouse. These elections matter as much as national elections.

  10. This is really powerful, Jim. I hadn't thought about it this way, and I don't think my other liberal friends have either. There's so much hatred right now and I fully believe you are on the right track. Thank you.

    1. Agree,, Jim is spot on and the Dems squalling is an issue I've had for a while.

  11. I tried having a conversation with a liberal friend after he posted one of those "tax the churches" memes - I said this was one of the problems we have. It's divisive and it's never going to happen and it feeds the fears of those on the right who believe liberals want to "ban the Bible." Or when people talk about "outlawing religion" - same thing. It's never going to happen, and by putting this in a public forum it gives the fear-mongers on the right the fire to drive people to vote against their best interests. But they don't want to hear it.

    1. I'm curious; how is not taxing churches just because they're churches not a violation of that whole "make no law respecting an establishment of religion" bit? If churches want to be tax exempt, they can file for 501c3 status and play by the same rules as everyone else.

    2. Jamie, as an atheist, I have long asked the same question. However, PattiNH's point is well taken. The result is that even mentioning it drives the Christian right into a frenzy of fear. Much the same as when we had the nerve to elect a black president. Immediately followed by the threat of a woman - A WOMAN! in the White House. We are being punished for it. As much as I agree with you, I believe we should pick our battles carefully. As Jim pointed out, it does no good to win the battle, yet lose the war.

    3. Jamie, a church IS required to register as a 501(c)3 to obtain tax exempt status. This law also prohibits churches from participating (in an official manner) in *partisan* politics. The trouble is that the restriction is routinely ignored, and not enforced.

    4. Jamie, churches DO file 501(c)3. Most of the time. I've heard of the occasional odd church that chose not to for various reasons.

      The thing is that secular groups file for it too. Taking tax exemption away from churches but not secular groups WOULD violate the First Amendment.

    5. That's what I have a problem with, compromise generally means each side gets something they value. Since Trump's election, the gener as l spoken concensus on the Republican side is "we won, so shut up and do what we want". I don't see this as a place in which compromise can work. Right now their position is they get to make all the rules, so why would they compromise? What can we offer them,that we will go along with their version of reality? That might make them less fearful in the short run, but as you know building the stupid wall, banning everyone from coming in, not allowing cheap imports and cutting publuc welfare programs will not actually make their lives better, instead be worse, then when the yell at Trump, he will just point to the liberals and press as the "reason" his plans didn't work, so now let's banned all press, let's ban the college educators. Then what? How far do we compromise, for how long? The Germans never learned till they lost the war, the Cambodians till the Vietnamese army got rid of Pol Pot, the Chinese till Mao died.


    6. This mini-thread, to me, backs up Jim's essay. Here is PattiNH noting the fears that exist for those who are religious. Instead of comments focused on, "Well, what can we do/say to alleviate those fears?" and then having a conversation with PattiNH, the comments focus on a few people being upset that churches aren't taxed.

    7. PattiNH, when you hear someone say that liberals want to ban the bible, etc., what kind of response do you think would help alleviate that person's fears? My worry is that there is nothing that CAN be said because of other indoctrination (whether media, family or pulpit). Do you feel the church-goers are open-minded enough to listen to alternative ideas?

    8. Rick Oberndorf, what I usually say is, "I'm a liberal and I don't want to ban the Bible. Furthermore, that would be against the Constitution." Sometimes that starts a discussion. You can't get through to everyone on a one-to-one basis, but it works better than ranting to other liberals-en-masse about conservatives-en-masse. Remember also that plenty of Christians support LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, freedom of religion for all religions, etc.

      Have you noticed how many people who used to be opposed to same-sex marriage or LGBTQ rights changed their minds because they found out their child or sibling or someone else close to them was gay? Not all; some barricaded themselves behind self-righteousness more than ever, but many of those who did change, changed because of a personal experience. I think talking to people, not in a confrontational or generalized way but individually, in the moment, might help some of them past their fears.

  12. Yes, agreed, most certainly and it will be the hardest thing we ever do...if we actually do it.

  13. You are absolutely correct about ME. I could barely read after the part about MYSELF and others like ME who do not show up for the local and state elections. I'm such a proud liberal and I live in a state that is the opposite. So what did I do? I stayed home at times when I should have been doing SOMETHING. Oh I proudly vote in every election! For president. This election, because I wanted the outcome that I wanted so badly, woke me up. A little. Not enough... but the outcome shook me to my core. And when I stopped whining and bawling... (so last week lol). I simply woke up. And I am dragging my daughters along my journey because they are smarter and energetic and so much better than me. And now we have joined with others and there is no going back. I have little ones (grandchildren) who are going to see and know and understand just how serious we are about community. About what it means to be a citizen of our country. And how privledged they are! Because I'll be damned if I'll let anyone take my voice! Now that I've found it :). What a piece you've written here. Thanks

  14. On point. I remembered what you said in Bug Hunt when I saw this fresh round of bs surrounding the DNC election. He's already campaigning. Wake up people!

    1. Yep, he immediately filed for a re-election campaign. The cynic in me is sure it's because he can raise campaign funds to do with as he pleases. The rest of me is also sure it's all about the $$$.

    2. It's also so he can restrict access at any public rallies or other events. You can do that as a candidate, not so much as president.

  15. The best conversations I have had with those who fear are ones where I listen more than I speak.

  16. Some of the fear is, perhaps, driven by Christian "end times" thinking that seems to appear at the end and beginning of every millenia. So, what we have here is a perfect storm of fear: politics on one side and religion on the other with no Moses in sight to keep the water from collapsing on the fleeing Israelites. Red Sea indeed.

    The people in cities are still different from people in very rural areas. People in cities do not rely on guns to put dinner on the table. There are folks up in North Georgia who hunt to put meat on the table, and it isn't just a matter of a hobby. It's a matter of pride and/or necessity.

    But, you are correct that mocking someone's or some group's fears is no way to build trust or bridges.

  17. Well written, and I agree whole heartedly. Will we have it in us to correct our past errors? Only time will tell. And yes, people have been pointing fingers at each other since the new DNC Chair was elected. Yes, the new chair did appoint his advisary as second n command, but I'm not sure anyone paid any attention to that.

  18. I consider myself a liberal and I don't hate this essay, I agree with every word. Lately, there has been the opportunity for me to spend some time in those red counties (outside of the one I live in - which is south of DC). In Ohio this weekend I was looking at all the churches and wondering if the Democratic candidates ever thought of speaking to the concerns of the people who go to those churches. Maybe speaking their language (while not MY language) would go a long way toward convincing people that their fears are unfounded. And I wouldn't be offended at their use of the church as an educational tool at all.

    1. One would I assume have to have an invitation to "speak" at any church regardless of denomination. I don't believe for a moment that every church is like Westboro or anywhere close but I don know in much of Red America the Religious Right consider Liberals to be spawns of Satan.
      It's a fantastic idea and a group like The Christian Left might be able to make inroads in that area. While I'm Atheist they are a group I support both morally and financially. They are a great counter to Republican Jesus. If you have not heard of them give their site a lookover and decide for yourself. .

  19. Many thanks, Jim. It's going to be like eating an elephant -- one bite at a time -- but I do believe we can do this.

  20. I do want to add though that while it is true that dems/progressives don't show up on off years, it should be noted that it has been made exponentially difficult for them to do so w/ as much "ease" as we have in presidential election years. Numbers of polling places are severely curtailed and the support system for the people conservatives want to keep away just isn't there and that's by design. I still get out every time, but that's not to say it doesn't get much more difficult for me, a self-employed white woman. I can't even imagine how it is for someone w/ much less flexibility than I have.

  21. I have said many times that organizing liberals is like herding cats, and I'm not the inventor of that observation. The problem is not just that we are a diverse group, a diversity that sort of defines us, really, but that many liberals absolutely LOATHE politics. Politics is a dirty, filthy business. Dirty as a street fight. And, most liberals being an educated bunch, don't like getting their hands dirty. That's not a problem for conservatives. Getting their hands dirty sort of defines THEM. The only time you can get liberals involved in politics is when you make them angry. Pissing them off is about as easy as making conservatives afraid. Talk about "grab 'em by the pussy," and liberals are THERE. We show up with signs and songs and slogans like crazy. But, that doesn't do squat for local elections. It's hard for us to get worked up over the local stuff. Local stuff is boring. But, as you pointed out, that's where the fight matters. We just need to educate our liberals about that.

    1. I have lived in a small rural township in NE for almost 30 yrs. and I'm not allowed to vote for candidates in the small town just 12 mls away but, more importantly, unless I spend a month digging it's almost impossible to know who is running for what, whether they are Conservative, Independent or Democrat (although around here you could safely place money on both the incumbent and anyone challenging them to be Conservative)much less what their positions are on any issue outside of what area of Gov they are running for.
      I have long said we (Democrats) need a database for each state broken down into counties, tows, townships and boroughs which list incumbents, when they are up for election, what they are running for and at least what their affiliation is.The DNC keeps yammering about a 50 state strategy but w/o something like this which is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection then we're simply repeating what we've done in the past. If we want our country back from the fradycats then we need to start at the bottom and work up including the position of dog catcher and Librarian. It's amazing to me to look at a ballot and not recognize a single name on it and then the ballot instructs me to pick 3 from 5 candidates listed. I have no doubt that there are many small elected positions that have been won by shear luck as ppl simply mark the top three spots.

