Squeeze the hand.
January 27, 2020 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Phillip Agnew's 'With These Hands' – Powerful Bernie Rally Moment. (YouTube 5min16sec) Phillip Agnew works for the Sanders campaign and the clip is a very unique approach to politics that took a turn to something almost spiritual when he asked the crowd to get their neighbours permission to hold their hand. Big but good emotions follow. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, later during her speech, remarked that, Phillip "took them to church". Sen. Sanders wasn't there, as he had to work on the Trump impeachment in D.C.

Entire event here IOWA CITY RALLY WITH AOC (YouTube 3hrs51min but first hour and a half was just waiting. Linked to actually start)
posted by phoque (44 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not so hot on Bernie, but how do I vote for Philip Agnew?
posted by anastasiav at 3:40 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Wait, that s in Iowa? Woah
posted by eustatic at 3:47 PM on January 27


Wow. That was powerful, and that’s how you build real solidarity: help people realize that we are all in this together whether we want to be or not, and we are all more alike one another than we are different, whether we like it or not. Create ‘we’ not ‘us vs. them’.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:53 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I realize that I am not a normal person, and that is especially stressful to me because I live here, and I could have been at that rally. (I went to an Elizabeth Warren rally outside that building earlier this year.) But I don't think that you should spring demands for personal revelation on people without warning. This is a small fucking town, and you are never really anonymous. The person next to me at a political rally could be my coworker or my boss or my landlord. And I don't really want to tell whatever random person I end up next to whether I grew up in a happy family or have ever been assaulted.

I will be really happy next Tuesday when we can go back to being stoical Midwesterners who don't have to figure out how to respond to demands for self-revelatory hand-squeezes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:26 PM on January 27 [28 favorites]


God, america is fucking weird as fuck.
posted by odinsdream at 4:29 PM on January 27 [34 favorites]


Like this would make me so uncomfortable I'd leave and never go to another event again.
posted by odinsdream at 4:31 PM on January 27 [27 favorites]


And I don't really want to tell whatever random person I end up next to whether I grew up in a happy family or have ever been assaulted.

No one would be forcing you to squeeze your hand.
posted by dobbs at 4:43 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


"God, america is fucking weird as fuck."

I believe some of my not-so-distant neighbors were part of one or two of these churches when I was pretty young. Didn't stay around that part of the country for that long before my family moved.
posted by aleph at 4:44 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Aww, I wasn't quite ready for it to end there. I was waiting for something like a climactic

WITH THESE HANDS — WE WILL TEAR DOWN THE WALLS THAT DIVIDE US

WITH THESE HANDS — WE WILL REBUILD AMERICA TOGETHER.

then all the RIGHT NOW stuff.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:48 PM on January 27


There's a little part of my brain SCREAMING at me to be cynical about this but that little part of my brain can shut right the fuck up.
posted by East14thTaco at 4:52 PM on January 27 [9 favorites]


I think you can be cynical *and* think it's a hell of a (great) thing. At least I can. And like anyone who's ever visited home on leave and had the local Minister try to call you down to the front to be saved. You get over it.
posted by aleph at 4:55 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Ha! Fair enough. And yeah that's probably it.

This is how Bernie wins, but it is obviously a tactic.
posted by East14thTaco at 5:01 PM on January 27


I don't give a fuck if Bernie wins though he's better than a lot. My approach is "The Democrat, 2020".
posted by aleph at 5:03 PM on January 27 [9 favorites]


Hey, Arbitrary and Capricious! We are neighbors! I listened and thought to myself, “I’m not squeezing to that!”

Must be something in our water.

But it was a nice speech and I hope that guy makes his sincere desire to connect people for the betterment of everyone into a long and productive political career.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:39 PM on January 27


Wow Iowa is white as fuck.
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 6:02 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Having just read the coronavirus hand hygiene FPP, I sure hope all those people wash their hands before touching their mucous membranes.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:19 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Wow Iowa is white as fuck.

Behold the kingmakers, the primaries held in February that are widely held to be the bellwether for the Democratic nod: New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina. All at least 65% white, and all recently breaking for Bernie. Don't get me wrong, I'm as raging a socialist as the next MeFite, but it feels really weird anointing a presumptive favorite based on the outcomes of 4 small, homogeneously white states.
posted by Mayor West at 6:20 PM on January 27 [16 favorites]


I don't give a fuck if Bernie wins though he's better than a lot. My approach is "The Democrat, 2020".

That is the post-nomination idea. Right now, Democrats are in a fight with each other. And that's ok! That's normal. That's what democracies should do: hash out differences and allow the most popular candidate to rise from the ruckus. I don't know how others see it, but for me, calls for "unity" and "Democrats shouldn't fight with each other" and other such sentiments are actually subversive strategies for shutting out and shutting down certain ideas and policies; namely the leftist policies of Bernie Sanders.

