Yes we can, indemnify giant corporations, escalate the ‘war on terror’, continue the occupation of Iraq, drill offshore for oil, trample on the Constitution, expand the faith based initiatives program, and increase our reliance on nuclear power. If Barack Obama has proven anything to progressives with all his hot air, sloganeering, and bluster it isn’t that progressives should offer up their vote to his candidacy, it’s that progressives should be largely indifferent to whoever the two corporate parties put up for election to the presidency.
The all things to all people image that Obama has so assiduously crafted, should serve as a red flag to all serious progressives, that this sharp and calculating politician doesn’t let ‘the little things’ such as ideology or core beliefs put a stop to him. I’ve really felt let down by people I once respected such as Michael Moore, Katrina vanden Heuval and Arianna Huffington in their choosing to carry water for Obama’s candidacy.
Obama represents nothing more than the lesser of two great evils. McCain may be a far more sinister, diabolical one, but both are evils just the same.
What Obama has clarified, if anything, is that progressives should no longer have any illusions about what the Democratic Party is going to offer up for the presidency. A militaristic, neoliberal, opportunistic, and compromised sort of ‘leader’. The futility of voting has never been more apparent, than it is at the present moment (and as Howard Zinn points out eloquently in this article it takes all of two minutes anyway).
The task at hand for progressives should be to build a movement outside of the two major parties that will challenge the levers of power to serve the needs of the poor, people of color, all minority groups, and the working class. The movement may or may not need a leader (I’m always skeptical of them), but we need a movement that advances a wide ranging progressive platform, and that represents millions of people.
I don’t want to suggest that anyone should not set aside his or her two minutes for voting, but I am suggesting that progressives not get tangled up in the McCain, Obama horse race aspect of the story. Instead, progressives need to get to the work of building a movement to challenge to the two major corporate sell out parties.
If the ‘progressive movement’ and the Democratic Party become inextricably tethered, the political system will continue to reproduce all of the despicable things that progressives hate. Militarism, degradation of the Earth, infringement of civil liberties, neoliberal social policy, and inequitable treatment for women, people of color and lesbians and gays.
Additionally, we’ll see the continued prominence of religion in the political sphere, and the further unraveling of the America we’ve known and loved, into a permanent neoliberal dystopia.