February 23, 2008
I sometimes cringe nowadays when I use the term progressive because too many factions have been trying to claim the mantle of progressivism. Some have a “right” to claim that mantle and some are simply Johnny-come-latelys who think the word sounds good in their mouths. The result unfortunately is a muddying of the progressive landscape with confused political opinions and nuanced stances and perspectives which would have made any progressive shake their heads just a few short years ago. Recently I have seen quite a bit of opinion on several matters regarding the election this year. Unfortunately, not all of them are reality based, so I thought I would add some clarity to one very disturbing leap of illogic that has been bantered around lately. There is the fact that all three remaining candidates are bought and sold by corporate money and lobbyists. This is true. The leap in illogic that seems to be made then is that it doesn’t matter then who wins in 2008. That is not only inaccurate but very very dangerous and certainly not progressive.
Let’s first talk about the fact that all three remaining candidates are bought and sold by lobbyists/corporate money. This is absolutely true. McCain and Hillary are deep in bed with the Military Industrial Complex and other special interests and as Tim Gatto pointed out the other day, Obama is also bought and owned. This should come as no surprise as these are the choices the machine and their corporate media picked for you from the start. Voices like Ron Paul, who advocated taking the machine apart, were quickly marginalized by mainstream media and soon there was a willing if not giddy group of online assassins as well. I must have done close to ten articles about the message of Paul, who is not exactly what I normally would advocate. What was attractive is that he was outside the machine; or at least his message was. But most people preferred to listen to the smears and lies about him even though they offered no alternatives. I warned everyone what we would be left with was bought and sold machine candidates and sure enough that is what we have. Both parties are corrupt folks. They exist for the sole purpose of continuing their stranglehold on our republic. This became crystal clear to me when John Kerry walked away from us in the face of massive voter fraud in 2004. Ultimately, this is also why impeachment is not really an option now. The election is more important because when push comes to shove; both parties will protect each other. The machine has sold you on the notion that both sides need to hate each other but at their core, they truly do not.
Now we take the leap in illogic and discuss the notion that because all remaining candidates are bought and sold, it doesn’t matter who gets elected in November. This is of course untrue and a very dangerous thought pattern. Even though both parties are corrupt, there are certainly differences between them. There is certainly a difference between what this country would look like under President Obama and President McCain. There would be STARK differences. The first difference is the war. Under John McCain you would see George Bush on steroids. Iraq for 100 years and let’s bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran. I have heard it proffered that Obama would also not end the war and I do not buy that for one second. To be honest, I think Hillary’s move to the center and her transformation into a war-hawk are subterfuge. I think she did it to get elected; just like she does everything else. So even if she gets in, I see this war ending and the majority of the troops coming home. I also see an end to war as policy under either dem. We are talking about saving hundreds of thousands of lives folks. This is serious business.
What about the economy? Do you honestly see no difference between the two? McCain has now embraced the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and will continue along that path. Not to mention he has readily admitted he knows very little about the economy. I do not think universal healthcare will work until you fix the deficit but at least Obama will not continue the reckless policies we have seen under Bush that benefit the rich. To think otherwise is simply not reality based. Do you think that President Obama will leave Gitmo open? Continue to use torture as policy? Continue the abuses of the FISA courts? Do you think there will be a difference between McCain and Obama on the environment? How about education? Are you serious??? The differences between them will be STARK and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply delusional.
Do I want another president bought and owned by the machine? Nope; but I play in the reality in which we live. I was hopeful about Ron Paul because of the money he was able to generate from the grass roots level. People like Dennis Kucinich chose to go back to the very machine the torpedoed his candidacy from day one. It is time for progressives to realize that while the current situation may not be ideal, there is still a cause. Is there not a cause America? Is it important that we end this war and stop using war as a policy? Is it important that our kids come home and that we spare another hundred thousand people from dying simply for being born in the wrong country at the wrong time? Is it time we took back our education system, infrastructure and environment? Is it time we rejoined the rest of the world? Is it time to figure out how to pay down our debt before the dollar collapses? Is it time to stop handing back millions to millionaires while the middle class gets squeezed into the working poor? Is it time to restore checks and balances to this country and stop the expansion of the powers of the Executive Branch? Would you like to end torture? Would you like to end the government spying on you and telling you where free speech is allowed and where it is not? Is any of this ringing a bell? Have we forgotten the lessons of the last eight years? Don’t you sit there and tell me that it doesn’t matter who wins in November. It is absolutely crucial who wins in November. Do you think John McCain will change anything Bush has started? Wake up progressives. Barack Obama may not be the best hand we could have been dealt but we still need to play the hand. Think of it as macro versus micro issues.
On the macro level we have huge problems such as the two party system, media deregulation and rigged elections. These certainly need to be resolved but not when you are concentrating on the micro issues. Those issues include most importantly, electing the right people who stand the best chance of resolving the macro issues and share your common values. I had thought that some in the progressive movement have lost their way but what really seems to have happened is that the progressive movement has attracted other factions of people. Fatalists who think it doesn’t matter who runs the country. Pseudo-revolutionaries who talk a tough game from behind a computer but are spineless when push comes to shove. People who in their zeal over macro issues, foolishly believe that micro issues are somehow less important when in fact they are a pre-requisite. People who mistakenly think that personal causes and political statements are worth trading in the next 4-8 years; consigning hundreds of thousands to their deaths. Those are not the people in the progressive movement I have worked with over the past six years.
Now, I doubt anyone on either side will ever get serious about the 2-party system, but the other two areas are open for resolving and who do you think stands a better chance of ever resolving them? John McCain or Barack Obama? Is it even close? Do not be so self absorbed with faux righteousness that you lose sight of what is truly important and that is this election. Do I think that Barack Obama is a charismatic visionary? Of course not but I do know that he would be infinitely better than four more years of Bush policies. He would be better than four more years of war and death. Obama would be infinitely better on the environment, economy and education than McCain. On all the issues discussed here, these “micro” issues are at the heart of this election. It is time for progressives to keep their eye on the ball and ensure that the regressive policies of the last eight years are reversed. Only then can the macro issues ever stand a chance of being resolved.