October 31, 2017 at 11:15 am EDT | by Richard J. Rosendall
Apathy helps the Know-Nothing Party
know-nothing party, American, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Jnn13; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Political parties change over time. Republicans, for instance, have become the Know-Nothing Party, in which traditional conservatives who display insufficient nativist rage or fail to chase after 45’s every juvenile whim are treated as weaklings unfit to govern. Democrats, on the other hand, have grown in sixty years from the home of the segregationist South into a party of inclusion.

To minimize the parties’ differences is to miss by a mile what is happening. The comparison between last year’s political insurgents Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders does not withstand scrutiny. More important, progressive proposals, whatever one thinks of them, are mild compared to the broad array of aggressive harms already begun by the Trumpists. Finally, the far left wields much less influence than the far right.

Trump won the nomination and the general election. He tapped white nationalist rage. His main goal was erasing everything Barack Obama touched, regardless of merit. Trump is disinclined to study issues or heed experts. He has a baseless confidence in his own brilliance. His proposals are all over the map, and he has revealed his promises to be worthless.

Sanders made an impressive run, but lost the nomination. He tapped working class frustration, but did not build a campaign on racism. He pushed a socialist program, which is a coherent economic vision whether or not one thinks it workable or sufficiently popular. Single Payer is based not on resentment but a desire for universal healthcare. Sanders did rage against big bankers and corporate greed, but his complaints were better founded even if his remedies were unconvincing and their path to enactment not evident.

The Trumpists support voter suppression, environmental degradation, crippling public education, selling off national monuments, ramping up military spending while knee-capping diplomacy, ending women’s reproductive choice, taking healthcare from millions out of spite, attacking immigrant families, and giving a tax windfall to corporations at everyone else’s expense while lying about it. There is no similar vicious catalog to lay at progressives’ feet.

Only a prior determination to see no difference between left and right could lead to that conclusion. The far right’s influence is all too apparent. I myself have criticized the totalitarian tendencies of some on the far left, but they are largely impotent. Barring or shouting down disagreeable speakers on college campuses and demanding the exclusion of police and businesses from Pride celebrations are obnoxious, but amount to a renunciation of effective public engagement. Those zealots are like retiring conservative Senators Corker and Flake, delivering rebukes as they confirm their marginalization.

If leftist radicals controlled the Democratic Party, Tom Perez could not have purged progressive dissenters from the DNC. Deflecting attention from the mounting evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, congressional Republicans have launched another raft of investigations into debunked Hillary Clinton conspiracies. Sean Hannity’s and Sebastian Gorka’s hysterical braying is not evidence, and will not sway special counsel Robert Mueller.

Opinion polls can reveal public disaffection, but cannot offer solutions. Of the two major parties, one is not treasonous. It is not trying to rule by stoking intolerance and division. Its recent presidents have presided over deficit reductions. Its legislators are far more supportive of reproductive choice, diplomacy, environmental protection, and a social safety net. It is the Democratic Party, which offers the only hope of thwarting the Republicans, whose fervor boosts their electoral prospects. Alternatively, Democratic infighting offers the best chance for entrenching Trumpist autocracy.

The LGBT movement has made great strides. The polls are on our side. But that is true of many things the Republicans are attacking. Protections for women, racial minorities, and LGBT people, won mostly by Democrats, are under renewed attack.

I understand frustration with politics. My own activism has largely involved nonpartisan advocacy. But swallowing the lie of “not a dime’s worth of difference,” while fanatics on one side blow everything up, is as likely to end well as knocking down your house and expecting the Taj Mahal to spring up in its place.

The House and Senate leadership in 2019 will not be Greens or Independents. If you vote that way or sit it out in 2018, you are effectively voting Republican. Please think better of it.

Postscript on Oct. 30 following Mueller’s charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates: We have a long fight ahead. Even if Trump is forced from office, his successor could be worse. Democrats must start winning elections. The right-wing lies and deflections will only escalate. Leftist purity will not defeat them. Diversity and inclusion are empty slogans without room for diversity of opinion. Progressive concerns will gain more traction in Democratic legislatures.

Postscript, predator edition: Kevin Spacey finally came out, albeit grotesquely. Homosexuality and pedophilia are very different things, which should not need pointing out after our long struggle against a blood libel. Anthony Rapp, to whom Spacey has apologized for an unwanted advance he claims he was too drunk to remember (which occurred when Rapp was 14), plays a scientist on Star Trek Discovery. His character, along with the ship’s doctor played by Wilson Cruz, is part of the first gay couple in the franchise’s history. It is an affirming portrayal, matter-of-factly integrated into the story line, lightyears from the miserable excuses of Mr. Spacey.


Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at rrosendall@me.com.

Copyright © 2017 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.

  • The GOP like the fake POTUS is a disaster for GLBT Americans! Like I said before the election, I’d rather have Hillary in office doing nothing for us than a Republican in office doing everything against us, which is exactly what Trump is doing!

  • Tom Perez, DNC chair, was born in the Dominican Republic. Please tell me he didn’t know anything about Senator Menendez’s mil$$$ Medicare fraud and his bil$$$ fraudulent port contracts taking place in the Dominican Republic. It is a very small island.

  • Anyone who says there isn’t much difference between the establishment wings of the Democrat and Republican Party is simply not credible. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent grass roots Americans rising up and taking back their rights as citizens to govern their own nation.

    We don’t need globalist war-mongers who represent Wall Street or multinational corps over the concerns of the citizens to be in office. The Democrats like to play the identity politics game with the population to divide us. Here’s news for you, people are not buying it anymore.

