Monday, November 28, 2016

Ranting On...Jill Stein's Recount

Dr. Jill Stein (G-MA)
Jill Stein is not really a serious person.  Yes, some of the issues that she has championed in her career are serious issues, and I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with them, but she long ago forfeited any claim to being anything other than a "frequent candidate" for office, someone who hasn't been able to land any position in public life other than an agitator.  Some may compare her to Ralph Nader, and they're right in the sense that they both have served as spoilers in elections (don't give me that-if Stein and Gary Johnson hadn't run, we'd be talking about Hillary Clinton's "surprisingly close" win of the White House), but they're wrong in the sense of their impact.  Ralph Nader was once a very important voice in the American conversation, with Unsafe at Any Speed becoming a critical piece of investigative journalism that forever changed the way we look at safety in the automotive industry.  Nader, before he was a national pariah amongst progressives, was a hero to the cause; Jill Stein never had the same level of support before she sold out for anti-vax conspiracy theorists and those who celebrate dictators like Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin.

So it makes sense that Stein, in the wake of her recount efforts, was called out by many progressive-minded thinkers and journalists, as a con-woman, someone out to exploit the Democratic Party.  Her message, that the election may have been tampered with, was indeed like saying to a dying man that there's a cure, but it's going to cost you (and the reality is that that cure isn't real).  Liberals and progressives have looked at the past few weeks with horror at what just a President-Elect Trump has meant for our causes.  Gone is the Supreme Court, perhaps with it Roe v. Wade.  Goodbye to a number of collective bargaining advocates, or Obamacare, or key transgender rights bills, or a national increase in the minimum wage.  Hell, Medicare and Social Security might become things of the past.  There's a bit of cosmic justice there considering how badly the Baby Boomers have trashed Millennials in recent weeks for not voting enough, even though they themselves actually elected Trump and are about to pay a huge price for it in terms of their retirements, but as I don't really like "misery loves company" I don't enjoy that enough to see a silver lining.  All-the-while, the President-Elect has seen repeated scandals, attacked the free press relentlessly, publicly denounced Hillary Clinton, and watched silently as white supremacists carry out acts of violence in his name against persons of color and LGBT citizens across the country.  Jill Stein coming in and demanding a recount, even one that is surely going to be impossible to succeed, is clearly exploiting the grieving.

But what those journalists don't understand is that we're just as mad at them as we are themselves, and they're "listen to us, we're the experts" attitude is a bit hard to grasp after what we just witnessed. I continue to come back to the "Keepin' it 1600" guys, all arrogant after two successful elections, not focusing nearly enough on creating a sense of urgency around Trump, making him in fact a joke, but one where the punchline could mean millions of people could have horrible lives for decades as a result of what he might do.  I think of the media who insisted that Hillary Clinton's emails were of equal importance to Trump's relationships with Vladimir Putin and Roger Ailes.  I think of the "journalists" who couldn't figure out a way to ask him probing, specific questions about policy and show what a dangerous, undereducated man this figure was who was one of only two people who could be our next president.  And yes, I think of the entertainment media who simply saw ratings and not their moral imperative in protecting the country from a madman (Lorne Micheals and Jimmy Fallon, you two specifically should be ashamed of yourselves for your role in electing a demagogue).

So if Jill Stein's recount doesn't make sense to you, it's perhaps because Trump doesn't really affect you in the way he affects other people.  It's perhaps because your sense of trust in your fellow man hasn't been shattered, that your trust in the news media and "data" and "experts" isn't lying on the floor.  It's perhaps because you didn't realize that before this election, the only people who actually still trusted the news as being a beacon of hope and light and truth were progressives and liberals and Democrats.  And perhaps it's because you don't realize the incredible impact your terrible approach to Trump has taken on your credibility and your profession.

For it makes no sense to me that I should listen to people who constantly exclaimed that Hillary Clinton was going to win tell me afterwards all the things she did wrong and why she lost.  If you were 100% wrong before, why should we believe you now?  There's no sense here at all.  The media hasn't quite realized this, but they were an endangered species before November 8th, and are now critically-endangered.  For before this, it was just the FOX News/Bretibart crowd that Trump adores who hated the media.  Now, while hate isn't the right word, trust is gone from institutions like The New York Times and network news channels; we know that when it comes down to it, they'd rather have false equivalence than get attacked by Republicans (who are always going to attack such institutions).  I don't believe you.  I'm smart enough to know the odds of the recount being overturned, but you don't get to mock us for stating that we should stop betting on unicorns.  We bet on you, and we lost.  Your snideness is only rubbing salt in the wound of trusting you, not being with her.  It's because of you that flim-flam artists like Jill Stein can prey on the weak with promises of grandeur.  I know this because you just elected a president who did exactly that.  It's easy to see why the media can't understand the appeal of Jill Stein when they can't admit they just helped elect Donald Trump.

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