Barack Obama and the Democrats rode this wave of hatred for nearly all things Republican on November 4th. The reason for the Democratic victories could not have been because the Democrats give a viable alternative to the Republicans, because most of the time, they do not. In the contest for the highest office in the land, the Republicans threw a bone to their old and decrepit dog, McCain and offered us an even weaker (but younger) choice for his running mate. The deck was stacked for Obama and this was a year that practically anyone could have beaten McCain/Palin (in fact, polls showed that Hillary would have beaten McCain even worse).
I confess, I have become cynical about the political process since I witnessed little (if any) progress towards peace and economic justice after the Democrats regained some power in 2006. I have little hope that Emperor-Elect Obama will voluntarily give up any imperial power or reduce the size of the US Empire as he has already promised to increase US presence in Afghanistan and Super-Duper-Size our military to levels never seen before and can only be used for spreading corporate-imperialism. I hope I am wrong but I am not going to drink the blue flavored Kool-Aid anymore than I would drink the Red flavored Kool-Aid and give Obama a free pass because he chooses to put a (D) behind his name instead of the dreaded (R).
I am willing to give an Obama regime the chance to prove me wrong but I do not think that the movements that put him in power should relax. Obama has proven to be resistant to constituent pressure as he voted to give telecom companies and BushCo immunity from prosecution for smashing the 4th Amendment to bits and pieces as he voted to and pressured other people to vote for the bankster bailouts which has proven to be disastrous. How can anyone who has been alive the last 8 years, but especially a Constitutional attorney/professor vote to give billions (really trillions) of dollars to a corrupt administration that has proven to be criminally inept and callous in every way?
In my refusal to be coma-tized by Obama, whom I have met several times and think he is very smart and very likable (like some people think about George), I have been confronted by friends and strangers alike who do not want facts pointed out to them, just like Republican war hawks and troop "supporters" do not want the facts that Dick and George dodged Vietnam and reduced Veteran's benefits pointed out to them.
Recently, I was on a cable access show here in San Francisco and I was talking about the FISA abomination and pointed out the "pesky" fact that Obama voted for it and a very nice woman who had already voted for me in early voting called and said: "I don't believe that Obama would vote to take away our rights!" I told her that it was a fact that I did not pull out of thin air and she said: "Then he must have had a good reason." Where have our critical thinking skills gone? It is human nature to be partisan for your political party, but to give up your brains and your rights to either party is just plain wrong.
After election day, I received an email from a person who said that he "liked" me and would have voted for me, if I didn't lie about Obama and his funding. He said: "the reason that he has so much money is that WE GAVE IT TO HIM!" I haven't heard from him since I sent him this link that shows how much corporate money Obama also took.
The most gut wrenching emails I have received are from friends who have literally been in the ditches with me saying things like: "Obama has to send more troops to Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden, that's a no brainer." Well, I guess I have no brains, because in the first place, has it been established that bin Laden is even in Afghanistan and secondly, do we need two combat brigades in Afghanistan to catch one very tall man with failing kidneys? Afghanistan is now our second longest military misadventure and was the downfall of the USSR's empire. Iraq, Afghanistan and our warfare state may be the downfall of ours if Obama continues the Bush trajectory and his war OF terror. Do not get me wrong, I believe our empire should crumble, but if we do it voluntarily, we may retain some dignity. Additonally, when the empire crumbles, it will crumble on We the People and the ones who have been making immoral profits are already scampering away to places like Dubai (Halliburton after it has soaked US taxpayers for over 20 billion) to preserve their ill-gotten gains.
I was at the No on 8 Protest at City Hall yesterday when a participant and I got into a discussion about civil rights. He said that we reclaimed them on November 4th when Obama (who does not support same gender marriage) was elected. I said, "How so, Obama voted to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT ACT." The young man brilliantly retorted with: "No, he didn't." I replied with: "He most certainly did and what did you think of him voting for the FISA Modernization Act?" At which point, the man turned around and walked away. That's the rabid Republican way and the new rabid Obama-ite way. If a fact doesn't conform to your worldview, then walk away from it and the un-truth fairy will hopefully scrub it from your mind with a wave of her magic wand.
Obama's statements on Iraq are exactly the same as Bush's. He will bring the troops home in a responsible manner when the Generals on the ground tell him it is safe to do so. However, the Iraqi Cabinet has now agreed to the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) that keeps US troops in Iraq until 2011. I do not think the Parliament or the people of Iraq will agree to this SOFA, as one Bagdad resident put it: "We don't want an agreement with America. We don't want an agreement with Israel... We fully and totally reject this security pact." The Iraqi people will not lie down and accept this as US citizens have. It is unconscionable to think that our forces will be under Iraqi authority, but to also think that we will be infecting that unfortunate nation for another three years after we never should have gone in there in the first place.
The anti-war movement must stick to its "Troops home immediately" mantra and not be lulled into complacency by slick marketing and empty rhetoric. We never accepted the "Troops home eventually" crap and we must not accept it now.
Red, Blue, Green or Purple, we should not allow ourselves to be rocked back to sleep and re-abdicate our responsibilities to our Republic or to humanity. We are going to go through some very rocky economic times before we come out the other end.
Are we going to come out the other end as victims or victors?