Sunday, November 21, 2010

Did the Democrats Stay Home to Make a Statement?

While this is the explanation offered by democratic organizational leaders and media pundits, the more plausible explanation is that the Republican Party candidates, the motley crew that they've become, utilized an old method of inspiring people to vote in midterm elections: arousing extremist sentiments on hot button issues.  By "extreme," I mean reactionary and therefore, unreasonable and by "hot button," I mean controversial.  While the Republican Party alleges to want to balance the budget, repeal what they derisively refer to as "Obama Care," and reduce the role of government, none among them can say where they would begin in earnest, nor can they attest to the viability of such policies in terms of offering valuable public policy.  How about they walk their talk with a simple gesture: refuse to take a salary and refuse to be covered by the generous health insurance that is offered to Congress and by the taxpayer, and last but not least, reduce the budget for military spending...the latter is a bit of a ruse, since both parties are committed to the outrageous graft that the military industrial complex is able to bleed from our bankrupt coffers. 
To all those allegedly disaffected Democrats out there, its' time to quit your bitching for not getting everything you want when you want it. While Gary Wills may have earned himself the right to criticize the Obama administration for not coming to the table with a bold enough alternative to our overpriced and under performing health care "system" (though it is not wise or prudent to point to the disjointed bureaucratic ponzi- scheme of health insurers as a coherent system), few can attest to their ardent activism that would have offered broad support and understanding of the value and need for a public option, or some variation of a public option.  These are high stakes interests and unless we are willing to wage a real multi- pronged effort against such deeply entrenched interests, namely the insurance companies (who were at their inception not the money hoarding nightmarish corporations that they have evolved into), we cannot expect a boon such as a public option. Sure, Obama, perhaps unwittingly, surrounded himself with status quo politicians like Rahm Emmanuel and Tim Geithner,  but we must understand that these positions are typically lobbied for.  Obama the candidate and President Obama are bound to diverge in appearance because President Obama does not have the luxury of only representing those who agree with him, but must compromise with those who do not.  The best that the people can work for is to expose those interest groups who exert power in the background and hold them accountable to a clear set of ethical standards.  In the case of health care, our system in the U.S. is the most expensive and the least effective and businesses as well as government are responsible for paying the tab for this lack of performance.  This is not viable.

While Ralph Nader, bless his enduring heart and soul, beckons democrats to stop rooting for a party that clearly does not support progressive change, the top down approach to changing government has never been the most enduring.  Women were not granted the right to vote because the sitting President wanted it to be so, they were granted this right by sacrificing their time, their lives and in many instances, their dignity, for the purpose of securing a higher level of dignity for themselves and for generations to come.  This is the case for all social movements.  The problem is the absence of a coherent plan and set of principles by which to direct society through these difficult times.  While the activist movement of the '60's offered a notion that we the people are capable of changing the political landscape in which we live, locally and nationally, it did not offer a blue print that lasted.  We need to create a set of principles and viable actions that will guide us.  Need some tangible suggestions?  Let us put energy independence- not from the Middle East- but from oil all together, at the top of our list of things to work for.  We need more zero energy homes, more car-need-free neighborhoods and cities, better inter-city transportation, as well as intra-city.  What else?  Let us redefine the meaning of entrepreneurship so that it eliminates from it's definition those who make money off of government programs.  You are not an entrepreneur if your biggest client is the United States Government! That includes all military contractors and their pals on Wall Street.  In order to address these issues with veracity, we must recognize how hierarchies promote ignorance and sloth and these are obvious impediments to progress.  While Meet the Press is shocked by the news that the unstable dictatorship of North Korea has developed a uranium enrichment plant (which is only news because people are wholly unaware of the fact that the U.S. offered the funds for this decades ago), it is more important to reflect on the impending mass extinction of the plant life on earth and the ecosystem that we depend upon for survival, as did a bunch of scientists in Tokyo just over a week ago.
If we are going to rumble, let us offer principle instead of a sense of alleged superiority.
Republicans, you can't have it both ways! You cannot be against government intervention and for state sanctioned religion, you cannot be for a balanced budget and support a gross military build up, you cannot be for the troops and against offering benefits to Veterans, you cannot espouse the value of corporations while limiting the value of government, because the actions of corporations create the reality in which we the people live, and in doing so, they are a political entity that enforces rules and regulations WITHOUT representing the people with Democratic safeguards i.e. transparency, accountability, representation and the ability to vote people our of their positions of power.  Think about it, if you keep pandering to corporations while posing as a public servant, you are undermining the need for government and for yourself as a mediator between the wants of corporations and the needs of the people (actual individuals who are not able to donate tens of millions of dollars to a political campaign).

That's all for now...