October 2, 2016

Talking about a Revolution

There she goes again, that darn Hillary Clinton. She just doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut, does she?

Back at a fundraiser in February, Clinton was recorded speaking and answering questions for 45 minutes or so (STAMINA!) without falling down or anything. She did cough though, so clearly she's not healthy enough to sit at a desk in the Oval Office and help guide the direction of the free world, or so a certain orange-tinted politician would have us believe.

Notably, there were other coughs in the room too, so I'm thinking whatever jobs those folks have, they should immediately go on disability or get themselves on Dr. Oz or something.

The audio of her comments has been leaked (of course) and the media is all a-buzz (of course) and the Trump campaign will use this quote against her (of course). It's all so predictable, isn't it?

I'm going to do exactly what the 'real' media did, which is to present the quote out of context -- and then, I'll present the quote in context.

I actually thought about censoring the heinous comment, maybe bleeping out the worst of it, but I think my readers can handle the truth, as they say, and so I'm presenting it unedited.

Please be warned - some of you might find her words disturbing. 
Some are new to politics completely. They're children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents' basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don't see much of a future.

OMG and WTH and throw some more letters in the sky and let them rain down as acronyms, Elizabeth!

While it's being presented that her comments were specifically about #Berners, truth be told, she was answering a question about young people and cynicism about government in general, not specifically about Bernie Sanders voters.

Here's the question she was asked:
My concern is the criticism that has been placed in government, and our young people seem to be buying into listening to promises being made to them (on both sides) and not understanding that you can't get from here to there without going there incrementally, and I worry that that feeds into people saying they didn't get it therefore government doesn't work for them it. It buys into cynicism by not letting them live up to the promises that are made to them. Can you speak to that at all?
Well, yes she can, and yes she did. Here's her full response, minus some chitchat about George McGovern's ill-fated run for the White House and some minimal editing to exclude specific policy proposals, which instead are summarized.
Here's what I think is going on and I think we'll have to do more research and understand it better. I think you're really on to something. I think there's a sense of disappointment among young people about politics and there are a lot of different reasons for it. You know, some take the position that they were for President Obama and he didn't revolutionize our country. The  poor man faced implacable hostility and got a lot done and deserves an enormous amount of credit. But the idea that, somehow, the Affordable Care Act and saving the economy were not big enough accomplishments is just bewildering to me because I know how hard it was and how touch and go a deal it was. 
Some are new to politics completely, they're children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents' basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don't see much of a future. 
I met with a group of young black millennial today and one of the young women said "you know, none of us feel like we have the job we should have gotten out of college and we don't believe the job market is going to give us much of a chance." So, that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. And so if you're feeling that you are consigned to being, you know, a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn't pay a lot and doesn't have much of a ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing.
So I think we should all be really understanding of that and we should try to do the best we can not to be a wet blanket on idealism, you want people to be idealistic, you want them to set big goals but to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals. 
She went on to describe some of her plans - 100% universal coverage, making the Affordable Care Act work better for people, bringing costs down, climate change, infrastructure and so on -- and finished up with this:
And so what we have to do, and what I'm trying to do, is to make the case that we have ideals, we've got big goals, but we also believe that the path to progress is one that you just have to get up every day and work on. You have to make it your life's work if you do this full time, you have to make it part of your civic responsibility for others, and just keep making that case.
It's not as glamorous, it's not as exciting, it doesn't promise a revolution. I mean, I'm still trying to understand the revolution part, because here's how I think about it. I mean Senator Sanders sort of alludes to this. In order to have a revolution, first we have to take back the Senate and get to 60 votes. Then we've got to take back the House. And that may require some redistricting in order to get people out of safe Republican seats (note: the safe Republican seats came about because of redistricting) so they can be competitive again. I think we're already in year six or seven of a two-year term. 
So, you know, those of us who understand this, who've been experienced, who've worked in, it know that it's - it's a false promise. But I don't think that you tell idealistic people, particularly young people, that they bought into a false promise. You try to do the best you can to say, you know, "hey, that's his view, that's what he is offering you, but here's another way where actually we can achieve a lot of what we have said, starting day one and make a real difference in people's lives and I tell them all the time, a lot of the people I meet, they can't wait - they can't wait for a revolution (note: meaning, they don't have time to wait, not that they're so excited for a revolution to occur.) We have to live in this space of where we say here's what we can do, here's what's achievable, and here's a lot of people we can help right away.
Wow. Was that a crushing, derogatory, horrible, unkind, cold-hearted thing to say? Well, no -- it's a comprehensive, nuanced answer by a former idealistic young person in response to a question from another former idealistic young person.

And was that a slaughtering of Sanders supporters? Well, if you think mentioning Bernie Sanders some 465 words into a 700 word response - and mentioning his name only once - is slamming his supporters, you clearly are working towards a different goal than simply reporting the news.

And here's a news flash: not every millennial is a Bernie Sanders supporter. Not all of the millennials living at home with Mom and Dad, whether in the basement or in their childhood bedrooms painted with Teen-aged Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony, are Bernie Sanders supporters.

Clinton was spot on, in my opinion, but her message will be lost.  The campaign is already having to 'defend' her comments, and the articles all, of course, talk about the basement, as if that was the most important thing she said. In reality, there's nothing for her to defend.

So, I'm thinking, maybe the revolution we need to have is the one where we get mad as hell at the news media for trying to fit news items into soundbites in the first place, or for trying to move the conversation in the direction they want it moved. Maybe the revolution we need  is that we all take responsibility for getting our news ourselves and stop relying on people who, frankly, are just dying for a close election come November 8th.