An Unexpurgated Letter to Nick Lento and other “Progressives”

Gorgeous George in the Magic City 001
The Voice of Reason

Suicide is Not Progressive!

Dear Nicky

Since you are an obviously a smart and well-meaning guy whose heart and mind is in the right place, I shan’t follow my first impulse and tell you to KISS MY ASS!   Instead I shall endure your rather snide and snarky attitude – which has become the rhetorical style of those acolytes “feelin the Bern” – because there is value in what you say….although at times you come perilously close to being like the proverbial cow that gives a great bucket of milk then kicks it over in the dung.

For instance, after some generally astute and thoughtful analysis you opine: “Generally speaking cursing and insulting people and trying to bully them with foul language is not a way to make friends and influence people. The reality is the further we can push the Democratic platform in a progressive Direction and the further we can push Hillary Clinton in a progressive Direction the more chance she will have of winning if she becomes the nominee in the general election. Crudely and rudely demanding Bernie Sanders and the many millions of people supporting him simply walk away and politically drop dead is not helpful.”

First of all I have not suggested that Bernie Sanders supporters should “drop dead.” I am merely calling for them to cease the character  assignation of Hillary Clinton because the way it looks she will be the democratic candidate for president of the United States. In which case, we are going to have to support her in the fight against the dreaded Republicans.   Secondly,  I have been making friends and influencing people here and abroad probably before you started coming out of the yard by yourself; hence I need no advice from you on that score.

Furthermore I have been an organizer in a mass movement that succeeded, taught seminars on the structure and dynamics of mass movements in GREAT UNIVERSITIES, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize TWICE for writing about mass movements – see the nominating letters at Playthell: A Thumbnail Sketch at the top of this page.   I have won other prizes for my writings on the subject that can also be seen there, and had two of my feature essays on mass movements studied in seminars AT THE COLUMBIA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM!  Furthermore, if you read my essays on The mass movements of the “Arab Spring” and the “Occupy Wall Street Movement” on this site you will see that they read like Biblical Prophecy!  And I have also held professorships in History and Journalism.

Hence I need NO ADVICE from verbose amateurs who are a bit too full of themselves – either regarding the use of language or how to influence people in debate.  I am a seasoned master at both!  I said EXACTLY WHAT I MEANT TO SAY IN THE STYLE THAT I SAID IT!!!!!!  I disagree that the only people who are in danger of not supporting Hillary are people who would not have voted for her in the first place.   Hence I am trying to warn the undecided that some of Bernie’s followers are going off the beam and are DANGEROUS!!!!

Although it is true that the people you identify might not have voted for Hillary, there are many independents and fence straddlers that may be inclined to vote for Hillary but will be discouraged by the increasingly rancorous and reckless rhetoric emanating from the Sanders campaign. As Bernie’s numbers shrink beside Hillary’s they are beginning to talk like mindless self-righteous zealots!   In politics as in sports: You are what the numbers say you are.  And the numbers say that when it’s all over Bernie will be an also ran.

There are 2, 383 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.  At present according to Bloomberg News and the Associated Press Hillary Clinton has 1, 930 delegates, 502 of which are Superdelegates.  Bernie Sanders has 1,191 delegates including 38 Superdelegates and 1, 644 delegates remain to be allocated.  Clinton needs only 430 delegates to win outright, but Bernie needs 1,192 delegates to win.  I see NO path to victory for Bernie under the rules of the Democratic Party.  That’s why his supporters are going bonkers and spouting madness.  They are becoming loose cannons that represent more of an electoral danger to the Democrats than the Republicans.

Alas, otherwise sensible and principled people are beginning to sound like shameless charlatans and fumbling fools. Former head of the venerable NAACP Ben Jealous, a brilliant and thoughtful commentator/activists for the progressive vision, is talking like a charlatan in his unfair criticism of Hillary as a result of a joke told by New York Mayor de Blasio about “CP Time” i.e. “Colored People’s Time.”  It was an old joke among black Americans; I and everybody I know thought it was funny as hell.   And since Big Bill is married to a Soul Sista of the deepest dye most of us consider him “black by emersion!”

Bill and Charlene de Blasio
The Mayor and Charlene
The Mayor and First Lady of New York

So Ben made an asshole of himself with his fake outrage: IT WAS EMBARRASING!!!!  And then there is the matter of Nina Turner.  A former State Senator from Ohio, I first became aware of her from watching her emerge as a powerful spokesperson for progressive issues on television when she was in the Ohio legislature.  She impressed me as smart, feisty, politically astute, and fearless: a powerful advocate for the public interests, the working class and the powerless.

I found her admirable in every respect, a model public servant.  But here lately, as a surrogate for the Sander’s campaign, she has become shrill as a banshee, self-righteous as an evangelical preacher, and as judgmental as a hangman.  Then there are the actors who, by virtue of their fame have a large audience, however because they are used to reciting lines composed by others when left to think on their own they are subject to say ANTHING!

Susan Serandon and Dannie Glover are poignant cases in point.  In separate interviews on MSNBC Serandon hesitated when asked if she would support Hillary if Bernie didn’t get the nomination.  After fumbling around with the question, she said she was undecided and even saw a bright side to a Trump victory: “It would speed up the revolution.”

This is the kind of talk one expects to hear from clueless college kids enamored with the abstract revolutionary theories of the intellectual left promulgated by folks who claim to speak for the “revolutionary” proletariat.  Not surrogates for a politician vying for the nomination of a major American political party.  And although Danny Glover is a lot smarter than Suzy, a genuine intellectual with a deep understanding of the complexities of politics, he is also talking like a fool hedging on the question of supporting Hillary.

This is what self-righteous zealotry does to people.  The belief that one has some ultimate and unassailable truth, and that this truth is personified by a political leader that can do no wrong, has lead to unspeakable disasters.  The historical record is littered with such examples.  Alas, in their desperation Bernie’s acolytes increasingly seem convinced that by sliming Hillary they can improve his chances of victory.

They are even talking about trying to provoke a floor fight at the convention that mirror the Republican’s strategy to stop Trump.  Their strategy is based on the belief that they can provoke a fight at the Convention and convince enough super delegates to abandon Hillary and support Bernie.  However as I write Hillary needs only 430 delegates to win while Bernie needs 1, 192, hence they have a serious uphill fight ahead that will sow discord in the party in what’s seems destined to be a failing effort.

I think this is a wrongheaded strategy, a fool’s errand, that can seriously wound the party; imperiling our chancer at winning this critical election, especially since some of these zealots are talkng about starting a Third Party!  While I am an enthusiastic supporter who is feelin the Bern, I am first and foremost a political animal whose paramount objective is defeating the Republicans; a Yellow Dog Democrat who would vote for an old yellow dog before casting a ballot for a Republican.

Unlike a great many of Bernie’s acolytes – and you appear to be among their number – I do not see this as a contest between a saint and sinner they way yhall do. I see this as a contest between two ambitious politicians vying for the most powerful office in the world; neither of whom have a monopoly on virtue.

After all, most of the things that Bernie accuses Hillary of regarding raising money have been true OF EVERY SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN PRESIDENT!!!!!   Bernie is the sole exception….but then he ain’t won shit yet!   So you jokers need to CALM THA FUCK DOWN!  If Bernie don’t win he ain’t in: THAT’S THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT!   We must then fall in line behind Hillary and our marching ordrs must be “No Enemies on the Left!   Anything else is EXTREME FOLLY that will certainly lead to political disaster.


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 24, 2016


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