by Jerilyn Bowen
As we progressives know all too well, the neoliberal power brokers in the Democratic Party have long been dead set on preventing those of our persuasion from obtaining a decisive voice in the party. Top example: the national party establishment overrode the grassroots uprising of the Sanders campaign in 2016, contriving to prevent Bernie from getting the presidential nomination and thereby throwing the country to the wolves. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million but Bernie would almost certainly have done what needed to be done to win in the electoral college as well. Given his demonstrated grassroots support in the industrial and midwestern states that narrowly handed Trump victory, Bernie would likely have taken the White House, bigtime. And we wouldn’t now be living this nightmare the Republican cartel is inflicting on the country.
So what did Democratic Party centrists learn from the avoidable debacle of 2016? That election was theirs to lose and they blew it. Did they then recognize the error of their ways and move to open the party doors to the influx of vital energy coming from grassroots progressives? No, they did not. Instead, following the remarkable and most fortunate 2018 midterm House victories, they moved to circle the wagons to protect their hegemony against the invaders who were instrumental in bringing that victory about. Among other things, under the leadership of Cheri Bustos in 2019 the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) instituted draconian new rules designed to prevent progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Ro Khanna (CA) from running for office by denying anyone who challenges a Democratic incumbent the funding they need to hire consultants and vendors.
Continue reading AOC Turns the Tables on the DCCC and So Can We
by Jerilyn Bowen
In a recent interview entitled “Democratic Party Centrism Risks Handing Election to Trump,” as preface to his remarks Noam Chomsky had this to say: I find it psychologically impossible to discuss the 2020 election without emphasizing, as strongly as possible, what is at stake: survival, nothing less. Four more years of Trump may spell the end of much of life on Earth, including organized human society in any recognizable form. Strong words, but not strong enough.
In case you’re wondering, he’s talking about climate catastrophe and the growing danger of a nuclear holocaust.
Our venerable speaker-of-truth-to-power frosts his dark prophecy with this surmise: The Democratic Party, in its apparent determination to kill the left wing, may very well end up ensuring a Trump electoral victory for a second time.
Continue reading What’s at Stake
by Jerilyn Bowen
In his bafflement over the role of language in human knowing, twentieth century analytic philosopher Wittgenstein finally concluded that language is a game in which the rules evolve over time through usage practices. As we watch the impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives with bated breath, we are witness to a battle between those who adhere to linguistic rules based on conveying a truth that accords with objective evidence and those who violate those rules by weaponizing language into a means of psychological manipulation and deception. In a culture where we are saturated with advertising designed to do the latter, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the longstanding rules of our major means of human communication have been eroded to such an extent that the more unscrupulous among us seize upon an anything-goes approach to public discourse in pursuit of both power and profit.
Continue reading Mind Games in the US Corral
by Jerilyn Bowen
The 1938 play Gas Light tells the story of a man who contrives to make his wife believe she’s losing her wits by dimming the gas-fueled lights in their home on the sly and insisting that her perception of the dimmed lights is a misperception. In our times gaslighting is widely recognized as one of the principle strategies employed by narcissists to undermine and control the people with whom they have relationships. By assuming an air of authority and calling into question the feelings, intuitions, interpretations and responses of their intimates, the narcissist maneuvers to make their unfortunate victims doubt their own sense of reality, thereby psychologically disempowering them so that they will go along with the narcissist’s hidden agenda of domination and emotional exploitation.
What plays out at the interpersonal level of human interaction can be magnified to apply to the collective level. And has been. Across the globe, here and abroad, the diabolical tactic of gaslighting is a key feature of the disinformation playbooks of state authoritarian forces. The aim is to undermine any reliable public standard of truth by which these bad actors can be called to account. In situations where they can’t supplant the truth with their lies, they settle for generating doubt about what is true and what is not. That allows them to escape accountability by creating a narrative in which it’s a matter of competing interests vying with one another for dominance rather than a matter of lawfulness, honorable action, and objective evidence.
Continue reading Gaslighting the Country
by Jerilyn Bowen
The whirlwind has descended. We knew it was coming, now it’s upon us and picking up momentum by the hour. It may be a long time before we get back to Kansas, if ever we do.
Up to now, Trump and his band of transactional spintalkers have been emboldened by getting away with egregious violations of both law and decency ever since the Russia-rigged election of 2016 that made this exceedingly poor excuse for a human being ‘the leader of the free world.’ Three years later, the very fabric of our country is being shredded by tiny rapacious hands that take pride in grabbing women by the genitals, aided and abetted behind the scenes by large fleshy hands that take pride in grabbing as much of our national wealth as they can stuff into the yawning maws of their tax-free offshore bank accounts.
What stands in their way? What is going to keep these invisible hands from continuing to exploit and disempower the vast majority of their fellow beings with few consequences to themselves? What is going to prevent the agents of corporate power from transforming our country into an authoritarian state? Beyond that, what is going to stop them from stealing the future of all coming generations by continuing to poison Mother Earth for profit?
Continue reading Harvest Time
by Jerilyn Bowen, 9/25/19
Decisions, decisions, decisions. On what grounds do we make them, individually and collectively? That’s a big question these days. Many considerations inevitably come into play but basically most decisions are determined by a dialectic between fear of X and faith in Y. Which prevails depends on the story we tell ourselves.
For a minor example: when Trump came to Rio Rancho in September, the story on the street was that holding a mass protest outside his rally would prove to be dangerous so best to attend the alternate gathering sponsored by the NM Democratic Party in a safe place far from Rio Rancho. No one talked about what we sacrificed in letting ourselves be intimidated out of showing up in large numbers to make our collective voice heard when the national media would be there to record and broadcast our message. No one asked what Martin Luther King might’ve been willing to risk that day in service to the cause of saving our democracy. In short, no one seemed to put the supposed dangers of an on-site protest in context of the larger narrative about what motivates us in our work for a more just and humane world…just X, no Y.
Continue reading What’s the Story?
by Jerilyn Bowen
Every day we are reminded that our country–and our planet–is in peril. We are bombarded with demented inflammatory Tweets from the usurper who occupies the White House amid reports of mass shootings and weather catastrophes; frightened children ripped from their parents and locked in cages; violence against minorities, women, and those of nonconforming gender; public schools in crisis; a rampant opiod epidemic; melting arctic ice and vanishing species; rising suicide rates; nuclear war hovering on the horizon and much more. Perhaps the worst of it is the unholy food fight fomented by Republicans in Congress, the national body that is supposed to represent the interests of the people. While Senate Majority Leader McConnell contrives to block any legislation that doesn’t increase the wealth and power of the 1% who own his party and the House dithers about impeachment under the myopic leadership of a corporate Democrat who lets Trump set the agenda, it feels as if the country is being precariously held together with chewing gum and duct tape.
Continue reading Making America Ours Again