Bernie Sanders should not have endorsed Cenk Uygur in the first place

I had thought the criticism of Cenk Uygur, who is running for a vacant seat in Congress representing Santa Clarita, California, was based on old writings. This turns out to be, um, incomplete, and I clearly have not been paying attention to Uygur. He is anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, a sexist, and a racist—and recently so. Bernie Sanders, who seems at the very least to have overlooked “sexism, sexual harassment and pay discrimination by male supervisors in his 2016 presidential campaign,”[1] should not have endorsed him in the first place; the retraction of that endorsement feels inadequate. Uygur needs to withdraw his candidacy and my disgust with the neoliberal (“Democratic”) party presidential primary is now complete.

Many of [Cenk Uygur’s] most provocative remarks have been compiled in video snippets posted on Twitter in recent weeks by a New York Democratic activist, M. Mendoza Ferrer, who is unaffiliated with any presidential campaign. She said it seemed Uygur had built his online platform denigrating women and others, and now that he’s a Democrat running for Congress it bothered her that his audience of mainly young men was tuning in.

“Once this stuff came to light, anybody would be sort of horrified,” she said. “I was horrified.”

The clips she unearthed included a 2012 segment of “The Young Turks” in which he said conservative Orthodox Jewish men and Muslim women in heavy religious attire were “wasting their lives.”[2]

There are some things here I need to be clear about:

  1. No one who can pass for any race other than Black has any business whatsoever with the n-word. Its meaning is especially cruel when uttered by whites. Uygur, a Turkish immigrant, used it multiple times.[3]

  2. There is no defense whatsoever for ranking women on sexual attractiveness, and no excuse for defending it in public. Uygur did.[4]

  3. Denigrating people for ‘modesty’ or any mode of appearance they believe is required by their religion is denigration of their faith. Uygur did this.[5]

  4. It takes a remarkable kind of hypocrisy to advocate “frank conversations about sex,” to reject “be[ing] the thought police and polic[ing] what [the Harvard University men’s soccer team’s] private comments are,” and then seek control over what people do in the privacy of the bedrooms through homophobia. Uygur did.[6]

I have already been disgusted with the electoral system in this country.[7] I would really like to be able to vote for someone who isn’t one or more of 1) a racist, 2) a sexist, 3) an Islamophobe, 4) anti-Semitic, 5) a neoliberal, 6) a neoconservative, 7) a warmonger, 8) a capitalist, 9) a climate crisis denier, and 10) a hypocrite. Admittedly, it’s a long list, but is it really so unreasonable?

  1. [1]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  2. [2]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  3. [3]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  4. [4]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  5. [5]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  6. [6]Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Why I do not vote,” Not Housebroken, February 23, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/02/23/why-i-do-not-vote/

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