Over the last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with an actual flood of recovered, horrible memories and the resulting somaticized pain that accompanies their discovery. What follows is a list of reasons I no longer have to listen to anymore privilege lectures from anyone unless they qualify with the conditions below. Try to make it through this whole list before you vomit.
1) I’m an actual childhood sex trafficking victim. Yeah. That’s my starter. Should be sufficient. Before you romanticize that or imagine it was less bad than it was, let me make things clear. It started when I was at least 6. My mom knew about it. My father was the one who sold me, and it happened SEVERAL times with multiple men at truck stops.
2) I was born the bastard of drug addicted psychopaths. My familial attempted kill count is now up 5 independently confirmed. These were not all the same family member. This does not count the drug fueled mock execution when I was six.
3) I’ve been homeless, my neighborhood was in a food desert, and I’ve lived in government housing. When my neighborhood finally got a library, it was an hour walk away and contained none of the classics.
4) I have severe chronic pain from the rapes, beatings and manual labor I endured as a small child. X-rays show the development of arthritis in my spine which doctors could not figure out the cause of until learning about the abuse.
5) I have gone hungry quite a lot of times. This was sometimes done on purpose to me by my mother to force me into the sex trafficking. I have permanent nutritional deficiencies.
6) My high school counselor told me people “like me” didn’t need to go to college. She was black. Working class whites are extremely under-represented in the media, and when they are portrayed, it has been in a degrading and derogatory manner (see: Shameless, Sons of Anarchy, The Outsiders). Because I’m mixed race and also not totally white, I often fail to pass even when I am in academic settings, where I speak the academic language. There are still words I mispronounce because I never heard them said out loud. When I got to college my classmates actively went around correcting my speech and speaking down to me. They called me “articulate.”
7) When I got to college, treatment for my mental illness, PTSD, was not covered by my insurance. No members of the mental health staff qualified to handle it. I am frequently interrogated by authority figures as to whether or not I even have PTSD. When they finally believe me, I am profiled because of it despite having put one of my abusers away for life.
8) I have been denied medical care because of my class background. I’ve been denied access to places because of my appearance.
9) When I got to college there were no support services for people like me because I was poor and white and therefore didn’t fall under the umbrella of existing organizations. I had to create those resources.
10) I’ve been pulled out of school to baby-sit my sister. I also had to teach myself how to read. I was the first in my family to go to college and had to figure out how to apply to on my own.When I took the SATs, I had to ask my friend’s mom for a ride because the only testing center was too far for the first bus to reach in time.
These are just ten off the top of my head. For the last many years I’ve been getting privilege lectures from people who claim that my white privilege somehow protected me from the horrors I’ve been trying to be upfront about.
Instead of letting me speak, many of you thought it was better FOR THE CHILDHOOD SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM to be told that her white privilege made her irrelevant.
All of these things happened to me in California.
I did not live through the Dustbowl.
So from here on out, the only people allowed to give me any privilege lectures are those that can check ALL OF THESE off their personal lists. And I would suggest that maybe the rich only lecture each other and keep their mouths shut around the poor. I didn’t hide these facts about myself; I was ignored and gaslighted into silence. From now on, if you have some residual societal anger you wish to express you can punch upwards and take them out on someone who has power. Taking them out on me just makes you part of the sociopathic brigade that has destroyed my body but not my spirit.
YOU TRIFLIN’ BITCHES HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO DESTROY THAT BECAUSE I AM A GODDAMN WIZARD AND A MUTANT. Be grateful I am not also vengeful.
Or am I?
I’ve be re-learning how to cry. Or rather, I’ve been crying uncontrollably in public while I walk down the streets of Los Angeles because apparently when you repress everything for 28 years to survive, eventually your body rebels and betrays you.
So as I was sobbing uncontrollably after an acupuncture appointment in the middle of day, in yoga pants and wearing the kind of sunglasses that make New Yorkers long for their dungeons, I thought a lot about how this probably looked.
What did she have to cry about?
This little white girl in her yoga pants.
It’s only been ten months since I left my PhD program and started getting called a trophy wife. I think about this as I lie in bed sobbing because its been days since I’ve been able to move. And worse still, days since I’ve been able to read and write.
