51 Comments
Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

I am in such a dark and gloomy place these days. And while this brilliant essay cannot lift me out of that dark and gloomy place, it at least assures me that I have precious company there. Your inspiring well of humanity and compassion, Sarah, and the depth and breadth of both your research and your capacity to SEE, enable you to say things persuasively that others, who have so much less of all those things, may try to say but often only convey in angry, ill-informed, performative bleats. Thank you for all that you do, for your companionship in the dark and the gloom, and for the light you bring to that lonely place.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

This is a very small thing but thank you for saying that Biden falsely declared the pandemic over. A lot of people don't want to reckon with this.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

“Placeholder President” nails the dismay I started feeling about 6 months into the Biden presidency, when I realized none of the steps needed to protect/build democracy would be taken. Today, as an anti-occupation Jew, that dismay is now sheer disgust.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

“A person cannot rightly claim democracy is under attack and then brag that they are working with the people trying to destroy it.” Beautiful essay Sarah! This sentence in particular stood out for me. For so long I’ve been enraged by the hypocrisy of these “reach across the aisle” comments and this sums up those frustrations perfectly.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

I want to not pay attention to the world collapsing before my eyes. I want to be distracted and blind but in reality I just want to be numb to the world. In the same breath I also want to pay attention so I’m not blind to the world I live in. The path we are on claws at me I’m scared about what’s to come. I feel like I’m watching a catastrophe unfolding my eyes in slow motion and am powerless to help. I hate it.

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I have very mixed feelings about this essay.

While I agree with portions of your argument, you ignore many positives that Biden has responsible for because they don't nearly fit within your chosen narrative (eg, student debt relief, vigorous antitrust enforcement...the first president in decades to do so, restarting US manufacturing, supporting unions, reenergizing NATO, etc).

Biden is flawed, but he's not a willing participant in a many-pronged conspiracy.

Netanyahu was embraced by Biden after the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Even if Biden ultimately denounces Israel's scorched earth response, the tools he possesses to stop Israel are limited. Israel doesn't need US money, and Netanyahu isn't a rational figure.

For those of us not balancing complex geopolitical issues, the moral choice seems obvious, but the moral choice doesn't solve anything. What is the answer to ensuring Israel's safety and providing a safe, thriving Palestinian state? Who would fund the rebuilding of Gaza, who would govern Gaza, who would ensure that another terrorist organization fails to overturn such a government? Free Gaza is just an empty motto without a plan. No plan can survive the Netanyahu administration. These are intractable issues that Biden faces.

I'm extremely frustrated by the utter lack of progress in hardening democracy, and I agree that our institutions are rotted. But Biden started with a 50/50 Senate, 2 compromised Senate Democrats, a filibuster and a 5-seat House majority. Hardening democracy requires Congressional action.

It might feel good to proclaim that our rotted institutions should be replaced, but there are tens of thousands of hardworking people behind those institutions. Trump wants to fire them all and replace them with loyalists. That should terrify people. As to replacing institutions...replacing them with what? staffing them with who?

Your contention that both sides are equally culpable isn't supported by reality...the GOP is fully corrupted and driven to create a White Nationalist autocracy. The Democratic party has it's own corruption and compromise, but it still strives to benefit its base. If Democrats start voting in record numbers for good people in state and national elections, better leaders will be elected.

Unless you have another plan for fixing what ails this country, your message of "both parties bad, why bother voting" is counterproductive to those you purport to support and fails to create real change.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

I really miss your voice on Gaslit Nation, but I appreciate that you are able to speak freely here. On the one hand it's essential that Trump never becomes president again, which is why many people will do what they can to support Biden - but on the other they only have two terrible choices. I am not American, but I am so disappointed that none of the amazing people who would do a much better job never are in genuine competition. It must be because the Democratic party would never allow them to get to that position. The GOP is beyond all help and I find it horrifying to think that even if Democracy prevails, one of them will one day be in power again. How can you have a two party system when one of the two choices is no longer on board with democracy? This cannot work in the long run. Only serious consequences could change the track that America is on.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

Excellent essay, Sarah. I've been a fan for quite some time and am looking forward to many more beautifully written pieces such as this. Thanks!

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

“Like most Americans I can’t make policy, but can only hope to survive it” That is the plight that most Americans are living. Well said Sarah.

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“The most prescient, investigative journalist and political commentary of their time, was an anthropologist....”

Words that very well might be written about you long we are gone. I’m grateful to be here to see it, Ms Sarah. Thank you.

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founding
Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

Sarah unleashed. Great essay, thank you

Why does Israel always get a pass? What do we hold to be the basic tenets of democracy: one person, one vote; all are equal before the law; freedom of speech, thought, association, religion; separation of church and state? Israel fails on all of these. ‘The right to self-defence’ is a dog whistle, ‘you are free to go all out’, retaliation, collective punishment, and now ethnic cleansing and genocide. The only solution is a one state solution (the Two State solution was always going to be apartheid in my view) based on the principles above. Sounds crazy but I can remember when change in South Africa seemed impossible.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

Yes! Bring it, Sarah.

You always provide the best analysis softened somehow with such excellent prose.

“It is a dead horse race, and the dead horse is America, beaten and bleeding, worn from trampling and being trampled.”

“This is not a serious country, but a country in serious crisis. This is not a sovereign country, but a country under the tyranny of the minority regardless of who is in charge. We have elections, but we do not have choice.”

“Shadow clouds freed the moon until it lit our path like a spotlight.”

And Joe Biden is responsible for making himself look bad, no one else. Please keep complaining.

“Our crisis is beyond elections. You cannot vote out the mafia. You cannot wait for a referendum on ongoing mass murder. But you can look evil in the eye and stand up for those targeted. You can hope that if you are targeted, someone will do the same for you. If no one does, you still did the right thing, and that still matters.”

And, yes, “We all deserve so much better than this.”.

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

This is why I’m so tired of people dismissing the polls, showing elected officials must change course or they’ll lose people. Average citizens want peace, justice, and an opportunity to just be. But the people in power keep wanting to stifle that for their draconian vision of the world. Time for something new and better, indeed! Thank you.

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Extremely painful and bracing. Yesterday’s election felt like a good day. But you remind me - Biden’s goddam fist bump with the monster MBS is alive in my memory, an especially traitorous gesture to whatever good things America was once about.

It was a despicable betrayal and consequential - like Bush’s claim he ‘looked into Putin’s heart’.

I Despair.

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Sarah Kendzior

You write so beautifully. The directness is appreciated. I wish everyone would read what you write the clarity honesty is needed in this dishonest world. Speaking truth to power is essential these days thank you. Few have the vast knowledge and intelligence to link events and people like you do . Keep educating us so important. I feel we are in a very dark place keep shining a bright light for us again thank you!

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I think the electorate bears some responsibility in all this. We've been falling for lies for decades without interrogating what the truth is. We've reality-TV-ed ourselves into voting for the loudest, most outragious, and most devious into office while essentially deciding everyone else should be voted off the island. We've made ignorance acceptable, even valued. We've demonized differences. I struggle with your essays because what is happening is so hard to digest, yet I'm grateful to be hearing it and having my eyes opened ever wider.

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