I found so many great historical illustrations back when I thought Bernie would be our candidate right through the election…sigh.
435 North Michigan Avenue TT300
Chicago, IL 60611
RE: Subscriber XXXX
Dear Editorial Board and Circulation Department:
As per the attached letter I canceled my subscription to the Tribune, so irate was I when you pro-claimed Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee.
Please reinstate my subscription now that you’ve redeemed yourselves by endorsing Gary Johnson. I appreciate your stepping outside the two-party framework by not supporting either of the two major candidates.
The US electoral system needs a change. You’ve pushed open the door a few inches, and for that I thank you.
Please resume my subscription, and please carry on with your valuable investigative reporting. For your reference I’m enclosing a handbill I picked up when I was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. It’s the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. I hope you’ll refer to it in the future when you face difficult editorial decisions.
On August 4, I observed that the Mrs. Clinton’s team hadn’t reached out to Bernie’s delegates. Six weeks later, on September 21, I received this invitation from the Clinton campaign:
Dear Democratic women,
Below, please find an invitation to a special debate update call from DNC Women’s Caucus Chair, Lottie Shackelford.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Democratic National Committee
Dear DNC Delegates,
I would like to cordially invite you to an off-the-record debate update with Hillary For America Deputy Director of Communications Christina Reynolds and Hillary For America Digital Director Jenna Lowenstein. The call will take place Thursday, September 22nd, at 3:30 p.m. ET. With excitement building for the first Presidential debate next Monday this will be an exciting call.
To register for Thursday’s call, please use this link.
Excitement is building for the first Presidential debate – you want to be on this call.
DNC Women’s Caucus Chair
So, in short, I’ll say that the campaign team invited me, with less than a day’s notice, to join a political conference call at a time that fell right in the working day everywhere in the US. And then I’ll just leave it right there.
435 North Michigan Avenue TT300
Chicago, IL 60611
RE: Subscriber XXX
Dear Editorial Board and Circulation Department:
After speaking to Troy in subscriber services, I’m hereby confirming that I cancel my subscription to the Tribune. It’s a pity, because I’ve appreciated the opportunity to support the Tribune’s rigorous investigative journalism that has benefited Chicago’s common people.
Apparently somebody at the Tribune assumed that my pique was only temporary back in June. That’s when you violated journalistic ethics by reporting that Hillary Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee. That very day I wrote in to cancel my subscription. Rather than cancel it outright, someone put a stop on it until now.
No! You—an important and influential paper–violated your readers’ trust by distorting the facts. On the eve of the most important primary in the nation you declared Ms. Clinton to be the victor.
By means shady (like using the AP and the Tribune to influence the public) and outright foul (rigging various state primaries) Ms. Clinton is now the official Democratic nominee. That doesn’t reconcile me either to her or to you. I don’t want your paper, any more than you apparently want readers like me who think critically.
Good luck with your investigative journalism, and here’s hoping you can refrain from meddling in any more elections.
Today, in honor of International Day of Democracy guest blogger Peg Betterly Robinson has written about the meaning of democracy:
I consider myself a centrist conservative.
(Sounds of hysterical laughter, screams of correction, and the thump of people dropping onto the fainting couch can be heard in the background…You may assume that my nearest and dearest disagree…)
All right, all right. I will admit, there’s a catch: I consider myself a conservative American committed to the great American experiment: the constitutional democratic republic. That means, by definition, I am liberal; radically liberal! Our democracy—our American understanding of government—is a liberal understanding. I do not mean some odd, archaic meaning of liberality: I mean that if you believe in the American experiment, and understand it, there’s a good chance you will lean left in comparison with most of the world’s governments—and in comparison with many even Americans currently call “conservative.”
To be conservative about American democracy—to try to preserve and foster American ideals—is to commit to liberal goals and to a liberal belief system.
This is not a surprise, though if you limit yourself to talk radio and Fox News you may be a bit startled. Liberals in America have of late been seen as unpatriotic, un-American, and undesirable, to say the least. There are quite a few conservative right-wingers who believe they are the only “real” Americans. They are, after all, strict Constitutionalists, fervent patriots, even nationalists, committed to preserving the classes, races, and cultures of the “Real America.” They are firm in their commitment to governmental authority and religious hegemony. They believe there’s a place for everyone—and that everyone should know their place…not to mention which restroom they’re obliged to use.
