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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/27/08

The Progressive Mandate

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Message Doug Rogers

I'm arguing all over the place this week about the upcoming election. But no matter how clearly I make my points there still seems to be a basic misunderstanding as to what it's all about. I feel like I'm speaking a different language to people who ought to know just what I'm talking about. After all, we agree on almost every issue. Why can't we synchronize our understanding of the election?

So this is an effort to unify a liberal-left perspective between these two differing points of view that could maybe put us on the same page. I will start by asking for concessions from both sides. First as a pro-Nader third party advocate I freely confess that I would prefer that Barack Obama defeat John McCain in this election. I want to completely disavow any notion that I am indifferent to another Republican administration or that there is no difference between the two parties.

Shouldn't that then make the scenario simple? If I prefer a president Obama over a president McCain shouldn't I just vote for Obama? This storyline gets stronger every day for voters across the country as the Republicans' policies and McCain's campaign sink to lower and lower depths. Won't a massive outpouring of support for Obama create clarity in our political environment that will only lead to the resolution of our problems?

This is where I would like an honest concession from Obama supporters. No matter how likeable the man and no matter how strongly he is trending, the political situation in this country is not simple at all. This lack of clarity stems directly from the flaws in the Democratic Party and in Obama's positions that we ought to be able to talk honestly about.

I could run down the list of issues on which I disagree with Barack Obama, but perhaps more helpful would be a list of things that we progressive voters agree on. Most of us on the left agree that the Iraq war has been a terrible mistake for our country and that whatever our feelings about the occasional necessity of war, in the main we abhor it and don't want it to be an institutionalized part of our foreign policy.

We also agree that our economy has been headed in the wrong direction for years, that jobs should stop moving off-shore, that regulation is an important part of maintaining a functioning financial sector, that tax-payer money should not go toward bailing out billionaires and that we need a fair and progressive tax structure. We probably agree that our environment is at a critical stage and that we need to move aggressively toward sustainable, clean energy sources and that industry should not be allowed to undermine the foundation of our very existence. I would expect too that we agree that all Americans should have the right to quality healthcare and we need to slow the growth of these expenditures. These are areas that we would all like to see movement on under an Obama administration.

But I would stress to progressive voters that if you look at the root cause of each of these problems you will find a single culprit. And that is the disproportionate influence of powerful, corporate interests over our government and public institutions. We can admit this right? The military industrial complex is no secret, is it? It drives imperial expansionism and the metastasizing defense budget.

We know that our media is largely owned by these defense industries and other corporations and they control and manipulate the information that goes out to the masses of people. We know that Wall Street is the biggest contributor to both Republican and Democratic campaigns and this is what led to the deregulation and the tax cuts for the wealthy and the gutting of worker rights and NAFTA and neoliberalism. It's clear that the corporate drive for short-term profit is what keeps us from saving the planet and as long as these profit driven entities are in control of our government the quality of our environment will continue to deteriorate.

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Doug Rogers is a composer and playwright and for many years designed ladies' sweaters. He is now a student again at Empire State College in Buffalo NY.
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