Nor is it lost on me that many of them disagree with me, something which occasionally becomes apparent when we comment on each other’s Facebook threads.
One instance occurred yesterday, provoked by a friend (a real “meat space” as opposed to virtual friend) having circulated on Facebook the long standing criticism that Sanders’s support is limited to whites. I took issue in a comment posting results from a recent Gallup poll.
As the numbers indicate, the reality is the exact opposite of what my friend and other Sanders detractors assume to be the case: Sanders is overwhelmingly popular with non-white voters and only marginally popular with whites.
My making this observation provoked some pushback from another commenter-a friend of my friend. Typical of much internet discourse, he didn’t dispute the data presented in my post (which consisted only of that), but simply issued a one word dismissal of Sanders as “disgusting.”
I responded by reposting the same word including underneath it pictures of Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights demonstration in the early sixties
and that of Clinton (this commenter’s preferred candidate in 2016) appearing at Donald Trump’s wedding.
The discussion devolved from there, as might be expected, ultimately leading to the commenter characterizing Sanders as “pushy” for delivering his own state of the union response (as he has done for the past three years).
For a child of a holocaust survivor that set off alarm bells.
“A pushy jew,” I commented. “Charming.”
Unsurprisingly this resulted in a freak out and his blocking of me, though not before his referring to me as “scum,” a designation I welcomed coming from a self-identified antisemite.
Two comments on this exchange seem worth making.
First, the poster in question was not, unlike myself, a random internet nobody but someone who would be uncontroversially characterized as a media elite. Indeed, he is a Pulitzer Prize winner, having been employed for many years at the Washington Post among other prestigious outlets.
This should not come as a surprise: mainstream, corporate media contempt, indeed, sheer hatred for Sanders has been obvious since his 2016 campaign began to pick up steam, anyone not recognizing it by this point being willfully blind. So universal is the hatred for Sanders among the elite media class that the poster simply assumed that he could issue his one word attack and receive universal approval in the comment thread. When I failed to deliver it, he referred to me as not being “house broken.”
Again, that’s an entirely accurate description, one which I proudly accept-I may put it on my tombstone. And that brings me to the second point which is that the individual’s work is as a classical music critic and here again, we shouldn’t be surprised. This is, after all, the musical genre most closely associated with social, economic and cultural elites. That they fear and disdain the political figure directly targeting the system through which they accumulate wealth and privilege and who threatens their ability to exercise it is a virtual law of political physics.
While it’s not pleasant to have to confront the venom which they can be counted on to spew in unguarded moments, it’s useful for them to reveal the intensity of their hatred and for all of us to recognize the interests they serve.