The Academy Awards of Democratic Party politics continued into its fourth day on Thursday after Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination from the party of the people on Tuesday.
Protests outside the Wells Fargo Center continue, and sometimes include dissident Bernie Sanders’ delegates who have come to feel the Democratic party doesn’t want them around, and that security confiscates their signs.
“The DNC has its reps ripping up signs that support Palestinian rights so ppl can’t take them out of the trash,” tweeted journalist Rania Khalek.
Other issues are taboo, too. Clinton delegates themselves had been verbally abusive to Sanders counterparts, the Bernie believers say, even one guy carrying a sign reading “No TPP,” the Trans Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal that probably makes sense if you read a lot of New York Times columnists but don’t smelt much steel. One delegate put it this way:
“After the session closed last night, I covered my mouth again, and walked around the Wells Fargo Center 3 times holding my NO TPP sign high. The things that were said to me like; I should kick your ass. You’re an idiot. Ignorant. Go back to school and get an education. You’re a joke. Fuck You. I know we will never be welcomed into the fold, luckily for most of us Bernie Sanders have never really fit in,” said Gary West, a Texas delegate.
“In our hotel lobby myself and another delegate were called filthy, and we were called trash by the same delegate,” he added in a Facebook post Wednesday night.
Mark Lesser, a Colorado delegate, told me that sleep deprivation and coercive tactics to get delegates to fall in line.
“Looks like they’re brainwashing the entire crowd,” Lasser said.
Lasser is blind, and his cane slipped out of his hand on Wednesday night. A yellow-shirted security guard confiscated his cane, citing security concerns. Luckily, Lasser had a spare, and was able to walk out of the Arena on his own.
Disaffected, many fans of Sanders are now saying they will vote for Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who has been wooing voters with rock-star like appearances outside the convention. People wearing Sanders buttons were chanting “Thank you Jill!” or home-made signs saying “Jill not Hill.”
Stumping for Clinton on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama spoke about the need to reject fear, while the entire Clinton campaign is banking on fear of Trump to drive voters to the polls. In fact, that’s their main message.
“We’re not a fragile people,” Obama said. “We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from a self declared savior…We don’t look to be ruled.”
But that’s how Sanders supporters see Clinton: a self-declared savior who looks to rule them against their will. But what do you expect from a political party? Some people have taken too many political science classes and forget what political parties are: Mafias with affiliated think tanks.
But on Tuesday, about 1400 Sanders delegates stood up to this mafia, according to protest organizers, walking out in protest at the “coronation,” some called it, of Hillary Clinton who had shattered the most important glass ceiling of her life.
Millions of women across the United States remain unimpressed and unconvinced that this will help them, and hundreds of those women, Bernie Sanders’ delegates and their staffers, left the convention center when Clinton received the nomination following a contested roll call vote. Hundreds of seats in the center sat empty afterwards, and a few dozen of these delegates held a sit-in in the media tent.
One of those women was Giselle Herzfeld, 19, a Bernie delegate from Colorado. She put it this way: “If Hillary can rig the primary, then she can rig the election. I’m not going to degrade myself from fear to vote for her,” she said.
Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC are wall to wall hagiography of the Clintons as the ultimate political dynasty, and Clinton’s nomination as “historic.” You know what else would be historic? Being the first American woman to lose a presidential election. That is a very real possibility, and Herzfeld doesn’t want to undermine the integrity of her vote.
Herzfeld said she felt the Clinton supporters were rude and condescending to her and her fellow delegates, a theme throughout the whole campaign.
“We don’t need them basically telling us that because we’re young that we’re stupid and reckless and naive and that we don’t know anything about pol or how the world works. I’m sick of them being so condescending with us,” Herzfeld said.
“I’ve said this multiple times to multiple reporters: Hillary, the Establishment has tried to silence an entire generation and she’s destroyed the hope of every American. Hope is dangerous to the Establishment. Fear is a tool and hope is the antithesis of fear. And we have hope. We don’t have fear and that’s how they can’t control us,” she explained.
“They can’t control you because you don’t have fear?” I asked.
“Yeah. The scariest thing happening now is the stuff they’re trying to to ignore. I’m glad the Democratic party acknowledge global warming, and they they’re in the pockets of corporations contribution to global warming. So really the anti-global warming thing a PR face they put on, but they don’t really care. They just care about money and money doesn’t care, money doesn’t have sympathy. Money doesn’t feel love.”