  22. Sadly, we now have something to fear that will motivate voter turn out.

    1. There are indivisible groups all over the country- when you look at a map of the US, they are in nearly every state.. They were formed in order to begin to influence local politics. And it can be done. That's how California went from a purple state to a blue state. Hispanics, who traditionally hadn't turned out to vote in large numbers, decided they weren't going to take it anymore.
      My old home town used to have a gerrymandered district with a Republican who never even bothered to put up a campaign sign. They now have Mark Takano. It can change if enough people get pissed off.

  23. we're just starting to get a clue. I just went to my first-ever local Dem committee meeting. Got to meet our school board nominees and the candidate for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas - i.e. strictly local. Last year the monthly meetings were drawing 25-30. There were 95 people jammed into that hot room for nearly two hours, doing their local civic duty.

  24. Excellent writing, Jim, I really enjoyed reading this piece. Thank you.

  25. Why the HELL can't we have you as DNC chairman?

  26. Thank you once again, Mr. Wright. Again you have laid out a road map of REASONABLE and LOGICAL action that every concerned citizen can follow. I am each day hopeful that some good can come from the Trump Debacle, that it can show us that we need to PAY ATTENTION to matters politic. Playing with shiny toys and earning lots of money won't cut the mustard. We need to SHOW our neighbors that our progressive/liberal ideas have merit that can benefit the nation as a whole, not just the Left, not just Gays, not just minorities, but the nation as a whole.
    I particularly loved your suggestion that we take our message to those who go to church as a cornerstone of their lives. Churches wield a lot of power, and it is even possible that we can help those churches to lead without instilling fear.
    I have heard it said "We can only hope...". I disagree, we can do so much more, just like you said. We can SHOW UP. Be present. Be active. Be counted. At every level. We must stand together to counter the fear-mongering, resist the gerrymandering, show the people on both sides that we can be taken seriously.
    Thank you, Mr. Wright. You help me to feel hopeful, because your elegant words may help to take away some of the power of fear.

  27. Some of us have been saying this for awhile now, I work with our local Dems and Progressives and they cannot pull their heads out of their asses long enough to do anything except fight. Hell-they're still arguing Bernie vs. Hillary around here-and that is what will sink us. But nobody listens to me...

  28. Okay, so what do we say to those who view politics as theater, fear mongering as amusement, who chuckle when liberals and independents concerns are played out by Mr Trump?
    What do we say to the farmers who thought Mr Trump wouldn't follow through on his threat to deport en masse the illegals and the unwanted?
    And further, what do we do when the fear is irrational, that belief has replaced facts, and that dismissive rhetoric is considered a good enough explanation for ridiculous policies?

    Compromise is a two way street, Mr Wright, and when one party demands the other yield...That's not an invitation for compromise, that's a demand for surrender.


    1. I'll bet that last line sounded good in your head, hell it sounds pretty good out loud.

      But that's not what I said -- very specifically not what I said -- and as a practical reality that inflexible ideology is why Trump is president today.

    2. I'm venturing a guess that "sheerahkahn" is Middle Eastern and/or Muslim.

      I live about 30 minutes south of the New Tampa mosque that was hit with an arson attack last Friday. Many of us in the non-Muslim community gathered with them that Friday night, and later Saturday afternoon, to show support to a community struck by fear for their families and safety.

      THAT'S fear. THAT'S marginalization. Sorry, but white Christians who've had power in this country for nearly 300 years do not get to dictate to people of color or minority religions what FEAR is when your family's physical safety and lives are being threatened on the weekly, and these threats are now sanctioned by our Government.

      Just who needs to do the "compromising" again?

    3. Michelle...everyone. That's the answer...everyone. I understand that whitey (of which I'm a member) has been the provocateur and oppressor for many years. And there is a subset of whitey where compromise won't work (racists as an example). But the large majority of whitey are open-minded and deserve to have their fears allayed; that's what the right has been good at (along with instituting those fears to begin with), while the left usually just shakes its collective head and cries "stupid." Everyone.

    4. These people have let Republicans lie to them to their faces for decades. They see the terrible results of right wing policies over long periods of time, especially in the South. And they still vote for the bullshit every single time. There is no reasoning and no compromise with this single minded stupidity.

      Pretending you can get people to turn from their tribalism by being reasonable is what got us in this mess in the first place.

  29. Thank you for writing this. As a liberal, I find myself often yelled at by other liberals for wanting to know what issues are important to conservatives. For refusing to fight hard enough for their particular issues. For predicting that this presidency is going to unwind civil rights back to the 1950's if not further.

    We need someone who can tell us what can be done, next. Those of us who have no experience at this kind of confrontation can flail with great energy and little value, but every single election we need to let our dissatisfaction with the current state be known. Someone with charisma to be heard and intelligence to be listened to.

    May we survive long enough to get it done...

  30. Yes. Sadly, I see it, too. Where are our saviors? Where is MLK Jr? We need to stop Trump et al. How can we not? I keep hearing spurts of "Russia" and "taxes", but nothing continues. My America always fought to go forward, I'm 43. How is it being taken away from me so early?! And my 4 kids? And my LGBT friends? I say NO. HELL NO. Not on my watch. I don't know what to do though. I vote every time. I attend marches. I feel helpless.

    1. "Where are our saviors? Where is MLK Jr.?"

      One of my friends on Facebook made a rather astute observation that we on the left love to ridicule Trump supporters for their clinging on to a "strong man" who gives them empty promises of being the only one ("I alone") who can solve their problems.

      However, she observed, we on the left get up in arms when we discover that our leaders are very real human beings with limitations, even though we pin these lofty expectations on them to save the day--whether that leader is Bernie or Hillary, Keith Ellison or Tom Perez.

      The point I got from her argument was: why aren't WE being the leaders we're asking for? Wasn't this a theme of Barack Obama's campaigning days ("We are the ones we've been waiting for.")?

    2. Goodness, so do I. I show up. I vote every single time in every single election, local, state, national. I call my senators, I do everything I can think of, but I live in one of the most liberal areas in the US. I just wonder how I can be more effective.

    3. We must be our own saviors. The candidate we can get behind will show up.

    4. HanBarbara, if you sit around waiting for the 'candidate we can all get behind' you hand all the power over to the other side. Democrats, as the saying goes, always need to fall in love; meanwhile the Republicans fall in line. Don't wait. Just Get Out The Vote.

  31. So much truth that many do not want to face. I have no problem with the nonviolent protests because once violence starts the argument is lost. Protests are all well and good for the moment but then other action is required afterwards.

    Each point that you made is valid and a lesson for us to learn. We think that we are so great that we forget about our faults and mistakes. Liberals and Democrats may be a coalition but we must unite or go down ignominiously in history as well-intentioned fools.

    We need to listen, really listen, to the fears of the people without hyperbole and insult from both sides. The name calling is simply ridiculous and stops progress totally.

    Thank you for your insights. You provide valuable perspective.

    I follow you on FB and cannot comment there. Cheryl Alexander

  32. There is certainly an issue with Democrats not voting in state and local elections, and I think it has been exacerbated by President Obama's lack of interest in party politics during his time in office. That said I'm still struggling to see the point of a geographic map showing some over-arching point about the the parties and the elections. Sure there's a sea of red in Missouri but Jackson County (west side Blue county) has more than 600k people and St. Louis county has more than 300k people while there are 19 counties which have fewer than 10k residents. That's 19 counties who's populations combine to equal less than half St. Louis county. We have a county in Oklahoma (Cimarron) with only 2,400 residents but it is half again as big as Rhode Island and almost as large as Delaware. The vast majority of the geography may be red but when you have states like Wyoming that are larger than New England but don't even have 600k people then is it a surprise? How much effort should be made to capture those 1500 registered voters in Cimarron county? Honestly I find this map a bit more useful. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/computers-have-revolutionized-gerrymandering-supreme-court-should-take-notice

  33. Quick correction: the Women's March was Jan. 21st...I live just outside St. Louis in the purple suburbs. I guess I need to work on my bullshit tolerance, and instead of meeting people with anger, meet them with understanding from my rural roots, but it's damn hard...

  34. I live in the Southwest part of Missouri. What your map doesn't show is the gerrymandering that over the past 17 years made this state red. SW Mo use to have dems in the Legislature and even a Congressman at one time. But I n 2000 all that changed. The GOP followed a path, like Sherman ' s March thru GA that gave them a path to turning t his state ted. Term limits were used to rid the Legislature of ling serving dems. Then they gerrymandered the state, carving districts packed with Tep. Leaning voters. Used issues like abortion, stem cell and lately, LGBT, to drive voters to the polls. For 8 years we had a democratic governor who stayed away from Obama but at least stopped lots of bad ideas. Now they have their GOP governor and are pushing their agenda through. But there were women and men from all over the state in St Louis, plus marches in Columb8a, KC, and Springfield. 8t 2as remarkable. I belong to the LWV and we picked up many new members in November. Young and old and in the middle. There has been an awakening and people are getting involved, paying attention, even our paper called for Town Hall meetings. Don't despair, organize. Educate yourself and vote!

