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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/18/16

A Propos the Dem Debate: Keeping the American People on their Toes

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While bombs explode in dozens of countries around the periphery, the citizens of the Empire focus on the "tightening" of the polls two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses in which a declared socialist and a closet fascist are running.

Poster at Trump rally
Poster at Trump rally
(Image by Elvert Barnes)
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The hundred years since the Russian revolution of 1917 have been largely consumed by a worldwide battle between the extreme right and the extreme left, yet the United States is only now facing the possibility of a presidential election that would pit a socialist against a fascist. Yet it's not ideology that's behind the rapt attention to the daily dicing and splicing of of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump's numbers. It's the much less exalted fact that hallowed tradition is being upended: anointed front-runners can no longer be relied upon to carry either party's colors to victory.

The real upset is that just as a socialist is finally being allowed to run for the presidency, the most sophisticated people in the county, aka the mainstream press, are allowing their enthusiasm for Trump-the-great story to override the political implications of his candidacy. No people are more dismissive of rednecks than New York/Washington literati, yet these very people are mesmerized by the 'latest figures' or 'clips' or 'tweets' by, for or about Donald Trump.

To the point that when the Donald orders a Muslim woman bearing a sign 'I come in peace' to be escorted out of a rally, Meet the Press's Chuck Todd doesn't even whisper the word bigotry. -much less suggest this is not presidential behavior.

When the media claims that Trump doesn't have the votes, they fail to mention that most of his followers have guns. Cliven Bundy in the Oregon wilderness made the nightly news for two weeks demanding the federal government give back land (not, of course to the Indians from whom it was actually taken). Militias by the hundreds threaten to 'take back our country', yet the press, knowing that if they could make Donald Trump President tomorrow. they would, has never solicited his comment on their existence . None of the glitterati chortling in their ties appear to even remotely suspect that the US, far from becoming great again under Trump, could wake up under a 21st century PT Barnum Hitler. (I launched that meme at Deena Stryker @DeenaStryker 23 Dec 2015 By showcasing Trump's Life Chris Matthews gives US a Barnum & Bailey Hitler for Christmas Deena Stryker @DeenaStryker23 Dec 2015 and when Todd asked Trump which of three labels he preferred, he picked that one. i also observed on August 12the 2015 that we could end up with a trump/Sanders face-off:

Though Todd may be no more guilty than others, I am particularly exercised over him. Perhaps it's because his relentlessly smiling, upbeat presentation that seems to claim we're living in the best of all possible worlds is on air seven days a week now, bringing to mind the paper hats and streamers of the Presidential Conventions that Todd and his like would not be caught dead participating in other than as journalists.

Ten days before the Iowa caucuses, it's increasingly difficult to draw a solid line (in the sand) between 'serious' politics and hoopla when it's not clear where one stops and the other begins. But avoidance is also a way to avoid having to admit that forty-three percent of Iowa Democrats now identify as socialists.

While TV pundits love to show off their knowledge of previous campaigns and compare daily figures from one state to another, I'm still waiting for someone to recall 1972, when Democrat George McGovern lost 61 to 37 to Richard Nixon, the press having almost completely disregarded his campaign. Today national organizations and individual observers keep track of the air-time granted each presidential primary candidate, and when the Clinton dominated party machine schedules debates on week-ends, guaranteeing poor viewership, they are at least called out. In 1976, the eminent environmentalist Barry Commoner sought the Democratic nomination with, as his running mate, Kentucky Senator Fred Harris, whose wife was a Sioux Indian. At the height of the oil crisis, Commoner suggested the US nationalize the petroleum companies. The press avoided labelling him a socialist, but they ignored both his platform and his campaign.

Unique among developed nations, it has taken almost half a century for the country the entire world identifies with 'change' and 'progress' to admit into its public vocabulary the word socialist. In my book published in France in 1989, Une autre Europe, un autre Monde, I pointed out what has always been viewed abroad as an American 'particularism' (not 'exceptionalism, which suggests superiority, but rather an 'oddity'".): alone among developed nations, the US fingers socialism as the embodiment of evil (In 1980, Reagan would name 'the Empire of Evil'"). When rarely Scandinavia was mentioned, two strikes were called in against its Democratic Socialism: high tax rates and the fact that these were largely homogenous populations, whose experience could certainly not be applied to the United States!

It has taken forty-six years for Americans to be allowed to consider socialism on its merits, and we at last have a real debate between government-funded health-care for all and continued subservience to big pharma. Yet the still remaining bottom line is that for people whose only commitment is to 'the story'. it's increasingly difficult to separate candidates who call for 'nuking' countries back to the stone age, from followers eager to charge into the White House with semi-automatics.'

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Deena Stryker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Born in Phila, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe, resulting over time in several unique books, my latest being Russia's Americans.

CUBA: Diary of a Revolution, Inside the Cuban Revolution with Fidel, Raul, Che, and Celia Sanchez

Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel: An Illustrated Personal Journey from the Cold War to the Arab Spring


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