But if you looked at me on the street you wouldn’t know this. And if you saw me crying, you wouldn’t know that its because for the last few months, as I’ve been working my way up Maslow’s hierarchy, I’ve finally had to face the painful realities of my life. Twenty-seven painful, brutal years, that I can never get back.
How bad could my problems have been?
Well I was born the bastard of a meth addicted teenage mother with a sadistic streak. And she married a man that held a gun to my head when I was an infant and she threatened to leave. And he kicked her down a flight of stairs while I was still in her arms because I was the constant reminder of his failure. And this only half the times I know for a fact that an adult tried to kill me. She left him for beating her , only to move on to a pedophile that the D.A told us was a “2 percenter” in the seriousness of his crimes and pyschopathy. She didn’t leave him until I made it about my sister, she had long known and was complicit in what he’d done to me. I put him away when I was 13 after 10 years of sexual, physical and verbal violence. Which makes it sound nicer than it is, because its better described as torture. And when he left, my big sister took over the physical abuse and the rest of my family? They kept up the verbal abuse. The systematic hate they heaped on me because I was the constant reminder of what we were. They kept it going even while I was in college at Stanford (ever got called a whore by your grandfather before trying to deliver the eulogy of your prematurely dead grandmother during midterm season? I have).
All this time I was living the most ridiculous stereotypes you have of the poor. If the poor person were in a third world country. Like the fact that I now have permanent nutritional deficiencies because of what I didn’t eat in my youth. Or the fact that I almost died from a disease we eradicated in the 1960s. Or the fact that I went to a high school with no textbooks, where violence was the norm and where my counselor told me “people like [me]” didn’t need to go to college. I know the exact procedure for a drive by and how to make a prison shank. You wouldn’t know this by looking at me, and if I tried to explain, you’d say, “but she’s white.”
But don’t worry. It’s happened hundreds of times. I get that it’s not what I look like.
I should, statistically have been a crack whore, and I’m not.
No, I’m a Stanford grad. Twice.
And you wouldn’t know that by looking at me either. You wouldn’t know about how alone and alienated I felt. About the work I did to make sure no one who was poor like me would ever have to suffer like I did. You didn’t watch me dedicate my few healthy days to research and to advocating for the poor. You didn’t see me dragged in on administrative meetings designed to silence me. And you didn’t watch me fight behind the scenes all those years to be included in discussions about oppression. Or to be called what I was, because the administration tells you they expect you to be ashamed of what you are. Not first gen. Not even low income, as if you can sanitize reality to make it go away. “I’m poor white trash.” I tell the admin this before they introduce me at a Stanford staff training.
I do it because the look of horror has begun to amuse me. I do it because I know how lies lead to oppression. I do it because of the words, “what happens in this house stays in this house.” Words I heard after a beating because Child Protective Services is investigating. You wouldn’t know about the nights I woke up crying in my sleep in my dorm room, unable to speak because I knew if my classmates knew the real reason, it’d only”make them uncomfortable.” I start to enjoy their discomfort. I get very good at never telling anyone what is actually going on because I’m so afraid they can’t handle it. I try to find positive pathways to manage the two pieces of me, I go into education. Eventually I’m ripped into more than two pieces.
I made sure no one was around when I worked at the high school and they expelled a boy who was “living under a bridge doing meth” because “he’s an adult now.” He was sixteen. He loved Black Flag. He still had his baby fat and fear in his eyes. He reminds me of my brother. You didn’t see me as I privately went to go cry when there was nothing left I could do. And when I get into grad school that year my boss will question my right to a fellowship for the poor who want to be teachers focused on saving those kids.
“But she’s white.”
I finally enter the classroom and no one sees me throw up in-between classes. Because I’m good, I’m so good at covering up what I’m feeling because my mom laughed at me when I cried. And if it isn’t safe to cry in front of your mom, its not safe to cry in front of anyone. And because you don’t know this, you don’t know how much I’m struggling in graduate school. How many times I’ve been dragged into meetings because my classmates don’t like that I make them feel inferior. They didn’t know that I had spent my whole life feeling inferior. And when they look for an excuse to kick me they’ll use my health even though they admit I’m excelling academically.