They forget that the hallmark of the American dream was to throw aside race and class and culture, to deny religious hegemony, to challenge not only the governmental authority of Kings and Lords, but of Parliament…and of Congress, and the Senate, and the Presidency. Our founding fathers (and the founding mothers whispering in the background) built a system of checks and balances, of planned dysfunction, of unity divided and division unified, specifically because they failed to believe in the notion of tradition always being right, the past always being the template for the future, or the divine right of kings. Instead they believed in a radical, liberal notion that grew out of the Enlightenment: the notion of a government being bound by a social contract with its citizens, in which those who governed owed a debt of obligation to those they ruled. They believed in systems changing to meet changing needs and new knowledge. Further, they believed in the idea that those who were ruled should, rightly, have a say in who got to govern them, and under what rule set.
Every phrase, every sentence drips radical, liberal ideas.
The insanely liberal American answer to those questions is found in our Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Look at those words—just look at them! Every phrase, every sentence drips radical, liberal ideas. It shouts out the idea that the peasants should be in command of the gentry, not the other way around. That the gentry do not even exist except in service to the unwashed commons. That we, the people, have the right to expect the government to act in our best interests, not in the best interests of the king. Those words even rule out the assumptions we currently know as “Citizen’s United.” In a world of colonies owned by private investors, the Declaration of Independence proclaims that the needs of the corporation do not outweigh the needs of the people—indeed, that the corporations do not even get a vote.
Did our founders then manage to execute the liberal ideals of their independence perfectly? No. Certainly not by modern standards. I suppose one could argue that they executed those ideals as perfectly as the limits of the time allowed, but looking at slavery and the unholy compromise made with the Southern colonies, or at the limits placed on who was granted suffrage, it’s hard to feel that the attempt was “perfect” even for the times. But our forefathers did manage to do one thing brilliantly: design a system they expected to change, to grow, to improve, to better itself, and to respond over and over to the needs of the people. They intentionally created a system that could not only change with time—but change quickly, at the pace of the people.
That is liberal…and because it is liberal we have seen two-hundred and forty years of expansion of America’s understanding of equality, of justice, and of our mutual interdependence. America’s government was born liberal. Its culture remains a rebel war cry against the restrictions of class, the limits of poverty, the barriers of race or gender or sexuality or religion anything but competence, determination, and hard work.
When did we make the mistake of confusing Americanism with Old World Conservatism, with its entrenched classes, its aristocracies, its favored little power players? When did we forget that American authority is designed to flow from the people up, not from the president down? When did so many people start think that voters choosing to have the nation govern in our own best interests was somehow un-American? When did we forget the radical nature of our own nation’s ideals? When did so many of us become Old World Tory turncoats, looking for a strong monarch, a rich aristocracy, a powerful merchant guild, a state church, and a weak, embattled yeomanry?
To be a conservative American is to be a liberal
America is a liberal land, governed by liberal precepts, based in liberal ideals. It is a beautiful balance halfway between the brutalities of all the various absolutist forms and all the anarchic forms. We skip the chaos of no government, in which only the biggest bully has a say, but also turn away from the rigid parameters of unchecked monarchy, communism, fascism, and on and on. We are a nation built on the liberal notions of social contract, mutual interdependence, and compromise in the best interests of the whole.
That’s liberalism—the brainchild of the Enlightenment. America is a liberal land, the land of the liberal experiment. To be a conservative American is to be a liberal, for there is no more conservative expression of the American philosophy than liberalism. Anything less is a reversion to older, less responsive, giving governments, and weaker, more oppressed peasants.
