Why Are They Wearing Tape Over Their Mouths? They Don’t Want to Support This Massive Abuse
I write because I was raised in an emotionally and physically abusive environment. I spent over 15 years working in social services in places where the 1% may go for photo ops every 4 years —but more often, where they never go at all. While growing up, I loved school and would do anything not to go home. That’s because I was punished for speaking my mind (sometimes just for speaking) and for deviating from desired behavior. This isn’t uncommon. Many writers come from abusive backgrounds. It didn’t end when I turned 18. I’ve been abused by more than one life-partner and even worked for a frighteningly abusive boss.
Many women and men share such experiences. According to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence, one in three women, and one in four men, experience some form of intimate partner violence during their lifetime.
I chose to respond to someone’s social media question about the recent Democratic convention asking why Bernie Sanders’ supporters were wearing tape over their mouths.
“It refers to their being silenced and treated poorly,” I said.
For the men and women who have been there, done that, as well as those in the helping professions who have received education and training how to assist those who have experienced abuse, the verbal and physical and emotional behaviors are easily recognizable.
Those on the right correctly perceive the hypocrisy of the current official Democratic party leaders; however, with their own party so infected with corporatists and single-issue ideologues, it’s almost impossible for them to make the big connection — that all of the corporate elitists in both parties, the so-called 1% — are to this country and others around the world — as the abusive spouse is to the abused partner, or the abusive parent/caregiver is to the abused child. People on the right know that Hillary Clinton is an enormous liar, they perceive she puts herself and her cronies above country (and even party), they see immediately through her grotesque hypocrisy, they know she advocates war for the sake of profit (not even the United States’ profit), they know she will immediately answer a $100,000+ donors’ call and wouldn’t even stop to talk to anyone else if they were bleeding on the ground at her feet much less call for assistance. But they don’t see their own problems at the same time. We don’t have a lot of things we need because our hard-earned tax dollars are going far too often upward to the 1%; if we cut taxes then it will cut those who barely have anything. Those on the right don’t get that. And they are also verbally abusive.
The problem with abuse is that it isn’t just about what the abuser does at the time. It’s about the cost to the community, and the cost to the child in the future.
I like to tell myself I am a better writer because of what I went through. I tell myself I am a better friend, a better person, a better teacher.
The truth is, I was and am permanently disabled because of not only how I was born and my innate nature, but because of what I went through. The abuse isn’t limited to my upbringing, it is almost my entire life, and it comes not only from intimate partners but in one case, their former spouse and that family. I will never see myself accurately. There are things I may never be able to do successfully, such as be on video. I was diagnosed with complex PTSD in July, 2007 as a result of four precipitating causes.
My abuse didn’t turn me into a criminal, a fat, sick addict or someone who abuses others. It turned me into a workaholic and I had at least the minimum strength not to repeat the cycle with my own daughter.
Which is not to say I did not have ample opportunity to become just like this lady who suffered from Roger Ailes’ abuse for two decades. If I had so-chosen to attach myself to an Ailes-like man, I would certainly have been able to have more prominence as a writer. Maybe I would even have gotten one of those chaps to pay for boob implants or to have my crooked-ass teeth straightened.
On my own, against all odds, I was among the top 5% of female income earners in the U.S. for many years, as a nonprofit executive, writer and professional business planner. I have done a lot for other people. I have helped hundreds of others get jobs and I have created hundreds of jobs for other people. Thousands of homeless parents and children have safe, decent places to live: because of me. I have probably helped to motivate and educate well over 1,000 students. Some of my former students transferred to Harvard, Stanford and other prestigious universities. I helped start the most successful author publishing cooperative. I have encouraged and taught dozens of other writers, many of whom went on to award-winning and even bestselling careers.
I believe I have lived a life of service. Just like my mother, just like my aunt, just like my grandmother, just like her mother, and her mother before her, and her mother before her since time began. Just like all my co-workers, all my real friends, just like my cousins, just like the many hundreds of millions of women married to abusive spouses do for their partners. Over. And over. And over again.
Not all but most of the signs of abuse are present
in the DNC treatment of Sanders’ supporters.
