Voting for Hillary, Hoping For Johnson ... And I Don't Mean Gary

Let it be said upfront that I was a Bernie Boy. I didn’t support Hillary Clinton in this 2016 race — nor did I in the 2008 primary run. I wasn’t ‘With Her'. She wasn’t my girl. Additionally, I’m not an apologist for Hillary Clinton — or others. Don’t read such things into any of the words that follow. Rather, I ‘calibrate’ the real-world in which we live against known quantities. This should not be confused with ‘pragmatism’. There’s a differnce.

When I pretty much knew that Bernie Sanders would not prevail in his rather impressive presidential run — far surpassing reasonable expectations — I knew what would soon be coming. I knew it some time before the Democratic Convention. For I fully realized, independent of garnered delegates, the sobering reality of Super Delegates functioning exactly as they were intended: To thwart the candidacy of anyone who demonstrated the ability to ‘capture imagination’ — while believed to be incapable of capturing the national vote.

Never again would the Democratic party fall in the wake of another George McGovern, as reasoned. Ergo, the Hunt Commission that gave us the contemporary Super Delegate system — in direct defiance of the McGovern-Frazier Commission that sought to take power away from the party bosses in 1970. The difference between then and now? They didn’t have email. There was nothing to hack. But, for both parties, the control mechanisms and internal “sentiments" were the same. I suppose that, in these more modern times, the good news is that email doesn’t carry the fragrance of cigar smoke.

But with the mathematical loss of Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate — skewed or not, here’s what I saw coming … Yet another internal war - played out publicly - between two opposing factions of liberal Democrats, real or self-described: The Progressive ‘Free Radicals’, as I call them — and the politically fashion-conscious ’NPR Liberals’ wrapped more in self-image - the way they perceive themselves - than having much real intimacy with the issues. They’d come from different places. The 'Progressive Free Radicals’ would be engaged, could work out of a garage and didn’t mind getting dirty. In contrast, the ’NPR Liberals’ - a variant subset of the 'Chaise Lounge Liberals' - signed onto positions in the feel-good academic as long as they didn’t interfere with politics that played out as a fashion statement and lifestyle choice, not to be inconvenienced by tangibility. And in these distinctions would be the difference between Grit and Gloss.

Still, both groups can be selective as it relates to respective perceptions. The ‘Free Radicals’, with their sense of focus, tied to a principle — if shy on memory … and the ‘NPR Liberals’ with a tunnel-vision focus that prefers to ignore a given set of truths, becoming apologists when forced to confront those truths. The latter group lives in a moment, but both groups share a common flair for a romanticized sense of past …

Enter Lyndon Johnson. While the HBO film, 'All The Way' — and Bryan Cranston’s performance therein — were both excellent, it still stood as a highly selective and romanticized take on LBJ. So, in truth, was Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’. For while Lincoln ‘freed the slaves’, he also didn’t see them as equals … not believing they should serve on juries, hold any office, or have the right to vote. As stated by Lincoln in 1858, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” But Hollywood — along with the more selective overview in children’s history books, where most of education ends, co-conspires in the creation of ‘romance novels’.

But even outside the realm of Hollywood, glorified folklore is created … or ’selected'. While many know that Franklin Roosevelt turned away a shipload of Jews endeavoring to escape Nazi Germany, many don’t seem to know, as one cited as the ‘Father of Progressivism’, that Roosevelt opposed anything even remotely resembling ‘collective bargaining’ — along with yet other rejected tidbits that remain the mainstay diet of contemporary Progressives on this day.

But back to Johnson … arguably the quintessential poster child for corruption, from voter fraud and manipulation in his 1948 Senatorial race, to general back-stabbing and hidden agendas, inclusive of misleading the entirety of the American people regarding America’s involvement in Southeast Asia ... Enter ‘The Pentagon Papers’ — standing as the precursor to modern email. And yes, Johnson wasn’t held in high regard by liberals during his presidency.

“Hey-Hey LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?,” chanted the anti-war protestors — if personally comforted by their own academic deferment status.

But how do we, as contemporary liberals, remember Johnson? He’s the one, as folklore hero, who gave us The Great Society (if to conservative chagrin) — as well as the Civil Rights Act … even as one who had opposed each and every Civil Rights bill that came before him as a Congressman between 1937 and 1956 (yes, attempted Civil Rights legislation went back that far). He also was a vehement opponent of the Jim Crow laws, while we’re at it.

In 1957, perspectives regarding civil rights changed for Johnson — for the better. Whether this was a change of heart — or a matter of political calculation doesn’t really matter. What emerged out of ‘bad' … was some good. And that, in turn, would be our takeaway, as liberals.

Understand, I’m not saying - as an ‘apologist' that "Hillary is cool” because others had their less than stellar moments. I’m saying that these moments are conveniently forgotten … if posthumously. And some, indeed, would not be generally known … ever — even now.

There’s little assurance — no less guarantee — that some good will come out of bad by way of Hillary Clinton. But entertaining the possibility - no matter how remote it may seem to many - may make the bitter pill easier to swallow ... OR not.

Again, as one who didn’t favor Hillary Clinton in either one of her presidential runs, I still have long seen her - perhaps somewhat empathetically - as being of quasi-Shakespearian proportions, wrapped in a linear Hollywood narrative. Having ultimately rejected the Goldwater politics of her father, she would emerge from Wellesley with the best of intentions and the more noble of ambitions and achievements … only to be consumed by the very stage she chose to launch her platforms … as so many are, in and out of politics. A shame.

As I’ve often said in my own life — regarding a number of issues, as well as personal experiences and encounters …

“I don’t create the monsters. I just give them names.”

Merely points to ponder. These aside, vote as you deem best.

— Joseph —

Send an Email to JosephMind




 original contents copyright © joseph bambach