Like Ken Watanabe, I say "Let them fight." Save the all hands on deck platitudes until we have a nominee.
posted by zardoz at 6:33 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Any other context and a video of a BLM activist giving what is effectively a very well received black church sermon to some lily white Iowans about solidarity would be the type of thing that is universally enjoyed on a site like Metafilter, I wonder what it is specifically about this event that has everyone so cynical and pretending to get the vapours over made up shit like forced hand touching
posted by windbox at 6:35 PM on January 27 [32 favorites]


God, america is fucking weird as fuck.

While I understand your discomfort, and I personally would be happy if things like handshakes and hugs were to be replaced with waving across a room, I feel like it's not great to characterize a rhetorical style deeply rooted in the traditions of Black churches as weird. I've had to attend meetings that are run like this, and it does create a feeling of community.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:36 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


Wow. That was powerful. Whether you're on team Bernie or not, I think there are lot of lessons to be gained from watching that. I'm so grateful this was shared.
posted by treepour at 6:40 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Agreed about Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. South Carolina is the exception. 55 percent of 2008 SC Democratic primary voters were African Americans.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 6:43 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Look, I have a sensory thing and anxiety and all kinds of mental shit that makes this scenario extremely uncomfortable. I'm not going to belabor my point from earlier in the thread by any means, but I am going to say y'all are treating me like I'm a racist (what the FUCK?) or some kind of anti-bernie uh, I guess, operative?? for voicing this.
posted by odinsdream at 6:49 PM on January 27 [10 favorites]


I have a sensory thing and anxiety and all kinds of mental shit that makes this scenario extremely uncomfortable.

This is a very different take on your discomfort with this speech than "America is weird as fuck".
posted by mstokes650 at 6:58 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Yeah, by "not a normal person," I mean "not neurotypical." Sorry. I'll bow out of this thread.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:00 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I am going to say y'all are treating me like I'm a racist (what the FUCK?) or some kind of anti-bernie uh, I guess, operative?? for voicing this.

It's more of a cultural insensitivity.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:07 PM on January 27


[Let's head off potential derail here. It's fair if this would make a given person uncomfortable; but it's also worth being aware of how that kind of statement can land, for the reason betweenthebars mentions, so it's worth adding context to prevent that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:10 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


I appreciated how the requests were polite. Ask if you can hold hands. If you have permission. Please squeeze your hand. I suppose there is a push to conform, but it's not mandatory. It seems like people could participate to the extent they felt comfortable with it, including not at all.

I think America IS weird, in that it's such a mix of cultures that it's hard to find rituals or actions that cross those divides, and obviously not everyone is going to be cool with everything. And I have sensory issues of my own. Velvet is basically the tactile equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. I absolutely wouldn't judge anyone who declined to participate, and I think I saw some people on the video not do so, and I was like, "good."

But touch is powerful. Pleasant social touch, as opposed to general touch (and many people find holding hands and having their hand squeezed gently pleasant) activates the anterior cingulate cortex along with the primary somatosensory cortex, which deals with touch generally. The ACC has functions associated with reward anticipation, decision making, emotions, ethics and morality. I'm not read up on the effects of social touch or hand holding, but a quick google scholar search suggests that hand holding may reduce anxiety, stress, and both physical and emotional pain, while improving self esteem and assertiveness. Many humans like touching parts of our bodies with lots of sensory nerves together, and the hands and fingers have a lot of touch sensitivity.

So for many people I can see this being a powerful and moving experience. Just watching and listening was pretty affecting.
posted by gryftir at 7:41 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


I have no quarrel with anyone whose reaction is "this would make me uncomfortable." It feels a little pushy.

Still, it's just not especially "weird" in the American context. It's a familiar style that's rooted here.

Lederhosen are weird pants, except in Germany.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:18 PM on January 27


Wow Iowa is white as fuck.

Yes, it is 90% white currently but 60% of births are non-white kids.

Things are changing.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:35 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Bernie is going to win yall
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:40 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina. All at least 65% white, and all recently breaking for Bernie. Don't get me wrong, I'm as raging a socialist as the next MeFite, but it feels really weird anointing a presumptive favorite based on the outcomes of 4 small, homogeneously white states.

Nevada is 52% non-Hispanic white. The only states with a lower percentage are Texas, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii.

South Carolina is 28% African American. The only states with a higher percentage are Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

If you are going to do the primaries in stages, these seem like nice states to include early!