That’s because the group perceives that those on the genuine left have been their supporters for a long time, just as a long-married abusive spouse no longer feels the need to “woo” their partner with “intensity.”
Abuse Sign #2: ISOLATION
As to “isolation,” this is an interesting one. See, I’m a 5th generation (former) Republican. It’s a family thing, and not the abusive parts of it, either. My friends and family were astonished when I supported Bernie Sanders, registered as part of the Democratic Party and gave to his campaign and worked for it. I knew that, were he to fail to achieve the nomination, I would withdraw my registration and register either No Party Preference or Green Party. As to the Green Party, with which I am now registered, I will stay. It took something seismic like this current election situation to get me to change, but I told one of my coworkers about 10 years ago, a “traditional” Democratic Party member, a white young male educated at UC Berkeley, that were I to resign my hereditary party membership, I would support the Green Party as their values even at that time, most closely reflected mine. It had always been in my mind.
Anyway, in real life and on “social media” fake life, I have always associated with all types of people. So I hear different perspectives. And this is the single thing that has saved me, I think, over time. The doctor who diagnosed me with complex PTSD said, “it’s a wonder you’re not in a hospital or dead, Amy.”
“We never thought you’d make it Amy,” said one of my beloved mentors growing up, the mother of my longest-standing friend (from age 3). Because of me? No. Because of what even they from a distance, saw, of how I was treated.
I may have a poor compass for the bad treatment of myself. I may be willing to take a whole lot more in the way of abuse than most others, but I can smell the bad ones treating others poorly a mile off. This is why it took Bernie Sanders to make me do what I did. Not even Barack Obama. In the words of one of my “conservative” friends: Senile Sanders.
Traditional corporate Democrats must isolate themselves and those who aspire to be among them. They forbid association with others, and they ridicule others. They punish any such transgression with ostracization and extreme abuse. Doubt me? Ask Juan Williams about that.
This occurred because Juan Williams, a lifelong responsible and “liberal” African American journalist, had work as a “liberal” commenter on Fox News (where he continues today). To support his family and pay his bills.
Abuse Sign #3: Blame
Abuse Sign #4: Jealousy
There’s no question DNC insiders wanted Bernie Sanders’ mailing list and especially wanted the nearly $200 million that was raised from Sanders’ supporters, some of whom could ill-afford extra political contributions.
Considering the donor number gap between Bernie Sanders and DNC/Hillary Victory Fund (2 million+ donations for Bernie; approx. 100,000 donations for the others) — it was all about money and it started almost immediately.
Abuse Sign #5: Criticism
I don’t need any extra evidence for this. But just for old times’ sake (and I got it early-on from an old writing friend when I posted something mildly questioning the Democratic “superdelegate” system — i.e. I hadn’t been a member of the DNC for years, I didn’t get it, I was unqualified to even ask a question and besides, I was stupid) —
Abuse Sign #6: Anger
If I put “threats against Sanders supporters” as an internet search, I get 3 solid pages of articles about “threats from Bernie Bros”. That’s “gaslighting” — a behavior that aids in control of victims.
And then there’s the other guy.
Those are the mild ones.
Abuse Sign #7: Control
This is an interesting one. On a personal level, the abusers seek to control friends, media one consumes, use of phone or social media, work, and especially access to money.
Conservatives have noticed that Facebook, Twitter and other social media have seemingly censored their information and posts for years. Now that the progressive Bernie Sanders’ campaign began and ended, those on the Bernie side noticed as well. Even other sources, which one might argue ought to have been controlled, as having released a great deal of information that cost some people their lives over the past 8 years, such as Wikileaks, have noted censorship and control.
I could put so much more. For example, most Bernie supporters work at average or lower-paying jobs. Some work two or more jobs just to get by (in contrast to what corporate Democrats and the anti-Bernie social media trolls say — i.e. all Bernie supporters are “unemployed” or “lazy” or “hippies”). They can’t afford to pay $1 million or more to flood social media with messages or to campaign or donate more than they did to Bernie’s campaign.
