Well, this is awkward. I don’t particularly like Hillary Clinton, but most of her supporters seem cool. I very much like Bernie Sanders, but a lot of his supporters seem to be assholes. So what am I to do?
The latest incident is that Sanders’ followers shouted Dolores Huerta off the stage when she offered to help translate at a Nevada caucus. Dolores Huerta? Civil rights and labor leader? The so-called Democratic Socialists chanted “English only!” at a woman who is a prominent activist for unions, equal rights for women and minorities, and for a more just immigration system?
Who the fuck are these people?
“The fellow that was running the caucus said that the first person to come up to the stage could translate, so I went up. Nobody else did,” she said. “Then the Bernie people started yelling no, no, no. One of their people came up, and I suggested we both translate. But the moderator decided we would have no translation. So the Bernie people preferred we would have no translation just because I was going to do the translating. It’s ridiculous, because if I had said something that wasn’t accurate, I’m sure somebody would have corrected me.”
It’s not clear who was opposing Huerta’s offer. It’s possible that there were Republican shills there to disrupt the proceedings; there are conflicting reports on who was against Huerta translating; I’m also hearing that it was only the moderator of the caucus who rejected the idea of a translator. Caucuses are an ugly, chaotic, obsolete mess, so who knows what was going on. The bottom line is that the amazing Dolores Huerta was on hand to translate the proceedings into Spanish, and the caucus ultimately rejected the idea. Bernie Sanders, at least, has deplored the action.
It’s going to be interesting when we have our caucus in March. I live in what is basically Lake Wobegon: very white, mostly conservative, lots of people of Scandinavian and German ancestry. However, we also have an increasing Hispanic population, largely relegated to doing the poorly paid scut work at local dairy and poultry farms…but there are now a few businesses in town that have Spanish language signs in their windows, and we see lots of brown-skinned workers being quiet and maintaining a low profile. I hope some of them show up at the caucus, and if they do, I hope our local moderator is enthusiastic about providing translation to bring them fully into the democratic process.
I’m still planning to vote for Sanders at the caucus, because as I said, I like him and his ideas better than I do those of Clinton. But Sanders’ more zealous followers, especially the ones who are supporting Bernie because he’s not a woman (and not a Clinton woman) rather than because they like his egalitarian ideals, have the power to turn me away.