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    February 2018
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It got so bad we had to ban the word “racist”

Ezra Klein interviews Amy Chua about American tribalism today. Highly recommended.

Amy doesn’t let the progressive side off the hook. I think she’s got a clue. But I’d like to point out my own experience with progressives, which is MY side, the side I’m most closely aligned to to describe what happened to us that caused us to become Democrats in Exile in 2008.

The reason this blog was created was because I was forced off DailyKos where I was a trusted user and frequently recommended diarist because I was a Clinton supporter. I’ve written before about what happened and if you’re interested in going back to the beginning in 2008 and reading through the thousands of blog posts, you’ll get a pretty good understanding about how that happened.

I don’t regret anything I said or did that got my trusted user status decremented to less than zero in a few short hours. I wasn’t the first Clinton supporter that got that treatment nor was I the last. But I did have an annoying habit of piping up and saying, “hey, the recommended list is being flooded by all these pro Edwards diaries and then pro Obama diaries. And it’s happening in the exact same way. And look at that! The exact same people are favoriting these diaries within seconds of them being posted. And wow, look at all the love bombing of the conversion diaries. What’s up with that??”

I could have kept my mouth shut but you know me, I just couldn’t help myself. In retrospect, I think we can see that what happened on DailyKos in 2008 was a precursor to what happened in 2016 when a very determined and most likely payed bunch of trolls and infiltrators took over the site and pushed all other points of view off. You either went along for the ride or they would descend on your account and force you out through stripping you of your trusted user status to the point where the administrators shut you off.

And I could see it was coming from Obama supporters overwhelmingly and it reminded me of a jihad. And by that, dear readers, I was thinking of the Moors who tried to conquer Europe back in the dark ages by forced conversion. But that word, “jihad”, was immediately siezed upon as a “racist” word. It was not intended to be one at all. It was merely uniquely descriptive of what was going on.

So, I started The Confluence, which was fine by me. I got a lot of people from DailyKos who found me and helped get the word out that at this site, you didn’t have to be ashamed of liking Hillary for being a great candidate with experience and good policy.

Then we watched in horror as the obama coalition took over the party and tried to force us out. And one of the ways they did this was by forcing us to make a decision: if we didn’t bow to Obama because we didn’t think he was ready and we didn’t trust the groups who were forcing him down our throats, we were racists.

Yes, we were instantly racists.

These people knew NOTHING about us and I explicitly told every writer on this blog, “no racist memes, no personal attacks, nothing unverified” on this site and they were very good at sticking to that.

Then the Rules committee meeting happened in May and the gloves came off. Almost every day, we had some asshole obama troll (could have been Republicans just trying to sow division) come here and tell us that if we didn’t jump on Obama’s bandwagon that we were racists.

It got to be so offensive. And I’m sure that was part of the plan. The Obama boyz were using the word racist to stampede the true liberal Democrats into joining his team because who in their right mind wants to be associated with racism?? It’s disgusting.

And the Republican operatives (and I’m sure there were many on these sites) wanted to just offend everyone else so they would be turned off their kibble when it came to the Democratic Party.

But the worst offenders were the progressives who insisted without any evidence that any criticism of obama was the same as racism, latent or overt. They even went so far as to make shit up like accusing the Clinton campaign of darkening Obama’s picture. Really? REALLY??

When the trolls descended on this site, trying to shut up our support of Clinton and throwing that word around non-stop, I put an end to it. I put the word on the moderation list. If you use it, your comment gets thrown into the moderation queue until I can get around to approving it. I approve it only if it is in context and not provocative.

