'See, this is why I'm not a liberal anymore. I counted myself as a liberal until a few months ago. I always knew the Republican Party was rotten to the core, and I could never support them save for a couple of good eggs. The Democratic Party, as I had understood it, had some issues I disagreed on, like abortion, but overall was the party of FDR and JFK: a good party that did good things.
'I spent the first half of my childhood in the Bush years, when I saw the corruption, incompetence, and warmongering of the neocons in charge. Even as a kid, when I saw the reports coming in about Iraq and Afghanistan, I wondered what this was all about. Oil, my grandmother and mother who raised me explained. The former was an independent and the latter was a RINO. I was glad Obama got elected, but the financial crisis hurt my family: as healthcare costs rose, my grandmother had to quit her nursing job to take care of my disabled mother, who had to quit her finance job after leaking internal memos which described nasty dealings by Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
'My confidence began to erode in politics after seeing where "bipartisanship" led: the public option got killed in Congress and the bailout ended up helping out the banks that had caused the crisis in the first place. Iraq and Afghanistan were both ended only after too much damage was allowed to be done, and the Obama administration policy of drone strikes disturbed me. Chelsea Manning's leaks proved especially horrifying: she had presented clear evidence of war crimes, the government was forced to admit that, despite their efforts to poison the well against her, none of her releases ended up harming anyone but the government themselves, and she was the one being imprisoned and tortured. By last year, my faith in Obama, who I had generally thought of as a good man who was forced to hold back on his promises by a crooked Republican congress and a host of military and financial bureaucrats, began to fade.
'Bernie Sanders became my new hope. He wasn't perfect by any metric, but he was going to cut back on the use of our military, try to get a single payer system, and provide free college. And not only that, he was describing how. My family and I had just been evicted so that the landlord could sell off our old house to a bunch of condo developers, only months after returning home from a year of the abusive nightmare called "protective custody" (long story short, the state had twisted some statements I thought I was making to a private therapist into accusations against my family, and I spent a year being transferred from abusive group home to abusive group home), and this guy sounded like the real deal.
'After Hillary got the nomination, I felt that Bernie had been unfairly treated. The DNC email leak seemed to confirm my suspicions of dirtiness within the DNC, but I'll wait for the lawsuit to decide what went on.
'I was sceptical about the Russia allegations from the beginning. They sounded like yet another set of WMD allegations to my ears. The thing that scared me, though, was how they were being used to sour the atmosphere even more between Russia and the United States. Believe me, I think Putin needs to go if Russia's going to get any better, but I was worried more and more about the rhetoric about Russia sounding like calls for war. I didn't want to see my fellow poor kids ship off to Ukraine to fight alongside the Azov Battalion, and I still don't.
As for what's going on between them and Trump, this is what I think: I still don't believe it was Russian state actors behind the leaks. I believe there's proof beyond a doubt that Trump and his team at the very least attempted collusion, and I think it's very likely that collusion between Trump and Russian state elements happened. What I think will happen is that we'll receive proof that collusion happened, and nothing will happen. The Democrats will pride themselves on getting proof that Trump and his gang did something illegal, and that'll be the end of it. The Republicans will simply dismiss any attempts to get him impeached on that evidence.
'And that's the problem I have. Currently, there is a Republican 'civil rights reform' bill in Congress which, if it passes, will significantly hurt me as a transgender woman by ending all existing and preventing any future protections for transgender people.
'There's also the healthcare issue. If even the budget passes to defund Medicare and Medicaid, my mother will die fast. And my grandmother will die more slowly.
'So excuse my cynicism over this Russia story and my lack of faith in liberalism. I'm a registered Democrat, and I intend to vote in the Senate primary and in next year's elections. I'm starting a job at a local business in the next few weeks.
I'm a democratic socialist now - not out of any wide-eyed idealism, but because I've read economics texts, including Ha-Joon Chang, David Ricardo, Richard D. Wolff, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Anwar Shaikh. I'd like to see some social-democratic reforms passed in the meantime, including single-payer and free college.
I want to see the Democrats talk less about Russia and more about preserving healthcare, non-discrimination protections, and democratic procedure, as well as fighting Trump's draconian and racist agenda.
'All I want is my mother's healthcare, my rights, and to hold down a job and get an education. I'm tired of being condescended to that my rights as a trans woman and my family's health, along with the safety of my neighbours of colour, have to be put on hold because Trump had some dirty dealings with Russian oligarchs.'