“We don’t see how you could be doing so well if you are that sick.”
“I can perform under just about any conditions, I’ve been doing it my whole life.”
I’m a walking and talking cause of cognitive dissonance. I learn how to identify when it is happening and to push through. It’s my secret weapon in the classroom.
You can’t tell from looking at me, how bad my health is. You can’t tell that I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 25 because my family told me I was making it up and because my doctors don’t believe uneducated trailer trash women. When I’m finally diagnosed, it’s a genetic condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia adds to my fun. When I’m finally diagnosed, my doctor is angry because the damage and conditions are so obvious. Just like that time my mom almost let me die from pneumonia because I was being dramatic when I told her I couldn’t breathe. I was prepared to “fake” my way right to my death, but then it becomes visible. And before long, I am in a wheelchair, braced up, and told it’s game over. This is my new normal. This is my new normal because no one believed me because of what I looked like. I learn that my class matters when my aunt dies the summer before Stanford. She was 50. They caught her cancer too late to stop it because they didn’t believe in her pain. I learn that too, when my cousin kills himself that summer and I go to grief counseling only to be told it was “expected for someone from his background.” It’s not until I can wear my Stanford shirt to the doctors that I can finally start self advocating because they finally start listening.
And when I stay in the classroom after the repression and years of neglect to my health takes it toll, you didn’t see me struggle to stand while I taught my students complex historical thought. When I finally have no choice but to leave, I spend three years in recovery. Not working was never an option for me, despite what my advisors and more privileged friends seemed to believe. Because you see, to heal in a safe space, I would have needed a safe family and that was never an option. So instead of healing, I bounce from one explotiative relationship to another. First my parents torment me and under feed me until I get a concussion, then my fiance crosses the line into what my friends called rape, and then a former teacher exploits my labor. By the end of my “year off” I’m still profoundly sick. I’m off to a PhD program in battered conditions.
I leave because I can’t imagine it’ll ever be any different.
I leave because I don’t know how I’ll be safe if I don’t find somewhere to hide.
I leave because god damnit, I miss an intellectual life.
They apparently couldn’t tell from my application that I had applied in a post-concussive state with spotty internet and money I raised from friends from undergrad. They didn’t see it in my application, when my mother mocked me and my step-dad told me to give up. They didn’t see me write my personal statement about school segregation while unable to walk and they didn’t see the experiences I had drawn from, the ones so familiar to me that to talk about them sounded like a fish talking about water.
And so I move away to grad school and not long after I drop out. And lots of friends have lots of opinions about it. But they didn’t see how sick I was. That my hair was falling out. They didn’t see how bored and tokenized I felt. They didn’t see the professor who was inappropriate, again. They didn’t see me get excluded from the very thing I was there to study because I was white. And when they called me white, they didn’t see a bastard from a multi-ethnic family, or the Indian blood that flows through my veins as a result of interracial marriage. They saw a white girl in a PhD program who went to Stanford. And so they were wrong about half of me.
And you wouldn’t know it from looking at my husband, but it’s him that’ll finally save me. You wouldn’t think he sees beauty from pain, just from looking at him but he falls in love with my pain all the same. If you just looked at our demographics, you might be confused as to how we got together, even though we are both certain it was fated to be. Neither one of us believes in fate. We’re both atheists. You wouldn’t know that by looking at us either.
You didn’t watch us plan a wedding around a strong desire to avoid my family. We elope instead because I’m too scared to be in public with any of them. And some folks judged me when I got married and moved to Los Angeles and cut off my whole family. Because they didn’t see the continuing abuse and boundary violations. And they didn’t watch my husband find me a new number and address. And its because you don’t know how badly I wanted to escape my name and my past, you judged me when I took his name. They didn’t have to walk me through repressed memories as I began to deal with my life, they didn’t see how expertly he did it.
