First of all, I'd like to announce that I'll be on http://www.wpfw.org radio in the morning at 7:00 on Hodari's show. I'll be on live from Haiti. I hope those of you who can will tune in.
Increasingly, though, there's another type of voter that is contacting me, expressing "Buyer's Remorse" for having supported candidate Barack Obama. These voters can be futher subdivided into three categories: those who voted for Obama, not knowing very much about our Power to the People campaign; those who voted for Obama, knowing a lot about Rosa, me, and the Power to the People campaign, but who chose instead to vote for Obama out of fear of a McCain/Palin White House; and finally, those who knew about our Power to the People campaign and were hostile to it because they were suspicious that our campaign was designed to deny the White House to candidate Obama--the spoiler campaign. Fortunately and hopefully, because of the integrity with which we ran our campaign, those in this latter category are few in terms of their numbers in communication with me.
For me, the number of people contacting me expressing regret for having voted for Obama is a double-edged sword. That is, it indicates that prior to the election, we were not able to seal the deal with a significant number of our natural voters. There are many reasons for that, but being severely underfunded lies at the base of that failing. However, on the other hand, these expressions of "buyer's remorse" indicate that people knowingly allowed themselves to be swept into the voting booth and vote against their values.
Our agenda provided a clear route to an end to torture, rendition for torture, warrantless wiretapping, spying on U.S. citizen activists, and an end to war. Not just an end to the war on terror, but a clear end to war and occupation. And now that the Obama Administration has used its Justice Department to argue in court in favor of those who ordered torture, and to defend Bush Administration policies of torture, rendition, warrantless wiretapping, and extra-legal treatment of so-called "enemy combatants," most of whom have committed no crime (like six-year Guantanamo Prisoner number 345, Sami El-Hajj, who was on the Dignity with me as I tried to make it to Gaza). On these issues, the Obama Administration is consonant with the Bush Administration. No wonder Bush et al have more to worry about from the "small-d" democrats in Spain than from the "big-D" Democrats in Washington, DC.
And so the beat goes on. Until four years from now at the climax of when the electorate will be beaten, once again, into submission if they dare raise their head to support a candidate from a political party that has not been bought off by the special interests. The people are continually asked to decrease the volume of the discordant notes in their political hearts in order to prevent a worse outcome. But what could be worse than suppressing one's own acknowledgement of the existing political cacophony in order to facilitate the interests of others, especially when the others whose interests are always accommodated are in contradiction to your own interests and the planet's? But every four years, the masters of the political process are able to convince more and more people to do this. And then when people see that what they wanted and even worse, thought they were voting for, is slow in coming, "buyer's remorse" begins to set in. Some will wait an entire four years hoping that the powers that be will eventually get around to supporting the voters' interests. Only in the end to be let down again--but only after they've once again given their most precious asset, their vote, to the special interest political parties who will betray them yet again. It's like a dance, where one of the dance partners always gets her toes stepped on. It's more like a stomping, actually. Others have likened it to a situation of domestic violence, where the abused partner keeps coming back for more.
I am happy to receive these messages because it indicates that we are gaining new supporters. But I am saddened at the same time because it demonstrates how difficult our task really is. It's not just about being right. It's also about winning. And the stakes are so high on this one that we have to win. But in order for our values to win, we will need everyone's help to turn this ship of state around. The enormity of the task of actually taking our country back is becoming clear.
And with what is happening economically, it is likely to be even more difficult. As someone who studied Russian literature and the great Russian authors, like Pushkin, Chechov, Dostoyevsky, and others, I have always paid attention to events taking place in Russia. I watched with interest the creation of a superclass of dual-passport carrying individuals who stripped Russia of its patrimony and became known as the oligarchs. According to the Guardian, Russia's seven original oligarchs came to control 50% of Russia's economy during the 1990s.
I came to realize that the very individuals entrusted with correcting the current economic woes are, in actuality, its very authors in Russia. And so, the question I asked myself was this: "Is the US next in line? And after the debris is cleared, or the dust settles, as they say, will our country also be left with oligarchs, who will own everything?" If so, does that make Barack Obama the U.S. equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev who put in place the policies that allowed the oligarchs to get their start? In fact, right after the US election that sent President Obama to the White House, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said that Obama should usher in "perestroika" reforms in the U.S.
When I was in London recently for the Malaysia conference, I met a gentleman who completed the answer for me. Economist Michael Hudson and lawyer and author Ellen Brown had confirmed my worst fears, but Mr. David Pidcock really brought them all home for me. And the short answer to the question I put to him is, "Yes, the U.S. economy is being hollowed out with our own money, not for the benefit of the American people, but for the benefit of a few and yes, President Obama has enabled the very characters who have successfully implemented this result elsewhere."
Finally, David Pidcock, my London friend, reminds us in "Money: A Christian View," that a socially healthy economy achieves the highest possible standard of living for all and achieves the "elimination of insecurity and fear and consequent selfish materialist values, so that the individual human being may be enabled to live with dignity and self-respect."
That's what we're trying to build here, a government that respects and promotes and protects human dignity. That is not being done today, sadly. Over the next few essays I would like to discuss how we get from here to there and how President Obama's economic team is deviating from the "there" that we all want.