Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bernie Sanders Wins Wisconsin & a Night of Online Trolling


Photo courtesy of iprimages Flickr page -  06122015_BernieSanders_Drake_102_3x2_1080:

Bernie Sanders wins Wisconsin! With 99% of precincts reporting, Sanders received 56.5% to Hillary's 43.2%. Clinton knew that Wisconsin had slipped from her fingers, as she essentially withdrew, in order to focus on New York, her home state after switching from Arkansas. Not long ago, Clinton enjoyed a lead of 40 points in New York. Now, however, Bernie is catching up, and this could very well be a big contest!

Yet, when I went on Facebook, all I seemed to encounter were memes and posts from obviously disgruntled Hillary supporters, who clearly were not having a good night.

I got in an online argument last evening with a Hillary supporter. Believe it or not, this is relatively rare for me, as I rarely see any point in arguing with strangers.

Yet, I took the bait last night, after this one Hillary supporter posted that A Daily News article spelled disaster for the Sanders campaign. I posted a comment essentially saying that it was hardly surprising that the Washington Post would post something negative about Sanders, and sarcastically asked if they were asking Bernie to drop out of the race already, seeing as though he literally just won Wisconsin, and has quite the winning streak going.

Well, one Hillary supporter basically called me out by name, and claimed I was a GOP stooge, and dismissed Bernie Sanders as a loser, and presumably but indirectly insinuating that his supporters are, as well.

So in turn, I called her out, and suggested, essentially, that her presumption of "knowing" all about me was rather arrogant, mirroring Hillary's own arrogance and sense of entitlement, and basically said that this was exactly what turned people like me away from Hillary and her rabid supporters. Then, I reminded her that while she calls Bernie Sanders a loser, Hillary has been getting familiar with losing herself as of late.

She then showed her maturity by suggesting that I was a supporter of the Koch brothers.

Here is how I responded:

What a tool. I'll leave you to the name calling, so that you can surround yourself with like-minded people who never, ever challenge your precious beliefs. That way, you never have to get your head out of the sand. Keep showing your maturity in your support of Hillary, I'm sure it will tell everyone exactly what they need to hear!

I was done with this exchange, figuring there was nothing left to say. Expecting a barrage of similar insults to those hurled before, I was surprised that this woman actually deleted all of her previous comments. Not even sure what that means, but it makes it look like I was not talking to anyone in particular, even though I called her out by name.

Whatever. That is why I hate giving in and allowing my annoyance at ignorant memes and comments to get me to respond.

Someone then came up with another comment, suggesting that despite winning Wisconsin, this night was actually a loss for Bernie Sanders, because he needed to win by a certain percentage in order to get the required number of delegates to catch up to Hillary, and that he failed, and his path to the nomination is impossible because Hillary has more pledged superdelegates, and blah, blah, blah. I admittedly responded to that with a meme basically suggesting a fatigue with the constantly changing arguments employed by Hillary supporters, how it gravitates from him not having a chance, to him absolutely needing to win the state, then suggesting that that state does not matter, after all, once Sanders has actually won it.

The guy who posted that post about the pledged superdelegates than called me a troll and a "Beniebot" (sic). So, I gave in and made one last comment.

Wow! Again with the name calling! You guys sure like to name call! Yet I'm the troll, right? I'm done here, so you guys can keep trash talking and never, ever engage in conversation with (gasp!) someone who does not agree with you. 

And that was it. I was done responding, done being baited. He wrote back, and reiterated that I was a troll. So be it. Despite some desire to respond, I instead turned off all notification for that particular post.

It was not easy, though. There were plenty of Hillary supporters in clear denial that their candidate is struggling, and one of them suggested that Bernie is a "fraud" because despite supporting a $15 per hour minimum wage, the minimum wage in Vermont is officially $9.60 per hour,

Never mind that $9.60 per hour in Vermont will get you a lot farther than it will in many other states, the fact of the matter is that it is likely not a very livable wage. That being said, Bernie Sanders is not an all-powerful dictator, and he cannot simply force the minimum wage into existence. After all, he was never governor of Vermont. Again, resisting the urge to respond was somewhat challenging.

