Sanders vs. Warren: It’s the misogyny, stupid!
Once again, anyone but a woman is the secret rallying cry for the new generation of pious progressives If there’s one GAME i love TO PLAY, it’s Pretending I’m American. Then I wake up with a little scream of relief, like you do in those dreams where you’re skydiving, your parachute refuses to open and you hit the ground, only to find you’ve just rolled over onto your pain au chocolat and scalded yourself with the café au lait. A little witch hazel, just rub it into the sore bits, you’ll be fine. No harm done. It’s that delicious feeling of having escaped, barely, with your life and soul intact. It’s why we go on rollercoasters, it’s why we take the ski lift to the top of some saggy-assed hillock in Muskoka that your grandmother could walk to the top of in an afternoon and be back in time to bake tea biscuits by five PM. It’s why we make individual soufflés —with those egg whites that are still festering at the back of the fridge—for dinner parties of eight, including your boss and his wife. You are hoping to get the thrills of the real-life challenges of jumping from planes, conquering Everest or owning your own bistro in Manhattan, but without the real-life disheartening and possibly fatal outcomes that would inevitably attend in those cases. Take Bernie Sanders. Please. That’s a thrill I’m happy to keep vicarious. I’m sick to the point of projectile vomiting of seeing Bernie supporters, the pious, self-appointed spokespersons for, apparently, all progressives, foaming at the mouth at the mention of anyone but Bernie. You know what galls me the most? While Trump is a proud, self-proclaimed misogynist, Bernie supporters are closet cases, which may make them just as dangerous as The Great Mouth Breather. I hadn’t even finished counting to ten before I read on Twitter that Elizabeth Warren should “step down and allow the obvious contender, Bernie Sanders” to take up the banner of progressive policy—for it was Warren who was spoiling his chances. The idea that Bernie might step down to give Warren the playing field, now, that was heresy. A condescending tweet from one young thing assured me that Warren had “plagiarized” Bernie’s platform (as if by virtue of being a white male Sanders has undisputed official ownership of social democracy’s style guide) and that this fearless woman, who in video after YouTube video is seen mercilessly cutting down the entitled men of Wall Street, is a “corporate lackey;” the most preposterous fabrication since Hillary started running that child-sex brothel from the basement of the basement-less pizza parlour. Anything but admit what is so transparently the case: Anyone but a woman. You’d rather have querulous old Bernie Sanders, who I like to imagine in sandals and socks eating a tuna salad sandwich as he addresses the UN, than Liz Warren, who has the gravitas and the gumption to confront corporate CEO’s, those captains of finance who stammered and sweated in the glare of her gimlet eye like high school punks caught scrawling graffiti in the bathroom and sent to the principal’s office. Corporate lackey? Are you kidding me? Warren’s detractors would rather assert that she’s a “closet Republican” because, by her own admission, she was a Republican in her youth before she delved into the topic of credit card debt and was appalled by what she found, by how the system was rigged against consumers. Yes, she became a progressive after examining the facts. That doesn’t mean she’s a “closet Republican.” That means she’s smart. There’s no one more zealous than a convert, after all. Welcome to the new misogyny, in which any female who dares to question St. Bernie’s right of primogeniture to carry the US into a future of Swedish social democracy and Marimekko bed linens must be stopped, pilloried and Hillary’d, whatever mud-throwing it takes. You think the Sanders supporters who can attempt to eliminate Elizabeth Warren with absurd ad hominem attacks actually give a shit about women’s rights? They’re misogynists. They claim to base their attacks on social justice, on economics, but they’re lying to themselves and to you. They’re like the white people who think Trump was elected because of the falling fortunes of the working- and middle-class, and can’t see that racism, rage at your having had a black president, was the actual impetus for installing a blathering buffoon in the world’s most important office, because he’s a white buffoon. I get it, kids. It’s hard to think of your own country as racist, and it’s equally hard to think of yourself as misogynist, but when you can look at Warren, then look at Sanders, and think Sanders is the electable choice, you have a problem, brothers and sisters. Trump, naturally, has been his usual moronically uninhibited self when it comes to trash-talking Warren. “She had to open her fresh mouth,” he says, in a blatant attempt to reduce her to a mouthy girl-child, like a taller, more wrinkly version of Greta Thunberg. It’s a knee-jerk reaction of threatened males from Albania to Zanzibar, but “fresh mouth” ? I hadn’t heard that phrase since about 1965, when the last of my great-aunts, Victorian women all, passed away. If it weren’t Trump voicing the opinion there might even be a certain retro charm to this; but Trump it is, god help us, and dreams of banana republics dance in our heads, including a smiling Mike Pence, newly-appointed Minister of Love, assuring us that the rounding up of dissidents is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you. From “Shut the bitch up,” the quintessential meme of Sanders supporters, to “She had to open her fresh mouth,” it’s obvious that women still pay the price for daring to be seen and heard. What is it about Bernie and his indisputably earnest but lack-lustre resume that excites such scarily uncritical loyalty? Is it the stirring into consciousness of Jungian archetypes? Is he just Universal Grandad, all rosy apple-cheeked sweetness with just the right touch of cranky querulousness, that you help up from the pavement after he’s slipped on the ice? Is it reparation for some kind of millennial collective guilt from snipping “OK, Boomer!” once too often at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or from not saying “thank you” when you’d made the dutiful visit to the Sunset Lodge and he’d stuff a quarter into your hand, “don’t let your mother see!” And, shame on shame, you rolled your eyes, didn’t you? Well, Murgatroyd McGraw, now you must pay. Universal Grandad for President! It’s so much better than a pair of socks or wrap-around sunglasses or a new hemorrhoid cushion. He’s gonna love it! Some Americans still see Trump as a dumb doofus, a bumbling anomaly. Yeah. That’s what you thought in 2016. Wake up, snowflakes; wipe those smiles off your faces, Pollyannas! Now that Trump has officially made the US into a nation of men, not laws, and has explicitly put himself above your Constitution, maybe it’s time to take him deadly seriously. Trump has ignored subpoenas. If you or I did that, we’d be picked up faster than a dropped corn chip under the five-second rule. A subpoena from Congress or from a court of law is equivalent to an order from a sovereign. That’s what we get in Canada: “Her Majesty commands you to appear…” That’s the rule of law, and once you have the guy in charge ignoring the rule of law, literally anything could happen. The Marines could come in and shut down Congress. He could arrest liberals, or anyone who’s seen his tax return, or The Whistleblower. Don’t you get this? Thank god for Elizabeth, also Hillary, also Nancy, may their fresh female mouths be ever opened. May they be as “shrill” and “strident” as a pack of bloodhounds on the scent. You have a constitutional crisis, if you hadn’t noticed, because your president has put himself above the law, explicitly. And without the fierce pulling-together of uppity women, you may be approaching the time when a comment like “fresh mouth” is followed by a 3AM knock on your door. ֍