Apparently the dominant conversation regarding the 2020 Democratic nomination for the past week has been an offhand remark by Liz Warren stating that Bernie had once said he didn’t think a woman could win the Presidency, and this has led to the predictable and depressing nonsense that we can expect in a primary. The diehard Bernie supporters are all convinced this was some sort of plan to smear him by Warren, and the predictable chaos has ensued. Normal people, of course, have paid no attention to this, but since I am not normal, here is my two cents. First, I find it implausible that the most issue substantive campaign I have ever seen, Warren, would decide that their closing argument in Iowa is “Sanders is sexist” is ridiculous. Second, when has pointing out sexism EVER worked in a woman’s favor? All it ever does is… serve as the baseboard for a whole host of sexist attacks.
On Bernie’s part, I don’t think noting that America is a deeply sexist nation and that it is his personal opinion that a woman can’t win is that crazy, either. Mostly because I watched the coverage of Clinton in 2016 and have watched the coverage of Harris, Klobuchar, and Warren this election cycle and the fact that our President is an orange haired Harvey Weinstein. Now I do not happen to share Bernie’s opinion from back then, and do not share it now (nor, do I believe, does Bernie), but having this opinion does not make someone a monster. If you had told me in 2006 while half the nation was freaking out because Rachel Ray wore a scarf or the Flight 93 memorial resembled an Islamic crescent that a black dude with the name of Hussein would be President in two years I would have scoffed at you then.
One of the benefits of the never-ending site rebuild and the utter odiousness of our President and thus the polluted news cycle has been that it has allowed me to take a step back. Every time I have wanted to blog for what feels like forever, I have logged on and have other website related shit I have to deal with, front pager angst in emails, angry emails from people about one thing or another, and all the energy I had to post something dissipates before I get anything written. Then I check the front page and Mistermix or Anne Laurie or Adam or Betty have already written, better than I could, what I wanted to talk about.
All of which is to say I am far better situated than previously to recognize “extremely online” behavior on my twitter feed, in the comments here, and on other various social media websites. It’s enough to make you think a lot of people have lost their minds. Again, some of this is the general primary season mania, a lot of it is the fact that everything is crazy and shit because our President is a fucking lunatic and the entire Republican party has sold out or at least finally been honest about having been bought and paid for all these years, but at times it is enough to look at things and see why my parents and others like them just wash their hands of it all and tune out the day to day stuff and quietly support people like Klobuchar, Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg.
I see it here in the comments, too- the Russian 2016 operation has made everyone paranoid and crazy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be wary, and it is good to call out people deliberately and repeatedly putting out misinformation, and it is appropriate to be cautious about which news sites you follow and read and quote. And Adam is completely right that the campaigns are all woefully unprepared for the shit that is going to hit them this fall. At the same time, though, some of you have lost your fucking minds. I see people calling Mistermix a troll, or anyone who has a divergent opinion is smacked down and ganged up on. I hate to break it to you. Sometimes someone is just wrong, sometimes someone just has a different opinion than you, sometimes someone is just an asshole. Deal with it. Pie them. Don’t engage them. But grow the fuck up. Just like with terrorism, you can’t let outside forces change your essential nature or character. We failed miserably with terrorism on that regard, don’t do it again now.
At any rate, while certain segments of the extremely online community are going full Baader-Meinhof on each other, it’s a relatively small phenomenon in the bigger picture. Depending on who you read or who you follow on twitter, it may seem overwhelming at times. In the big scheme of things, it means nothing, though. Not one vote was changed due to this how little flare-up: all it did was firm the positions of people whose positions on Bernie or Warren weren’t going to change, anyway.
You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of all the toxic manbabies who spend hundreds of hours and thousands of gallons of ink wailing about an asian woman being an integral part of the new Star Wars or going over canon and stating that all the new movies suck because Han shot first or blah blah blah. And they are passionate, and consumed, and they scream and raise a fuss and it seems like the new movies is going to be terrible if you listen to all the noise being made.
And then the new Star Wars goes out and earns 5 billion dollars.
So take a step back. Try to get out of these toxic feedback loops and give people the benefit of the doubt. Do something positive- volunteer for a candidate you like rather than trash one you don’t, reach out to someone in need. Try to be kind to someone who seems to be angry in the comments section somewhere.
Just be better. The primaries will be over soon and we have a lot of work to do to take back the country.