    1. Oh hey! Northwest Missouri here! I'm a blue in a sea of red, too up here. You're totally right about abortion. GOP leaders use it to turn the moderates red. I've had several local friends not vote for Clinton because she likes aborting babies. Facepalm, I know.

      I vote in every single election and 99% of the time straight Democrat unless a Republican ends up being for the people. I volunteered a little at the local DNC, but it was a mess. It might be time to turn up the leadership skills and kick some fearmongering butt.

  35. Making a daily effort to converse *with* people on the far-right side of the aisle. It's uncomfortable, but they *are* my friends, neighbors etc. We all have to reach out. Thanks for this. Adore your honesty and clarity.

  36. An American Election There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 and Clinton 57. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 and Clinton won 16. Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 2.5million votes. In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond and Queens Clinton received well over 2.5 million more votes than Trump. Therefore these counties alone accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country. These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles. When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. OR.....Clinton won California 5,860,714 to Trump's 3,151,821. 61.6% to 33.1% exclusive of the other candidates. But, deduct her California vote from her national vote leaving her with 54,978,783 and deduct Trump's California vote from his national total, leaving him with 57,113,976.

    1. I do not understand your point. The point is who gets the most votes not who has the most territory--unless you are wanting to completely scrap one person one vote and replace it with a system of voting by property ownership. As I mentioned there is one county in Oklahoma, Cimmarron County that is 1900 square miles, 6 times the size of the five counties you mentioned, but has less than 2,400 people total and had 962 votes for Trump to 70 for Clinton and 45 for Johnson. Should we consider their votes more important because they happen to live in a larger county?

      Who cares about square miles when it comes to elections?

    2. At least get your numbers correct Jill! Trump did indeed win far more counties than Clinton - although, actually it's hard to say exactly how many counties there are in the US but most tallies would have it as about 2600 to about 500 -- so stop with your phony numbers! Your total vote numbers and numbers of votes in California are also way off - although it is true that excluding California would leave Trump with more votes than Clinton but of course, that's not how elections work. It's a fun game though - so let's keep playing! California had about 14.1 million votes (and was state with biggest margin for Clinton) while Texas, Tennessee and Alabama had about 13.6 million votes (and were the states with largest margins for Trump). Take away these three states and Clinton wins the popular vote by another 2 million more votes -- which means exactly -- nothing -- but it's fun. I would suggest that you use better sources when you play the game because somebody's been feeding you some nonsense.

    3. Jill Wilkins that is an off repeated untrue statement. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/clinton-counties/

    4. "But trump won more counties!" "If you take away California, trump won the popular vote!"

      So? That's not how voting is supposed to work. 1 person, 1 vote. It shouldn't matter where you live, or how many arbitrary sections your region is divided into. 1 person, 1 vote. That's the *foundation* of democratic voting.

      What you're *really* saying is "If you don't count all these people who didn't vote for him, he won the popular vote!"

      The only reason trump is in the WH, is because right now we have a system that says a person in Wisconsin's vote has more weight than a person in California. That someone in Florida has more power to elect a president than someone in Washington. There's hundreds of counties that literally have less than 100 people in them, but, according to you, their vote matters more than a single county with a million people. Because more counties!

      What this 'take away California, and we won!' argument is, is a desperate flail against the fact that *he lost the overall vote*, and got in on an outdated technicality.

  37. Step 1 is to fix the gerrymandering that's been going on for the past several decades. I live in a Pennsylvania district that used to swing between Republican and Democrat. Four years ago it was gerrymandered into a long snake that runs for at least 100 miles around the eastern and northern edges of Pittsburgh. They combined parts of two districts that both sent Democrats to Congress and turned it into a reliably red district which no has a freaking Tea Partier as a Congressman.

    Fix THAT, and much of the rest will fall into place.

    1. You (your state) could do what California did. All primaries are open, the top two vote getters move on to the general. Which might often lead to two Dems in some district and two R's in another. Then (sometimes) the more moderate might win in the general election. Having more people in the middle from both parties could only help.

    2. Thank you! Open Primaries, yes, yes, yes. Since the majority of the country leans left on social issues, there is more than a good chance that the majority of Independents also lean left or are far more moderate than than Republicans. When Democrats dismiss Independents, knowing damned well they can't win elections w/o their support, they shoot themselves in the foot. Closed Primaries are simply put, Party Politics. Every single Dem Primary in every state should be an open primary and Dems need to do away with Caucasing altogether. In Ne. we have both a Caucus and a Primary, it's ridiculous.
      Doing away with gerrymandering would help a great deal but in order to fix that you have to have elected officials that will fight against it, and as long as most State Governments are run by those who benefit from it, good luck wishing for your pot of gold.

  38. How? How do you convince someone who is certain that the boogieman-du-jour is coming for them that it is not going to happen? You can listen to their fears, present facts and evidence, but because that evidence didn't come from their preacher or their media of choice, it is "fake news" and they dismiss it out of hand. I live in a deep-red state, and work with people who are barely getting by. Nearly every one of them voted for 45, and no matter how badly they are gonna get screwed over, no matter what horrific thing each day's news brings, they dig in and refuse to even listen to a dissenting view, much less consider it. So...how??

    1. You shift their focus off the make-believe boogieman to real issues like their immediate quality of life. Look at all the Republicans showing up at their Congresscritters' town halls, spitting mad over the economic impacts of the ICE roundups and their impending loss of meaningful health insurance. We can reach them if we talk their economics - which is good, because these are *our* economics, too.

    2. To the great disappointment of those who like to think we are strictly rational, we are not -- none of us humans -- and facts are not persuasive when put up against fear. Empathy and reassurance have to come first. If we can build trust, then we can get around to facts, but not until then.

  39. I vote in every single election from local run offs to the 4 Year Big One, and the lack of turn out drives me nuts. We desperately need two strong parties in the South, and we're in a vicious circle - No candidates? then no voters. No Voters? then no candidates. The gerrymandering gives that circle a nudge, of course.

    Also, as to fear. How in the word can you have a war on terror? It's an emotion, for pete's sake. The networks have been feeding fear and terror since 9/11, but the fire was laid during the civil rights era. I grew up with "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards. and applause in the halls of my high school with JFK was shot. With that in the background, it's easy to make the flames of fear grow.

  40. I would like to point out that people are not afraid that transgendered people will attack them in restrooms. That is not the fear that people are falling prey to. What they are afraid of is that a male predator (not a transgendered but a male that preys on women and/or children) will disguise himself as a transgendered person and then that person will attack them.
    I remember in the past that there was the scare that bathrooms were going to become unisex that men and women would all have to go to the same room. It didn't occur to me at the time that the stalls would all be like separate rooms and the general "waiting or washing up area would be what was actually unisex. (I was a teenager then so 30+ years ago)
    now it seems to be a semi good idea. I mean then Dad's could accompany their daughters to the restroom. Mothers already take their young sons with them though often after they reach a certain age they end up having to be sent into the men's room.
    I am not sure of whether you have heard of some of what some progressives have been doing recently in applying to be local democratic electors in offices that have been empty for years in order to gain more power within the democratic party.
    I remember that when Bernie lost the democratic nomination I stressed that the focus should not be on the Presidential race but on the state and local races. However many people after being told often that their vote wasn't needed by the democratic party chose to stay home. I didn't vote because even though I thought I had requested an away ballot I didn't receive one for the general election. I did for the democratic primary (for the down ticket offices) and I voted when I received it.


    1. I took my sons to the restroom for years no one blinked an eyes, my Dad took my siblings and I to the restroom, no one blinked...so why are they blinking now?? What's changed?
      Most of the issues were based on fear mongering..."others" being bad yadda yadda yadda

      Facts about how the economy was rebounding, employment was up no one wanted to hear because (insert problem here).

      As a Canuck we had our own jerk who thought that "others" were the problem, forgetting that we all come from "others" at one point or another in our timeline.

      It took us a long time to get rid of him but we finally did.

  41. It's not just fear, its 1/6 of the liberals, centrists, progressives working shift work and unable to make it to the polls. Vote by Mail would fix both those issues, and would also undo a lot of the gerrymandering.

  42. People let their apathy for HRC vote for them. Dumbest move ever. I could never figure out why people disliked her so much. But they didn't like her and now we are up the Creek without a paddle in sight.

    1. Yes, I wasn't sure I liked her at first, but I did some research and decided she was worth liking and worth voting for.

