Theres something ghoulish about polls at this particular moment. Should we see whether, on the whole, people like the idea of ethnic cleansing? Theres a morbid fascination with the numbersa sickening drop of the stomachnevertheless. When people do respond with revulsion to some Bush government atrocity, theres a little surge of hope that pulls us back into the game of waiting for that magical tipping point when enough Americans will finally be disgusted with this criminal regime to push it from office. That tiny gasp of hope then automatically becomes the target of the Republican spin machine, whose main object is hopes annihilation. Nothing is more effective in that regard than the medias willingness to promulgate the fascists phony fun facts. Their favorite right now: poverty increased under Bill Clinton and fell under George Bush.
Of course its not true, but at this point why identify with Bill Clinton? Why bother fighting for him? The fact is, poverty has not been adequately addressed by Democrats. In order to win, the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton and the DLC dropped its allegiance to the New Deal vision of a social safety net and government regulation of big business. The result is a Democratic Party and leadership that, no matter how well intentioned, is founded on a basic lie. They cannot serve the interests of both concentrated wealth and the common good. If that once seemed possible to many of us, myself included, it is clearly not going to happen while were under the thumb of what Alan Simpson called the Hundred Percenters. They want it all.
A lifelong Democrat, I didnt accept this logic for a very long time. I grew up with a sort of New-Deal-by-way-of-Preston-Sturges attitude that theyre all crooks, but the Democrats are at least willing to share. Bill Clinton restored my faith in the pragmatic middle of our common party, and I did not seriously re-evaluate that position until John Kerry conceded the election. I actually worked on his campaign. I bought the whole Ive-got-your-back deal. He seemed (intermittently) to understand the seriousness of our situationand I knew he couldnt be worse than Bush. Anybody But Bush all the way.
Kerrys quick and self-interested sell-out of the 2004 electionand, incidentally, of our right to votemay have a little something to do with the fact that even though polls show that George Bush would now lose to every president since Jimmy Carter (and what kind of stupid question is that to ask, anyway?), he would nevertheless beat Kerry 48 to 47.
Of course there are polls and polls. The Gallup organization is headed by George Gallup, Jr., an evangelical Christian. I leave it to you to decide whether or not that matters, although Christian leaders are aghast at the suggestion that a persons passionate religious faith disqualifies them from claims to objectivity in the realm of measuring (some would say creating) public policy.
Reviewing the last few weeks is like backing up a scream on TV. This President not only delayed aid to dying people, he actively blocked and prevented access to aid from around the world. He sealed off the exits and drowned an excess, unwanted, poor population like rats. Those who survived and made it out to shelters around the country find that their poverty has been, in effect, criminalized. They are no longer free to come and go.
And the Democrats act like this is normal. Their lack of proportionate response to disaster engineering and disaster profiteering is a key element in normalizing the increasingly militarized takeover we are witnessing. Their silence, especially on the war, has become positively eerie. Not one major Democrat attended the September 24 anti-war mobilization. If they know something we dont know, it aint good.
John Kerry gave a good speech at Brown University, in which, among other things, he blasted Bush about Iraq and Katrina, at length and in detail, but it rang extremely hollow.
Even Jimmy Carter disappoints. Although he declared last week that he has no doubt that Al Gore won in 2000just a few years late, Jimmyat the same time he is co-chairing a commission that is calling for national voter identity cards. If adopted, this would disenfranchise untold numbers of people, primarily the poor, the elderly, students, and people of color. Well see if any of the other provisions of their report, particularly regarding e-voting security and de-politicization of voting administration, ever go anywhere.
So exactly why should we waste a particle of our energy defending the Democrats? We start out standing up for individuals who are being unjustly smearedlike Kathleen Blancoand end up defending a philosophy that we do not really support. Their big lie becomes ours. The more we invest in them, in either hope or disappointment, the more we give the false impression that the Democratic Party stands in opposition to the policy and aims of these lying, traitorous thieves.
Time to go off-road. Katrina was a point of no return. There are an awful lot of people out there who hate George Bush, Republicans, Independents, and especially the nonpolitical majority who dont bother to vote. You know, the people who understood long before wonky jerks like me that theres no difference between the two parties.
In spite of intensive effort on the part of the corporate media, people are starting to pay attention. A lot of people are beginning to perceive the Big Truth behind the Big Lie, namely, that ecological disaster is far more inevitable than Bushs terrorist boogeyman, and that we are, in fact, living within an unfolding climate catastrophe of unknown dimensions. More importantly, when people do start understanding, I dont think theyre going to turn to the MSM for information and guidance. Not the way they used to.
One sign of that is lay-offs in the MSM, notably the New York Times chain. People just dont want to read newspapers anymore: I wonder why. It must be because elitist intellectuals talk down to people of faith; theyre working hard to correct that.