Stop Treating Me Like I’m Stupid

I’m a pretty good soldier. I always vote, and I always vote Democratic. With my positions on literally everything, before Trump, before the Tea Party, even before both Bushes, I could really never vote Republican, and I care too much to not vote at all, or log a third-party vote that’s purely a protest. So I’ll vote on the Working Families Party line because we have fusion voting here in New York State, and I may vote for someone like Bernie Sanders, who isn’t the establishment candidate, in the primary, but I’m never going to do anything that’s going to hurt the Democratic candidate’s chances in the long run, or the party, unless and until there’s a viable alternative, because 2016 Election. For the record, I saw that coming a mile away. I called out Bernie people on the stupid things that they were doing and saying, warning them not to make Hillary unelectable. I didn’t love her and everything she stood for by any means, but she had to win, and for those of you who didn’t get why before, I hope now you do. Welcome to the shit show that is at least the next 2-4 years.

So this is meant with if not with all love and affection then with a devotion born out of basically no other option, when I say, Democratic Party, please, stop treating me like I’m an idiot. What I’m referring to, mainly, are your emails, Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governor’s Association, and yes, even you a bit, MoveOn. You see it seems like, since the election, rather than analyzing what went wrong and telling me what you were going to do to fix the situation, what your next positive action was going to be (MoveOn, the exception, did do some of those things), you just started immediately and constantly asking me for money. Now, I get a lot of email from a lot of different political groups. The ACLU? True, they do some of the same kind of stuff. They did ask me to “renew my membership” when it had been less than a year since I donated (the whole membership thing, where they send you a card and stuff, is kind of just another bullshit way of getting you to donate), but since I did that, they’ve basically just been emailing to keep me updated on what they are actually doing. The International Rescue Committee? Yes, they too keep asking me for money since I donated, but they do also write sometimes just to thank me, or to tell me where my money is going. Aavaaz, another advocacy group, asks me to sign petitions on particular issues way more often than I care to, and then they ask me to share to social media. But none of these groups write every day like you do MoveOn, KG and DNC, and most of all, their petitions and polls aren’t thinly-veiled excuses to ask for money.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me show you.

Here’s a MoveOn email, asking for money four times in a row. Guess what, MoveOn? Got it after the first time.

But at least when MoveOn sends me an email asking me to hear my thoughts, it takes me to a web page where they can actually hear my thoughts  — like, through a series of questions to which they genuinely seem to want answers. Questions like, “What actions are you personally most interested in taking?” and “What resources could MoveOn provide to help facilitate your organizing?” This email from Kirsten Gillibrand about Trump’s cabinet nominees starts kind of the same way, saying, “I need to hear your priorities. What’s most important to you as the Senate considers these nominations?”

But then the first “question” is “Do you think it’s important to protect our students?” Really, “Kirsten”? — which is how you show up in my inbox, just your first name in the “from” line, like we’re pals, or as “KG,” like you want that to become your sorority nickname. Are you seriously asking me that, KG? 

I mean, who is really going to pick “No, I’m not worried about protecting students,” or, “No, it’s fine if people with preexisting conditions are discriminated against”? Every question is designed to milk my fear, guilt, and panic in order to have me scrambling for my credit card by page six (the one that says “Will you donate $5 today to help me keep standing up to President Trump and the GOP?”). And yet, I have to waste a whole bunch of my valuable time so you can go through this ruse of pretending to care about what I think in order to get me to the real point.

But then, if possible, this one is even worse. I mean, it starts with this email asking me if I voted for Trump.

Do you think I’d be on your email list, Democratic Governor’s Association, if I had voted for Trump? But then it manages to get increasingly cynical, with one disingenuous “question” after another. 