  43. I generally agree witht he above post that this is what liberals should be doing. There's just one problem. Many of us more reasonable Liberals tried for eight years to reach across the aisle to Conservatives. We tried to assuage their fears, point out flawed information and reach an understanding. To find a compromise. What we were met with was derision, lots of yelling, condemnation and fingers being put in ears. How the fuck are we supposed to deal with people that refuse to even engage with us on any level when they're so convinced that the world is coming to an end? How are we supposed to talk to people that watch Fox News 24/7 and consider ANYTHING else to be false news?

    1. Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing...

      We're going to compromise ourselves far starboard of the Overton Window if we keep bending our values for people who have none that could survive in the 20th Century, let alone the 21st.

  44. Bingo! FEAR. It's what I've spent almost every day on for the last 11 years writing in my novel, Singing in Silence. FEAR. And talking to, not yelling at, those who are afraid. Thank you.

  45. Jim, my apologies if you have addressed this before and I have missed it, but have you yourself ever considered running for office? I believe sincerely that someone like you could have a very serious impact.

  46. As always, spot on. Here in Massachusetts, we show up. But this is important. We need to flip Congress in 2018. We need these clowns out.

  47. One of the predominant themes I have noted in conservative online commentary is glee at the spectacle of liberals wailing and gnashing teeth. No small part of what motivates some to support Trump is that he so outrages us. Schadenfreude writ large. For years they have had their fears not just dismissed but laughed at. They have been laughed at. Whatever the reasons for it, everyone reacts to being laughed at the same way. They are angered. Why? Because if people are laughing at you you will not be taken seriously. If you are not taken seriously you lose status, you lose a place at the table. Which is at the bottom of their fears to begin with. The laughter just reinforces the fear.
    The democratic party has been drifting away from working people for some time now. As the unions have diminished so has their monetary contribution. The Democratic party has become a party of enlightenment elites for who support a theoretical "people" that they have become increasingly distant from. And disdainful of.
    We have to relearn that community, real community like the ones we physically live in is not made of people just like us. It is made up of of people with diferent to wildly different views who tolerate and more, support each other because that is what makes it work. That is how humans, a weak, naked ape spread across the globe. By acting like community, not always, but more often than not. We don't have to agree on everything to recognize that we may need to be able to depend on each other. To trust.
    We are demanding of frightened people that they accept others who they don't understand into their community.
    Maybe that would work better if we can show that we know how to do it.

    1. Sorry, but maybe someone else was laughing at conservatives when Barack Obama was President. I wasn't. I was hopeful for an inclusive America where everyone (conservatives and liberals) had a seat at the table, and where everyone could have opportunities and healthcare regardless of income level, religion, race, or gender. Guess that was just a pipe dream. But I certainly wasn't ridiculing others or rubbing Obama's win in their faces like right-wingers are rubbing Trump's win in mine.

      You parrot the establishment media "line" that Democrats have become the party of "Enlightenment elites" who've become increasingly distant from the "people." How do you square, then, a billionaire elite and his cadre of elites who couldn't be further from the "people" were he on Alpha Centuri gaining popularity with the "people"?

      Hint: It ain't "economic anxiety," at least unless the white guy's getting stomped on by all those minorities who want, umm, equal rights. Which, as was retweeted recently, aren't pie.

    2. Yes, I remember when Obama won in 2008 and my neighbor (evangelical)came and said to me, "Congratulations, you won." I was saddened by that, and I replied, "We won, he is your president also." That however has not been the conversation in reference to the 2016 election. In fact, there has been no conversation about it at all, mostly because "I" don't talk about it. Not hiding my head in the sand, but pretty much speechless. Really don't know what to start on first, there are so many things wrong with this whole presidency and Congress, but I think I will be looking up my local LWV chapter. Now is not the time to be silent.

  48. Not just vote. Not just talk about it. RUN. If it is all possible for you, and you are progressive/democrat/liberal/etc., RUN FOR OFFICE. Start local. Go knock on doors. Talk to your neighbors. Do eet.

    1. I'd love to, but there are a few problems:

      I don't suffer fools.

      I am too blunt. I can filter my language, but rarely filter my bluntness enough.

      Most importantly, I'm an atheist in the Deep South. NOT HAPPENING in my lifetime.

      And many of the people I know that I'd love to see in office are also atheists. Again, NOT HAPPENING.

  49. People have been fed a steady diet of fear because that is what is needed to control them. The Right Wing needs people to be afraid, to be unsettled and disatisfied because then they can manipulate their emotions. And when emotions are manipulated, logic and reason go out the window. We progressives (not the far left people, they are also running on a high octane infusion of emotion) tend to rely on facts and reason, and we can't seem to get through to the other side. BUT, now that we know that, we can, paradoxically, address their emotional angst, and then work out logical responses to their fears. As Jim says, it is hard work, and it won't work with the truly paranoid, but it will eventually work with enough moderately conservative people. If Trump doesn't get us all killed first that is.

  50. Thank goodness he has those teleprompters.....ending all speculation whether he can read or not.

  51. I would point out conservatives do stay home when "their candidate" is not sufficently conservative enough . Witness the lack of President Mitt Romney. In the short run at least the right learned that lesson, and will no doubt forget it in due time.

  52. Passing the torch down is exactly what you've done, 45.

  53. There's a counsel-council error somewhere sir. And a missing word somewhere dammit! I'll find it and get back to you.

  54. All that truth stung a wee bit, but it was still SPOT ON.
    Faithful follower of your FB page and Stonekettle.

  55. The problem is deeper than liberal disarray. Emotional manipulation is being used on the American people. Look up Cambridge Analytica.

    1. Yep, that's the organization backed by Jared Kushner & Co.

      And what Cambridge Analytica does is just a rehash of Goebbels philosophy, 21st-century social-media style.

      Kushner is SUCH a sucker.

    2. Totally agree, they figured out a way to combine all data from the Internet and Facebook to profIle almost all voters, then serve back to them individually modified commercials to drive their fears and predjuices in the direction needed to get the vote. This actually happened, Cambridge Analytica also "helped" the Brexit group win. Yes, we need to understand the average voters fears, but also beware of the man behind the curtain.


  56. Blunt but truthful as always, Jim. It hurts, but...then again, that's what the truth is supposed to do.

  57. I consider our current situation to be as much my fault as any Pro-Trump conservative. People get mad at you because you write the truth. Keep doing it. We need to get our agency back.

  58. The hell kind of country, the hell kind of people THAT deports.... to

  59. I'm trying to write this comment while at the same time listening to the great fear-mongering bully. For ultimately, the plan appears to be to keep ratcheting up the fear level and encouraging hate. To counter that, not only must we show up, we must understand and face our own fears. I am a scientist. Right now one of the debates among scientists is whether speaking up for science could cause more harm than good in the current environment. I intend to show up.

  60. Also "rational liberals and rational conservativeS" would be better. And this is a very dispiriting essay, but I have been doing exactly this in my own little world for years; it distressed me that many of the people I love (I work for many of them) have this us vs them bunker mentality. I have tried and tried to debunk these outright lies. But I can't counter Roger Ailes bastard child Fox News 24/7 flood of disinformation. Authoritarian people LIKE fear, they like top down power structures, and they like to be told what to do. They are like little behavioral accountants with checkoff lists. That's what conservatives like about religion, really, it's a little checkoff list for heaven. (The really messed up ones even go to the same barber and check off a haircut in the same damn style as the preacher and all the elders!). If you can't tell the truth from the lies, or worse, if you decide you prefer the lies, there is no help for you. And I am afraid that many of these people PREFER THE LIES! At this point, it becomes an incurable disease.

  61. I was deeply furious with people on the left who kept bringing up false equivalences as their reason not to vote for Hillary. No amount of reasoning, concern or alarm could get through their smug wall of disdain and really bring home to them the threat facing us. Now some of them are ranting and bitching about Trump. I lost patience with them a long time ago. I worked for the Holocaust Museum for a little while in the 90's. Watching this disaster happen despite my attempts and those of so many others to warn people how bad this would be gave me a whole new comprehension of 'Cassandra's' place in the tale of the Trojan War.

  62. "I didn’t ask you to compromise with hate. I asked you to compromise with fear."

    It's fear that often _breeds_ hate, though, no?

    1. So find a way to lessen the fear and you will lessen the hate, no?

    2. I have found it works the other way as well.
      Hate breeds fear in many cases.
      So if we do our best to remove half of the equation the other half *should* reduce as well.

  63. You know that Sea of Red does look scary as hell. It's so BIG, isn't it? But... If you actually look at the numbers, state by state and county by county... It's actually shallow as hell in most places. California is big, yes, but it's not so big that Hillary could have won the Popular vote from California alone is she hadn't lost by such razor thin margins everywhere else. There are a lot of swing voters making up that sea of red. They are who we need to talk to. Those undecided voters who voted for Trump because Comey said Hillary's e-mails were still being looked at in the 11th hour. Yes, they should have known better, but whose fault is it that they didn't? We must engage with our neighbors, shave away those razor thin margins, drain that sea of red back to blue or at least purple.

  64. Excellent as always, but one question: Didn't the marchers in pink hats in St. Louis (and elsewhere) do that on January 21, the day after the inauguration?

