COLUMN - THINKING OTHERWISE - The Elections of 2010
"We Irish think otherwise." Bishop Berkley
Dying Star - Hubble Image
In this election we have a choice between Democratic timidity and lobbyist venality and Republican delusional psychosis. So, as a senior citizen, of course I will vote Democratic and have already sent in my contribution to the party to protect Social Security. What choice do I have?
But what this meiosis of the body politic means is that the two parties have exchanged genes and are now splitting apart as two new parties emerge. The Rockefeller Republicans are now Democrats led by the Clintons, and the Tea Party-Libertarians, led by Sarah Palin and supported by Rupert Murdoch, have taken over the Republican Party, and have drowned out any rational theory of governance with their loud simple-minded ideology.
Soon these snakes will slough off their skins and there will be two new parties in the US: a progressive Green party and a Libertarian Tea Party. They in turn will polarize between anti-technological and electronic high tech wings in the progressive Greens, and anti-intellectuals and high tech militarist wings in the Libertarian party.
But at this moment in history, both the Democratic and Republican parties have lost touch with history and are fossils of the times of conservative Old Money and labor unions. One can hardly call Goldman Sachs old money conservative, when their hypercapitalist strategies include conspiracy to defraud their clients by creating worthless derivatives of bundled bad mortgages, and collusion with Moody and Standard and Poors to bless these bonds with a higher rating than they deserve. As for labor unions, they are no longer your Woody Guthrie folk idealists, but defenders of mediocrity who protect bad teachers much in the way the Catholic hierarchy protected bad priests.
Unlike President Bush, who protected his base and always appealed to the crazies and theocratic New Kingdom evangelicals who wished to overcome the division of Church and State to introduce a Christian version of mullah-led Iran, Obama actually attacks his liberal progressive base, and in his September 17, 2010 “You know who your are!” speech, he accused us of seeing the glass as half empty instead of half full, when we lamented his abandoning a public option for health care by catering to the for-profit insurance companies, his choosing Summers and Geithner to rescue the banks, and his reinforcing the war paradigm with the same old foreign policy by expanding the war in Afghanistan. The children of the poor still go off to die to protect the interests of the rich, as they have always done since the Mexican and Spanish-American wars.
Can you imagine Bush attacking his base by saying “You know who your are! When I bombed Iraq, you said, but what about Iran? When I ignored the World Court, you said what about eliminating the UN? When I turned over the Energy Department to the oil companies, you said what about eliminating the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency? When I offered to privatize Social Security, you said what about eliminating the “Nanny State” with its Department of Health, Education, and Welfare?
Guantanamo is still there. 50 billion dollars go to Afghanistan for reconstruction, infrastructure, and military and police training, while our infrastructure rots and our train system rattles on with sixty-year-old equipment. Medieval Afghanistan cannot absorb the fifty billion, so most of the funds are diverted into baksheesh and bribes, and the weapons for the Afghan military and police end up being sold to the Taliban, who buy them from the profits of the poppy trade. So all the President’s horses and all the President’s men cannot put Afghanistan and Iraq together again. North Korea threatens, Pakistan subverts, and China builds a new navy to make the Pacific their Mare Nostrum.
Obama with his book about hope and his inspirited “Yes We Can,” raised all our hopes and the country gave him a strong mandate. But he squandered it to replace leadership with compromise. With a 60/40 Senate, he could have introduced a new paradigm for the war mentality and a new philosophy of the role of the state in the transformation of culture. Instead, Obama became fixated on extending his hand to those who hated him and irrationally claimed he was a Kenyan and a Muslim and an exponent of all things unAmerican. He should have ignored these reincarnations of the nativist Know Nothing Party, the John Birch Society, and the KKK, and moved ahead with a more liberal progressive agenda. He should have listened to Paul Krugman and Joseph Stieglitz instead of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. He chose instead to hug the double yellow stripe in the middle of the road so closely to his chest that his heart became neither black nor white, but yellow.
The sad truth is that the American electorate and the politicians are simply not smart enough to deal with the global problems we face. When the Greenland ice sheet melts into the sea and Wall Street is flooded and the subways become unusable in New York and London, the Republicans and Tories will still deny global warming, adjust the rear view mirror for a better vision of the past, and continue to drive us further on the road of the collapse of industrial civilization.
I am not exactly one of those who has his fingers on the pulse of Sarah Palin’s Real America, but my Irish Druid Radar makes me feel that the Tea Party rage has crested too soon, and that when the rest of us go to the polls, we are going to vote to save the Nanny State with its unemployment insurance and Social Security. Let the Torries in England do the experimenting with balancing the budget and cutting back spending in the middle of a global recession, I’ll stick with Paul Krugman’s version of Keynesian economics.
As the English mother advised her daughter with the comforting words about sex the night before her nuptials, “Close your eyes and think of England,” we liberal progressives must, in this election, close our eyes, think of America, and probably get screwed by the Democrats once again.
The Mad Hatter - Alice in Wonderland
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