And if you saw me on the street today, you’d have all kinds of cute labels. None of which would tell you how I continued my activism even when I was homeless. They won’t show you the hours I continued to mentor former students while I was incredibly sick. Lots of people assume I’m stupid because of what I look like, because boobs and intelligence are somehow mutually exclusive.
I tell you all of this, so that no one will have to go through what I went through. But also because I am afraid. I am afraid that we live in a world that no longer sees the virtues of breaking down the walls that divide and hide us. I am afraid that we are hurting everyone who doesn’t look like our statistics by demanding that they justify their existence, as I often have to do. “Where the fuck are you from” and “What are you” because my origins don’t fit into the preconceived narratives we’ve allowed to define us. But I’m also sad, because I want all of you to actually see how beautiful life is outside the bounds of these walls. The places of complexity and nuance. The places and people that cause cognitive dissonance, that make our civilization more complex and real by showing the absurdity of our systems. Because humans aren’t statistics and because demographic data doesn’t define reality And I’m afraid we’ve bowed to absurdity because we can’t stop yelling and hating and excluding. I learned one thing from being in a house where everyone yells at you, no one can hear you when they are yelling.
Every time someone points out that the walls are ultimately constructed, we are forced to remember that they can be torn down.
And if the only good that comes out of my experiences is that I’m part of the wrecking crew, it will have been worth it.
Let me explain something to you, to all of you on the left. I hate the vast majority of you. I think your ideologies are stupid and that half the time you are acting as the oppressor. Every single leftist connected group and organization has does something actively horrible and oppressive, personally, to me over the last 28 years. But if Trump tries to oppress you, I still consider it my responsibility to try to stop it the best I can, because that’s what a real leader does.
I ain’t Mexican but if Trump comes for Mexican people I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him come for the Mexican people I love, and if you don’t have anyone who fits that demographic that you love, maybe you are the problem.
I ain’t queer but if Trump comes for queer people, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him come for the queer people that I love and if you don’t feel that way about people you claim to love, maybe you are part of the problem.
I ain’t black but if Trump comes for black people, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him do that shit on my watch without any opposition. You don’t come for people I love without my fighting like hell for you.
I have people I love in every marginalized group in the leftist coalition and I have since I was a kid and we fucking look out for each other. He comes for one of us, he comes for all of us.
But even if I didn’t have people that I loved in these categories, even if I hadn’t experienced poverty and gender violence and oppression firsthand, I would still fight anyone who would seek to hurt other human beings because that is the right thing to do. It is just the right thing to do. Everything I have ever done in social justice has been for someone else. I did not benefit in any tangible way from starting FLIP. I alienated myself socially, professionally, and personally defending the marginalized. I have a list of actual physical beatings I have taken for other people and injuries I’ve endured defending the defenseless. I did this stuff while I was homeless, while I was sick, while I was myself being tortured and abused. I don’t do any of this shit for me or what I can get out of it and I sure as fuck don’t do it for my mental health. This is service, if you aren’t willing to do it, that’s fine. This isn’t for everyone and I respect that, but if you call yourself a leader then the first thing you need to learn is that it isn’t about you. If your work costs you nothing, I doubt it is as subversive as you think it is.
I don’t stand in solidarity with specific groups or ideologies. I don’t have particularly strong affinities for any of your parties or for the work that most of the left does. I’ve never had a home on the left, and the left has done almost as much to oppress me as the conservatives. I do my work in solidarity with the people and the children. If you can’t handle doing that, it’s not something I would brag about and it certainly isn’t a legitimate policy position for a movement to have.
And before you lecture me about self care, I don’t want to hear it. I’ve been going through a hell that none of you can even imagine over the last month and I have still managed to be strategic and thoughtful in my organizing. Let me tell you about some memories that I’ve been battling over the last month and half since Trump has been elected and you guys have been whining about the mourning you still have to while giving a fascist advanced warning of terrorist acts that you half-assedly planned. I’ll name just three, but there are more. 1) It turns out that my family has tried to kill me on four separate occasions all occurring before the age of 13, two of which happened when I was an infant. 2) When I was 9, I was so violently raped by my father as punishment for resisting his advances that I needed 6 stitches in my vagina. My own mother helped him cover it up. 3) I was trafficked as a child more than once , at least as early as 8.