If the Declaration of Independence states the core principles, the Gettysburg Address sums up our current culture war nicely: words said by our greatest president at the most bitter, contested time of our history.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
Today we stand on opposite sides of another battlefield, preparing to fight another war to test the same question. On the one side are we liberals, who have spent two generations in growing disrepute with both radical right- and left-wing encampments. On the other side are the extremists of all stripes who are determined to give our nation away to authoritarian powers—to strong men who are determined to reinstitute the idea of a government that imposes authority on the people, rather than being granted authority by the people. It really does not matter if we speak of radical progressives who want to impose a new thought police, or reactionary “conservatives” who want to impose a new authoritarian nationalism or neo-capitalists ready to impose an American oligarchy. All are equally illiberal.
Me? I’m going to do what Americans—real, conservative Americans—do. I am going to vote for the liberal principles of my nation. I will vote in the hope that “this nation […] shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
If you believe in a liberal America, you do it, too. In the words of Barack Obama—don’t boo—vote. It’s the liberal, American thing to do.
Peg has so many rich ideas that you can see why I encourage her to start her own blog. Thanks, Peg, for your essay in honor of International Day of Democracy!
Please allow me to exercise to my editor’s prerogative to add that, yes, people booed at the Democratic National Convention when the president told them to vote. They weren’t protesting gratuitously or frivolously. It would be unfair not to mention that they booed because so many primary votes had been suppressed and stolen thanks to election fraud. The way the Democratic party counted votes in this year’s primaries was truly an affront to voters and to democracy.
Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the US National Anthem. This is big news. We know it’s big because it’s all over the media. It must be even bigger and more important than the Dakota Access Pipeline, or troublesome election polls. Kaepernick’s getting a lot more media attention.
I had a long time to consider him on yet another long drive to the East Coast. Not everything on the radio along Route 80 from Indiana to Pennsylvania was about Kaepernick. On this journey, for the first time in my life I listened to an opera and enjoyed it. The San Francisco Opera performed The Magic Flute in English. Maybe it was the stellar cast, the appreciative audience, the superb recording, or maybe it was just that I could understand the words, but the miles before and after Toledo sped along happily.
Luckily for me the signal lasted through the famous Queen of the Night aria. Not only did I enjoy it; so did the fans at the San Francisco Opera House, who erupted into applause.
A few miles later the signal faded and I tuned into WCLV Cleveland. There the radio announcer reminded us that opera fans can also be cruel. They regularly boo performances they dislike. At the debut of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, they challenged one another to duels.
Both performers and audience know that the opera audience doesn’t just stagger to its feet saying, “Well, show’s over. Time for the standing O, then let’s get our coats.” No. This audience arrives with expectations, and if the show hasn’t met them, the audience might catcall or stomp out. The standing ovation is a true gesture of appreciation from the seats to the stage.
I rarely attend the opera. I do often attend church. When the priest holds up the Gospel, I stand. On undercaffeinated mornings I stand not out of reverence or respect, just because it’s the custom.
But I reserve the right to protest, even there. If I disapproved of the message, it would be my duty to sit, to shout, to storm out. On some level I have to be aware that my gestures imply, “I’m Katharine Hadow and I approve this message.” Going through the motions without thinking them through means that I move out of habit, and the motions signify nothing.
The last time I drove along Route 80 was to the Democratic National Convention. Eric Zorn, a columnist at the Chicago Tribune was consternated that the Bernie Sanders delegates were disrespectful. He scorned our “petulance.” We were “sore losers.” So we were, to the point of interrupting the opening invocation. Remember, that’s the one where the minister blessed the nomination of Hillary Clinton. That blessing was untimely and unseemly, and it was my duty to respond. Not to do so would’ve violated my morals and dishonored my candidate.
If my minister back in Indiana had asked me to bless that nomination before I had even voted on it, it would’ve been my duty to respond there as well. If he or she told me that my second marriage was invalid, or that I should shut up and drink the poison Kool-Aid, I must respond. Did I respond with appropriate decorum? No. My religion doesn’t put me in that position, so I didn’t know the best way to dissent during a prayer. I still don’t.
I support Kaepernick’s honorable disrespect
Colin Kaepernick had expectations of the opening ceremonies of his football games. He expected them not to celebrate the oppression of people of color. When he learned that they did, he responded likewise disrespectfully— and therefore honorably.