There were three very negative outcomes to the weaponization of the word “racist” by the progressives between 2008-2016:

  1. It masked true racism. Oh, yes, racism didn’t go away. If anything, it got worse. Shooting young black men without due process got to be an epidemic. And I’m sorry, but Obama was no Martin Luther King Jr. He was an aspirational President, not a get down into the problem and solve it President. It was the way he did all his policies. No Drama Obama. Don’t rock the boat. Put everything on the table and allow the Cut throat Republicans eviscerate it until everything from stimulus package to Obamacare was as anemic as possible.
  2. It made any criticism of him impossible from the progressive side. We put up with that anemia because any time we spoke out, we were called racists. Like I said before, I don’t rule out Republican trolls from jumping on this because it was incredibly effective to promoting their own agenda.
  3. Democrats lost a LOT of people. Tons. They went to the Tea Party. Now, you might say that these working class lunkheads were latent racists but I disagree. Not all of them were. What many of them were was angry that the progressives decided that instead of hearing their concerns, they’d rather stuff a sock in it. Instead of putting their anger to good use by pushing back, they picked up their balls and joined the other team. I didn’t like it but what could you do? They knew they weren’t wanted.

Tribalism? Yeah, progressives helped polarize us.

And don’t forget that Donna “I have no principles but money” Brazile told Paul Begala back in May 2008 that this was the strategy. The Democratic strategy as proposed by the Obama contingent was lose the “old coalition” of working class and some southern voters for the “new coalition” of egg heads and African Americans. I was at a YearlyKos meeting in Las Vegas in 2006 when an egg head consultant got up and pretty much said that the south was a waste of the party’s time and we should write it off. Mudcat Saunders told him he was crazy to cut loose a bunch of voters but egg head man wouldn’t hear it.

So, the tea party picked up many old coalition voters that the Democrats didn’t want in their tribe anymore and the ban on the word “racist” remains in effect even today.

The good thing is that you can still discuss racism on The Confluence. But it’s not weaponized here. It isn’t used in support of one politician to the detriment of any other politician or their followers. And you won’t find that many trolls here. Occasionally, I let a couple have their say. It’s useful to figure out how to defeat poisonous memes and letting a few through is desirable for that purpose.

But since 2008, this site has been monitored by myself and others to keep out bots and trolls who try to mess with the users here and use psychological manipulation techniques to get them to question their values. And this applies to the right AND the left. We’ve also had our share of Russian trolls. They don’t come around as much anymore because I don’t put up with it.

Nevertheless, the damage is done. We are a highly polarized country now. It wasn’t just the right or the Russians. We, the left, did this to ourselves. There are many sites on the left that have a lot to answer for. I don’t go to those sites anymore. I don’t link to them. I have no interest in directing my friends to places where they won’t know they’re being manipulated before it’s too late. But let’s not kid ourselves, EVERYONE has a button that is vulnerable to pushing by forces with an agenda.

I’ll leave you with this tweet I saw on Twitter yesterday that sums up how vigilant we have to be:

That’s what it’s going to take. We have to protect ourselves with our own values. We can’t expect Facebook or Twitter or DailyKos or the New York Times to do it for us.

Write down what you believe in, put it into a list, and stick to it. Question anyone who tries to stampede you into taking a side that doesn’t agree with that list.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder about the Obots and the new coalition strategy of 2008. I’ve always thought you should publish your Confluence pieces from then. Over the years many have gone to huge lengths to stop Hillary.

  2. I knew the word “racist” was weaponized because I cringed when even Hillary used it in 2016.

  3. I said this before but I will say it again: I received more death threats from Obots than Tea Baggers, though the ammosexuals are gaining in the race. 2007– began as infuriating year and it still burns me up.

  4. I remember those days so well. A couple of my favorite posts were the ones you wrote about Truman lunch box Democrats as opposed to the Stevenson/Academia Democrats. History repeats itself.

  5. I now wonder if Mommie Dearest Russia wasn’t sabotaging our country’s politics even then.

  6. You might find this story from the Chicago Tribune interesting. The proposal to build the Obama Presidential Library near the University of Chicago is dividing neighbors. Some of the African-Americans who live near the university are being called “anti-black” because of their concerns about the changes to their neighborhood which includes building a parking garage on the Midway Plaisance.



    • Yes, yes, having legitimate objections to a parking garage makes any african American anti-black. What could be more black than a parking garage? Exactly, there’s none blacker.

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