I’ve been spending the last month and half processing all of that while listening you guys whine and complain and give privilege lectures, and you guys can’t even be bothered to properly plan things so that you don’t screw over the working class with your bullshit. So look, if you don’t want to stand in solidarity with all childhood trafficking victims, and everyone who has gone hungry and anyone who might be the target of state repression, then fine. Now you are corroborating with the oppression of others. And if you are doing that, frankly, I’m not terribly interested in your help or your opinion about anything.
Don’t you think it works to Trump’s interest if we are constantly doing this to each other? They are planning for us to do this and you are playing right into their hands. Divide and conquer is a very old strategy indeed. But you guys aren’t actually interested in doing anything to stop him are you? Because you live in a magical land where the consequences never affect you and where the working class will take all of the bullets for you anyway. You’ve lived there for so long that you can’t even properly plan basic safety tips for a protest during a Republican administration. We don’t need more “leaders” who put their own needs first. We don’t need more “leaders” who expect other people to act as their cannon fodder or pawns. That is not good leadership, that is childish. This is service. You are here to serve. If you are not here to serve then WE DON’T NEED YOU. You are no good to us until you get the ability to make decisions that will put other people’s needs first. Social justice is not a brand. It is not a t-shirt you put on or something you wear when it is convenient. Social justice is about liberating the actual people who aren’t free yet, and if you have the luxury to say, “I won’t be disciplined and thoughtful enough to do what is needed to free the most people that I can” or “I won’t be adult enough to put aside my own feelings for the good of others in the name of liberation” then I don’t know what form of imprisonment you’ve experienced but it was very different from the one I experienced.
When you are hungry, there is no room for error.
When they can and do torture you, there is no room for error.
When the consequence is death, there is no room for error.
When rape is a form of punishment, there is no room for error.
You sure as fuck don’t make mistakes because you are too lazy to plan if it means someone is going to kill you, what is even more monstrous is to make these mistakes on someone else’s behalf when the consequences don’t affect you. Do you know what it is like to be threatened with someone else’s pain and to offer to take the beating instead? I do.
My bottom line is this: all this theoretical bullshit was fine when it was on your college campuses and no one was getting hurt. But if you become a reason that people might get hurt, even if it’s because you are incompetent instead of just straight evil, then you are right that we aren’t in solidarity with each other. Because I consider you part of the problem and you can either get your shit together or else you can find out just how fiercely I fight on behalf of the oppressed.
Here’s something I know about all of you, you hit like a bitch.
There are a lot of skill gaps among folks on the left that need to be addressed if we are going to deal with the problems we now face as a result of the fact that the Democratic party can’t get its shit together. Therefore, I am reluctantly coming out of retirement to start addressing those issues since no one else has stepped up to do it and everyone is running around still acting like delusional morons and pretending we didn’t just get our asses handed to us electorally. Instead of spending the last month and a half grieving this loss and coping with the fact that my holiday season involved the unlocking of memories that included my family trying to kill me, I’ve been busy trying to organize and think through the best way to do this. I kept coming back to the fact that we’ve failed to communicate to people in a language they understand. Since text, and especially academic text, is accessible to only a small portion of the population we are now adding a video series on organizing in the age of Trump. Fans of my actual writing will still see long form essays. We are also looking to expand voices that aren’t normally heard by the left. I’m especially interested in giving space to working class writers who can’t get published elsewhere. If that sounds like you, please email Mrs.Raffin at protonmail.com.
Wake up and get to work.
For more videos check out the You Gon Learn channel.
I’m conducting a funeral tomorrow. Another poor white person who died sooner than they should have. Don’t send me any condolences or words of praise for what a good friend I am for doing this. It’s my best friend’s dad and she didn’t know him. She describes learning how much she looked like him, she just now saw a picture. No condolences are needed because this is old hat for me by now. It’s not the first time I’ve conducted this service, though it will be the first time in an AA trailer in Arizona, but I can’t imagine it’ll be much different from a Hof Brau in Sacramento. The working classes are funny like that. Seems like no matter the time or place we all hold some things in common. A resignation towards death binds us together.