On the other hand, Zorn’s newspaper took a dishonorable tack only slightly more difficult than covering Kaepernick’s gesture. It violated its readers trust and likely skewed the final primaries. It printed the Associated Press’s declaration that Hillary Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee. That was more disrespectful than my boos or Kaepernick’s refusal to stand. By tampering with the primaries it arguably skewed the general election.
Grumble all you please, Mr. Zorn. Tut and fret that the delegates were unruly. But suppressing the delegates doesn’t change the truth that your paper refused to cover.
The curtain’s rising. Don’t expect football fans standing out of habit before the kickoff. Expect operagoers.
Please note that this trip was to the New York International Carpet Show, #NYICS2016 to check out the market for my latest venture, Carpet Cards. Now looking for connoisseurs around the world who want to learn more about the rugs that grace their homes.
Tim Carroll was also a pledged delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention. He writes:
I’m not a negative person. Really, I’m not. But it was hard for me to find a lot of positive things to say about the convention so I probably sound like the sore loser that the media likes to make us out as.
I certainly didn’t go to Philadelphia with any unrealistic expectations that we would be able to flip enough delegates to win Bernie Sanders the nomination. But no matter how steep the odds, I felt it was my job to do everything I could to fight for him until the end…and that’s what I was determined to do. As much as I and many other Sanders delegates tried, converting the Clinton delegates was just not happening. If there was one there that was willing to listen to reason, I could not find them. The closest I came to flipping a delegate was getting one to acknowledge that she loved Bernie, and was worried that Hillary could lose the general election to Trump. Unfortunately, the most important issue to her was having a female nominee for the first time. What?! We are trying to better the lives of the vast majority of Americans and save the planet for future generations – and all she was worried about was a female nominee?! Unfortunately, this was the mindset we were up against and these were the people that were looking down on us. It was beyond frustrating.
Adding to the frustration was then an unexpected heartbreak. We all knew it was going to happen, but when the roll call was over and Bernie was officially not the nominee, I was surprisingly devastated. I didn’t expect it to be so emotional and hurt so much. It was similar to losing a loved one to a long, painful, illness in that the inevitability doesn’t make it hurt any less when it finally happens. Hearing Larry Sanders’ beautiful sentiments and seeing how badly the whole thing was hurting Bernie made it even tougher to get through. I was already planning on joining the walkout, but honestly couldn’t wait and left immediately after Bernie was done speaking.
I spent some time that night and Wednesday afternoon at some outside protests. It felt much better to be there than at the convention. I felt like that was where I belonged at that point. I was not alright with the way the primary was handled, and I wanted nothing to do with the DNC’s idea of unity – which was nothing more than trying to blame and shame those Berners who refuse to be bullied into voting for a candidate they don’t believe in. I was with so many great people and felt I could make a bigger statement as a delegate at the protests than anything I could do at the convention.
I did return to the convention Wednesday night and Thursday because I didn’t want my seat to be filled by a Clinton supporter. As tough as it was to sit through most of those speeches, Bernie won that seat so my ass was going to stay planted in it. Overall Democrats have a better outlook on things, but most of the speeches at the DNC were disappointingly similar to what I’d heard the week before while watching the RNC. There was a lot of bashing of the other Party’s nominee, some identifying of the issues, and a lot of claims that simply electing their nominee will fix all of those issues. There was nothing I heard at the DNC that convinced me that Hillary Clinton would do anything for me if I voted for her. I am proud of the platform and pushing her as far left as we did, but does anyone really believe she is going to stay there?
It was particularly hard to sit through Hillary’s speech. I’m not sure how she got through most of it with a straight face. It was infuriating to hear her claim all of our policies – which she argued against in the debates with Bernie – as her own. Equally outrageous was hearing her fans cheer every time she blurted out one of them. Do they really believe she will fight for any of it? And, if these are the policies they really want, why were they not behind Bernie when she was arguing against it all? Again, extremely frustrating.
