From high profile veterans to the suddenly energized young folks brandishing Obama bumper stickers on their fuel efficient (sic) vehicles, the Left—in almost all its guises—drank the Kool Aid again. Not just the lesser evil fairy tale but also the “Democrats can be pressured by popular movements” fabrication. No demands are placed on Democratic candidates for fear any hint of leftist tendencies would make them unelectable. Instead, we hear: “Let’s get them in office and then pressure them with our time-honored and battle-proven protest methods.” Sheer, unadulterated fantasy. Not a shred of evidence to back it up but it’s put forth every time America elects (sic) another president.
Answer: Token, at best.
Question: Did such activist pressure – as wretchedly feeble as it was – have any impact on Bubba?
Answer: NAFTA; the repeal of welfare; the bombing of the Balkans, Iraq, the Sudan, etc.; Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act; Defense of Marriage Act, abandoning his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees; backing away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care; reneging on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' ban on gays and lesbians; the invasion of Somalia; increasing the Pentagon budget by $25 billion; firing Jocelyn Elders; dumping Lani Guinier; renewing the sanctions on Iraq; ignoring genocide in Rwanda; passing a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death; the passage of the salvage logging rider; continuation of the use of methyl bromide; weakening of the Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act; lowering of grazing fees on land; subsidizing Florida's sugar industry; reversing the ban on the production and importation of PCBs; allowing the export of Alaskan oil; the telecommunications bill; unconditional support for the Israeli war machine, and not pardoning Leonard Peltier.
Ain’t democracy swell?
Besides, what makes us believe in some imaginary left wing pressure (which, if it even existed, we already know will not be aimed in Obama’s exalted direction) that has the strength to influence presidents?
While the savvy strategist/activists of the Left harbor their delusions of grandeur about their ability to sway the Prince of Hope, here’s a tiny bit what they—and all of us—have allowed to happen without exerting our “influence”: epidemics of preventable diseases; the poisoning of our air, water, and food (including mother’s breast milk); global warming, climate change, animal and plant extinctions, disappearing honeybees, destruction of the rain forest, topsoil depletion, etc.; one-third of Americans either uninsured or underinsured in terms of health care; 61% of corporations do not even pay taxes; presidential lies, electoral fraud, limited debates, etc.; the largest prison population on the planet; corporate control of public land, airwaves, and pensions; overt infringement of our civil liberties; bloated defense budget, unilateral military interventions, war crimes committed in our name, legalization of torture, blah, blah, blah...
Before you know it, the US government will start spying on American citizens and detaining prisoners without charges while allowing corporations to ravage the earth in pursuit of profit, wiping out entire eco-systems in the process. Oops...sorry: they’re already doing all that and the mighty Left is fighting back by supporting Obama?
Everywhere I went on Election Day, I was asked by friend and stranger alike: “Did you vote?” Once the polling booths closed, I could be 100% certain I’d not be asked another politically motivated question by such people for another four years. No one would be rushing up to me and demanding to know if I was planning to do anything about, say, FISA, the death penalty, the PATRIOT Act, homelessness, or factory farming. The election is over. Obama has won. For 99% of the Left, that means their work is done until 2012. It’s time to gloat and reap all the rewards, right?
My prediction: The only pressure that will be consistently exerted by those on the Left will be the pressure of their soft butts on their couch cushions as they sit back to smugly watch Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.