Are You a #DemocraticWhore?

Illustration for article titled Are You a #DemocraticWhore?

During a 27,000-person Bernie Sanders rally in Manhattan on Wednesday evening, health care activist Dr. Paul Song made a lil booboo when he criticized “corporate Democratic whores.”

He has since realized (or had it screamed at him) that the vulture-like press would point out that he was probably only referring to one Democratic whore in particular, so he walked it back hours later.

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The Clinton campaign’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned the phrase on Twitter and called for Sanders to apologize.

Which he did:

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But the apology couldn’t stop the development of an okay hashtag aching to go viral: #DemocraticWhore.

Do you hear that? That’s the low hum of the one-to-three on the news cycle political scandal machine functioning correctly. Everyone can take a deep breath. Make a snack, talk to your child.

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Now, to the question that I actually care about: are you a #DemocraticWhore, a.k.a. someone who fucks liberally and indiscriminately?

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Image via Getty.

Senior Editor, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

pinktetris
SadeVEVO ✓ official

What kind of normal human being even whips out the word “whores” to use, unless they have some bizarre sexist way that they view a very real problem in government? It’s not a common word. It shouldn’t leap to mind for anyone, except those who conflate sexuality with corruption on a very core level. It’s not even plausibly-deniable, so it’s not a good strategy for a cynical ethics-free political tactician to use. It would be tricky to say “Well, I don’t associating whoring with any particular gender. Others might.” without sounding like a lying goofshit. He fucked up on ever level, moral and strategic.

It suggests that this is just what people think when they hear about corporate excess: Accepting Time Warner’s and the Koch brothers’ gigantic donations makes a person female on some axis. It makes them weak, and owned, and they consider this condition harmful only insofar as it is feminizing. No, corruption is bad because it strengthens a patriarchal system that perpetuates oppression. Leave it to a rich dude to think corruption is bad because it makes you a dirty filthy female-type harlot person.

I’d call it a dog whistle, if it weren’t so blatantly obvious. And that seems to be a bigger threat to the Sanders camp. Not subtle dog whistling, but the kind of foot-in-mouth problem that arises when your speakership isn’t diverse enough to articulate your liberalism. A white dude is just plain more likely to say some shit that women and ethnic minorities won’t just find unrelateable, but abhorrent to know that’s where the average white dude’s mind ventures. This Paul guy that Sanders brought on is not indicative of the kind of people his policies will help the most, and the language Paul Song employs proves that. With all of the racially diverse speakers that Sanders has used, it certainly wouldn’t have killed him to get a woman to introduce him at some point. It would have avoided this very problem.

Song apologized, but I also think it’s important for Sanders to apologize for this guy’s language. Yup, even if it hurts his campaign to draw more attention to it. It’s the ethical, liberal thing to do. Now, granted, it’s unrealistic to expect Sanders and Clinton to apologize for every single thing their backers say. We’ve all encountered a nasty Democrat that made us question how the party could possibly unify under a single banner. We’re in a campaign year where cynical identity politicking has been, and will continue to be, used extensively to steer people’s votes by making them earn or reject their identities. The truth is, expecting a person to vote on something other than policy disregards their personality and life experiences and morality. It reduces us to our racial or gender identity; it denies us our common humanity. To earn your femaleness, you have to be prim and proper and stop voting like a “whore”; women who don’t vote for women have “a special place in hell”; black people shouldn’t vote “against what I know is right for them”; girls are drawn to liberalism because “it’s where the boys are”. Promoting any of these statements makes you a shit. Holding any of these things to be necessarily true, on some instinctual level, makes you say the shit Paul Song said to reveal how isolated his worldview is. It makes you deny the varied experiences of every human, not in spite of their cultural identity, but as a result of it.

A feminist, man or woman, ought to vote for policies that improve women’s lives. A liberal, regardless of race, ought to vote for policies that help alleviate institutionalized racism and narrow the income gap. Voting on identity alone makes you vote like a conservative: Voting for your best interests is fine, but voting only for your own best interests is necessarily selfish. This is how the right continually prevents the advance of liberalism. They divide people. Often, we do it to ourselves, by telling people we know their experience better than they do and demanding they fight for it.

This “Democratic whore” comment is a symptom of the disease of cynical, identity-based politics; where we worry about the demographics of the voters instead of worrying about the people we need to help. “Fight to protect your own identity, because—to us politicians—that’s all you’ve got going.”