"Hillary looks so beautiful after a victory, radiant, as if she's just had a night of passionate sex with a stranger. She feeds on victory as cops do on doughnuts." -- Facebook post by poet Nada Gordon, New York City.
New York Hillarybots are the same as Hillarybots everywhere. Only ten times worse. They were presented with a golden opportunity to stick it to the establishment that has been screwing us over for decades, making us all miserable (yes, even you New Yorkers), but they went with the cynical choice. And the majority of you voted knowing you were making the cynical choice.
It's not as if Sanders's was some quixotic Ralph Nader-type campaign, or he was some Green Party maverick. This was the real deal. The only way to have done this was not to start a third party, in our undemocratic system, but to take over an existing party from within. Precisely what Trump is doing. Sanders gave clear signals to progressives that he never wanted to be identified with the corrupt Democratic party establishment, and you had a problem with that?
Again, we're talking about the real deal. Bernie has drawn even with Hillary in national polls. Since polling began on him a year ago he has consistently done better than Hillary against every potential Republican nominee. But you, Hillarybots, went for someone who would be handily beaten by any Republican not named Trump or Cruz. You cannot argue that you made the safe electoral choice. You made the unsafe electoral choice, desperately wanting to preserve what your generation has already socked away, hidden from our prying eyes.
The differences between the two couldn't have been clearer. It was like Bush v. Gore all over again. Bernie even managed to arrange the debate in your own backyard, so you, New York Hillarybots, could see for yourself. In that last debate, his forthright opinions were a stark rebuke to the obfuscation Hillary offered on every issue. She wouldn't give a straight answer to a single question, as she never has in her entire political life. This is not some personality flaw. It is a clever tactic designed to accomplish in office, by incremental measures, what the right-wing ultimately wants. Make no mistake, you deliberately spurned the clear progressive choice--who offered a clarity we haven't had in my lifetime!--for the one who acts like a macho warrior in female clothing.
Some of my gay friends in New York voted for Hillary and bragged about it. Gay progressive friends voted for she who, until recently, like any old right-winger, talked about the sanctity of the man-woman relationship, the way the Methodist God himself intended it! Many of the literary people I know in New York voted for Hillary, she who doesn't have a humanist instinct in her, she who always reaches for the unimaginative concession to the dark forces rather than seeking a bold vision.
What, exactly, did you like about her, New York Hillarybots? The way she always resorts to talking about doing something "incremental"--whether it's on climate change or a living wage or college tuition or health care or mass incarceration--as a way of promoting and legitimizing precisely the kinds of policies that represent a step backward on each of these issues? You can see clearly what her trick is, you know what she's up to and which side she stands with, but you, small property-owners to the core, voted for her anyway.
You know that taking away welfare, as she and her husband did in the 1990s, was never meant to take us to some enhanced welfare system, it was just a destructive end goal, and nothing good followed it. You know that when she talks about tinkering with loans for college or tinkering with the Affordable Care Act, she is only legitimizing the privatization of services that ought to be provided for free by government in any decent democracy, as your bête noire Bernie likes to remind you.
It wasn't long ago that college was indeed more or less free. Heck, I went to college in the late eighties and early nineties, and it was mostly free then. Community college was mostly free. Great public institutions of learning were more or less free. The Ivy League gave you substantial aid, regardless of your means, so you weren't saddled with debt. We are not talking about some pie-in-the-sky scheme, we are talking about reality as it existed less than a generation ago, not to mention earlier when higher education didn't cost much in this country. And single-payer health care, as the rest of the civilized world provides it, is that too much of a stretch for you Hillarybots?
And minorities in New York, you fell for this whole shtick of Bill was the first black president, or the black community just loves the Clintons! These are the folks who gave you the enhanced war on drugs, harsher criminal penalties, letting loose cops in your communities with increased powers, painting one and all who's poor--black, white, or brown--as responsible for their own misery and weaning them away from expecting help from government. This Hillary, the natural antithesis of everything that should matter to you, you voted for her and rejected the guy who wants to make your life easier, give you free health care and higher education, give you a breather, for heaven's sake, it's not like he's promising to turn us overnight into Scandinavia. Just a little breather, for a change, you didn't even want that, Hillarybots?