I have nothing good to say about Iowa or New Hampshire. They need to step aside and let other states take a turn.
posted by great_radio at 9:16 PM on January 27 [9 favorites]


Right now, Democrats are in a fight with each other. And that's ok! That's normal.

Yeah, I'm just always afraid an eventual loser will wound the eventual Democratic nominee.
posted by pracowity at 11:54 PM on January 27


> “No one would be forcing you to squeeze your hand.”

Memories of trauma surface and affect survivors in ways that are neither logical nor intuitive to others. The entire point of the exercise was to break social norms and build unity. The point is to be swept up in the moment. Manipulation.

It was a quick surprise for anyone to decide if they should come out to another person about trauma, who may be a stranger or may have any relationship at all because of carpooling

When it’s done on TV, it’s called televangelism. And it’s a damn good way to grift money off of people. When it’s done in politics, it’s populism.

This could have been done in a way that fully honored consent, and that would be to fully explain the exercise and its purpose before beginning the exercise. Agnew instead chose to mimic consent. In fact, he made a big display of it twice. But it’s mimicking consent because the part that we all know is the unexpected and more intrusive part was not part of the ask.

Of course, that would not make a politically poignant moment, which what this was designed to be.
posted by Skwirl at 1:52 AM on January 28 [14 favorites]


I wonder what it is specifically about this event that has everyone so cynical and pretending to get the vapours over made up shit like forced hand touching

So if I say I'm uncomfortable touching strangers (and rarely even hug friends), I'm a liar and also . . . a racist? A centrist? A Bernie-hater? Not sure what you're implying here, but you should just come out and say it. There are a lot of reasons someone would accuse strangers on the internet of lying and I'd like to know what, specifically, yours is.
posted by Mavri at 2:58 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


[Again, I'll request that we drop this derail. The comment was basically a reaction to the "weird as fuck" terse comment, and now that's been more fully explained, I think everyone can understand and appreciate people's personal objections, and we can move on.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:12 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


"Right now, Democrats are in a fight with each other. And that's ok! That's normal."

It is and it isn't. There's such a thing as "fighting fair" as anyone who's been in relationships knows. If you don't fight "fair" bad things can happen. And that includes those at the national level. All is *not* fair in love and war. What a contemptible lie.
posted by aleph at 9:45 AM on January 28


A fight among candidates is fine. A fight to exclude or demonize whole blocs of the coalition is not.
posted by argybarg at 10:23 AM on January 28


A fight among candidates the "wrong" way(s) is not fine. Hopefully it won't go there (much).
posted by aleph at 10:56 AM on January 28


So this video is demonizing people and excluding blocs of people because the consent request was framed poorly?
posted by 99_ at 10:59 AM on January 28


Not my claim. I'm responding to zardoz' more general statement.
posted by argybarg at 11:02 AM on January 28


I apologize for losing track.
posted by aleph at 11:06 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


There are better angels than me in this world that work hard to help others and make the spaces we share positive for everyone. It may not be exactly my thing but I understand the beauty in finding connection and empathy with my neighbor.

Aim for the sky, you may only reach the trees but at least you aren't in the gutter.
posted by ShakeyJake at 2:09 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I am excited for the primaries and Bernie's chance at the nomination. He has built a movement that can function with and without him. It is impressive. I thought I was sharing something very positive. I sat on it for a couple days because I did worry it would just be torpedoed by reflexive Bernie hate. But I kept thinking about it and the uniqueness in political venue and it seemed like a moment where the movement became a force that didn't require a single leader, it is bigger than Sanders and has it's own momentum. I also figured since Bernie wasn't even there and his surrogates are amazing and AOC shouted it out, it could be viewed fairly impartially and would make people feel good and invigorated and happy. So I guess it all worked as expected.

Anyway Bernie also does something different at his rallies. Instead of taking questions he asks the audience questions and gives people a platform to share their stories. It is a powerful shared struggle and solidarity building exercise. A moment I found very moving (emotionally, made me tear up, but also smile) earlier this month was when a man named Ryan shared his story of a medical emergency, not having insurance and the humiliation and how it felt like having a different coloured lunch card again. *trigger warning* (Bernie touches man's shoulder and squeezes hand while man shares intimate details) Town Hall in Grundy Center, Iowa (YouTube video 1hr 43min, but I linked to 54min40sec where the story starts and it lasts about 2 minutes).



On a totally different note Biden has begun lying (in Black churches to Black audiences) about his civil rights activism, again, and with more and more embellishment ...
2 truths and 31 lies Joe Biden has told about his work in the Civil Rights Movement (Long article by Shaun King (Bernie supporter) with lots of video clips ... this feels like it could be the end for Biden, because how the fuck do you explain or apologize for doing this).
posted by phoque at 7:01 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


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