  65. Great writing with great truth. One thing to remember....it's called complacency. The Liberals and Progressives were complacent. Too lazy to vote for Clinton because "she had it in the bag"...and "she wasn't my cup of tea". Another topic of discussion that people need to understand...is this is a version of "bullet" voting. I literally have to show them a diagram on how that works. Once they get it, then they understand.

  66. Fear. Right on. I have been going back again and again to Michael Crichton's words in State of Fear, 2004.

    "I am leading to the notion of social control...And of course we know that social control is best managed through fear...although the specific cause of our fear may change, we are never without the fear itself. Fear pervades society in all its aspects."

  67. Avbe then there is Goebbels, aka Bannon. Who is not stupid nor naive. Who is a brilliant strategist, and who is also a Neo Nazi.
    We need to be ever so careful of him, and not let him dismantle the government and crash the economy in a way that they can claim the liberals did it, so they can be the "only ones to rebuild it". Because then we will have the Fourth Reich.

  68. Thank you. I was not offended by your article. You said the things I have been saying and thinking. I hope we can step up and learn from out mistakes.

  69. Since November, the world has turned upside-down. I can hardly stand to hear what idiocy has occurred in the White House each day. Our nation is a global laughing stock and our Constitutional rights are in serious danger...we are all in danger. Bannon pulls the strings and trump signs the paper ub front of him without even reading it. Oh yeah, his reading comprehension is 4th grade level.

  70. I was one of 40 people who showed up to vote in our primary election for State Superintendent of Education in my Township where this was the ONLY contest in the election. The top 2 vote recipients advance to the general election. It amazes me that only 40 people bothered to vote in this primary where public education is systematically being demolished by Scott Walker here in the State of Wisconsin. Two of the top three candidates were colluding to get one of the others to drop out of the race with promises that the one who dropped out would get a lucrative six figure income, a chauffeured car and control of the largest school districts in the state under the one who presumably would advance to the general. Those two bozos managed to garner 18 out of the 40 votes (17+1). They were both fans of DeVos, vouchers and other public education destroying policies. The incumbent, Tony Evers, only carried 21 votes in this little pocket of the state but carried the most votes overall in the state handily. I just have to shake my head and wonder what were those people who voted for the bozos thinking? Did they even know about the shenanigans? Do they just vote against incumbents in a knee-jerk manner because it means "change", even if it isn't in the best interest of the schools and kids? I don't know but Scott Walker gave this town three shiny traffic roundabouts in three blocks a couple of years ago so we're good, right? Smh.

  71. I agree with some of this, but I have a problem with the argument that we are all the same. Statistics show the real gung-ho Trump supporters are white men without a college degree. I think education and diversity of experiences plays a huge part in how we are different. I come from a very rural, impoverished part of Michigan, and I know people who get stuck in that cycle of poverty and lack of education. I'm not like them. There's a fundamental difference in world view. Studies show we don't enjoy the same sorts of entertainment, and so on. Perhaps this is my go to cause for problems with almost everything, but it's a lack of education that's at the root of it.

  72. I was in full agreement (still mostly agree) until you got to the "lack of turnout" line.

    Uh, no, the issue is gerrymandering and voter suppression. For instance, my home of Michigan was flatly stolen this election. HRC had a 5 point lead the eve of the election. For every one Comrade Banktrumpt sign in a front yard, there were 20 HRC signs. Yet in the end, almost 400,000 votes were purged through the criminal gerrymandering system called Crosscheck, and the redistricting that's been in full swing over the past decade or so by state conservatives.

    People need to wake up to the reality that conservatives only win when they cheat, because they don't have facts, science, history or a viable ideology on their side. Both of their last two presidents came through underhanded tactics, theft via the legal system (hanging chads, anyone?), and the aforementioned gerrymandering and their voter suppression laws.

    If we don't immediately return the nation to valid, equal voting laws- with a refactored electoral college that gives each state equal weight, not the imbalance leaning toward conservatives as it currently is- the progress of this nation, which is always liberal in source, will dry up and the nation will crumble into history.

    1. You know how you get rid of gerrymandering?

      You have to win first.

      Gerrymandering only works because people are stuck in their identities. And it still exists, because it benefits both parties.

      There a number of strategies to defeat gerrymandering, but people don't show up in enough numbers to implement those countermeasures.

  73. Excellent analysis, unfortunately capped off with an empty exercise in semantics. What is the practical difference between compromising with hate and compromising with fear? How do you propose we in the LGBT community, for example, should compromise with the 'fear' that a 'normal,' 'decent' baker might be brutally forced to make a cake for the 'so-called wedding' of two women? Or the 'terror' of encountering a hulking sexual predator in a dress in the women's restroom because he 'felt female' that day? Or the 'horror' of allowing one's children to attend school with a girl who was assigned male at birth and who wants only to live as the person she knows she was born to be, preferring instead to drive that girl to throw herself in front of a truck? Make no mistake, this is fear -- homoPHOBIA. TransPHOBIA. What is the actual, practical difference between compromising with homophobia and compromising with hate? I submit to you that there is none -- you haven't worked out your 'plan' because there can't be one. We aren't going to stop fighting for our lives because you thought they weren't a hill worth taking.

    1. Fear and hate are not the same thing.

      Hate is often caused by fear.

      Addressing hate, telling somebody their hate is wrong, very often gets you nowhere, except more hate.

      For example: Jade Helm. Texans were terrified Barack Obama was going to invade their state and herd them all into FEMA camps for liquidation. Stupid. Idiotic. Ridiculous. Impossible. But pointing that out, only got me more hate mail. Because reason doesn't work on hate.

      Those people hate the government. They hated Obama.

      They hate the government, they hate Obama, because they've been conditioned by their Texas culture to fear government power and liberal minorities.

      No amount of logic or reason can change the hate.

      You have to address the underlying fear that causes the hate. The hate is an expression of the fear, a symptom.

      It's not semantics. It's how human emotion works.

      Look, let's use your example: the 'terror' of encountering a hulking sexual predator in a dress in the women's restroom because he 'felt female' that day?

      You're doing exactly what I pointed out in the text.

      You're calling their fears stupid.

      That's exactly what you're doing by putting terror in quote marks.

      They're scared. They are. You, me, the readers here, sure, we know those fears are stupid. We shrug and dismiss those fears as stupid and ignorant. We know there's a difference between a sexual predator and transgender and that the two are not the same. Just as gay doesn't equate to pederast any more than straight equals pedophile.

      And so we dismiss those fears as stupid.

      And that's our mistake. That's why those people voted for Trump. Because they think you, me, Hillary Clinton, regard their fears with contemp. That's what those quote marks say to them, their fears are stupid, that's what we think -- and we do.

      That's a mistake.

      Regarding their fears with contemp doesn't make their fear go away, it just makes them certain that Hillary Clinton doesn't give a fuck about them. And Trump does.

      You have to address that fear. How? Well, it depends on the person, doesn't it? Maybe instead of dismissing that fear as stupid out of hand, we point out that transgendered people share that same fear. The fear of assault. The fear that some hulking sexual predator will use their identity to attack others in a public restroom. That they stand with conservatives against sexual predators of all kinds.

      People fear what they don't know. They fear that which they don't regard as human, as like them, as the other. And they see LGBT as the other. We have to address that fear.

      That's the actual, practical difference.

      I never said it wasn't a hill worth taking. But since you brought up the military reference, I'd point out to you that there is more than one way to take a hill, and Pickett's Charge might not be the best strategy.

      In the end, wouldn't you rather stand on top of it than die on its slope?

    2. Jim, I read the essay w/in an hour of it's posting yesterday & have been conflicted about it since, precisely because of Rory's point above (both as regards to LGBT issues and in wider context; environmental issues for instance). At some point I think the regular coddling of irrational (and in many many cases propagandized) fears becomes akin to tip-toeing around the alcoholic asleep on the couch. You can take that analogy a long way actually, but I'll keep this short. This response to Rory is a fantastic elucidation of your meaning above, and I think you should consider adding it to the main piece as an addendum.

    3. I'm certainly open to suggestions. What's your solution?

    4. And what's your's Jim. I like most of what you write, but too often on this topic you just revert to centrist pablum. As others have said; it's not compromise when only one side is compromising.

  74. Love the article, Jim. Some quibbles maybe you addressed and I missed because of length but maybe not.

    1) A lot of the religious right aren't really just scared they'll have to marry gays. They're also afraid married gays will live in their America instead of staying single in the closets of their America. They're afraid those gays will influence their children to become gay, not give them natural born grands. They're afraid their world will change fundamentally in an immoral way to their world and religious view. Republicans are counting on that base fear and build not just on the married in their churches fear.

    The same would go for taxes paying for abortion/having abortion happen at all and other such social/moral issues. Maybe each needs to be broken down into individual Stonekettle articles on how we reason with the other side, how we compromise with the full gamut of issues/fear/moral mindset in each case.

    Or maybe that's the work of your audience and liberals working outwards from your post going forward. And maybe something called street epistemology is one method of working these issues slowly but more effectively. Google street epistemology, Anthony Magnabosco, Peter Boghossian, set the search for videos.

