Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton Climbs In The Polls, But Where Is Bernie Sanders' Help?

As the election heats up and Hillary Clinton gains at the national polls, I want to breathe a sigh of relief and let go of anxiety, but I tell myself "not yet."  Standing in the shower today, I thought, this wouldn’t be happening, it wouldn't even be a close contest, if Bernie Sanders and his supporters hadn't chosen to try and win by trashing Hillary Clinton. They lost anyway but they've done so much damage.

Anybody who has taken a side in the US election season is likely to have been insulted by somebody feeling equally passionately but on the other side.

I've had insults hurled at me from the left and the right. To my surprise, I haven't felt personally hurt. A comment I left on a New York Times article was published and I had over 450 comments, many from angry Bernie Sanders supporters  who actually didn't read what I said. I was even accused of being a $hillary Wall Street whore. I wish.

But what hurts my brain and my heart is the misinformation that's spread around so liberally and high-mindedly. Scapegoating. It gets all the molecules of my being vibrating madly, wildly and very noisily. Which probably means it scares me shitless.

I hated it when Barack and Michelle Obama were the targets, and I hated it just as much when Bernie Sanders was. So it's understandable that I'd it when Hillary Clinton is the target. 

When you scapegoat, two things happen. One, you don't perceive your victim to be a human being dealing with issues you probably will never have to. Two, it's never about them, it's about your frustration with yourself or your own life and your belief that you're powerless to change any of it. We've probably all scapegoated at some point. It feels very satisfying in the moment and makes you feel tremendously powerful, but you can't sustain that feeling, so you have to do it again. And again. Yeah, there's a word for that. Addiction.

Your own rage builds on itself and you get nastier and nastier. The more you do it the more you have to lock out good sense and real information. It achieves nothing, but it does a lot of damage, to you and the target.

It's a bit like the photo, which is of my apartment. There chair is facing inward but it's empty. The reflection of the chair faces out to the view and the open horizon. When you scapegoat you long to access what the horizon promises but until you choose to sit in that chair and face yourself and be real, only requiring culpability from people who actually are culpable, it will never happen for you. You'll always be facing away from the good stuff. The best part of you will always be the ghost. 

And if, in politics, the person you're rooting for can only win because his supporters trash the opposition, it's because his good points aren't strong enough to win with. But if he gets into power his weak points will override the strong and then everybody suffers. 

Would Bernie Sanders have gotten so much support if his movement hadn't relied on trashing Hillary Clinton? And if he was such a great leader, why not just promote his strength? His campaign started out that way. It was all about love and truth and honor. Now it's all about rage, scapegoating, hatred, misinformation and conspiracy theories. Bernie Sanders said he would do everything he could to prevent the GOP candidate from winning. But in effect he's done nothing. His endorsement of Hillary Clinton was lukewarm in intent and what is he doing now? A lot of his supporters have said they'll endorse Jill Stein. They just don't care that it could give the presidency to the GOP nominee.

Sanders said he fully understood the problem with Ralph Nader and he had no intention of repeating that mistake. But in truth he started a Ralph Nader movement and he's powerless to stop it. If he's trying he's being tremendously discreet. 

So, though I'm relieved that Hillary Clinton is climbing in the polls and the GOP candidate is dropping like a stone, I'm holding my breath. 

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