When You Stay Home on Election Day
“Maybe we need to blow this b--ch up.”
Five years ago, that was the considered opinion of comedian Mike Yard, a panelist on Larry Wilmore’s old Comedy Central program, “The Nightly Show.” It came as candidate Bernie Sanders absorbed a crushing primary defeat in New York and it was becoming clear he would not be the Democratic nominee for president.
Panelist Rory Albanese had suggested that, faced with a blindingly obvious choice in the fall — Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump — Sanders supporters would, “for humanity,” now switch their allegiance to Clinton. But Yard, echoed by fellow Sanders diehard Susan Sarandon, declared to howls of approval from the audience that he wasn’t buying it.
“People that supported Bernie are not people that play the game,” he said with just a soupcon of sanctimony. “They’re not afraid to blow s--- up.”
It felt self-righteous and immature in the moment. Given all this country has since endured, it simply feels tragic. Especially now.
Meaning of course, Monday’s stunning leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. If the document, which was first reported by Politico, indeed represents the court’s final word on the matter — which seems likely, albeit not certain — then we are witness to the end of a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, which is to say, to chart her own reproductive future.
Had Trump never been president, he would never have been in position to name three justices to the high court — one of them to a seat blatantly stolen from President Obama. So this travesty bears the fingerprints of all those people who, for whatever reason — her perceived mendacity, her ambition, her failure to be Bernie Sanders or, heaven help us, her emails — could not bring themselves to support Clinton. Not to mention those who simply stayed home on Election Day in the blithe assurance that there was no way Trump could win.
One hopes they’re all satisfied.
It is axiomatic that Republicans fall in line, while Democrats fall in love. And love is a lovely thing. But there are times pragmatism must carry the day.
Yes, the Democratic Party is often frustrating, its timorousness exceeded only by its ineptitude. But until and unless our political system evolves a viable third option, it is the only party that is not actively crusading to repeal the last 70 years. And that’s not nothing.