When you want to say you love someone you don’t say you’ll die for them, you say you’d kill for them. Death is ever present, and we’ve stared it in the face before. Because we know what violence feels like, we also understand how violence maims your soul and makes you less human. We understand the sacrifice to your soul and honor. When you are poor all you have is your soul and honor. For that we will fight fiercely.
But do you know what we fight most fiercely for? Each other. I will happily tolerate abuse perpetrated against me, but come for someone I love and you won’t survive the encounter. I’m ruthless and brutal for the people. I’ve been fighting against monsters for as long as I know. What can they threaten me with that I haven’t already endured? Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. So I wasn’t scared when Trump got elected. I did the same thing my people have done throughout history and I woke up the next morning and got to work.
Trump is nothing new to us. We’ve been going to work with racist, sexist, classist bosses since the dawn of time. The next time someone tells me they shouldn’t have to talk to those people, I really hope they are organizing a waitressing union, because unless they are, it all sounds sort of ridiculous. Going to school and hearing hurtful stuff is not new to me. I had elementary school teachers call me trash and keep me out of advanced classes. I’ve watched other colleagues do that. I’ve healed the children you all failed to protect. Kids like my middle schoolers who weren’t terrified when they saw the images of Emmett Till. “It’s cool Ms. C., I saw my uncle get shot.” This is what we’ve been putting 11 years old through. And they’ve endured things you can’t even imagine. They endured it and still maintain joy. My working class friends laugh more than my rich friends. I can’t tell sometimes whether it is madness or not, but goddamn it is a beautiful madness.
I carry the hatred of both sides that I’ve inherited from a lifetime of oppression. I know that the same leftists now that point the finger at working class whites are the same ones that told me I shouldn’t be upset about my cousin’s death because as a poor person, his life wasn’t worth much. And the folks on the right? You think we haven’t seen men like Trump before? Did you think that 13 year old he raped and who had been trafficked was rich? So, much of the hysteria seems sort of ridiculous to me. You didn’t know this country had problems before this election? What kind of magical fantasy land are you living in and why aren’t you sharing? I’m seeing so many people talk about how they shouldn’t have to talk to anyone they disagree with. I didn’t know we had the option. I thought we were just supposed to say “yes, sir” to the boss while secretly plotting over dinner. The left is scrabbling right now to understand what has gone wrong. They can’t figure out why so many people stayed home and didn’t want to vote for them. They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong with their messaging and besides that, everyone who challenges them is just dumb.
I think about their reluctance to deal with dissent when I think about the millions of people that died during Mao’s Great Leap Forward because no one wanted to deviate from the party line and explain that the poor were dying in mass. Worst famine in human history. My aversion to that rhetoric comes from knowing history, but it also comes from knowing that I can’t doing anything alone. That this country is at its best when we all stand together for the common good. You learn about the common good when you are poor. If you are unwilling to engage with your community, you literally starve.
I had to go to Ross to buy a plain black dress for this funeral. I’ve shopped there my whole life. For those who have not had the pleasure, Ross is a department store for the working classes. I looked around at how diverse the store was. The Russian family in front of us, my gay Asian checkout clerk, the Hispanic man running security. Shoppers across the rainbow. But I knew this about the working classes, the ways we’ve always defied the norms and intermarried. I remember how shocked I was when I got to Stanford and saw so few interracial couples. I don’t have enough space to list all the times my family members have married someone who isn’t the same color or ethnicity as us. But many of us don’t identify by colors, many of us identify with a class struggle that we’ve felt in on together.
My high school used to have race riots. Together, with the leaders of the black community, we prevented that from happening in my four years there. I did it while spending holidays talking to my conservative grandmother and finding common ground with her beliefs. I grew up thinking this was completely normal. I lean so heavily on those skills when I speak, and I know it’s that skill that we need most.
