Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Democrats Need to Stop Worrying About Russians & Hold Their Own Party Accountable

Let me start out by saying that even if it turns out that Russia did interfere in this last American election, it is not that big of a deal. Now let me explain why.

Yes, I said it outright - even if these allegations of alleged Russian interference with the election are proven to be fact, that still does not invalidate the need by Democrats to hold their party accountable for all of the clear wrongdoing that broke the trust of the American public.

It is a weak cop out to suggest that there is nothing that can be done, that corruption runs so deep that it cannot be fixed, or that everyone is doing it, and that the Democrats would be at a severe disadvantage if they decided to suddenly get clean and no longer be involved in shady deals, because then they would always lose to the Republicans.

If we cannot hold the Democrats accountable for wrongdoing, then they will continue the wrongdoing, plain and simple. And if we keep listening to their arguments that it was someone else's fault, or that we should hold off on protest votes, because this isn't the time, then we are ignoring recent history. They said the same things back in 2000, when Al Gore lost. They said the same thing in 2004, when Kerry lost. We were warned not to protest vote against Obama in 2012, because did we really want an elitist like Mitt Romney to win the White House? And then, of course, in 2016, we were told that this time, it was really serious (as if making a mockery of their own arguments in those past elections), because we just could not have Donald Trump take the White House.

Frankly, if the Democrats had someone worth voting for in the general election, people would have come in droves to vote for that candidate, as well as against the other guy, who in this case, truly was despicable. The fact that Trump won the general election, even if he did lost the popular vote, suggests that the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is in some regards even more pathetic than Trump is. I mean, let's not forget that more people distrusted her than Trump, and that is saying something! But while Trump lies almost every day, I have heard it said that his supporters do not take everything that he says literally, even if they took his campaign seriously. For those who opposed Trump, they took what he said literally, and did not take his campaign seriously. This contrasted with Hillary Clinton, who demanded to be taken seriously, and who tried to speak like someone who should be heard literally. And when you hear the half-truths and sometimes, downright, absurd lies that came from her mouth, that should reveal in part why she came across as less trustworthy than Trump, for he was unpolished and unpracticed in politics, while she was only too polished. People believed Trump when he said that he would drain the swamp (although he actually undermined this popular catchphrase after the election), but as a friend of mine just stated on Facebook, at least he actually saw that there was a swamp that needed draining. Clinton and other mainstream Democrats never acknowledged this, just like they cannot acknowledge that Hillary Clinton, and their own actions in making sure she was the nominee, were the reasons that she lost the election in the first place.

And as for Russian interference in the election? Well, the first thing is that all of these claims are exactly that - claims. They have not been substantiated. The reports are allegedly from credible sources, yet the New York Times has thus far refused to run with them. Yet, we as a nation are being asked to suspend all disbelief, as we were also asked to do with WMD's in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. Supposedly, all of the major intelligence organizations of this country seem to be in agreement that Russians were involved. But Russia is a country of well over 100 million people, and there has been no proof offered - zero proof - that Vladimir Putin ordered this. Now, there is supposedly pretty damning evidence that Russian officials were celebrating Trump's win, but does that prove anything? After all, would not Saudi officials who funded the Clinton Foundation not have been celebrating had Hillary won?

Also, much of the interference has to do with hacking emails that proved very damaging and compromising to the Democrats. But if Democrats had not engaged in anything illegal in the first place, then those emails would not have been so crippling. The fact that they were is something that they feel victimized by, when in reality, a major part of this story is that they are blatantly ignoring these crimes and, once again, predictably playing the part of victims. That is why I cannot feel too badly for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, even though the thought of Donald Trump representing the country in the highest office makes me feel sick and incredibly depressed.

Other than those compromising emails, there does not appear to be anything else that "the Russians" did that was shocking. They apparently just revealed the truth, and this cast the Democrats in particular in a bad light. But the notion of hacking our election has been translated now by many Americans - possibly millions of them - as essentially meaning that they stole the election in favor of their candidate, Donald Trump, and that he is now beholden to them. That sounds just so ridiculously far-fetched as to be laughable, even though I am no fan of Trump. Yet, Americans also believed that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, and many felt he still did even after almost everyone in the Bush administration denied that there was any link. And let us also remember that in a poll taken a few years ago, a majority of millennials here in the United States would have gone ahead with the invasion of Iraq even knowing then what we known now. And if this election revealed anything, it is that millions of Americans not only believe what they want to believe whether or not the facts support or refute these beliefs, but they will act on these beliefs, to boot. So, the truth has never gotten in the way of Americans believing what they want to believe, whether it is about denying climate change or evolution, or believing in WMD's and/or Russian hacking of this election.

And lest we Americans forget these mistakes in our recent past, let us also be reminded of other mistakes that we have made in the not so distant past. We have been directly involved in numerous wars and military operations since the end of World War II, including in Korea, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iran, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. For that matter, the United States intervened in the affairs of other nations and their governments numerous times, including in Greece (during their civil war shortly after World War II ended), Syria (1949, and involving an oil pipeline as a sign of things to come), Iran (during the Eisenhower years, when the Shah was installed), Guatemala (where American forces helped to depose a democratically elected government and helped to install the dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas, who was more accommodating to American interests), Lebanon (several times, including during the Eisenhower and Reagan years), the Dominican Republic (opposing dictator Robert Trujillo), ousting João Goulart from power in Brazil, getting involved in the Congo (getting involved in the civil war there), Uruguay, Peru (numerous times), Chile (the Nixon administration helping to overthrow democratically elected Salvador Allende and helping to install the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet), supporting another dictatorship in neighboring Argentina, supporting anti-Soviet armies in Afghanistan, UNITA in Angola, Solidarite in Poland, and the Contras in Nicaragua, while using Honduras as it's base during it's military involvement in Nicaragua. The United States got involved in the Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-Iraq war (in favor of Saddam Hussein, giving him the ability to launch chemical weapons attacks on his own people that we later used as arguments favoring the invasion in 2003), the civil war in El Salvador, Haiti, Bosnia-Serbia, Sudan, Kosovo, Libya, and now, once again, Syria.

Plus, there were other instances where American intervention failed, such as in opposing China's invasion of Tibet, a plot against President Sukarno in Indonesia, and the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. We became famous, in fact, for our determined efforts to oust Castro from power in Cuba, although we never succeeded.

Finally, let us not forget American surveillance of other countries, which apparently includes friend and foe alike. From the downed U-2 plane in the Soviet Union many decades ago now, to the recent drone that was taken by Chinese forces recently, to President Obama wiretapping Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany (an ally), we seem to never end with the surveillance of countries around the world.

Maybe Americans have come to take this for granted, bur the rest of the world has not. And when Americans now are complaining about Russia having too much influence over American affairs domestically, it is almost a laughable notion. That is especially true given how Americans celebrated and touted their own horn with "winning" the Cold War against the Soviets, essentially rejoicing in their role of having brought an entire country,including it's over 100 million citizens, to it's knees, and destabilizing the country (with the unintended consequence of losing track of many of the weapons that had belonged to the Soviet Union, because these were a good source of much needed funds at a time when money was hard to come by in Russia).

So, let us not get too high and mighty with all of this. We have intervened in the affairs of numerous nations just since the end of World War II, and let's face it: the world is probably not a better place for it. In many cases, the people of numerous countries suffered greatly because of American pursuit of our own narrow self-interests. 

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