Regarding Sinema, A Short Follow-Up

The response to my Open Letter to Kyrsten Sinema last weekend was stunning, so a quick follow-up is in order.

Out of the thousands of posts that have appeared on this site, the open letter generated more page views than all but 5 others, along with a boatload of comments.

Readers no longer are split on the issue of bad votes cast by Democrats. The apologists who explain how Democrats who represent swing districts have to cast bad votes were mute on this one. Or, better yet, perhaps they’ve changed their view.

Because I wanted to keep the letter short enough to avoid a page break, a few important points that were omitted bear mention. First, one commenter with the screen name Jason Odhner made this point I intended to make:

The hateful rhetoric of ignorant racists can be forgiven, albeit with difficulty, by remembering that it is, in fact a lack of education and understanding that drives their decisions. But Kyrsten Sinema is *not* ignorant. To the contrast, she has a nuanced and highly informed understanding of all the reasons that what she did was wrong and hateful. The PHD in Social Work, the former leadership position with local non-profit Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees (COAR), and a dozen other life experiences prove that her vote wasn’t ignorant – it was calculated, opportunistic, and cold blooded. And that, I’m afraid, is truly unforgivable.

Second, besides the personal affront to Syrian Americans, these compromise votes by Democrats concerned only about their re-election or, in Kyrsten’s case, perhaps election to the next office, contribute enormously to the atmosphere of fear and hatred currently engulfing our country. In that regard, consider the words of Andrew O’Hehir of Salon, in Reasons to give thanks: America is a total mess — and some of it is good news:

When Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the other raving lunatics and epic hypocrites in the Republican Party – to call those people “clowns,” one of the clichés of this cycle, is an insult to an ancient and honorable art — announce that our God-given greatness and divine destiny have been tarnished by sinister forces, but can be restored through further enriching the rich, widening the scope of endless war and victimizing the weakest among us, Democrats offer no clear and consistent answer. The best they can do, generally speaking, is to mumble that yes, we do have a God-given destiny of some kind, if we can only figure out what it is. It might turn out not to be about blowing up villages on the other side of the world and being incredibly mean to poor people and reverting to feudal oligarchy! Or at least not about doing those things quite so enthusiastically. Why is anyone surprised that in the popular imagination Democrats are perceived as spineless? The problem is not their policies, which are reasonably coherent if often disappointing; it’s their strategy of responding to religious hysteria and mass delusion by agreeing with it a little. In Salem Village, they’d have been the people arguing that we must be judicious in determining which of these girls really had sexual congress with the Horned One. (emphasis mine)

O’Hehir’s analogy is brilliant. Does anyone doubt that if Kyrsten and her ilk were amongst the political leadership of Salem circa 1692, they’d have been cynically calculating how far right their positions need be in order to avoid losing support of the witch burners?

8 responses to “Regarding Sinema, A Short Follow-Up

  1. Three Sonorans

    Regarding Sinema… I told you all so back in 2011… Recall that “progressives” also backed Rodney Glassman in 2010… Not much difference between these two but at least now we are learning… Hopefully?

    • Hey, Sonorans, my wife has been saying I told you so on this one for three years now. I don’t need to hear it from you too, okay?

      I do agree with you about Glassman, especially when Parraz was in the race.

  2. “…announce that our God-given greatness and divine destiny have been tarnished by sinister forces, but can be restored through further enriching the rich, widening the scope of endless war and victimizing the weakest among us, Democrats offer no clear and consistent answer. The best they can do, generally speaking, is to mumble that yes, we do have a God-given destiny of some kind, if we can only figure out what it is…”

    Ya know, religious cults happen when people believe crap that preachers say about people being the chosen ones. WTF is it about the human psyche that makes us susceptible to such nonsense? (I’m not suggesting turning this comment thread into a discussion of religion, just remarking about a similarity I recognize at the moment)

    I’m deeply concerned that the major problems we face in America and in the world today stem from the excesses of un/under regulated capitalism. I’m all for people believing in God if they need and want to, but criminy, we have to recognize that the problems we face are not going to be solved by magical thinking.

    And the need for leadership is profound. Not one of the GOP candidates can provide legitimate direction for healing our society’s current dilemmas.

    Martin O’Malley may have some reasonable insight, but he doesn’t have the chutzpah to get enough people’s attention.

    Hillary is nothing more and nothing less than GOP lite. The best case scenario I see with her is to prolong the agony we face today.

    WE can make change happen by validating Bernie Sanders and electing him president and then standing together to enact the change we need.

    • “WE can make change happen by validating Bernie Sanders and electing him president and then standing together to enact the change we need.”

      It’s never going to happen. Bernie is too far to the left even for Democrats. Despite all of the reasons not to vote for Hillary, she pretty much has the nomination in hand. And, sadly, she has a good chance at actually being elected President. People’s capacity for accepting lies and deceit from the Clintons seems to have no limit.

      • We’ll see. Don’t bet the farm on Hillary.

        • You know, AE, this early in the election cycle I am not betting on anyone. I just see some very discouraging signs that point to Hillary as the Primary winner. It would be an interesting election, though, if it came down the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as the finalists running for President. For me, that would be a nighmare, but for you it would be good news because Bernie would have a very good chance of winning.

  3. captain*arizona

    A bad democrat is better then a good republican nazi. Only numbers count in the house of representatives, as in state legislature. Primary her out fine if you can. I will be voting for bernie sanders in the primary and holding my nose as I vote for hillary in the general. You should do the same with political opportunist sinema. I voted for ralph nader in and 2000 and you saw how that turned out. their is planned parenthood shooting in colorado you want a pro-life republican encouraging this stuff.