Things A Leftist Isn’t Allowed to Say

Here’s Laurel Brett’s latest: ” Things a Leftist Isn’t Allowed to Say” My Face book page delivers someone asking why we Hillary bitches won’t just let 2016 go and get behind Bernie in 2020. Like why are you even writing this fucked piece they would want to know. And why don’t you reserve this stuff for the Trumpers? I have been called a bitch, a cunt, a JAP, a neoliberal (apparently the worst thing you can call another person), a war monger, a cow, a sow, and had my life threatened on many occasions. That threat is nothing new for me. I first had my life threatened at 3 a.m. on the telephone in 1982 while a women’s crisis center worker for not giving an angry husband the address of his abused wife’s safe house. And that motherfucker knew where I lived. So I’m not scared, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Why don’t I reserve my Face book arguments for Trumpers? To battle the Trump administration I don’t bother with his Face book minions. Instead, I contact legislative aides calling offices to protest legislative agendas. I send postcards. I attend rallies. I battle actual initiatives. I don’t see many Trumpers on Face book. As a Jewish New Yorker I don’t have Trump supporters in the family members I regularly communicate with and none have friended me. We do have a group, Let’s Go Visit Lee Zeldin, who is our representative to Congress, and I sometimes find myself fruitlessly arguing with him and an occasional rant that someone on our side has posted. But I’ve had many friends on the Bernie side of the primary, and many members of the Resistance, which to me are the HRC warriors, post the constant pieces that still blame Hillary Clinton for too many undesired consequences to catalogue as if she, and not a Putin-Trump alliance had detailed a Democratic victory. I am not a very prominent Bernie opponent, though I have lost at least two friends to my opposition as well as membership in a closed chat room I’d been a member of for ten years. I wasn’t exactly booted out, but the ire of a very important personage and the lack of support from everyone else made it impossible to stay. Still, I usually only engage in anti-Bernie sentiments in response to the frustrations of a Resistance comrade, an egregious rewriting of facts, or another story about the elderly Bernie running for the presidency in 2020 or a strong assertion that had he been the Democratic candidate, he would have won the election. From my occasional remarks and other casual remarks on similar subjects I have learned that there are some things leftists, at least old lady leftists, are not allowed to say without being called the names I began with. To be honest, the first time I was called a bourgeois sow was in 1971 at sit-in at the office of the president of our college. The demonstration was led by a prominent student who had formed his own collective and organized many demonstrations under its aegis. My then live-in boyfriend was up in the president’s office for his first major political event. When it became clear to me that everyone was about to be arrested, I pleaded with him to avoid that since I had no way of getting home unless he drove me, not having procured a driver’s license before I went to college. The organizer, someone I had canoodled with on occasion, called me a bourgeois sow for my unconscionable self-interest. I suppose I was a hopeless bourgeois when I attended my boyfriend’s arraignment and even more bourgeois when I collected money for his bail and gave what I had left over to a general fund for all the defendants. But I digress. The continuing outrage of folks on the left has taught me that there are things leftists can never say. Women who support Hillary Clinton can never react when Bernie or Bust people insist Hillary and her tribe are splitting the party. We can never say that Bernie was the spoiler, not only throwing his hat in the ring but casting aspersions on her competence, ability, motives, and values. Her years of service, her untiring work on behalf of women, children, people of color, veterans and working people count for nothing because her rhetoric was not simplistic and lacking a revolutionary fervor. We can never say that Bernie, not Hillary, cost the Democratic Party the election. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing the opinion. Former SDS members who fought for peace, social justice, and economic equity our entire adult lives can never say that the Revolution’s ideas are empty rhetoric that has been tried again and again. We have had class revolutions in many places and the results haven’t been pretty and have most often led to political tyranny. We can’t say that HRC’s plans were grounded and that even Tom Hayden in the end decided he had to vote for Hillary. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Humanitarian mothers who have raised a family cannot say that although we want economic equity we are not in favor of massive social dislocation because we know the suffering it would bring. We can’t say that we want good lives for our children and everyone else’s children. We can’t say that a purity test or dogmatic ideas are sophomoric and lead to faulty conclusions and suffering. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Mature women who have had multiple jobs and lived complete lives can’t say that the perfect is the enemy of the good – that we’d rather see things change slowly than tear down the house and start from scratch, not because we’re apologists for any system but because we’ve lived long enough to understand human nature, greed, ambition, and meanness of spirit. We are happy when we can get things to improve, and we want things to improve for everyone except the rich. We want them to pay their fair share. We can’t say that the poor we know don’t want a revolution. They want a leg up to provide good lives for their children. If we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Nuanced thinkers can’t talk about needing to work with others. We can’t reject a world of white hats and black hats in which there are good people and bad people. We can’t say that negative traits are distributed across the entire socio-economic spectrum. We agree that Citizen’s United, Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, Big Pharma, unregulated Wall Street, unregulated banks, unregulated industry, lack of health care are horrible conditions but that black and white ideology and simplistic plans won’t fix them for many reasons because if we do, we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. HRC supporters committed to social justice can’t insist that the lives of people of color, queer people and the reproductive rights of women are as important as the economic rights of working class white men. If we do, we’re called a dirty name for voicing an opinion. Feminists cannot suggest that the press as well as the supporters of the challenger in the Democratic primary have been sexist and biased against Hillary Clinton. We can’t point out that her positions and history have been scrutinized more than any other candidates. We can’t say that her actions speak volumes, and speak far louder than Bernie’s words because if we do we’re called a dirty name for voicing an opinion. Strong gun opponents can’t point out Bernie’s votes against gun control in support of the gun industry. Because if we do we’re called a dirty name just for voicing an opinion. Jews on the left who don’t spout extreme rhetoric can’t condemn the government of Israel while still understanding that Israel needs to exist. We can’t point out the actual history of Israeli-Arab relations. We can’t say that whereas he abhor Netanyahu and the Israeli hard liners and hate the West Bank and Gaza settlements but still sympathize with the Israeli people and Jews around the world still bearing the psychic wound of the Holocaust when half of our people were killed, one of our cultures destroyed, one of our languages annihilated because if we do we’re called very dirty names just for voicing an opinion. As a mature woman fighting political battles since joining SDS at 15 in 1966 I can’t list all the people I’ve met and worked with: William Kunstler, Abbie Hoffman, Gloria Steinem, John Lennon, Helen Caldicott, Bobby Kennedy, Ron Kovic, Bobby Seale, Cesar Chavez. I can’t say that even if other leftists don’t agree with me, my opinions come from love, from struggle, from teaching underprivileged students, immigrants, and minority students at a community college for over 30 years. I can’t say that as an older woman, a feminist, and a Jew I am automatically suspect under the purity tests of the new Young Turks because if I do I’m called a dirty name just for describing my experience.” Laurel Brett (She doesn’t see comments on my posts, so if you want to communicate with her, best is her Medium page @

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *