Saturday, April 18, 2015
Early 2016 Campaign Fear and Loathing
(Author's Note: Yeah, I'm in a bad mood.)
Despite the fact that my political beliefs are so left of center when compared to the average South Carolinian I could readily be classify as a seditious communist I have alienated numerous people I associate with on the internet. The main problem seems to revolve around the idea that while I would love to see Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida elected president the current American zeitgeist makes that impossible. Leaving alone for the moment the assumption that if any of those three were elected president by some near magical twist in reality they would immediately face a hostile congress bent on nothing but their defeat and embarrassment I will instead concentrate on my issue with my fellow political comrades.
Being open and honest while I would like nothing better than the United States to embrace many policies of the European social-democracies like universal health care, worker rights, environmental protections, and social libertarianism most Americans run from such ideas because they seem scary and foreign. Hell, you want to talk about true American Exceptionalism, there is nothing like the utter stupidity of someone in this country whining about the spoiled nature of workers who belong to unions then start complaining about how their benefits are being cut and that they haven't had a pay raise in years.
Truthfully, that is when such non-union workers are even slightly aware of of something greater than what goes on outside of their narrowly defined lives. I know many individuals who literally cannot see past the numerous reality shows and favorite sports broadcasts they watch on their Walmart bought flat screen televisions. If such people do think of the greater society as a whole they follow the implied but never really stated position of corporate management that they should just be grateful to have a job and that if they get too uppity some unemployed putz can be pulled off the street to work for much less.
“Proles and animals are free” (Ninteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell)
In short the American working class is the reality based version of George Orwell's “proles” from his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. For those who haven't read they book, proles are the lowest class in his fictional country of Oceania and make up the vast majority of the population. Despite outnumbering the middle management types of the “Outer Party” and the elite one-percents called the “Inner Party” a prole's purpose is just to work and breed. They live in poverty, receive little education, work manual labor jobs with no possibility of advancement, but are allowed to enjoy numerous entertaining distractions that keep them happy and quiet. If any of that even sounds the slightest bit familiar you can move to the front of the class.
This is where the election of someone like Warren, Sanders, or Grayson becomes problematic. All three like to point out the social and economic inconsistencies inherent to life in the United States and while they are tolerated are almost always kept at arms length and labeled “radical” by those in the press whose supposed job it is to uncover the uncomfortable truth.
“The Lesser of Two Evils” (a common comment by numerous Utopia seeking progressives)
It would be an epic event if any of the Liberal big three were elected president, along with a socially progressive congress, but barring some major miracle it ain't going to happen. This coming election day in November of 2016 you can whine and stay home while listening to Joan Baez and dream about some progressive messiah but all that will get you is a President Cruz, or Paul, or Rubio, or yet another Bush. My personal nightmare is a President Chris Christie, that bastard makes Nixon look like a warm and fuzzy socially conscious hippy. Yes, what I am implying is that the alternative is none other than Hillary Clinton.
Sharing another bit of honesty I have rather disliked Hillary for years. While I am completely ignoring all the conservative-inspired conspiratorial propaganda she has always seemed a little holier-than-thou, in other words the poster child for the elitist liberal. Back in 2008 I was willing to ignore my perception of her until she came up with the ball-faced lie about her and her daughter landing in Bosnia while taking gunfire form Serbia militias. CNN, in a rare bit of actual journalism, showed her giving a speech telling that story while running the actual footage on a separate segment of the screen of her landing in Bosnia showing a slow walk off the military cargo plane with young local girls giving her flowers.
My opposition to Hillary back then earned me the hatred of several progressives who called me a sexist pig and the snickers of many conservatives who assumed that my dislike of her would either keep me home on election day or force me to vote for War Crazy McCain. The only thing worse than being called a sexist pig from people I respected was the outrage from both groups when I declared my support for Barrack Obama. This is where the tendency for progressives to look for a socially aware messiah comes into play along with the near universal disappointment that follows when political realities are not faced.
I would only be exaggerating slightly when I say the election of Barrack Obama as president was viewed by many progressives as the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. He was suppose to take the oath of office then in the space of a few months end poverty, stop climate change, fix our immigration mess, end all wars, close Gitmo, and then fix the yawning economic gap between the rich and poor before the mid-terms.
Yes, during his first two years in office Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress but the idea that meant much is an uninformed assumption at best. Ignoring the fact for a moment that the 535 members of both houses each have their own individual agendas, namely to get reelected, Obama's fellow Democrats at that time covered the political spectrum from the DINO, (Democrat In Name Only), to actual progressives wanting to reform the country with the majority being the self-serving former. Now imagine some staunch, uncompromising progressive totally dedicated to upending the corrupt status quo being elected president. That person wouldn't last out their first and only term in office
When you also consider how progressives failed to vote in 2010 allowing the Tea Party-Republicans to win the House of Representatives and you have the beginnings of all the crap Obama has had to deal with since then. I truly believe many liberals and progressives have totally failed to appreciate the nature of the opposition Obama faced in congress along with the fact that the way our government is supposed to work means that the legislative and executive branches have to cooperate. Obama's executive orders to sidestep a racist congress is all well and good but I remember a time when George W. did the same thing with Democrats freaking out.
“Politics is the of the possible, the attainable-the art of the next best” Otto Von Bismark
Don't get me wrong, Obama has made some huge mistakes during his time in office. But I refuse to start believing like one person on the internet I know that this means he has been in secret league with the same people who backed – or controlled Bush and Cheney. They don't compare politics to the making of sausage for no reason. Politics is about the art of compromise and what is possible. Tilting at windmills is all fine and good but when you are faced with people like Cruz, Rand, Rubio, or Christie and the several others all riding in the same clown car you damn well better be able to live with consequences. What that means to me is that all the idiots who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 bear some responsibility for the actions of Bush and Cheney.
Yes, Hillary is too hawkish for me and along with that carries some political baggage that is cumbersome at best. But I live in the real world where reality isn't pretty and compromises have to be made so that in the end liberals like me can actually point to some progress for the common man and woman. I'd like life to be all about peace, love, pretty flowers, and unicorns that fart brilliant rainbows from their butts but it ain't going to happen. Idealism is an important part of the American political experience but unless it is tempered with pragmatism and the realization that building a better future takes time and often dirty work we will stay on our “trickle down” course the Republicans set for the nation back in 1980.
So unless something major happens I will most certainly be voting for Hillary in 2016. Am I happy about that fact, not really but there is only so many Citizen United decisions, corporate tax breaks, environmental disasters, civil rights degradations, and wars the United States can take. Who you vote for in 2016 is a choice each individual has to make but until the long awaited progressive messiah finally appears and awakens the distracted prole masses, I'll do the only viable alternative and vote for the perceived lesser of the two evils because in real life nothing is simple black and white.