“Or breath air or eat food or drink water,” I ventured.
Herzfeld is going to major in sociology, in order to understand humans better.
“You can understand why people who you think are evil, act evil,” she said about studying the social science.
“And nobody thinks they’re the bad guy,” I said.
“Exactly, everybody thinks they’re on the right track. And everybody just wants what’s best for their children and their family and their future. But people dehumanize those they disagree with. They’re obviously wrong and they want to hurt me and my children. Let’s bomb them. That’s our reaction in America,” she explained. “It’s so easy to dehumanize people. What’s difficult is coming to an understanding about your enemies. I mean the people in ISIS think they’re good people, and they think that they’re helping the world. I don’t know how. I don’t understand it, but I know that they do,” she said.
“Some of them are just total sociopaths, psychos,” I offered, cynically.
“Even sociopaths need to validate themselves. And told they are valid human beings and that there’s a reason they exist.
“And if they’re psychopaths, they still have human rights,” I said.
Moments before however, Clinton had given a speech about Clinton and offered a line that shows how out-of-touch and tragically unwoke they are when it comes to one of the most important instances of misunderstanding in our time.
“If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win,” Clinton said, to cheers. “We want you.”
Yalla the problems with this. Where to even begin.
First of all, it creates a conditional on which a religious group can be “wanted” or not, and, more terrifying, it supposes the disposability of the unwanted. Why not say the same thing about White supremacists, who are today questioning the value of democracy itself? Their candidate’s convention went off without much protesting. Trump bragged about it today over a text message to supporters.
It also requires someone to “hate terror,” whatever that means. It didn’t say something like “Muslims are our fellow citizens who are entitled by natural law to all the rights all of us are, and human rights unenumerated as well.” No, rather, we “want” Muslims because they are national security asset, like the Muslim sidekick in the very special TV movie the Clintons portray national security as.
The reason rightists are having so much success now in tearing down the constitution is because the Democratic party only plays the constitutionality card when it suits them. In this speech, trying to triangulate, Clinton put just a spin of Islamophobia on the ball, that right bit of elbowy English to not be noticed by the mainstream media too much.
Anyway, back to the issues. I got to the Wells Fargo Arena at about 8:30 pm Tuesday.
“They’ve taken over the media tent,” somebody told me when I arrived, after an exciting ride on Philadelphia’s SEPTA train system. I had been walking with a Black Lives Matter march, chatting about Palestine and the North of Ireland (aka Northern Ireland) with some sweaty, determined folks, when I walked ahead and met a photographer with a police scanner saying that the police were scrambling the riot cops.
I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t mention the supremely gorgeous sunset I saw when I got down there. Indeed, it’s the buried lede to all stories about Tuesday. The clouds were lit up a brilliant orange and purple, sun streaking through the trillions of particulate matter the modern world emits. As a metaphor for the coming of a dangerous lightless future (aka night), it was right terrifying. If you like protesting, get used to it, because there will be plenty of opportunities going forward.
There was clearly something chaotic happening when I got there. School busses full of riot cops rolled down Broad St. and the photographers lugging back breaking levels of stuff hoofed it fast to the gate of the center, where protesters had been trying to break open the gates surrounding the SEPTA stop. We had had to get off a station early, at Oregon Ave., since the unrest had shuttered the station, one of my photographer pals said.
Turned out that a liberal application of Philadelphia Police Department pepper spray turned away most of the protesters, but also got into the eye of a 63-year-old woman, whom protest medics from protest organizers at philly.fyi helped treat. The website is a hub for information and resources about events surrounding the DNC. More on that later.
I just got this text message from the Trump campaign: “Chaos isn’t just happening inside the convention. Reports of violent protests outside the DNC, too. Law and order is not the Dems strong suit.”
I get texts from both campaigns. Trump’s are much better propaganda because they connect news events to the worldview Trump hawks as a philosopher king of “Law and Order.” What’s interesting about this election is that the Libertarians, Green Party and dissident Berniecrats are the ones who refuse to be ruled by some kind of monarch. I met Trump supporters who want to see a return to monarchy. They profess as much online. The Democrats, meanwhile, have so fallen in love with a vision of history they think they can control that they nominated someone who really might lose in November.