-- Swami Beyondananda
Shortly after last year's election, I wrote a piece entitled, "The Two-Party System: One Down and One to Go." The point was that in our current binary, bipolar system, all voters can really do is vote "yes" or "no" for the lesser of two weasels. Consequently, the political task of a burgeoning evolutionary upwising would be to dislodge first one, then the other political party that had long outlived its uselessness.
The election of Obama -- and particularly the swing voters swinging in his direction -- was an indication of understandable displeasure with 8 years of Bush-Cheney rule. Had the Democrats played their cards right and moved into the people's center instead of the corporate center, the Republicans would have gone the way of the Whigs.
But a lad and a lack. Our lad lacked either the power or the will to lead from a truly new paradigm. His early appointments were largely disappointments, the most ominous one being Rahm Emmanuel. From there it was one inside-the-corporate-box move after another as the Obama Administration bailed out Wall Street and bailed out on Main Street.
By choice or by coercion, Obama settled into his role as CEO of the American Empire, following the orders of his "Board of Directors" (i.e., the banking industry, military industrial complex, big pharma and agribusiness) rather than the shareholders of our commonwealth (i.e., you and me).
The Hopium Has Worn Off
A year later, the hopium high has worn off and voters in the safest of Democratic states gave a seat warmed by an iconic Democrat for nearly 50 years to a Republican. Both Blue Dog and Progressive Democrats are likely to read this one wrong. The Blue Dogs will insist the Democrats must move even further to the corporate center, in spite of the obvious (to us) fact that the reason voters were rejecting the Health Care Plan is that it was so corporate.
Progressives, while closer to the mark in recognizing that Obama seemingly betrayed progressive principles (see Rabbi Michael Lerner's excellent piece here) are likely to miss something else. The Tea Party movement, instrumental in organizing against the Democrats in Massachusetts and nationally, has been portrayed both by mainstream and liberal press as reactionary, racist yahoos. In truth, it's an expression of the very populist sentiment that Michael Moore reflects in his most recent movie, Capitalism: A Love Story.
Wave the Red Cape -- and the "Bull" Wins
The problem is, saying the name "Michael Moore" in front of a populist conservative is like, well like saying the name "Sarah Palin" in front of a progressive. Waving these "red capes" paradoxically make "fighting the bull" more difficult. In fact, if we give in to "ooga booga, Michael Moore" and "ooga booga, Sarah Palin," as our tribes rally us for the next useless battle, the bull will be victorious.
In fact, it's guaranteed. If the political discourse continues to take it's current course, the 2010 midterm elections will be the same ol' "Shoot Out At the I'm OK, You're Not OK Corral," with we the people (whether red-identified or blue-identified) lying crumpled in the dust, and the bad guys marching off into the sunset with their grip on the commonwealth secure.
Now, was victorious candidate Scott Brown supported by the very corporate interests the Tea Party partiers are railing against? Of course. Was Martha Coakley aided by the same insurance industry that stands to benefit from this new "Health Care" plan? You betcha.
Are we beginning to see a pattern here? Each side gets manipulated into voting for tweedledweeb or tweedledumb, and the same powers stay in power. Progressives are dumbfounded and outraged by the lies on Faux News, conservatives are outraged by centralized power and metastasized debt. Each -- when push comes to shove -- falls back with their red or blue tribe. Anger intensifies on both sides ... and nothing substantial changes for the better.
And the Good News Is ... ?
So ... as the black hats ride off with our pot of gold, where is the pony in the horse manure? Where's the good news?
Well, the good news and the bad news are one and the same: If we want good news, we have to make it ourselves.
So ... first of all, let us celebrate the Massachusetts election as the fall of the other useless Party, and a stake in the heart of the failed and obsolete ideology of "Liberalism." Now here I am not talking about social justice, cultural diversity, and the recognition of the evolutionary principle of "we're all in this together" as opposed to the devolutionary one, "it's every man for himself."
In that broader sense, as Thom Hartmann points out, Jesus was a "liberal."
No, what I mean by liberal here is the "good cop" that seeks to mitigate the excesses of empire as part of the "good cop, bad cop" scam the empire has been running for most of the past half century. The "liberal" offers the kinder, gentler face of empire ... while still retaining its big, fat ass.