As upsetting as much of the week was for me, it certainly wasn’t all bad and I was able to enjoy myself at times throughout the week. Without question, the best times I had during the week were those spent getting to know my fellow Indiana Bernie delegates. What a great group of people they are! I loved the one-on-one conversations I had with most of them, the nightly, late-night meetings some of us had, and will especially always remember our last night together back at the hotel when we finally had the opportunity to relax and unwind. It was the best possible way to end the week. I can definitely say that I built some great relationships and I believe a lot of us are going to stay connected and do great things together. As hard as the week was, I am so glad I was, and will always be, a part of the Indiana Bernie Sanders delegates.
Yes, Tim, you do sound negative. So do a lot of other Bernie supporters, and I believe that at this point many US citizens understand why.
There are three locations in Lake County where you can get together with Bernie supporters and plan to take back control of our political system. One is in Munster, one is in Schererville, and one is right down the road from me in Crown Point.
On Wednesday, August 24, Our Revolution begins with a big Organizing Kickoff to get to work fighting for the political revolution—through November and beyond. Bernie will speak via livestream at 9 EDT / 8 CDT.
There will be 2300 events like this around the country. Sign up for one, and encourage your family and friends to sign up, too.
Thanks to the writer who contributed these reflections about the serenity prayer and how it relates to progressives.
A few progressives proudly announce that they’re going to change the things they cannot accept.
They’re co-opting the famous serenity prayer which helps some people get through the day. If you say that you’re going to change the things you can’t accept, you imply that those other people seek serenity to accept the things they cannot accept. Not so.
The prayer in its entirety reads
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Like it or not, some things no one can change. Gravity. Death. The past. The weather. Someone else’s behavior. Struggling to change those things is futile, and uses up energy that could be spent on changing the things we can change.
For example, they can’t change someone else’s behavior towards them. They can change the way they react to that behavior. They can set boundaries to protect themselves from that behavior. Similarly, they can’t change another person’s unhealthy habits, but they can change their own.
Maybe they can change another person’s behavior, by changing the laws. Maybe they can change the legal system, or the voting system. But that’s going to take courage for sure, and that’s the courage those serenity prayer people are praying for.
But will changing the laws change violent police officers? Probably not all of them. Will changing elections make the polls perfectly just? Probably not all of them. That’s why the serenity prayer people pray for the wisdom to know whether an unacceptable thing is changeable, or whether they should just ask for peace about it.
So, please think again about that statement you believe is original and witty. You’re mocking people who are earnestly trying to figure out problems and how to deal with them. By all means, figure out what can be changed. Then invite the serenity prayer people to work with you to change them.
Jeremey Massie had one of the toughest jobs at the convention. Other delegates at least knew that they’d be able to voice their votes for Bernie. Jeremey, on the other hand, was an alternate. That meant that he would only be able to vote if another delegate was unable to cast a vote. He spent money and time to drive to Philadelphia knowing that his chances were slim–because he’s a stalwart Bernie supporter. Thanks to Jeremey and all the other alternate delegates for their valuable support.
Philly wasn’t easy, not for much of Bernie’s delegation. We arrived already defeated, but still hoping for her delegates to have some fortuitous epiphany, come running to our delegation, and together we would slay the Jabberwocky.
News flash. They didn’t.
Yet it is that optimism, that unrelenting spirit of success, which is the character trait most espoused by our delegation. That spirit was what drove me and what I believe drove every one of us to find a part for ourselves in this political tragedy.
Some of us led a noble effort to show absolute respect to her as the perfect antithesis to her lack thereof.
Some of us raised our fists. We wanted the world to know that we are not ignorant to the circumstances that led to our current predicament. And that we, like Bernie, “will not yield.”
Some of us spread the word, and did it well. We spoke to reporters and anyone who would listen so that the masses would have their voices heard back at our respective homes.
We attended caucuses, drank (not at the same time), laughed, demonstrated, marched, cried, went to bed late and woke up very early.
We talked about the future of Our Revolution. When left we brought that future back to our homes and we got to work.
I don’t know about the other delegation, but I arrived defeated and came home a revolutionary. The convention was by far one of the most emotionally tumultuous times I’ve ever experienced. I’ll never forget, and I’ll always be proud of the strength of character I saw in our delegation.
From the bottom, up.