Definition of a Hillarybot, Encyclopedia of Politics, Entry #2,383
A person of apparently civilized demeanor, often older than fifty, with a healthy pension fund and a decent college education, who has a nice job and either has or aspires to have grandchildren, who drives a safe Japanese vehicle, and regularly tunes into NPR to affirm liberal credentials. Unusually impervious to logic and rationality, turning every discussion, from buying a house to where to vacation, into what is practical and what is not. Mocks idealists, dreamers, and utopians under the age of thirty who dream of a better world. Keeps up a social media drumbeat about how anyone who says anything against her idol is a misogynist who will be called out! Justifies her idol's every sell-out by repeating the same litany of sophisms, i.e., "Hillary knows how to get things done, Hillary is practical and will work with the other side, nothing can be had for free and those who promise it are delusional, Hillary has been there and done that, we cannot ask for more." Sees herself (she's typically an older female) as having come by every little scrap she's earned through her own efforts alone, nobody gave her anything for free, and goshdarnit, she's not going to stand for a candidate who promises stuff for free, she's with the "realist" candidate who says we can only do a little bit more, perhaps, it's best to preserve what we've already got (with the right Supreme Court justices in place we get to keep Planned Parenthood, yay!). Keeps herself at a slight distance from the scruffier youthful types, who, to be honest, scare her a bit with all the talk of the 1% and the 99%, she was not raised to grow up in an America defined by class warfare, what's next, revolution? What happens to the grandkids in a revolution? No, it has to be a firm, steady hand at the wheel, to keep things going as they are, we're still the greatest country on earth, right? And she's a woman, for god's sake, she's had to fight for every little privilege that's come her way, she's even had to put up with that philanderer Bill for a lifetime, and this wrinkly old socialist guy from Brooklyn thinks he's going to step in, grab hold of a party he doesn't even belong to, and just take it away from her?
It makes sense that this had to happen in New York, the home of the folks who gave us the intellectual justification for the endless war on terror, for hatred and violence in perpetuity around the world, for an economic system that enslaves everyone not lucky enough to know the rules of the elite and play by them. Of course this crash to reality had to happen in the center of the American media world, the publishing world, the artistic world, the financial world. And yet you want to blame Texas and those backward Southern states for making the wrong choices?
You've already got your own, your little bit of property, your free education (of course you got it for free if you're above, say, 40 or 50), but you want to roll up the welcome mat behind you, you want to be sure no one else gets what you got. You don't say it that way, of course, you rationalize it in the language of "realism" Hillary uses, but we get it, you've done nothing less than declare war on every humane value we believe in, you are determined to have this misery outlast the rest of our lives, you're determined that all this idealism and search for honesty and feminine values ends right away, right now, just as soon as Hillary takes over and starts some new wars or escalates another round of misery at home.
But you're wrong, wrong, wrong! We Berniebros will not give up so easily.
You, in the center of the world, or what passes for it, have nothing much to lose and everything to be afraid of. But what if those you think of as the masses, looking in from the outside, demand that they want some of what you have too? That's what this whole Hillary worship is about, isn't it, to stop that from happening?
To do what you have done is to acquiesce in the racism, imperialism, and classism of the Democratic party establishment, ever since it was taken over by the Clinton machine. And you went with that, not with the guy who told he was going to keep a distance from the stink, you went with the candidate who's right at the heart of the financial machinations to deprive everyone who is not part of the elite a fair shot at a decent life.
Thank you New York Hillarybots. Hang on to your Brooklyn brownstone and your Upper East Side digs because in the ravages of chaos and war and dislocation your macho candidate is going to engineer, you're going to have to keep close watch on every bit of what you've already got stashed away.
I promise you, we're not going away. We know that by voting for Hillary you compromised the health of planet earth by who knows what magnitude, because there is not a destructive policy she will not pursue in the name of capitalism. But in the end the small-minded ideology you represent will cease to exist, like your forerunners in either party who were enraged by the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The next Bernie Sanders will even look young and handsome like Justin Trudeau (your worst nightmare, right?), because either the earth as we know it ends, or we move into a more humane arrangement than you Hillarybots can abide. Both cannot be true. So goodbye Paul Krugman, goodbye New York poets and writers, goodbye all of you Hillarybots who showed us your true colors and made us see where not to look for allies.
And yes, your mockery, Hillarybots, of Bush and Palin and Mitt and Trump and Cruz has no meaning at all now. You are the problem, you've always been the problem, you in the Democratic party who've long supported the candidates of war and misery and debt. But just think, we have gone from Ralph Nader, unable to get on the debate stage, to 30,000-person rallies in the heart of the Hillarybot establishment in New York. There will be another Bernie, there will be countless Berniebros, who will finish the job and take us again to America's promise.
Anis Shivani's most recent books are Karachi Raj: A Novel, Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish: Poems, and Soraya: Sonnets (forthcoming June 2016). Both Sides of the Divide: Observing the Sublime and the Mundane in Contemporary American Writing will be out later this year.