It seems funny to me that I saw people saying they can’t be expected to engage with the Trump folks because they are still experiencing grief. I think about how I conducted my grandmother’s funeral and went back to Stanford and took my midterms without anyone close to me even knowing I was gone. I didn’t have the luxury of not going to work after death and neither does the rest of the working classes. The poor have never had a President that came from their roots and continued to love them while in power, so waking up to a President that hates us as much as Trump does, feels the same way waking up in this country every other day does. Except we know that if his power goes unchecked that it is us he will come for. All those kids at Ivy League institutions who didn’t go to class the next morning are completely safe because of who their parents are, and every time they fail to acknowledge that and fail to take that power and privilege and use it for the working classes is a time they are continuing to corroborate in our oppression. And that folks, is why the working classes hates the left so much. We hate the right too, but appreciate that “at least they are honest.” The explanation for why the movement in the 60s was ground to halt that I was raised with, is that the college students started spitting on soldiers. They started demonizing the working classes. That’s how you get Nixon’s. That’s how you get Trump’s.
And so now we enter another cycle, one which I have warned was coming. One which, as I wrote in my last final for Stanford, “as in all things in history, it’s the peasants who get screwed.”
I see so many people pointing the fingers outside themselves, calling everyone but themselves racists. But I have to let you in on a real secret, I know very few people from Stanford that I don’t consider at least closet bigots. And I also know from experience and the exit poll data that it was my rich friend’s parents that actually elected Trump. I know how easy it is for them to talk the talk. I’ve watched them change their minds with the times, and I’m sure many of them will have a conservative reawakening soon as it becomes socially acceptable to do so.
I think I speak for the working classes everywhere when I say we’ve had enough of talk. The only thing I’m interested in now is action. The only people I trust now are the people who have been down for the people the entire time. The only people I want fighting alongside me are the ones I know won’t waver in the face of danger.
Because I know who they are coming to oppress. It’ll be us.
So, before you put us on the front line, please have the decency to think about your message. Love us enough to plan appropriately. Take on the leadership to protect your own people. Good leaders don’t put their vulnerable people in harm’s way over their feels. Good leaders volunteer for things that aren’t their responsibility. Good leaders have no idea why people keep telling them they are a good person for doing the right thing because they know that it is just what is has to be done.
You are right that you shouldn’t have to do this. You are right that you shouldn’t have to engage people you find hateful. You are right that we shouldn’t have to demand or ask for our rights. You are right that we shouldn’t have to turn the other cheek. You are right that a lot of people in this country believe some incredibly dangerous stuff.
But I don’t want to be right anymore. I want to win.
I have to win.
I have to win because if I don’t, I know the consequences for our loss will fall on the shoulders of people I love.
And that is the only cause I’ve ever been willing to kill for. People will fight more fiercely out of love than they ever could over hate. I know this too, from years and years of taking on fights that weren’t my own. You don’t know pain and leadership until the day you volunteer to take the blows that were designed for someone else. You don’t know love until the day you realize watching people get beat is more painful than taking the beating yourself.
I must have been four.
I voted for her during the primaries in 2012 (and happily switched my vote to Obama when the time came). At the time I didn’t think her’s and Obama’s platform were that different and I thought she had a better shot of being effective. I was wrong. So when I got the chance to vote for a real democratic socialist (I’m not a Marxist you guys, at best I’m a moderate European style socialist, so Sanders was the closest I’ve gotten to vote for my ideals ever) I took it, expecting him to lose and to be working for the party, as I have for every election since I was 18, in the fall. I was ready to happily support Clinton. Then our shit show of a primary happened, the party disenfranchised and demobilized their own people and now I’m stuck trying to defend and support someone whose best claim to the office is just that she’s not Hitler. And I’ve been doing that job because I know that it’s innocent people who will be hurt by his presidency and not the rich party establishment. But some of Clinton’s supporters aren’t making my job any easier, so I’m asking you to help me, help you.
The most efficient way to start that would be for you guys to get some message discipline together and stop alienating people with your self righteousness and bigotry.
Which means you have to stop talking about “coal people.”
No more comments about how irredeemable half the country is.
No more alienating the left and telling them they can’t criticize her (if she can’t be criticized, she’s the fascist).
