Friday, January 27, 2017

An Exercise in Futility

Now renegades are the people with their own philosophies
They change the course of history
Everyday people like you and me
We're the renegades we're the people

~~ “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine

Tonight we went downtown to the county Democratic HQ for a meeting with the state Dem chair, John Zody.

The invitation said that it was designed to be a session in which to exchange ideas about how to proceed. I expected maybe a couple of dozen people and a chance to sit around and discuss ideas and strategies about how to strengthen the party and elect more Democrats locally, statewide, and nationally.

Instead, it was a packed house in the small DNC HQ building, bad enough that Ken and I had to ask people to not block the walkway to the door (we were standing against the wall) and try to get people to move through and find a place towards the back or wherever. I didn’t care, just don’t block the only point of egress, says Fire Marshall Beth!

Ostensibly, such a big turnout is not a bad thing. I was happy to see how many people cared enough to come out on a slightly snowy January evening. Unfortunately, it devolved into an airing of the grievances.

There was the young guy next to me who was pissed off that our Senator Joe Donnelly voted against the bill that would allow drugs from Canada to be sold here. I said it’s because we have the FDA and stringent regulations for a reason. (Did you hear about the miracle Hep C drug that is now causing liver damage? Yeah. That kind of thing.) There was the young woman who claimed that “young people” did all the work in the county in this last election. I think there were plenty of white-hairs in the audience who would dispute that claim.

There were a couple of people who said that everyone perceives us as “elitists” and that we have to be better about getting our message out there. Like we haven’t tried to do that! When right-wingers are getting all their news from ClusterFox, they are going to believe that we are “elitists.” We have to counter that with clear messaging. We do not have that yet.

There were Sanders supporters who were still pissed off about how they were treated. There were people who said that we need to forget social media and focus on meeting people face-to-face. There were people (like me—yes, I actually spoke up, and I don’t do that often in large gatherings!) who felt that social media is crucial, especially with what we are seeing with the gag rules and the “alt” government agency Twitter feeds that have cropped up in the past day. (Actually, I feel that we need both. It’s not an either/or proposition.) It got so bad that Ken finally said, “It is this kind of divisiveness that is hurting us.”

I realize that the majority of people were there because they are longtime Democrats and want to work to elect Democrats up and down the line. However, this was not a productive meeting. It reminded me of a lot of our lab meetings, where there was little focus and no one reining people in. It used to drive me NUTS when people would just be allowed to ramble and bitch about every damn thing that was bugging them. There is a time for such discussion, and that time is with your friends, or one-on-one with your supervisor. When you get a meeting together, the focus needs to be on identifying the problem(s) and coming up with ideas for the solution(s). To quote Sean Spicer, “PERIOD!”

It is not just our party that is facing an existential crisis. It is our COUNTRY, and our values as Americans and as human beings. The Yam is that crisis. I don’t want to hear whining about how your candidate didn’t get a fair shake. I don’t want to hear you bitch about how your Senator didn’t vote exactly the way you wanted him or her to vote. Grow the fuck up. No candidate is perfect and there will always be situations and votes on which we disagree. I have sent letters to both Democratic and Republican legislators about such things. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need. And YES, sometimes you have to compromise!

It is time to put all these petty grievances aside and realize that we have a major threat to our country, our people, and to the world, and that threat is the current president. Get on board, dammit, or you are going to drown with the rest of the planet. No one is talking about blind allegiance to anyone or even to any party but for fuck’s sake, look at what is going on and realize that we need to unify behind the party that isn’t going to fuck over as many people as possible! Oh, you’re a Democratic Socialist? Well, fucking YAY FOR YOU. How is that working for you as we try to stop the Yam from doing damage to everyone who isn’t a white dude—and to the entire planet, for that matter? If he’s president for eight years, you probably won’t have to worry about your feelings, because you’ll be gasping for air on a dying planet.


We left a half an hour early.

As frustrating as this was, I can say that it left both me and Ken thinking about how we can get more involved. If nothing else, I’d love the opportunity to tell people to just stop all the nonsense and FOCUS.

Yes, there is a reason I wasn’t always popular in our lab meetings!


  1. Indivisible, a national movement with local action groups, seems to have a pretty clear agenda for resistance. Feels a little less like sipping from the fire hydrant. I need specific actions, personally. While I know we Dems need to assess and sort ourselves, it might be too early to expect a direction. The path could become clearer when we see how Congress responds to His Clownship's ballistic barrage.

    Oh, and, hey, Beth! It's good to be in touch again.

    1. Nance! Long time, no see! I always enjoyed your insights.

  2. “It is this kind of divisiveness that is hurting us.”
    As an Atheist, I can totally relate to meetings that Ken's quote could easily be attached to. Someone whining about In God We Trust on his money...Another believing we should only in good conscious vote for Atheists...then THAT DOESN'T MATTER...WELL, THAT DOESN'T MATTER, EITHER. Let's picket Catholic that....
    Went home(long ago, but memorable)

  3. ...that is the biggest problem on the left... everybody speaks and no one is listening... I am sure a lot of voters for the current President were Democrats who were tired of not being heard...

  4. Looking forward to helping with a local Science March!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?