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Mon

10

Nov

2008

It is not THEY who are the real problem
Monday, 10 November 2008 16:07
by Kéllia Ramares

On Nov. 2, 2008, Matt Gonzalez, Ralph Nader's running mate in an independent bid for the White House, published an article on FogCityJournal.com asking What do they have to do to to lose your vote? The Trail of Broken Promises. In it, Gonzalez detailed Barack Obama's poor record on some vital issues, including his voting for reauthorization of the Patriot Act, voting for amendments to FISA that the ACLU called a domestic spying bill, and selecting Joe Biden as a running mate. Gonzalez also mentioned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise to end the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's filibuster rule that allows Republicans literally to "phone in" their filibuster, and President Bill Clinton's signing of bills that began the deregulation process that has given us the current financial crisis. The article makes for very informative reading.

But as to Gonzalez' question: What do they have to do to lose your vote? By the time they do it, there won't be elections to vote in. The problem here is not the politicians, it's the people. As long as voters feel they have to vote for a candidate who can win the Presidency now, progressives will always vote for Democrats, conservatives will always vote for Republicans, and the parties (with a few exceptions we need not name here) and Presidential nominees will always attend to the needs of their masters: the corporations and corporate leaders who provide the money and perks for the both parties' politicians' careers and lifestyles.

Progressives have yet to learn that the Democrats are the Republicans in slow motion, or if they know it, they are conveniently getting amnesia come voting time. They are sending us down the same bi-partisan path to the total destruction of peace, freedom and prosperity as the Republicans. They and the Republicans play a cynical good cop-bad cop game that only the corporatists win. Occasionally, one of the "cops" comes off like a fool, such as John McCain this time, but, hey, don't worry about him. At a time when foreclosures are high, he has so many homes he can't remember how many.

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
-Frederick Douglass

The problem lies with people like a friend of mine who read the four-part series on Barack Obama that I wrote in the days leading up to the election. (It is filed on my blog, Kellia's World – “No Pitch” Journalism, under November 3rd or under the tag "Obama"). She thought the series was good. She agreed with it. She also hoped I would nonetheless vote for Obama. (I voted for Cynthia McKinney). My friend is a highly educated and thoughtful woman. But when she looks at Obama, she sees FDR. I look at Obama and see Bill Clinton.

Misplaced hope is one factor. Fear is perhaps the greater factor. People are reluctant to vote third party because of fear of splitting the vote, and electing the greater of two evils. As long as voters are in the grip of this fear, the Democrats will always know that the overwhelming majority of progressives will vote their way. And knowing that, they will never have incentive to move left. They will claim to "govern from the center", as Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently said of Obama, while never acknowledging that the center keeps moving to the right, at least as calculated by the media pundits who are also players of the same game.

Progressives must be willing vote issues not identity politics. While it is a point of pride for black people to see one of their own elected, it remains to be seen how much the Obama Administration will help minorities. Obama did not "pal around" with terrorists, but he certainly pals around with Wall Street. His supported the bailout. And his new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is the top House recipient of Wall Street largesse, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Progressives must be concerned with process--how money works in a campaign, how the debates are controlled, how publicity is controlled, how votes are counted...or not, etc. And they must work for the long haul just as the right-wing has worked to gain ascendancy in the Republican Party since the days of Johnson's landslide over Goldwater. That means forsaking both the fear of the immediate consequences of not picking today's winner, and the empty dreaming that "another world is possible". That other world will never be realized as long as we vote our current fears.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Kellia Ramares is a journalist in Oakland, CA. Her email address is ByrnesBlogger1@gmail.com

By, NC, ND, 2008. Kéllia Ramares. Some rights reserved.

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