Here many of you stand, aghast and unable to choose between expressions of shock and outright anger at the crushing reality of the impending President Elect Donald Trump.
To People of Color and undocumented Americans who are concerned for the future I am deeply sorry. To all those who Democrats looking for someone to blame, such as third party voters or those who criticized the democratic candidate, consider this:
You don’t run the epitome of the corrupt establishment in a populist race… We are not surprised at these election results. Now is the time to bridge the divides!
We tried to warn you. We really tried. Over and over again.
It’s About Love
We tried to presence you to the fact that Bernie would have beaten Trump in a walk and we would have fun doing it. We tried to warn you that fear of Trump would not be enough to get millennials, independents, and liberals out of bed on Nov 8th. Why wouldn’t Hillary take a stand on DAPL and other issues people care about? How can you expect to win when you alienate the most energetic and committed voters in your base? At the end of the day we must begin the healing now as it is going to take all of us working together to meet the great challenges before us.
Before You Start Pointing Fingers
If you are amongst the many Democrats who are outraged now, blaming third party voters and Hillary critics, before sharing your indignation, please ask yourself:
1. Do I live in a solid blue state?
2. Did I canvass or phone bank in the swing states that determined the election?
3. Did I get involved in the primary to elect the better candidate or vote at all?
4. Did I spend more time spreading fear and shaming others into supporting Hillary whilst whitewashing her innumerous transgressions (such as selling fracking around the world, brokering arms deals to brutal dictatorships, being a lead agent of regime change in Libya and Syria, etc), than I did challenging her to be a better candidate and support the issues people care about and will inspire them to get out of bed to vote?
5. Did the sum of my involvement in the 2016 election amount mostly to commenting on social media to more other friends that also live mostly in solid blue states?
6. Have I been suffering the delusion that democracy means we simply show up to vote every four years to make sure a democrat is in office whilst overlooking their destructive corporate military agendas?
7. Has my primary source of information been establishment hack blogs outlets, mainstream media, John Oliver, and whatever the opinions of other friends that live in the same echo chamber?
In Orlando at the Democratic Platform Committee, I was sitting with Bernie’s foreign policy advisor Bill French, when we were joined by one of Hillary’s lead counsels. In the previous two days I personally saw from the inside of the Democratic Platform Committee, how Clinton’s folks voted in blocks, lead by her whip Carol Browner against real action on climate change and fracking, voted against single payer, voted against Wall Street reform, voted against blocking the TPP, voted against an inflation adjustment for people starving and living on social security, and a host of other policy interests that look out for the 1% over the people.
I pointed at him feverishly and told him they were losing the election at that very moment by fighting Bernie’s committee members on every point of his peoples’ agenda so they could do the bidding of their corporate masters. He glibly responded that they were confident in their data that they would have enough votes.
I told him that his data was wrong and that they would not see the real numbers until late September, early october and what those numbers would reveal was that Washington is completely out of touch with how poor, angry, scared, and desperate average Americans are. I told him that the all the experts were so sure that England would not leave the EU, but woke up in the morning to #Brexit.
He was so snide and overconfident I thought he must know something we didn’t and they had definitely the general rigged somehow. It turns out it was only blind hubris. Many will recall that I said over and over again that this whole election was about the angry white guys in FLA , NC and the Rust Belt that got screwed by NAFTA. People who despised Obama’s pushing an even worse TPP.
Change Comes from the Grassroots
Progressives who worked harder to elect Bernie than they ever worked for anything in their lives only to have it stolen from them were forced to suffer gas-lighting, insults along with the complete white washing of Hillary’s history. Not to mention the suffering she has caused around the world to achieve her political ends. We had to suffer through leak after leak which revealed direct emails how the DNC and corporate media lied and colluded to fix the primary. Emails even expose that Trump was elevated as a “pied piper” candidate to create a “controlled-opposition” that her strategists felt would bury her unfavorables with worse unfavorables.
Please Earn Our Votes
Throughout the general election, not once did Hillary extend a hand to ask for our votes or to take a stand on important issues like the Dakota Access Pipeline, corruption, renewable energy. They demanded the rest of the country fall in line and kiss the ring or end up with Trump as some sort of ultimatum. We tried over and over again to say that it wouldn’t work. DNC had the opportunity to unite us at the convention or with their vice presidential pick. Instead they demanded obedience and kicked out our democratically elected delegates replacing them with paid seat fillers to mindlessly cheer for their propaganda.
Waking Up Ain’t Easy
At the end of the day, the time of living with the delusion that democracy simply means showing up at the polls once every four years to make sure a democrat is in office is over. For those who are doing well enough to not want to rock the boat, to those who simply pass each day without getting involved beyond their commentary on social media please up your game or get out of the way. This is our country if we want to step up and take it back from the oligarchs.
My hope is that this is the wake up call America has desperately needed. People have slept through previous calls, with blinders on political agendas that are no longer valid in the age of transparency and information. This will be like recovering alcholics who have hit rock bottom, the moment of clarity for the faux-left, moderate, corporate-Democrats to wake from this neoliberal nightmare; a nightmare that is contributing to waging wars, corporate greed, corruption, and the environmental destruction of our planet.
My hope is that now the Democrats will join the grassroots now that they have lost their power base and no longer hold respect for standing with the people and the planet. It is about time they realize that their old ways of cronyism and machine politics are over. My hope is that you stop apologizing for war mongerers and Wall St. hacks. Emails revealed that Obama let Fromman and Citibank pick his cabinet and influence TPP behind closed doors right after the 2008 collapse! We live in a new age of transparency. There is no longer anywhere to hide the trespasses, and collusion.
I know I offer little sugar with my pronouncements, but the sooner we reconcile these facts and get honest with ourselves, the sooner we can get back to the real work of coming together to overcome the great challenges that face us.
Please take these points into consideration and ponder them especially before pointing fingers at people in solid blue states that voted their conscience and have been working hard to commit their time and energy to grassroots social change. Now is the time to leave all this behind and create a unified movement across political lines to stop this corporate take-over that has corrupted our democracy. Not just at the polls, we need to let them know we aren’t going away. We need to stand as allies to our fellow citizens who are minorities, and protect our sacred waterways and land from these heartless profiteers.
Blame is Useless Now, Acceptance is Necessary
They will try to tell you that it was the third party’s fault, but in the end they have nobody to blame but themselves. My fear now is that instead setting about the work of healing and rebuilding for the future that Obama and the democrats will double down on passing the TPP against the people’s will before January 20th. If he was smart, his first act now that they don’t need Terry O’Sullivan and the AFL-CIO will be to call for an Environmental Impact Statement and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
I highly suggest you join us in demanding this of the administration, of the banks through our #BankExit initiative that we launched with Susan Sarandon last week. Make phone calls 202-224-3121 tell them no to TPP and no to Dakota Access, let them know that we will not be going back to sleep… Go to Standing Rock and support them in their fight to protect the water.
There is much to do but we can surely overcome the great challenges facing us together. The Political Revolution is real. This election brought together the most extraordinary leaders and activists in modern history. This election activated a whole generation of millennials who know stand for progress. I hope now you move past petty blaming and ridicule and join us. We are the future, we create hope, the sleeping giant has awakened.
Jay Ponti is an organizer, strategist and activist for peace and sustainability. He is the founder of Peacelink and Bernie’s Avengers, a super team of Bernie surrogates and movement leaders. He is also U.N. NGO committee member. He recently produced the Climate Revolution rallies in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and was the organizers of #ClooneyCounterParty and Bernie’s Diner.