You don’t put an establishment candidate with a bad track record up against Hitler. You put a Saint up against him. And we had one and not only was he dismissed and treated poorly by the media, but his supporters were demobilized, suppressed, mocked and ridiculed. So now she has a situation where she has to earn people back who were voting for Sanders because of how good a person he is and she’s running around talking about how half of her opponents’ supporters (quarter of the country is how people heard that, btw) are irredeemable.
It’s her job to be the good guy this election and she’s gotten away with being pretty far from perfect. Frankly, if she weren’t up against Trump she’d have already been disqualified from several things she’s done this election, including the party’s suppression of their own people’s votes. And I say this as someone who is helping to register voters for her. I’m not Bernie or Bust but we can’t really afford these mistakes right now. We can’t afford to have her alienating people like this if she plans to be president, and if she can’t muster message discipline then she doesn’t deserve to be president anymore than he does.
But I also have a bigger issue with this comment and I’ll explain why.
If half of Trump supporters are irredeemable because they are racist and sexist than more than half this country and some percentage of Hilary Clinton supporters (half? A quarter? You don’t want to know my estimate) are also irredeemable. Just because they say things in academic language doesn’t change the nature of what they say. A Black Democrat told me people like me didn’t need to go to college and it was Bill Clinton that instituted and carried most of the tough on crime polices that are leading to over incarceration and police brutality.
Who’s the bigger racist?
1) the old man sitting in a trailer park watching Fox News all day waiting to die on his meager Social Security payout while watching his children die from drug ods and poverty who says stuff like, “I hate n——” in that trailer.
2) the real estate agent in the Bay Area who didn’t sell houses to black people in Palo Alto and who I’m sure was an incredibly nice person and usually a democrat who said things like, “oh, they just aren’t comfortable living next to black people.”
I think they are both about equally racist and equally disturbing and equally in need of education but one has more power to carry their racism out than other. And that’s how systemic racism works and frankly systemic racism, classism and sexism have all done far more damage to me and the kids I grew up with than the racists in Rio Linda. Those people we could just laugh at and ignore, not the case when it’s your principal who calls you trash and keeps you locked out of AP classes.
KKK violent level racists are rare and we all think they are abhorrent but “half” of Trump supporters don’t fall into that category anymore than the tech dudes who don’t hire black people but who won’t vote for Trump do. And even if they did, I’m about a hundred percent certain that with the right resources we could reform even the most virulently racist asshole in the bunch, but I can’t do that work and the rest of the anti-racists can’t do that work if we tell these people that they are “irredeemable.” Irredeemable means unteachable and inhumane and its just NOT acceptable for the next president of the United States to call half of her own citizens irredeemable in any context, but it’s especially not acceptable to scapegoat them for racism when she hasn’t exactly been and her supporters haven’t exactly been anti-racist champions. If they had the perfect high ground on that one then maybe it’d be ok but even then I’d tell them to stop because this is an election year and we can’t afford those kinds of mistakes when our opponent is Hitler. If it’s going to alienate a huge percentage of Americans and we don’t stand to benefit from doing it then I don’t know why we are doing it. It’s important to remember that most of these Trump supporters are somebody’s grandma or Dad. So even if you think their beliefs are truly abhorrent, there’s really no good reason to refer them as “irredeemable.”
There’s no room for error right now and she’s been given more room than just about any past candidate in living memory because frankly, she’s had enough scandals that would have taken out previous candidates. I mean, Gary Heart got disqualified for a picture of his mistress on his lap. I’ve had to push down my personal bar for candidates so far, I’m not even sure where it is anymore. We aren’t exactly a forgiving people about election scandals and she’s had a lot. And I suppose it’s better for society that we have been forgiving about that because our other option is Trump but it’s not something I’d point out to the average American if you want their help.
This is her job and this is also America where you get fired if you don’t do her job so I don’t want to (and no other working class person does either) wants to hear about how hard her job is. Obama, FDR, Carter, none of these people ever complained about having to do their job and they had pretty serious circumstances to work through. Real leaders don’t make excuses, they just do what has to be done. Real leaders educate.
Dealing with these people and educating the masses is part of her job, and if she can’t do it then I suggest they bring on someone to the campaign who can because they keep alienating working people with the stuff they say and we don’t have time for this.