The work of Bruce Dixon, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, David Lindorff, John Nichols, John Pilger, and Jeremy Scahill, and the journalistic integrity of Amy Goodman (whose show Democracy Now! might be the only news show that has attempted to hold the Obama campaign accountable to the people with beliefs and values it claims to support) has kept track of Obama’s shift from fake populist to pure corporate Democrat.
As Chris Hedges wrote in April 2008, the left has lost its nerve:
The failure of the American left is a failure of nerve. It has been neutralized and rendered ineffectual as a political force because of its refusal to hold fast on core issues, from universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans, to the steadfast protection of workers’ rights, to an immediate withdrawal from the failed occupation of Iraq to a fight against a militarized economy that is hollowing the country out from the inside.
Let the politicians compromise. This is their job. It is not ours. If the left wants to regain influence in the nation’s political life, it must be willing to walk away from the Democratic Party, even if Barack Obama is the nominee, and back progressive, third-party candidates until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.
Chris Hedges gets what most Americans do not. Further down in this article, Hedges pinpoints the problem with the left in even more concise terms:
The failure of the left is the failure of well-meaning people who kept compromising and compromising in the name of effectiveness and a few scraps of influence until they had neither. The condemnations progressives utter — about the abuse of working men and women, the rapacious cannibalization of the country by an unchecked arms industry, our disastrous foreign wars, and the collapse of basic services from education to welfare — are not backed by action. The left has been transformed into anguished apologists for corporate greed. They have become hypocrites…
…Hope, St. Augustine wrote, has two beautiful daughters. They are anger and courage. Anger at the way things are and the courage to see they do not remain the way they are. We stand at the verge of a massive economic dislocation, one forcing millions of families from their homes and into severe financial distress, one that threatens to rend the fabric of our society. If we do not become angry, if we do not muster within us the courage to challenge the corporate state that is destroying our nation, we will have squandered our credibility and integrity at the moment we need it most.
Anger and courage have rarely been seen within the ranks of people pushing to elect Barack Obama over John McCain in November. An unsubstantiated fear that challenging Obama could affect his success in the election coupled with an unsubstantiated belief that Obama is for “change” has turned a historic election into a nightmare.
Seemingly, Obama supporters have adopted a tunnel vision of this election choosing to ignore the need and wide support for urgent political reform. Supporters caught up in Obama’s cult of personality have lost sight of the political bigotry that erodes our democracy and when asked to confront it, they have had little problem with simply ignoring our broken electoral system.
The peculiar behavior of the left leads one to question, specifically, its duplicity.
Why do progressive and liberals who have organized against Democrats and Republicans against impeachment or ending the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan subvert their causes by committing themselves to supporting a Democratic candidate that seeks to end a war in Iraq and start two more in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Why do bloggers and activists from the left support a candidate who thinks Iran poses a “grave threat” to America? In the thesaurus, “grave” is synonymous with apocalyptic, baneful, hellfire, ominous, and fire-and-brimstone. It’s also synonymous with dangerous, serious, and severe. Such a belief that Iran is a "grave threat" clearly is an AIPAC-influenced or neocon-influenced one and is no different from the Bush administration's belief on Iran.
Why do concerned citizens who attend such conferences like the National Conference for Media Reform, the Take Back America Conference, and the Netroots Nation Conference allow a so-called liberal campaign to steep itself in corporate interests bent on corporate welfare fueled by corporate greed?
Why do those for peace, justice, liberty, and freedom fear breaking the stranglehold of a system that many believe forces you to vote against your interests and conscience until after November when it is possible to go back to fighting for the policies and values America should uphold and stand for?
Why do Americans every four years give up the power they are supposed to have during an election by agreeing to play the rigged game that is electoral politics?
At this point, the American people who support Barack Obama yet complain about taxes, the “war on terror”, the loss of civil liberties, home foreclosures, the rising costs of gasoline, food, and health care, etc., and the criminal conduct of the Bush administration are doing a disservice to themselves by supporting a candidate who has surrounded himself with people who would rather bail out corporations than the poor, working, and lower classes that need help the most.
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