Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My, my, my, I'm just full of helpful little advice and aggressive little admonitions today, aren't I?

It is crucial to expose right-wing crimes and outrages even if you don't happen to think they are "surprising" and even if you don't expect the perpetrators to change just because you expose them. Fighting for change as a Democrat actually isn't about you being entertained every goddamn minute of the day, and your defeatism actually isn't a sign of your seriousness but of your unreliability.


Lorraine said...

Hi "Dale" thought it might interest you that sometimes even those of us who use anarchist symbols as our avatars reach a point where purity cabaret is something that simply must be called out:

Dale Carrico said...

Some of my best friends are anarchists.

Unknown said...

Jay here. I sincerely doubt that, at this point, there is any value in pointing out the government's outrages. The public is well aware that the government is corrupt. That's why Trump won.

I'd have much preferred Bernie.

One of the hardest problems in politics is maintaining legitimacy, by which I mean the perception that the government is more or less just even though it inevitably offends every person's personal ethics in many regards. When legitimacy is finally exhausted, we get eras like France in the 1790s and the USSR in the 1990s. I understand your concern that the government may become (more, unacceptably) unjust, but at this moment in history I'm more worried that it will prove too weak to enforce any concept of justice at all.

Esebian said...


I'd be less concerned about the flavours of the imaginary reigns of this or that Democratic candidate and more with the very real possibility America is turned from a (however broken) democracy to a full-fledged autocracy. That's the difference that makes the difference, I believe.

Dale Carrico said...

Not yet inaugurated and already giving up? I hope not!

Never forget that millions more voted for Clinton than Trump (and even more millions voted for Clinton over her vapid and mediocre primary opponent). The United States of America is still a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing society in an unfathomably rich continent in the context of a tradition of immigration, a rights culture, a host of professions, and checks and balances that walked wounded out of the Bush administration and its illegal wars and financial catastrophe.

Make the Republican President a one-term catastrophe, make the Republicans pay for what they have become that they could let him win their primary, resist every day in every way, register millions and millions more voters than they can overcome with their games, tear power from their hands in the mid-terms, wrest control of re-districting and then in power give DC and PR statehood, make voter registration automatic and voting effortless, allow our elections to reflect our real country and our politics to reflect our real shared problems.

If a person of color living under racist profiling and militarized policing and systematic injustice were to give up on America or on the very idea of a democratic state that would make a certain sense to me, but it is people of color, and especially women of color, who fight the hardest to make America work and vote more reliably Democratically than any other constituency and protest most patriotically in the streets.

Obviously I'm as worried as you are right about now, I'm sick with worry, but there are resources for hope if people of courage and conviction take them up and stop with the whiny white guy routine and purity cabaret nonsense and Beautiful Loser chicken little demoralization arias. I'm a white guy myself and I know nothing about you so I trust you will not take that comment personally, but recognize the glaring realities it references in this ruinous moment.

If one spots a deception, crime, corruption on the part of a politician one must say so -- or collaborate in it. No more false equivalence, no more refusing to choose sides because the sides are not ideal, no more "I'm not surprised," no more "nothing will change," no more "they always get away with it."

If one thinks -- as I do -- that good government is possible and desirable, that public goods require public investments, that freedom depends on the maintenance of a scene of consent secured by social supports and equitable laws -- then say so, make the case, pose the alternative, fill the vacuum, resist the cynics, build the world, fight back!

Dale Carrico said...

This feels to me like a rather philosophical formulation, "Esebian" -- tho I'm prone to misreading things given how raw everything feels now.

Forgive a moment's pedantry, but US Presidents do not have reigns but administrations, and what gets done in them is far from imaginary, which you are the last person to deny I know. I do want to deny, tho, I think, that there really is such a thing as "the" difference that makes the difference politically but instead many differences that make differences. "The" over "a" rationalizes, I fear, too much self-righteous uselessness and unreliability. Is there a connection between these two quibbles I felt in reading your comment?

We usually agree on politics, and where we don't you offer up perspectives I read with benefit, and so don't take the registration of these worries in any kind of personal way if that is possible -- I guess I just don't know on the basis of what criteria you might distinguish presidential "flavors" that don't finally concern you as against the difference of a broken-democracy versus a fully-fledged autocracy?

How much and how many ways can democracy be broken (and mended) before autocracy is fully fledged and don't these degrees and ways of brokenness demand exposure and redress the better to resist the fuller-fledging of autocracy? And won't focusing on these differences that make a difference risk looking dismissably mucked in the weeds of "flavors" of "imaginary reigns" while one awaits the grand confrontation of *the* difference that makes *the* difference, democracy versus autocracy?

Maybe I'm reading to much into your comment -- maybe you just mean that re-litigating the primary isn't likely to be as useful as focusing on younger/better voices who care about equity-in-diversity occupying the Democratic Party and resisting Trumpism-in-action right about now. I certainly agree with that!