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Time to Transcend All Lesser Evils For the Greater Good

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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Today's riddle: how can Dubya's final days produce more blessings than Obama's finale? Answer: Dubya spawned reform while Obama aborted it. Dubya's reign so jolted the world a multitude rose up and, swayed by campaign sizzle, elected a smiley face minority pledging systemic reform. Thus, the hardwon silver lining payoff for Dubya's fiasco politics.

When Obama, the liberal hustler who never refused a bad compromise, then morphed into glaring anti-reformer, whoosh went any accountability for broken promises. "What," cry faithful Dems, "vilify our first minority president while the right wants to tar and feather him." In fact, BO tripled down by blowing opportunities and not battling for declared principle, thus defanging the "audacity of reform" movement that elected him. Who knew that horrendous rightwing devils create more incentive for change than Democrats who compromise with the same devils?

More proof than needed is found in wayward Democratic flocks going Hillaryish (gesundheit). Not only is she allergic to reform but this Republican-lite hawks continuity to last century's status quo. The Great Obama Betrayal so discombobulated party faithful, millions have regressed: "we don't need no stinking reform badges, just our first, pants suit woman president."

If that's how 60 million+ are rewarded for first electing that "lesser evil" (first vs. HC in '08, then McCain and Romney), that meme produces no more triumphs than Obama's broken promises. Time to have our heads (and paradigms) examined. If no drama-no reform Obama "sheepdogs" the disappointed and vulnerable Clintonward, then this one-time lesser evil ignites a much greater one.

'Lesser Evils' Shun Reform

Agreed, on some social issues, plus the half-a-loaf of Obamacare, Republicans are worse. But Obama was late on gay marriage, was stymied on gun control, and wimpy confronting police violence or the inevitable racial firestorms. Bottom line: if the longterm payoff from BO's refusal to threaten economic tycoons or Pentagon spending outlasts his presidency, then both the reform movement and reform candidates will be worse off (and demonizing Elizabeth Warren on the TPP suggests more nastiness to come).

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In sum, Obama is the best poster child I know to expose "lesser evil" fantasies. And now, along comes Bernie Sanders with a potential coup de grace to this dead-end logic. There's nothing "lesser" in Sanders, a true independent, not beholden to Party corporatists, refusing both PAC money and negative campaigning against a foe awash with public negatives. Here's a principled, fully-vetted populist, for years voicing the same progressive values: his candidacy saves us from holding our noses when casting votes. If he simply topples Hillary, Sanders delivers an unabashed good, setting off an earthquake under the power elite on both sides. Not perfect on military and foreign affairs, let's give him a chance to set forth his overseas vision (far less imperial I suspect than any other candidate).

Even were Sanders to lose the primary, Revolt Against Plutocracy urges write-in options later on so no one has to stomach ever again endorsing evil -- lesser, equal or greater. Find politicians who speak to your heart and mind and stay the course. How refreshing. Even conservatives may write-in their favorites. The real-world truth is the populace cannot reliably tell a pig in a poke from a pig with lipstick -- nor predict the future when the "lesser" turns out the same or worse evil.

Change the belief system of cornered voters ---- and the dead-end options they think they have -- and working together change surfaces. With her career of obfuscation, deceptions and betrayals, only the naive take Hillary at her vacuous word. Why taint your karma by backing hacks, known knowns, who will say anything to win? If Obama the great hope can turn, within weeks, crush high expectations into woeful lethargy, then what media-fabricated, party frontrunner won't try to match his performance?

Precipice of Momentous Events

The center is not and cannot hold longer in its current formulation. Sanders isn't simply providing a lightning rod for disheartened progressives. For the first time this generation, he is pushing terms and frameworks about inequality, campaign funding, climate change, and spying (even military excesses). A cannon ball across the plutocratic bow, Sanders stunningly clarifies what's at stake after decades of epic abuses. On monumental issues, it is Sanders (and a dozen others) who confront the contagion of the age: the oligarchic Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush paradigm where an elite rules, concentrates wealth, then buys more shady power.

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In another way, Sanders offers an unqualified good. Who else in recent memory refuses to do negative campaigning, nor take PAC money from multinational powerhouses? What a model to imitate. Virulently opposed to Citizens United, Sanders dramatizes that all those who suck up corporatist donations are suspect, thus aligned with enemy forces. Just his "no corporate bribery" mantra cleans up, even revolutionizes campaign funding.

The pressing challenge isn't simply to defy rightwing ideologues slavish to the 1%: the task is to provide tectonic openings in the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. That makes Hillary as great an obstacle to progressive politics as the rabid right. Some may opine, if we truly want to disrupt the entrenched status quo, forget Hillary (or voting major party) and let someone like Ted Cruz take over. That guarantees maximum pain, a ricochet from Bush-Cheney, yet also calamitous revulsion, thus forced education of the multitude. Much depends whether we have the luxury of the long view.

The Slightly Less Horrendous

In short, we have a great, even tragic paradox: systemic change may depend on risking the greater evil for a period, as only shock and awe awaken the least evolved citizenry. Want less change but more of the awful present: elect corporate Democrats powerless against GOP austerity or too craven to revitalize good government, per the New Deal, and serve the vast majority.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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