Can The Left Get It Right?
A New Oxymoron: Democratic Leadership
When you have a situation in U.S. government wherein
the legislative branch is considering disempowering
the judicial branch , which has previously put
in power the existing Executive branch, you begin to get the
feeling that politicians in general probably don't care much what
the "people" (whoever they are) want.
Does your vote still matter?
Good question. Depends really, upon whether or not
you even know what you're voting for, which isn't easy to do these
days. In the 2004 presidential election (the only elections which
seem to draw a large number of interested voters), most Americans
were voting for simple ideas like "do I trust a rich guy who
brags about being in Vietnam and uses four syllable words all the
time" or "do I trust a rich guy who's so dumb he says
'nucular' and bashes his head choking on pretzels".
This wasn't an accident (the issues at hand, not
the pretzel incident). Just read Frank
Luntz' GOP playbook to get a sense of how public debate is manipulated
by high-powered, well-monied marketing experts. These people don't
want to put forth what they think are good ideas and see if you
agree, they want to get re-elected. If that means choosing an issue
that is completely irrelevant to their overall plans, and even lying
about the stance, they'll do it.
Add to this the facts that "public service"
has come to mean a six-figure income with a multitude of perks,
and that these "public servants" have engineered a well-financed,
centrist two party system with an impossibly high financial investment
for even getting on the ballot, and you'll be repeatedly rewarded
with a fifty-fifty election result that pleases no-one.
Is there a way to change this? Some people think
so. We've joked here before that the only way to really get America
caring again would be to take their televisions away for awhile.
Alternatively, perhaps the bellyaching intellectual liberals that
weep for two weeks after an election and then go back to their high-paying
jobs and fret over whether to take their Prius to the car wash or
go see Hotel Rwanda could stay invested, and prove how smart they
are by helping steer the country back in a direction that actually
benefits everyone. (On that note, you know something has gone terribly
wrong when using the expression "benefits everyone" smacks
of socialism, which it seems to these days.)
A New Oxymoron: Democratic Leadership
So who to look to for leadership? Certainly not typical
liberal heroes like Noam Chomsky, who's pitched the same "corporations
are bad" drivel for twenty years while probably having a well-rounded
investment folio that sinks money into all of them. Okay, we don't
know where Noam Chomsky invests his money, but we do know that his
complaint-based liberalism is beginning to sound pretty feeble right
about now. My bet at this point in time is that no new Democratic
leader will rise from the party ranks to offer something new by
2008. There's way too much money at stake, and far too much benefit
is derived by too many organizations for any candidate to offer
anything but "protection from a dangerous world".
Attention Democrats: Forget About 2008
I witnessed a perfect example today of why Democrats
will probably lose again in 2008. I live in one of the most P.C.,
weepy liberal college towns in America. A friend visiting from Kenya
wanted to buy some sandals at a local shoe store. As the owner (who
casually knew my friend) was ringing up the sale, he said: "You
know, I read the most interesting article about how they're planning
to add a tax to plastic bags in Kenya to help with the litter problem.
What a great idea!". My friend replied that they were actually
planning to ban them altogether if they could, and hadn't heard
anything about a tax. (This is actually a pretty serious issue in
Kenya, for a slew of reasons.) The shop owner then went on: "Oh,
no no no. I'm quite sure it was a tax. They've done the same thing
in Ireland and elsewhere with much success, blah blah blah."
The point being: here's a reasonably
intelligent fellow, obviously concerned about things like the environment.
Like so many liberals, his own brain and mouth will forever prevent
his hands and feet from ever doing a damn thing he cares about,
because he's so damn satisfied talking for hours about it, and showing
how informed he is. In fact, he's so well informed that he prefers
what he reads to the firsthand knowledge of a human
being. I'm sure I'll see him with the other 17 anti-war protesters
standing outside the local Federal building in a few weeks, dutifully
protesting a war that doesn't know he exists while he sips his low
fat, low foam, decaf latte.
If You See A Problem, Fix it.
So what can one do? Bloody hell. We're Americans,
for cryin' out loud. The civil rights movement didn't require billion-dollar
marketing plans, the internet and wireless communication. It happened
via telephone and pavement-pounding. Do some research. If you think
you're a Democrat, think again. Does this party really represent
anything important to you? Or is it the other cola? The "people's
party" seems to have gone adrift of this core belief a LONG
time ago. If you're frustrated with the Dems strategies and values,
check out being a Libertarian, a Green, or at least get involved
in something that has some hope of impacting things. If you're rich,
organize a lobby. Politicians don't generally care what people think
anyway, they care what lobbies and corporations think. If you're
not rich, join a movement that means something to you. Talking intelligently
about world affairs is a wonderful way to pass the time at the cafe,
but doesn't get people elected.
Coke or Pepsi? Personally I always liked RC Cola.
So what is this weepy, complaint-based liberal
doing? Voting for and acting on what I believe in. I will never
again vote for someone because they're not the other guy. I never
believed in John Kerry, and winced as I cast my ballot for him.
I love America, its Constitution, and the basic values of freedom
and democracy we all cherish. I don't believe many politicians in
our current two-party system do though, and I don't believe many
citizens understand, or more importantly, care enough about how
this country is evolving to effect real change. Personally, I'm
going to continue making an honest re-assessment of which organizations
actually espouse my values, and apply my energies there. There's
frankly a pretty good chance that this won't involve supporting
the Democratic Party.
one of this article, I've learned
once again just how much I don't know
about politics. A friend exposed me to
the BBC series The
Power of Nightmares, a great program
you'll have a very hard time finding on
American television. (I found a Bittorrent
. Good luck.) The program focused on the
influence of Leo
Strauss on the neoconservative movement
in America. I had thought the 'cons had
dreamed up their lunatic agenda all by
themselves, but it apparently goes back
to a University of Chicago Professor in
the forties named Leo Strauss. Learn more
Review their platform. You might be surprised
at how progressive the party actually
is in many ways. Dirty Harry likes them,
maybe you will too!
MoveOn has displayed
a lot of media savvy over the past few
years. A great place to voice your beliefs
through pre-organized on line petitions.
We actually share
a lot of these beliefs, except the part
where they expect to elect a candidate
representing a party with a name like
As much as I admire
the guy in many ways, I think he's lost
it. Watch him debate Bush and Kerry dolls,
and buy the DVD if you like.
in America is Such a Joke, Why Not Treat
it as Such:
the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They'd
Have Given Us Candidates