Solace for Bernie Sanders Supporters

Sanders' Healthcare PlanSo Bernie Sanders had a bad night on Tuesday. But don’t worry, he’s going to come roaring back and win the nomination! Oh, how I love to kid my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters…

As I’ve been saying for a month and a half, the Democratic nomination fight is over. I understand that others are resistant to admit defeat in this matter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the Bern. In fact, it should glow in you more brightly now than ever.

Two years ago, I wrote, Advice for Young Carey Wedler. She was the young woman who had burned her Obama shirt because she was so disappointed in him as president. I was a lot nicer to her than I probably should have been. What I should have said is what we all need to remember now (and always): there is no “one weird trick” to fix your democracy.

Let’s think about Obama for a moment. Do you believe that the United States is better now than it would have been if John McCain had been elected in 2008? Or if Mitt Romney had been elected in 2012? If you don’t, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re just being contrary. Obama has not been a disappointment to me because I never expected that much from him. What I did expect from him is what he delivered in spades: a better country than the Republican alternative would have delivered.

Bernie Sanders SupportersContinuing on, there were things that Obama did not get to do that would have been good. And those things were stopped because our more conservative Democratic representatives would not let him. So even Obama’s own presidency wasn’t as liberal as Obama himself wanted. The truth is that the Democratic Party is a very big tent and we on the left need to understand that we are not the party.

But if this primary has shown anything, it has shown that the left wing of the Democratic Party has awakened from its long slumber. It’s even possible that we have a clear majority. But Clinton had a huge advantage coming into this race. In 2008, the Democratic Party base really didn’t like having to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So for a large number of people, 2016 was a chance to have their cake and eat it too. I think a lot of Clinton supporters are very much on the left wing of the party.

The primary also stands as a clear threat to the likes of Rahm Emanuel. Actual liberals who care about actual liberal policy may be “fucking retarded,” but we have enough power to end the political careers of such New Democratic idiots who have done so much harm over the last two and half decades.

What Will Bernie Sanders Supporters Do?

The worst thing that Bernie Sanders supporters can do is go and sulk in the corner. The Democratic Party is not as liberal as it ought to be. It is still in the pockets of big donors. The election of Bernie Sanders might have been one step toward changing that. But that’s all it would have been: one step. And there are plenty of other steps. As I’ve repeated again and again recently, Sanders’ amazing campaign has been part of that. His campaign has made Clinton better, the Democratic Party better, and America better.

The question is, “What are you going to do now?” Bernie Sanders supporters have a choice. They can take over their local Democratic Party. They can push for more liberal nominees. They can be more liberal nominees. But Bernie Sanders only lost the nomination. The fight continues on. What are you going to do?

Morning Music: Crosseyed and Painless

Remain in Light - Crosseyed and PainlessToday we get to the greatest Talking Heads album, Remain in Light. And I guess I will spend two days on it. I figure you’ve all heard “Once in a Lifetime,” so let’s skip it. Although I have to admit, that was the song that got me into the album. I love the way that Byrne shouts the lyrics. And the rhythm section part is so infectious. Of course you could say the same thing about everything on the album. You could certainly say it about today’s tune “Crosseyed and Painless.”

Byrne is at his best when he is writing about people who are pathologically alienated from life. I suspect that says something about him, although I’ve never gone out of my way to find out what he is like as a person. He’s always seemed overly intellectual — sort of the way people see me. Of course, they are only partly right about me, and so I’m sure I’m only partly right about Byrne.

Regardless, I love the rap part of “Crosseyed and Painless”: facts are simple and facts are straight; facts are lazy and facts are late; facts all come with points of view; facts don’t do what I want them to… It’s rare that white people — especially of that time — were able to make rap their own. It is absorbed into the music, not poured on like taco sauce to give it a different culture’s taste.

The whole thing is amazing. I often complain about production, but in this case, all the stops are pulled out. The song goes crazy. But that drum and base riff is just unstoppable and it carries us through. It’s amazing to think that the band that started with Talking Heads 77 was able to reach this point of musical brilliance.

Anniversary Post: Richard Ramirez — Satanist

Richard Ramirez - SatanistI’ll admit that this is a bank shot. On this day in 1985, Richard Ramirez started his Los Angeles murder spree. He had already murdered two people, but this was the day that he really got going. He was labeled the “Night Stalker” by the press. In total, he killed 14 people. I’m not that interested in him. What I am interested in is the fact that he said he was a Satanist. This I find curious.

What does it mean to be a Satanist? I don’t think I am overstating when I say that it means absolutely nothing. It’s kind of like the word atheist in the time of Shakespeare. An atheist was anyone who wasn’t your form of Christian. So Protestants called Catholics atheists. And vise versa. Usually, when people say they are Satanists, they do so simply to shock people. It’s childish, but less so than the reactions of Christians to the idea.

What Makes a Satanist?

I don’t know of there ever being actual Satanist in the form we see in movies. Today, Satanism is a movement reflected in groups like the Satanic Temple, which are explicitly atheistic and use Satan merely as a symbol. The only people who take Satan seriously are fanatical followers of Abrahamic religions — people like ISIS and Pat Robertson.

It is well established that in early Judaism, Satan was more of a prosecutor for God. It is only later that he gets transformed into a kind of Yin to God’s Yang. And what that means is that the Abrahamic faiths are fundamentally polytheistic — but not in a fun way like the Greek, Norse, and most of all, Hindu myths.

But if we are to believe Terry Pratchett (and I see no reason not to), gods gain their power by having people believe in them. I rather doubt that Richard Ramirez was a Satanist in any meaningful way. He was just a psychopath. So if there really are gods, it’s the Christians and the Muslims who are keeping Satan alive.