What I noticed, also, was that I seemed to be getting a lot of notifications - and I mean, a lot of them - showing support from Hillary and absolutely trashing Bernie Sanders, left and right. In fact, in that last comment directed to me, the guy rightly pointed out that I was on a pro-HIllary page (Madam President). So I was, although I had not fully realized it. Still, troll seemed to be a particularly absurd name to call me. After all, I was not trying to insult anyone, but was definitely trying to challenge their thinking, and automatic assumption that Hillary could, should, and would inevitably win the nomination. Personally, I was under the impression that trolls make a point of insulting people, of showing their immaturity. Trolls also then probably specifically go onto specific websites looking for trouble, although that was not what I was doing, although this guy surely assumed that this was the case. Again, so be it.

Some of the insinuations, posts and memes that Hillary supporters have been posting, and continue to post, are really mind-numbing in terms of how stupid and mindless they are. Take a look at this one:

What bothers me is that Hillary supporters simply refuse to acknowledge that Hillary is struggling in a big way, again. That this thing really might slip away from her, as it did in 2008. That there is just something about her that people do not fully trust. Yes, they just refuse to acknowledge that there may indeed be reasons that Hillary Clinton, in particular, struggles to get voters to trust what she says, and that this may indeed constitute the big obstacle to her chances of ever getting elected president. The fact that they have lost six of the last seven contests, yet still turn to the tired old arguments that Hillary has this, that it is in the bag, that the superdelegates that they are sure are in their pockets have secured her nomination, and never mind that this is not exactly the most democratic means to do it.

Instead of acknowledging this, and then putting pressure on their candidate to show more consistency and not say so many things that are contradictory, they seem to be turning to insults and lies towards anyone who thinks differently than they do.

The problem with Hillary that I have is that she sure seems willing to say and do anything to be all things to all people. To appease conservatives, she says that her political ideology is grounded in conservatism, and fondly recalls the days when she was a "Goldwater girl." In December, she proudly declared herself a moderate. More recently, however, she blasted Sanders and suggested that she is the "real progressive" in this race. The problem with all of that is it makes her a conservative, a moderate, and a progressive, which of course makes no sense. She helped to author the TPP, although she is not in favor of it in it's present form, although she did not rule out possibly passing it, perhaps with some minor adjustments. She also supported NAFTA. She used to be gung ho for affordable, universal healthcare, but has since taken a more reserved, cautious approach which happens to coincide with her taking millions of dollars from big pharmaceutical corporations and other companies in the healthcare industry. She promises to get tough on Wall Street, although again, she sure has no problem taking all of that money from the big banks that are responsible for many of the worst excesses in the financial sector.

Her husband was very much the same way. In fact, I hardly even feel that the Clintons ever show their truly human side, because they are too busy pursuing their lofty political ambitions. He cheated on her numerous times, and still she stuck with him, most likely because it was the most politically profitable thing to do. So, instead of showing us her human side, we only get to see that hungry political side that is always looking for the best big office she can win. Everything that that family does and is bleeds political considerations, to the point that you cannot imagine what they would be if not for politics. Indeed, they are so much the insiders in American politics, that they have become much more a part of the problem than part of the solution. In fact they seem to be so entrenched in the broken political system that they no longer even really see the problems, or that the involvement of people like them, people who have spent their entire lives in politics and feel that sense of entitlement towards it, actually are the problem.

Voting for someone who just wants to enrich themselves and obtain higher office is not exciting, and it does not generate excitement. Someone with ideas, with a vision, and with a tireless passion can do that. And Bernie Sanders is such a person. That is who he is, who he has always been. He did it back in the 1960's, fighting for civil rights. He did it when he was a small time politician. And he continued doing it throughout his political career, standing out as the only avowed socialist in Congress during an era when socialism was considered a bad word. He never shies away from people attacking him on that, and actually counters their labels by trying to inform them of what his positions really are. In other words, he counter immature emphasis on labels and name calling with an attempt to inform and engage in intelligent conversation.

Imagine that!

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