I mean, in response to the question, “Are you worried Republicans in Congress will pass Trump’s racist, misogynistic agenda into law?” what kind of monster is going to pick, “No, I’m not worried about Trump’s hateful agenda”? Or are you seriously going to show you’re an idiot by saying, “No, I didn’t realize we need to win governors’ seats”? Then they ask me twice about my level of concern (pretending that they are separate questions, when really they are the same), and they start the bidding at the magic page six at $100. Was that since I marked that I was “Extremely Concerned” about the election results? Someone determined that $100 was the “Extremely Concerned” amount? Then they drop it down to $5 – because they know I’ll say to myself, “Well, $5 isn’t very much compared to $100.” Nice touch using the White House rose garden as a backdrop for all of this, by the way, as a way to visually underscore how truly screwed we are because of who is now in that White House. But in case that was too subtle, they end with this:

For any non-moron, the salient take-away from all this has to be that you really don’t care at all about me, your donor and constituent, beyond the “donor” part. Sure, I get that these are probably tried and true fundraising techniques that everyone uses because somebody has figured out that they work. But in case you haven’t noticed, political fundraising hacks, all bets are now off. It’s pretty disgusting to see the Democratic establishment resorting to “business as usual,” as in, “We will just go on raising money because that’s what we do,” while at the same time cynically acknowledging that the situation is anything but business as usual, because so many of us are justifiably freaking out over the actions of this new administration, which are putting us and the people we know and the values that we care about in jeopardy. I mean, I seriously want to know who said, “People are panicking! Let’s go capitalize on that!”

I gave to the Democratic Governor’s Association during the election because I think it’s important that we have more Democrats and Progressives elected at the state level, no question. I think Republican statehouses across the country, thanks largely to gerrymandering, are doing horrible, horrible things, and they need to be stopped. I also genuinely like my Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. She used to be a moderate, but she’s listened to her constituents and moved steadily to the left, and is taking a really strong line against this administration. She’s the only Democrat on the committees reviewing Trump’s nominees who has voted against nearly every one. And I do think MoveOn has been an important voice for advocacy ever since they tried to get everyone to “move on” from the impeachment of Bill Clinton, even if they are becoming more and more part of the party establishment all the time. But I did not sign up to have my time wasted by any of your extremely obvious attempts at manipulation and exploitation in a time of crisis.

Because, oh yeah, I’m not fucking stupid. We’ve all heard at this point about the data supporting the fact that Trump voters are not college educated. We’ve also seen a fair amount of real-time evidence that they will believe pretty much anything if it fits in with their world view. But I am not that. That’s why I’m a supporter of yours, you idiots. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, all of us Progressives are in the process of getting a lot more active and a lot more savvy about the media, the internet, “fake news,” social media, and messaging in general. Because the election proved that a lot of people in the population cannot detect bias or manipulation in what they read, a lot of us are starting to pay much better attention to that sort of thing — especially Democrats, aka the people to whom you are sending this stuff. We are also learning a lot about the political process and mobilizing behind new organizations that are promising to create change. We are looking to build a new, grassroots movement, like a Progressive Tea Party, that can succeed in the ways that you and people/groups like you have been failing. That means that we are looking to replace candidates and organizations who are too concerned with protecting their own positions and special interest dollars to listen to their constituents and fight for what we want. Hmm, does that sound like you? Then wake the fuck up.

Look, we are all in crisis/battle mode right now, and it’s absolutely not the time for political infighting. We all have to work together, and I could see why the Democratic Party thinks that maybe that gives them a free pass. Well, I’m here to say that it does not. It’s true, if we were having a general election right now, I wouldn’t be voting against you, and that may still hold true for a while. But I and a lot of others like me firmly believe that you are at least partly responsible for getting us to the hellscape in which we now find ourselves, and that, ergo, we are done with your business as usual. So I’m not going to fight you, but I am utterly prepared to go around, over and right past you if you continue to prove yourselves to be unworthy and irrelevant with crap like this. I have not even begun to give the money and time that I have to spend to fight what the Trump Administration is doing to ruin this country, but with so much of what I believe in under siege — human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, equal protection under the law for those folks and people of color, immigrants and religious minorities, organized labor, public education, public support for the arts, I mean, at this point we are just basically talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for anyone who isn’t a white male investment banker or oil company executive — why would I give any of what I have to the patronizing, manipulating, capitalizing-on-our-pain establishment that is you people?

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