Posted in latest posts

I’m Tired of Bernie Sanders

I find myself once again in election hell. Being a woman on the internet is generally hard but it’s particularly difficult during an election cycle. This is especially true if you support a woman running for a higher elected office such as President. It was hard during the 2016 election cycle and history repeated itself for the 2020 election.

The past two election cycles featured several brilliant and imminently qualified women running for this nation’s highest office. Being human, they had flaws. Being women, their flaws were often blown out proportion in comparison to their male counterparts and unforgiven by those who hold women to higher standards. Narratives against them were manufactured that had little basis in reality and were entirely rooted in misogyny,

Misogyny is deeply rooted in America in ways we are only now starting to comprehend and combat. Considering how deeply embedded it is, running for an office of power is difficult under the best of circumstances. It is extremely problematic when a candidate relies upon a misogynist troll army designed to take down the women running for office.

Bernie Sanders has such an army. During the 2016 election cycle, that army engaged in misogynistic attacks on Hillary Clinton as well as her supporters. They spread negative information, some of it untrue, and misogynistic memes designed to boost his candidacy. While it is clear the origin of some of the disinformation had Russian ties; troll armies rarely care about things such as truth or origin. Their sole purpose is to intimidate, harass and silence in service to their purpose. In Sanders’ case, that purported purpose is his election.

Despite their origins, troll armies expand and enlarge to form identities often reflecting the loudest among them. Humans are pack animals. Herd mentality develops and forms an identity. Oftentimes those involved have no little recognition of what is happening. When carried to extremes, it can become quite dangerous.

The 2016 disinformation problem was included in the Mueller Report. Sanders knew about the disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton then lied about whether he ever communicated it to her campaign. Her campaign had publicly raised questions about it weeks earlier. Pro Sanders facebook pages were infiltrated and spread of disinformation immediately prior to the election was rampant.  Seemingly there was little concerted effort to combat it. We are still sorting through it’s impact.

Disinformation on social media is particularly hard to battle when coupled with tactics that encourage online harassment.

Here’s how it works. Bad faith actors post inaccurate information on social media. Sometimes it contains a bit of truth that gets distorted out of proportion. It starts to spread. Other users post on the thread trying to discuss the issue or correct disinformation and get swarmed by the army. Sometimes they are threatened and doxxed. The harassment is intended to prohibit correction of disinformation or clarify the issues. The harassment becomes the issue and the disinformation spreads.

Online harassment happens to everyone but it is particularly difficult for women who suffer daily from efforts to silence their voice. When combined with abuse, it adds an increased burden. Abusive behavior is defined as threatening or harassing behavior designed to control it’s intended target. Abusive behavior silences. It causes symptoms such as depression and withdrawal. For survivors of abuse, it is particularly difficult. There are far too many survivors.

But surely you say a progressive movement wouldn’t rely on tactics seeking to diminish the participation of marginalized groups? LOL PLZ.

When confronted with questions regarding his troll army, Sanders has been either dismissive or brief. He can afford to be both since his troll army does the heavy lifting while he reaps its benefits. When those affected by targeted harassment seek dialogue and discussion on the issue, they are met with similar dismissiveness, or mocking narratives on “mean tweets.” Efforts to combat or form true dialogue regarding the issues are few and far between.

If this all sounds familiar you would be correct. It mirrors the tactics used by the Donald Trump campaign in the 2015-16 election against Clinton and serve largely similar purposes.

Once again history repeated itself in this election cycle in efforts to take down both Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Trump didn’t even have to deploy his tactics because Sanders has his own. The extent to which online harassment impacts voting is still being investigated but disinformation works. It undermines our democratic process.

Despite the appeal of some of Sanders’ policies, I am disgusted by his methods. He knows and understands what his troll army does. He simply doesn’t care because it works to his benefit.

Posted in commentary, latest posts

I Can’t Stop Thinking About the #SexStrike

Alyssa Milano’s #SexStrike is concerning for a lot of reasons, starting with how only women are centered in the debate. It also ignores an unfortunate reality. It is simply not an option for those in an abusive relationship.

There are many good reasons why Milano’s sex strike sparked a controversy on social media. Unfortunately, much of the discussion ignores how this choice doesn’t play out practically in the real world, and is simply not an option for those in an abusive relationship.

It also centers women in a conversation that must strive to be more inclusive. If you are concerned about topics like abortion, and intimate partner violence, move away from centering women and include others who also deserve to be part of that conversation. We must become allies not adversaries.

Apart from being grossly manipulative, this strike strikes me as naive in how power dynamics work in actual relationships. It reinforces the notion that marginalized bodies are commodities. While sex strikes have been known to work when seeking a specific goal, bartering sexual favors in exchange for recognition of equality strikes me as unattainable.

Likewise, a stance asking marginalized people to fraternize only with those of like mind ignores the reality that “woke” individuals are sometimes not much better than their counterparts. It’s easy to proclaim you are an ally. Actions always speak louder than words. Far too often someone reveals their true colors only after they have attained their goal. Once in an abusive relationship, it is incredibly difficult to get out.

Continue reading “I Can’t Stop Thinking About the #SexStrike”

Posted in healthcare, latest posts

I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover, I’m a Sister

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

It was the summer of 1997 and I was freshly out of law school, studying for the bar while working in a lawyer’s office, and being stalked by my ex-boyfriend. My beloved older sister was eight months pregnant with her first child at 44 years old.

At the time I lived about two hours away from my family who lived in rather close proximity to my ex-boyfriend. I was “back home” visiting him in one of our attempts to put things back together or at least be friends when I got the phone call from my brother-in-law. He had to take my sister to the hospital and the news wasn’t good. I’m on the way I quickly said and left immediately. Parenthetical, my ex did not come with me he was very aloof with my family and friends. Only later would I realize how significant those signs were at the time.

I walked into the hospital waiting room and approach my brother-in-law with a pit in the bottom of my stomach. The look on his face said it all. He starts preparing me for the bad news. The bad could be worse but not by much.

Continue reading “I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover, I’m a Sister”

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

ESPN is Lost and so are We

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on our sports website and has been republished here.

ESPN ignited a controversy this past week with it’s handling of a situation involving Jemele Hill, a black woman who co-anchors the SportsCenter desk (The Six for it’s 6 pm slot) for the company along with Michael Smith, a black man. Ordinarily these definers might seem strange but we live in strange times. They are important because racism still exists and is bolstered by our current political climate.

Hill drew the ire of many folks, seemingly including her employer ESPN, with a series of tweets about our current President, Donald J. Trump. Not only do I invite you to read these tweets I beg you to read the entire threads because within these threads lie our collective truth.

Continue reading “ESPN is Lost and so are We”

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

Titans Should Sign Colin Kaepernick #TitanUp

The Tennessee Titans were curb stomped Sunday in Houston in a Week 4 loss to a division rival, losing to the Texans 57-14. The score was bad but the news from the game was even worse. Quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a hamstring injury late in the second quarter and did not return. He is scheduled for an MRI today.

Enter backup quarterback Matt Cassel, a 13 year veteran who has been the Titans backup since 2016. The results were disastrous. He would finish four of 10 for 21 yards, two interceptions, including one pick six, and a sack fumble. The remainder were three and outs. Details below.

First drive 3 and Out

Second drive 3 and Out

Third Drive Interception

Continue reading “Titans Should Sign Colin Kaepernick #TitanUp”