    2) Republican Party leaders aren't interested in compromise except if it's their only choice to have a hand in power rather than as much of the whole power structure as possible. Neither are Democratic Party leaders. We have to get them to that zero ground where they have no choice.

    As an individual liberal-socialist, I hate giving up that moral ground but you can drag me kicking and screaming to the middle if there's hope for at least a better outcome. That's why I supported the moderate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But addressing that "wait until next time" mentality in view of the political pendulum is another tough nut to crack in a world where each is used to the pendulum and irrational hope that next time they'll win the battle and the war.

    1. I never said it would be easy.

    2. Me neither. I'll settle for moving the ball slightly.

  75. Can a zebra change its stripes? Can a leopard change its spots? Can a narcissist find humility? Apparently not. A chaotic first month, an idiotic press conference, flawed executive orders, resignations or firings, what the hell. Then that botched Yemen ops and trying to pass blame onto his predecessor. Hell no, I don't I don't like the new president and yes, about what I expected, possibly worse.

  76. You're not going to make many new friends with this but oh boy did it need to be said. The UK is going the same way, reacting to politicians peddling fear of the unknown, the unusual, the outsider. We can pull up our drawbridge and go it alone. We too, need to show up.

  77. To me a good opinion piece 'should' have something to irritate just about everyone, you know, it's inclusive. It should also lead the reader to think, not just cause a mental rush to refute the points that irritate them. This is just such an opinion piece.

  78. I've been struggling with this spirit of compromise since I discovered several people I consider friends, people I hold in high regard as they selflessly set themselves up for heartbreak rescuing animals and providing coats and food to the homeless....voted for Trump.

    The knee jerk reaction was "Well, they have to secretly be bigots/anti-woman/etc" but the truth is more complicated than that. They actually aren't bigots. Or against Planned Parenthood. Or even that conservative. They just didn't like Hilary Clinton.

    That's it. They would have voted for Satan him/herself if it meant no Hilary. And she was the most overqualified candidate in history. Objectively, there was no other logical choice, but we aren't Vulcan. My friends inflicted an overgrown toddler on the United States of America because they simply did not like Hilary Clinton.

    I'm not afraid; I've never been afraid. I am PISSED. Completely, totally, unequivocally enraged. I'm not the only one. The conservatives have fear; the rest of us have rage. What was the line in LILO and Stitch? "This will not end well."

    I wanted a revolution. I wanted a way to get corruption out of the government. Outlaw lobbyists buying senators and the like. Get back to what the Founding Fathers actually wanted. This is not the way it was supposed to happen, but I underestimated fear and stupidity (and apathy) of my fellow voters. I have friends in Germany who are appalled; I see what they are seeing. Here's the difference:

    Too many of us know what happened in 1930s Germany, we see the writing on the wall, and we are not being quiet about it.

    They came for the Muslims....for Middle Eastern refugees.... and people stood between them with protest signs. Thanks to the internet, this went viral. Thanks to a judge who took his vow to uphold the Constitution seriously, that hasty executive order got a sock to the jaw.

    Of course, we've now exposed ourselves. The opposition knows we aren't going to be easy prey. I'm not worried about Trump. I'm far more concerned about Bannon and the incompetent, malleable billionaires that comprise the cabinet. Bannon read the annotated edition of the Evil Overlord Handbook, and the rest are sheep. Instead of leadership, we get Twitter on the shitter.

    I'm still pissed, and campaigning hard for a change in two years, when Congress gets to justify fiddling while the country burned.

    1. Why didn't your friends "like Hillary"? Was it because they believed the right-wing b.s. about her? Was it because they couldn't envision a woman as President? Because they associate "Hillary Clinton" with "pro-abortion"? Because they associate "Hillary Clinton" with "femi-Nazi"?

      That's still pretty prejudiced and sexist of your friends, IMO. IJS.

    2. To play Devil's Advocate, let me flip the script a bit.

      The people WHOM THOSE PEOPLE in those little red squares IRRATIONALLY FEAR are afraid. And they should be.

      They fear that their Syrian American son or daughter won't be allowed back in the United States after traveling abroad in desperate attempts to get their Syrian national cousins to safety.

      They fear that the next time their mosque gets hit with an arson attack, the building won't be empty this time, and perhaps they'll be the ones who are burned to death while they pray.

      They fear that their grandparents' gravestones will be desecrated simply for having the misfortune to be in a Jewish cemetery.

      They fear that, under a Republican state, local, and federal government that keeps stripping away their votes and voices, their African American teenagers will be victimized by police brutality and even murder, and when the offending police officers claim "they feared for their lives," there will be no legal justice or recourse for the death of their sons or daughters.

      They fear that the men or women they love and are finally able to marry--and the families they are finally able to build because gay adoption is finally legal--will be broken apart because those in a majority religion feel that they're being persecuted by allowing equal rights to all.

      They fear that they won't be able to access birth control anymore if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and if they are unfortunate enough to get pregnant as a result, they won't be able to afford to bring children into the world, either. And with the abortion clinics all closed, they fear they'll have nowhere to go but the back alley.

      They fear that, with losing health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, they won't be able to afford surgery to remove the tumor. Or chemo. For their kids, too. They fear that they'll be forced to watch their children die because they couldn't afford a doctor.

      See where I'm going with this? Those up there are GENUINE fears. Fears about life and death, about legitimately being attacked, hurt, and even murdered by people who hate and irrationally fear *them.* These aren't fears about some imaginary bogeyman coming across the border to get one's kid on drugs and lure them away from Christianity and being a straight cis person.

      I'm so sick of being preached to by conservatives AND fellow liberals that we need to keep acquiescing to the small-minded fear--fueled by disdain for what people don't know--that keeps our nation from moving forward.

      We need to FIGHT the bullies, not coddle them. Else the haters will become even more emboldened by our budging on their fears like the Third Way Democrats always do, and the red sea will rise up and drown us all.

  79. I live in a rural area about 50 miles west of St Louis. My neighbors are few and there is distance between us. I vote in every election. But I know a lot of folks that don't. I'll be pushing and reminding people to vote. every. time. I'm sharing this essay and encouraging people to also subscribe. I look forward to every one you write and to your Facebook posts-you're tagged as "see first". You put out some 'in your face' honest, thought provoking work. Thank you.

  80. As others have pointed out, and you seemingly ignored, are the deleterious effects of gerrymandering on the congressional elections. I live in the Ohio 8th, Boehner's old district, and until a GOP candidate is caught in bed with a teenager or a dead body, they will continue to get elected here. My congressional, state rep and state senate elections are rigged, period. Until that changes, nothing changes, period. Even with 100% dem turnout, the GOP needs only a 53% turn out to win here.

    1. I've addressed gerrymandering in other places. I haven't ignored it. This essay was already long enough without going down that rathole.

      Look: just like the electoral college, gerrymandering is a fact.

      If you want to change it, then you have to win.

      Right or wrong, gerrymandering is what it is and you're going to have to play it as it lays. There a number of strategies for defeating gerrymandering. But those strategies are distasteful to political parties and voters. So nothing changes.

  81. You have made some excellent points, as usual, Jim. I think the best of them is the that we Dems, liberal or less so, must be prepared and ready to take on a long battle. We must vote, indeed, at every election.
    I would add to your theory of fear that, unfortunately, fear has birthed bigotry and selfishness for a lot of Trump voters. We should look at ourselves in that regard, too, as none of us are immune from slipping into selfish mode, forgetting why we're all here in the first place and treating our fellow Americans as we wish to be treated.
    Finally, the issues of Republican gerrymandering and the rise of voter ID laws that restrict more and more traditional Dem voters contributed to the place w're now in.
    Let's get to work, as there's no time to waste to start "throwing the bums out" in ´18.

  82. Nothing much to add to the other kudos, but I for one am glad you pointed out the military aid to Israel not once but twice. What kind of "ally" keeps taking and taking and taking while we hemorrhage to death? But the knee-jerk support and kissing up to Israel never ends, yet it must end--when the host dies.

  83. Just want to put out an appreciation of the commentators for this blog. Thank you. Mr. Wright's blog is erudite, concise and informative, but the comments are just as much so. Thank you for taking the time to express your ideas and concerns. I learn so much from them.

  84. ,,,and this is why I vote in every election. Every election period, because who's on the School Board/Town Council/State Congress is just as important as President. Now if the rest of the liberals/progressives/sane conservatives would do the same, we'd live in a much different country. Great article as usual.

  85. Jim,
    While I appreciate most of the column, I think you may have gone too far in describing the generals chosen by the president as cashiered. In my opinion, Mattis and McMasters in particular don't fall into that category (which so accurately does seem to describe Flynn). Whether he will actually listen to either of them is another matter, and I would not be surprised if one or both eventually quit.
    Thanks for the writing, shipmate.
    Old Navy Comm O.

  86. Another excellent essay, as usual, thank you. If I were to nutshell it, I could only add the watchwords of an old favored Canadian punk band, D.O.A.: Talk - Action = Zero. And the first action everyone should be taking is to vote. Every time. Without fail.