    • Donald Trump represents his ego and personal financial interest. He goesn’t give a dang about anyone but himself. Typical Republican/libertarian attitude!

      War-mongers? You mean like Trump rattle swords with North Korea? Trump is the face of the worst of Wall Street and multi-national corporations you boobie! Trump does nothing but divide us constantly bashing the Dems, Hillary, Obama and anyone he thinks will fire up his hateful base!

      Here’s news for you, you’re full of $h!t and you’re not duping anyone stupid!

      • Well, it seems like the leadership of the AFL-CIO agrees with me about the Democrats! They are setting out to start a new political party! Read it and weep fool!

        • That’s fine as long as we all bind together to oust trump and the GOP majority in Congress! Sooner or later we’ll have a liberal POTUS and Congress that will undue your damage!

          The GOP knows it and that is why they are so recklessly trying to push for inferior health and tax reform! You’ll be weeping then!

          • Newsflash! The country is moving to the right! Look at the elections over the last 7 years!

            We don’t need to hear about your delusions of a left-wing takeover cause that ain’t happening.

          • The country is pendulum stupid and what moves right swings left sooner or later! You will hear about it b!tcvh and it will happen and you be crawling back into your place with your tail between your legs!

          • Ha! The country was in a left wingl space from the 1930s through 1970s.

            Then it was in an intermediate space from 1980’s through 2010.

            Now it’s moving into the right wing space. So sit back and enjoy loser!

          • If the country went liberal after Reagan then it willl definitely go liberal following your obnoxious fake potus!

            liberals, independents, moderates, minorities, the poor, and middle class all can see the destructive direction trump is trying to take us and will be very motivated to stop him in his tracks! I can see the beginning of the end for you b!tvch! You’re going to be ruined! You’re too stupid to realize it!!!

          • Such nonsense! I’m an Independent and I support Trump 100%.

            You have no clue what others are thinking yet claim to know?

            Ha! what a joke!

          • You are a joke and it’s you who refuse to clue in on what people are really thinking! It’s clear that your head is firmly up trump’s rump!

            Give it up stupid! Liberals will learn you!

          • Let’s look at the facts: Republicans run the Senate, the House, The Executive Branch and soon the SCOTUS. Not to mention that all but a handful of states have republican governors and legislatures.

            Sounds real liberal to me! LOL

          • The fact is that can change and unlike the SCOTUS, aren’t lifetime appointments! Same for governors! Why keep debating it if you think otherwise? The GOP knows it that is why it is trying to cram through lousy legislation that the true majority doesn’t want!

            For someone who claims to be an independent, you only support the right wing! Stick to playing with your prostrate you stupid B!tvch! You’re waist size must be over 40!

          • You live in a dream world and I live in real world!

            Duh! You can be an Independent and still vote for right-wing candidates! Trumpism overrides party affiliation! Look at how many Democrats voted for Trump too!

          • Duh describes your intellect! George W. Bush voted for Hillary and he’s a republican and i’m sure he’s not the only one! He rightfully said the presidency is all about trump’s ego for him not the good of the nation!

            Trump has failed a 3rd time to protect America against terror…las Vegas, nyc and Texas….three strikes you’re out!!!

          • Ha! It doesn’t say much about Hillary that Trump was able to beat her!

            Really, did she think she could walk in and buy the election just like that?

            No wonder she lost to a Reality TV star with no political experience at all! LOL

          • Trump is a failure and fraud! No 2nd term!

      • My Avatar is now Phyllis Diller you blind fool! LOL

        • Which appropriately looks like a frompy old hag….your inner and future self!

          • Ha! She has a good sense of humor which you don’t (being perpetually constipated)!

          • People laugh at you not with you!

            I know she was good, i’ve Seen her perform live and even got her to sign an autograph!

            You are constipation!

          • Sure you know her! You are as old as the hills too!

          • Not as old as your fake POTUS! He could kick off today!

            Age cannot wither me nor custom stale my infinite variety! You on the other hand were born stale! Rotting garbage smells better than you!

            By your reckoning you knowing who she was would means your pretty old yourself!

            Who is doing your spouse now while you are trolling?

          • I love to watch her on reruns from years ago. What gay man of any age doesn’t know Phyllis Diller?

            You heard about those things right? Reruns? Just like your love life….ancient history.

            BTW – My spouse is in the kitchen preparing dinner. I know how to pick them, good looking and good at cooking!

            What do you eat for dinner? Early-bird special at Denny’s?

          • I typically eat seafood, filet mignon and other high quality food! I can afford to eat out often. IHOP is better than Denny’s dummy!

          • When did IHOP start serving Filet Mignon?

            BTW – a filet-o’fish from McD’s doesn’t count as seafood, fool!

          • You’re so stupid! I eat filet at steak houses, and seafood at restaurants like Legal’s. IHOP for pancakes and breakfast food! McDonald’s is fine sometimes. Presidents like bill Clinton has had it. You think you’re too good for it? We know you’re fat!

          • I only eat organic and mostly vegetarian. I would never eat fast food garbage! Tsk Tsk! You are soooo low brow!

          • That should help cut down on the number of enemas your spouse has to give you to alleviate your chronic IBS with constipation! It’s a common problem conservatives have. The fake POTUS has it too!

          • I bet you just loooove the Olive Garden too! That endless salad bowl and breadsticks is a real draw for a cheapie like you!

            You can gum your food with the best of them! Loser!

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