Abuse Sign #8: Sabotage
Personal story (and if you haven’t read my writing — let me put it this way, this is simply one that fits the circumstance not an isolated incident). When I and the son of the Superior Court judge who later became the mayor of San Bernardino, California organized the San Bernardino County Homeless Coalition, we had a big hearing at the offices at the County Government Center about it. Many homeless people came to testify. Jim and I were very excited because we wanted to hear from these people. We wanted to learn from them what was needed to help. I was a young woman, and I particularly remember this period of my life because when the process started, I had just learned I was pregnant with my daughter Meredith. When it ended, I was only a couple of days before giving birth to her (she is 24 years old now).
That said, here we were, a couple of young people with the genuine desire to try to help others, and step #1 was this coalition, and begin to direct some government dollars toward what the actual homeless people themselves said they needed and wanted.
In the audience was a woman who had been a councilmember in that city (San Bernardino) and was a board member of an organization that was later closed for fraud — a paid employee fled the area before being apprehended and jailed for outright theft. But this was a couple of years before that, and this lady saw Jim and me as threats. Neither of us did any of the things directly to cause the downfall of her fraudulent, abusive organization. But she saw in these honest group efforts a threat.
A person anonymously wrote a letter to the board of directors of my organization alleging I was, and I quote (this stuff will sound familiar and it’s going to date from 1991), “a racist, hates black people, and is dishonest. She said racist statements at the Homeless Coalition. You should fire her and withdraw your support from the Homeless Coalition.”
That was a total lie. The source of the letter was quickly determined. I didn’t lose my job. The Homeless Coalition became real and did a little bit of good for a time.
Anyway in this more recent situation with Bernie Sanders —
Why does the media continue to support this?
The short answer is they are paid to do what they do. That is not 100% true. A great number of my writing acquaintances (I no longer call them friends — a friendship is a reciprocal relationship) wholeheartedly support Hillary Clinton. They could not give less than a rat’s ass about any of my students, my daughter, her friends, pretty much everyone in my state, those with brown skin, those who speak Spanish (unless they are VP nominee Tim Kaine, not former Florida Governor Jeb Bush), those with darker brown skin, black single mothers, transgender people who aren’t famous … I could go on but really it would be the world population except for themselves and their “friends”). Two of my better-known acquaintances, William Gibson and Stephen King, have spent vast amounts of social media time trying to get expert proof that Donald Trump and his Russian friend Vladimir Putin purposely hacked the DNC emails to “throw” the U.S. election.
That’s like the old fart writer social media version of “Well, she asked for it!”
Shit, she burned the chicken — again!
But it’s like this.
It’s called the River Denial.
The United States does not have much of a good record getting into foreign wars to help people who are being brutalized, victimized or under direct threat. It took Pearl Harbor to get this country into the second World War. It took numerous German U-Boat attacks on U.S. shipping to get this country into the first World War in its final year.
As to getting into bullshit wars because the Military-Industrial Complex our President Eisenhower warned us about — wow, we’ve got Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and go for it, there is no limit. We have been at war a solid 16 years and there’s no end in sight.
What the hell can a dumb little old woman like me do about some shit like that?
Spend a couple bucks. Read something that’s worth it.
PS — I have published 30 books, over 100 short stories, countless articles, and as I noted above have experience providing results in homelessness, affordable housing, economic development and empowerment of women and children as in actual real individuals with better lives; I speak and read Spanish, French, German and English. I have an MFA Creative Writing and have taught for nearly 2 decades at the college level. My paternal grandmother was one of the 6 founding members of the American Communist Party and my mother designed Mr. Magoo. I did receive a legitimate Nebula Award nomination in 2002 but there was no fucking way I would win because I couldn’t offer any of the 200–300 voters an opportunity to “publish” at the professional level. Medium is featuring an article by an actor who says he used to support Bernie but now supports Hillary. I know Silicon Valley billionaires and founders. My niece who was fortunately born 10 years after me — she founded GoldieBlox. That is gender bias. I should have gone with the heir to the Phillips oil fortune. Then I’d have my boob and teeth jobs and even maybe a bestseller.