  87. Typo: Rorke's Drift, not Rourke's.

    In some ways, the first month has been less terrible than expected, because the spectre of a GOP Congress/President primed to overturn everything at once was actually a phantom. They're more disorganized than I expected, which doesn't mean that they won't get their act together eventually. And they have passed quite a few bills that have gotten little Press exposure but are working to erode, well, everything. The Press continues to mostly concentrate on the spectacle and disregard the nuts and bolts.

    It would seem elementary that, when voters are being dominated by irrational fears, it would be well to address their fears, rather than mock them. It appears from the comments so far that this is not so elementary as one might think, nor do many on the Left consider the people on the Right worth cultivating. Well, the Democratic Party has long run on a strategy of cultivating the urban concentrations of population, hoping to garner enough Electoral votes to take the Presidency. They have, as the essay repeats, shown much less interest in politics on the local level, with the result that State and local governments are overwhelmingly in the hands of the Right. I frankly do not understand what is hoped to be accomplished by such a strategy.

    -- EMH

  88. As a Canadian, watching from over the border, the culture of fear within the US is palpable. Jim hits the nail on the head, as usual. Why are you people SO AFRAID??? Boogeymen at every corner, under every bed. It's insane. It's crippling. And it has now come to fruition. I feel like I'm witnessing the fall of a great empire. Your culture of fear has stymied your growth. There is a wonderful world out here, waiting to be explored and learned about. You do not have to fear your neighbours. We're all on this little blue speck, hurtling through space, together. Please find that middle ground. Please.

    1. Yes, yes and yes!! As a fellow Canadian I am boggled by how afraid people seem to be.
      I fear real things, like the Angus bull that tried to make me into mincemeat.
      I do NOT fear people based on skin tone, what book they read or where their family came from.

  89. Thank you.
    Since this election, I realize that I have not done enough at the local level. I've been working with local groups since then to try and make sure that we don't continue to forget the trees that make up the forest.

    Also, I appreciate your comment about addressing the fears. If your child is afraid there is a monster under his bed, you don't laugh at him. You work out some way to make the fear not so frightening. There's a lot of solutions that you can try- but laughing at him, calling him an idiot, getting angry at him... all of those fail. So why on earth would we think that those responses are appropriate when dealing with fears from the Right?
    I haven't always addressed the fears appropriately. For that, I owe my country an apology. I am making an effort to be better.

    Thank you again.

  90. Thank you.
    Since this election, I realize that I have not done enough at the local level. I've been working with local groups since then to try and make sure that we don't continue to forget the trees that make up the forest.

    Also, I appreciate your comment about addressing the fears. If your child is afraid there is a monster under his bed, you don't laugh at him. You work out some way to make the fear not so frightening. There's a lot of solutions that you can try- but laughing at him, calling him an idiot, getting angry at him... all of those fail. So why on earth would we think that those responses are appropriate when dealing with fears from the Right?
    I haven't always addressed the fears appropriately. For that, I owe my country an apology. I am making an effort to be better.

    Thank you again.

  91. Compromising is going to be tough and also doesn't seem like the right word. Now placating, I can get behind placating. I can keep my values still and placate all day. That seems much more appropriate if what we're really trying to do is alleviate their imaginary fears.

  92. I just want to say that I follow you on face book and now on here. You have been the force that keeps me sane in all this insanity. I respect you to the utmost and share all the articles I can on my facebook account. Happily, I am moving to the city you reside in within this month. Won't you be my neighbor? LOL Keep it up!!

  93. Hey, do me a favor. Could you actually look into gerrymandering and educate yourself on the effect it's had on state and congressional elections? Because you can't tell me that much of the country voting red was either accident OR too many Dems sitting home.

    You also need to look into disemfranchisement of black people. That is a thing too. And getting to being a fairly serious problem.


    1. I have examined Gerrymandering in extensive detail in previous essays. What makes you assume that I haven't educated myself on the topic?

      Likewise, I've written extensively on the disenfranchisement of certain demographics.

      Is this your first time here?

  94. I followed your advice, Jim; I read your rules and I read each post. This is my first response but I have read your opinions for sometime now. Interestingly, you a firm understanding the fear component. I see the fear as endemic but not exclusive to Conservatives. Everyone is motivated by fear and neglecting the Lib/Prog fears may simply be fodder a future topic. eg. Racial fears stirred within the minority communities is prevalent. Same with deportation fears for questionable immigrants. The Lib/Prog fears are equally manipulable and easy targets of opportunity. That said, I wanted to offer another equally important and overlooked perspective.
    Condescending Superiority is a very palpable, visceral, and objectionable posture. It many times comes from the Intellectual attitude that "I know better than you." (I'm speaking in general here) Positing ideologies in this fashion is a communications failure. It is similar to convincing folks that their fears can be overcome by listening to the oppositions 'logic'. If folks are fearful, then Condescending Superiority is a shiv to the liver. It becomes Confirmation Bias at it's zenith. Once viewed as just another of the Lib/Prog peccadilloes, it merely reinforce what is already suspect; no one is listening. Ask a Conservative if they believe they were listened to and included the last eight years. Surprising details emerge.
    Perhaps, you were simply laying the ground work for future topic evolution, here, but for me the "Red Sea" conspicuously resides at a much greater depth than FEAR alone. Much more to say, but I'll stop there for now.

    1. Of course I'm laying the groundwork for additional explorations of this topic. Just as this piece was an extension of the previous essay mentioned in the text, Bug Hunt. All of my pieces build on previous work. That's the nature of the world we live in.

      What? You thought I could cover everything wrong with the world and roger up a solution in 5000 words? C'mon.

  95. Well your essay leaves a bit to think about. I have plenty of conservative friends but when asked about taxes for higher education or even infrastructure they say no even when reminded that they graduated from state supported colleges, work for the state, and use public resources every day. The problem is that the conservatives believe in freedom for their ideals not for freedom of opposing ideals. Compromising with their politicians does not work. Obama tried that with the ACA( buying private insurance plans was the conservatives idea from the 1970's) and they tore it to pieces. On politics there is no compromising with people who will not work with you no matter how far you bend. There is only so long people can be yelled at without yelling back. Many conservatives here in central California say give Trump a chance. Well that was not their view with Obama. It is two faced to tell others to do what you yourself would not do. Granted many liberals are condescending but also are many conservatives. To win back our government we must show up but not give up our values. Hillary appeared to be very chummy with Wall street and Multi nationals that is major reason many fence sitters voted against her(other than her being a poor campaigner and a lackluster candidate). To win we must stick to our progressive values, make them clear, show how they will benefit everyone in the USA, and not compromise them away for convenience sake. Show the difference between conservative ideals and ours not the difference between conservatives and liberals as people. Integrity is simple, Say what you mean and do what you say. That is the first step but the road is long and true endurance is needed.

    1. Well I should hope the essay leaves you with something to think about. What did you expect? That I'd sum up everything wrong with the world and pony up a detailed solution that works for everybody in a couple thousand words?


  96. Excellent analysis Jim. I would like to offer this: I believe if we do the "showing up" part consistently, we won't need to compromise with the irrationally fearful. If we can build a better country on our terms, we can marginalize those who would use fear to mobilize the gullible.

  97. This presidency has been worse than I feared. I didn't anticipate he would go full fascist so quickly. I did not expect the virulently anti-environment agenda it would have. I am only slightly comforted that he's so inept that with all the support in the world that he's unable to follow through on much of his agenda, but time is still on his side.

    Speaking of compromise, we're having a hard time doing it WITHIN OUR OWN RANKS. Case in point, the DNC chair election. Perez won fair and square, even though it was close, and quickly made Ellison co-chair. Since that meant that Ellison could still stay in office as Representative of his Minnesota district, this would be a win-win, right? The moderate wing of the Democratic Party won, and immediately made concessions to the more leftist wing of the Party. So we are all one big happy family now? No. Immediately the Bern or Busters, the Stein um Steiners decry this as "business as usual" and demand that we concede every thing to them even though they lost the election. So remarkable that this turned out to be a microcosm of Nov. 8 2016, but the Regressive Left as I like to call them is crying that they didn't get everything they wanted. We really need to nip this shit in the bud, stat, or no matter how much Trump damages the country he may still walk into another 4 years assuming he's still alive or unimpeached by then.

  98. Wow, just excellent and validating/motivating that working at the local level is worthwhile. Thank you.

  99. PLEASE stop calling Trump supporters "conservatives." They give conservatives a bad name. Wm. F. Buckley was a decent human being I often disagreed with,but he had a brain and could use it. He read a lot, he thought about what he read, he wrote about what he thought, and he could be fierce in a debate and still warmly and courteously shake your hand when it was over. Most Trump supporters are not conservatives.

    Johnny Hogue

    1. You're correct. They are reactionaries. Dangerous, divisive, delusional.

  100. Can you guys, refuse to pay your taxes?
    Trump's not paying any tax, so why should you,
    or until at least he released his tax returns.
    It would be one hell of a protest.

