Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Thoughts on a Disappointing Candidate

I might disappoint some of my friends by saying that I would probably vote for Obama if I lived in a swing state - even though 4 years ago I vowed I would never vote for John Kerry no matter what. Since I've never lived in a swing state, it has never been a big issue for me. I moved from Red Texas to Blue California and I've discovered that wherever either party has a stronghold, there is a similar frustration - politicians aren't scared of voters; so democracy is at a disadvantage. Indeed that is the analysis even some in the corporate media are applying to yesterday's bipartisan vote against the Wall Street bailout bill: click here for the analysis on incumbents facing re-election and here for the Wall Street money analysis. The fact that we are close to an election where "the people" actually matter a bit more than big money - if for only a few days - probably has a lot to do with why our government is already squeezing taxpayers for billions to boost rich speculators and investment banks.

Still, I think McCain and Palin are far too dangerous a pair to have running the most powerful country in the world - really running the world. Yes I'm coming out as a lesser evil proponent - it has always been a matter of degree; I just finally think the line has been crossed.

But again, I live in California - a state that McCain is very unlikely to win in November and a state where, I believe, it is more important to send a message to the Democrats in November than to boost Obama's winning score.

The message I want to send is that I do not support much of what the big "D" Democrats stand for. Just two examples - untempered support for Israel and support for this Wall Street bailout. Obama is taking an awful stand on both of these issues despite the fact that the American people disagree with him and he probably would be perfectly safe agreeing with them.

Israel

Whereas Obama - the alleged liberal Democrat - spoke before the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee earlier this year to say "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." The present Prime Minister (recently resigned but still in power) of Israel has said he believes Jerusalem should be divided between and Israeli and Palestinian state. According to Time Magazine: "Olmert says Israel should withdraw from 'almost all' of the West Bank and Golan Heights. A former mayor of 'the undivided capital of the Jewish state,' he now advocates dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. He wants to keep some of the Jewish settlements that adjoin Israel's pre-1967 border but accepts giving the future Palestinian state Israeli territory in a land swap with a 'close to 1-to-1-ratio.' 'The notion of a Greater Israel no longer exists,' Olmert says, 'and anyone who still believes in it is deluding themselves.'" Not a great position, but a huge step forward under the circumstances - and far more progressive than Obama's stated position.


Wall Street Bailout


Here's what Obama said about a plan pitched by the wildly unpopular Bush and his wildly unpopular counterpart the U.S. Congress: "To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for this country ... And to all Americans, I say this: If I am president of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen this economy. It will only be the beginning." He went on to say, "There will be time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out."

It is the same line being pushed by Mr. Bush when he says, "I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street. But given the situation we are facing, not passing a bill now would cost these Americans much more later." Regardless of what you think of Mr. Bush or Senator Obama, they seem to agree on this critical matter almost completely. Basically Wall Street made a lot of mistakes, but if we don't bail these banks out to the tune of $700 billion in tax payer dollars, we ordinary Americans are going to suffer; It sucks but we have no choice.

Nonsense.

Hundreds of billions of dollars could go a long way in helping ordinary Americans without fattening the wallets of the speculators and big bank execs. Obama could set himself apart from the Pelosis and Reids in Congress - again leaders of a very unpopular Congress - but instead he seems to be following their lead. He is a cautious fearmonger, but a fearmonger nonetheless. He is providing no leadership on this - not even bad leadership since he is following the bad leadership of Pelosi and other Democratic politicians. He should be providing good leadership - calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and hundreds of billions for ordinary Americans not the super-rich gamblers who created this mess. But alas - he is stepping up the cheerleading to the silence of the liberals and even progressives who will do anything to see him elected. It is appalling.

1 comment:

ruptura said...

I think it is always up to working class people (none of this "middle class" b.s. they fool us with) to negotiate their decision to vote for the "lesser evil" and go with this Republicrat ideology come each Presidential election. And we must respect folks who are truly affected by Presidential policies in making such negotiations with their vote. A little decade-context problem is that the Democratic Party has walked away from two stolen elections and did not fight for the working class folks who gave them their vote.

I would strongly challenge your recent decision (I'm not mad at you) if we see another stolen election, while the Obama campaign just walks away like Gore and Kerry.

The problem I see in believing the "lesser evil" ideology is that we will NEVER break the cycle of rich, elite, aristocratic groups of people controlling our government. (Working class and oppressed people having a say in our government? Haha! Not like this.) And with the Demopublicans, our peoples fight too hard to support them while getting little to nothing in return, and sometimes get hurt in return (i.e., Clinton and welfare).

Many countries around the world today approach their presidential elections with complete enthusiasm because they know real changes can come from them. They have heavy political efficacy. But here, working class and oppressed oppressed communities are trapped. Trapped into being bombarded with the idea that we need to go with the "lesser evil" every other November. And the cycle is never broken. And change never comes.

I would love to believe again (as I did in 2000 and 2004) in the "lesser evil" strategy, even if it's just for swing states. This would be easier on me. However, I now believe that we need to began carving our own path into the political system.

Shall we wait for future financial crises to lead us into riots and gun battles with the NRA? So that we're back again voting in the "lesser evil" Demopublican machine for some crumbs? Or shall we be actively involved in building a new movement, a new discourse, a new vision?

If someone like Cynthia McKinney was allowed into a major media forum like a debate with Obama and/or McCain, do you think she would get any less than the 5% needed to achieve institutional funding? Look at Ross Perot in 1992, he got 19% of the general vote!!! And Perot was merely a more openly racist Republican. In 1996, he didn't get invited back into the debates nor get much mainstream media. But he still managed 8% of the general vote. The political matrix of the Republican and Democratic machines see to it that we never believe there is an alternative for very good reason, and they thrive on the "lesser evil" each election (Repubs. don't lose from Democrats in office).

You may not think that Obama is as bad as McCain. However, people like you and I will be fighting either of them the next four years. But I do also believe that Obama can be pretty bad, and I associate his semi-populist, leftist rhetoric co-optation and policies with those of JFK (read Chomsky's article covering some JFK in the current Monthly Review, www.monthlyreview.org), who nearly brought us to global nuclear catastrophe and pushed the injustice of the Vietnam War on us.

"We should send more troops to Afghanistan instead." Please. "Black fathers need to be more responsible." Please. "We need to bail out the rich with $700 billion of your dollars so we all don't suffer." Please. Obama isn't even President and people are deluding themselves and making excuses for this?

And for my peoples of color wondering where our colors fit into this Presidential Election... keep in mind it's the Republicans who first applied affirmative action (and recently stopped the rich people's bailout!). Rice, Powell, Gonzalez, and Palin. Did any of them reflect the needs and values of the communities of color (or gender) they came from? Is or will Obama? Please.

Thanks for reading down this far. Keep up the great posts, homie!