  101. What the "Red Sea" maps show is the "Red" "Area" - which I would call the "landed aristocracy" (well, not).

    A more interesting map is to line up all the counties won by Clinton vs. those won by Trump - and then add up their contributions to the US GDP.

    It turns out Clinton won the counties that produce 64 % of the nation's GDP; Trump won those that produce the remaining 36 %.

  102. If we are to succeed in reclaiming a balance of government seats a need to come together as a united party is priority.
    Yes, fear drove those of right tendencies to vote for trump but I believe it is more complex than fear, it is a phobia. Most of us are not equipped to analyze and treat or correct irrational thoughts and even if we could, I doubt we could remedy the phobias in time for the next local or state elections.
    The way I see it is that although there are large pockets of blue in predominantly red states, those states have a values threshold and if a Democrat/Liberal candidate with impeccable qualifications, brilliant agenda and economic plans to benefit the constituents, they may not vote for that candidate because of one issue. The issue may vary but in all honesty the right to choose vs the pro life issue is often the critical turning point.
    I am not saying that this would be the deciding factor but chances are that it would play a major role in the voting decision. Heck, going on 45 years and this controversy has not diminished but seems to have become more extreme. And there is no talking choice or logic with people who have an extreme pro life belief on both sides of the political arena.
    I totally agree that we must not diminish the feelings that people have regarding their position on issues, but cooperation can only work if all sides are willing to negotiate. As one individual ranted at me on a 2nd amendment issue when I asked her why she felt that enhanced background checks were infringing on her rights, she told me, in not so polite away, that she was sick and tired of compromising. And she was not alone in those sentiments. I have also heard moderates state that they didn't particularly like trump, but because Clinton was "for abortions" he would not vote for her. No matter if the other candidate was a crook.

    I know my comment is rambling and if I have gone off course hope you can excuse my work in progress as I compose my opinions on a hard copy.

    If I have been ambiguous, I will simply say that we should always try to be civil in our discussions or debates, I do not to post obnoxious memes about conservatives, although elected official could be fair game and I try to respect others opinions. I try to do the best research I can before posting and would never swear at someone with a different opinion. But it is becoming increasingly difficult with some individuals when they refuse to even read the links I provide as a reference or the facts. People do not want or care to get information from a source that conflicts with their way of thinking.
    I'm almost done. I just want to add that pre election, 99% of my circle of friends were posting negative memes about Hillary and one actually was proud to say that he convinced his 2 week old new love interest to change her vote from Hillary to trump and that was good because he had forgotten to register. Go figure? Sorry went off track. What I wanted to say is that once trump was president elect, 99% of the 99% are not following what trump is doing. They just don't care anymore, their main objective was to make sure Hillary didn't get elected. Platforms were not the issue. Facts were not the issue. Guns and pro life were the number one issues, at least for the people I know around where I live. Jobs, Muslims, undocumented, the wall, were not their main focus. And of course their hatred of Clinton because of emails, Benghazi, and trump's incessant chant that she is crooked.
    And now they don't care about anything that is being uncovered about Russian connections or trump's and his cabinet appointees conflicts of financial interests.
    So I guess in my humble opinion, I don't think compromise or healthy discussions about our differences is something that the right is interested in pursuing.

  103. I don't expect this comment to get posted, I just want to communicate with you: Wow, Jim, I'm really disappointed with you for the first time. This essay reminds me of a boss who used to yell at us in our weekly team meeting about not showing up at the weekly team meeting. Hel-lo? Why are you yelling at us? *WE'RE* the ones who DO show up. And I, for one, am tired of being lectured about this when I have never missed *ANY* election since the time I was eligible to vote. I'm also tired of the endless apologia for poor white Trump voters. I live in one of the most affluent counties of America, and the McMansions and estates were positively lousy with Trump campaign signs. The only thing these people were frightened of was that some dark-skinned person might possibly get a nickel more than they "deserved" as a dark-skinned person. It is they, more than the types of Trump voters you cite, who are the problem.

    1. Get in line, Elizabeth, with the other disappointed people.

      I find it interesting how you think this essay is aimed at you personally.

      But between this and your comments on Twitter, you've certainly proved that it's impossible to compromise with fanatics. So, thanks for that. // Jim

  104. I think that most people would agree that we are the problem. In that at birth there is little difference between any of us, what is it about us that causes all of our problems? We are all born with survival instincts. We all have our survival fears, although some fear spiders while others fear snakes. In the end, with a normal amount of intellect and the right environment we can over come most of our fears, and unneeded instincts. As animals we have needed our instincts to survive. As our intellect grew, we found that we could survive better if we control or even eliminated some of our instincts. It would seem that other than environment, we are pretty much the same. So now comes the big question, why does it come to this? Why are we the problem? What is it in the end that makes us the problem? What I see is that we have some instincts that give us great pleasure and we have used our intellect to rationalize them, even though they are harmful and should be controlled. Here is what I see as the biggest problem. As animals, the one with the most power has the best life. This carries over to humans and the human with the most power has the most chance of surviving and the most pleasure. We do not see this as a problem, so we all try to accumulate wealth, and this is the route of all our problems. The sad thing is, I do not see this ever changing. So, inequality = accumulation of wealth = power = corruption = exploitation = violence = collapse of a system and it all starts over. History repeats.

  105. I don't disagree with you. I vote in EVERY election and I put my money where my mouth is and donate to candidates I support. But if you're right, I find it pretty goddamned infuriating that we need to spend the next 4 years convincing other supposedly full grown human beings that there are no monsters hiding under their beds and nothing's going to jump out of their closet to get them in the night. I raised a daughter; at 17 she fully understands there is nothing to fear from transgender people in the next bathroom stall, Syrian refugee children, Mexican immigrants without the correct paperwork, the religion of Islam, anyone else's marriage, or the medical choices anyone else is making with their own body. I thought I'd done my part... not sure I'm up for foster parenting some Republicans.

  106. I'm seriously worried where we're heading - the environmental protections of the last 50 years being rolled back, more gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement so that only well off white people can vote, open discrimination against minorities, non Christians and LGBT, taking the education system back to the 50s, the Military-Industrial Complex steamrolling us into major wars, scientific research controlled by corporations, vigilante justice,etc. I could go on and on.

    I also doubt have faith that the left can mount even a halfway decent resistance to this. I tried to become active with mainstream democrats and got called a Bernie Bro. On the other side of the Democratic party I see them still rehashing the Democratic primary and promoting a third party. A third party will be effectively giving the Republicans everything they want.

    Jim, I'm looking forward to seeing your plan/strategy.

  107. I've heard quite a number of people here say to hell with compromise, compromise is not a solution, compromise would never work, they'd rather die than compromise etc etc.

    Well compromise is what Democracy, as the ideology behind a government structure, is based on. It's a government structure that consists of 2 or more parties making up the body, these parties do not necessarily see eye to eye with each other on all issues, in fact, BY DESIGN they are NOT supposed to. Each is to function by providing objections, counterpoints, alternatives etc to ideas or points raised by any other party. This is, ostensibly, to avoid groupthink revolving around a single party with its own singular ideology.

    If this wasn't the case then it would be far better to have single party rule, much easier to get things done there, only it might not necessarily be the things that people WANT done (like herding Jews to a gas chamber for instance, quickly and efficiently done under a particular regime, none of that gridlock there, no siree). Compromise isn't easy, it can and does lead to gridlock, but the alternative has its downsides too. Just ask Germans who lived under single party, no exceptions, rule during the 1930s to 40s.

    Those who have a problem with compromise, I ask you, what is your problem with Democracy? Or do you think that it no longer applies in current context?

  108. Fear is the Mother of Violence
    - Peter Gabriel

    Good post. Thanks Jim. I ran across an interesting comment in reply to a piece in Somerby's blog. Link posted below. Not agreeable at all, but it gave me pause. Because I almost couldn't tell if it was trolling or not. Because it really does seem to speak to the perception of "our side" by "theirs."

    "...And, to Bob's point, liberals are total assholes, sorry I know, I am one too but we are assholes and major, major dicks and the people hate us for it so they vote against us to rub our faces in it and that is what they are doing and will continue to do for as long as they can - rub our asshole faces in it..."



  109. Heh...I keep reading you, looking for a area I might not agree with you, and come up unsuccessful every time. I understand well what you say here; I grew up in NW Iowa, and have lived most of my adult life in San Joaquin COunty in California, so I have dealt with this all too often. COmpromise is possible; these are decent people who believe strongly in hard work and their faith, and always feel their voice never gets heard. But I find it easy, more often than not, to discuss issues with them and even reach common points of agreement. We need to do this nationwide; be involved, listen as well as speak, understand and strive to be understood. Extreme views won't make it, with either side, especially with a administration and COngress determined to prey on fears and divide us further. Just my long winded way of saying Thank You for yet another great essay.


Comments on this blog are moderated. Each will be reviewed before being allowed to post. This may take a while. I don't allow personal attacks, trolling, or obnoxious stupidity. If you post anonymously and hide behind an IP blocker, I'm a lot more likely to consider you a troll. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.