“Just when I try to get out, they pull me back in.”
I didn’t want to write about politics or Obama again. At least, not right now. Jah Energy (not an oil company, but my community softball team named after the Jamaican god), has a one-or-done playoff game tonight. I’ve been trying like a dog to edit my second Matt Jacob book (Two Way Toll) so it can be formatted for multi-digital platforms, and am gathering materials for a photo shoot of the digital cover for Still Among The Living.
I really didn’t want to write about politics. But after the last couple of weeks watching congressional bozos on both sides of the aisle make jackasses out of themselves, and seeing our country slide into a sinkhole so deep it may be impossible to climb out, I just can’t help it. Sorry.
I feel like Peter Finch in the movie Network when he stuck his head out the window and screamed, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
My rage primarily has to do with the debt ceiling deal that President Obama blessed, albeit with some verbal regret over the absolute refusal to implement a truly fair progressive income tax that might help people who are just barely getting by. Problem is, verbal regret doesn’t cut it for those already bent over a chair and are now gonna be bending even lower. Nine percent unemployment, my ass. Those are only the people they count. If it ain’t double that number, feel free to shoot me. It doesn’t take a weatherman to know what programs and which people are going to get fucked by the newly agreed upon debt reductions.
We are already living in an era when the differential in wealth between Whites and people of color is the greatest it has been since the Civil War. We’re eyeballing folks who have saved for a lifetime only to lose their houses due to mortgage manipulation (aka fraud) by banks. Banks our president was more than willing to rescue and are now making more money than ever before. We’re back to robber baron times.
And I haven’t yet mentioned two wars that nobody wants other than the congressional jackasses. And the President.
I know the excuses since I’ve used them myself: The Republicans burned down the house then gave the key to the Black guy. Obama never really had a real majority because of the Blue Dog Democratic Senators. President Obama believes in bi-partisan politics as the best way for a country to be run. The Republicans have never totally refused to work with a sitting Democratic president before, and are doing it now because he is Black.
I know the hopes: During his fifth year, he’ll be able to be himself and do what he’d hoped to do during the first four. Roosevelt’s first term was less than stellar as well. If President Obama is somehow able to forge an “adult” dialogue with and between members of Congress, it will be a huge achievement.
I know the accomplishments: His support of gays in the military. He forced health insurance companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions. He jammed through coverage for millions and millions of people who had no health insurance whatsoever. After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws. The administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids, eliminate mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession, and dramatically increase the amount of cocaine possessed that leads to a jail sentence.
And there have been more accomplishments: (See http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2010/10/president-obamas-244-accomplishments-part-4/) But these accomplishments have mostly come through Executive Orders and not “adult” discussions with, or bills passed, by Congress. How many times do you need to be hit in the head with a baseball bat before you change your tactics. Even if it’s just to give the other guy a noogie.
The bottom line is this: President Obama is certainly better than the Republican nominee who will stuff the Supreme Court with lunks only too happy to off a woman’s right to choose and add to the already ugly list of draconian decisions. So I will hold my nose and vote for him again. But it’s gonna hurt.
Fact is: Progressives, and our organizers, have to make some serious decisions for the long term. Actually, we have to make some decisions, period. First we need to form a coalition between all the liberal groups out there. And if petition signing is any indication, there are quite a few. Then, that coalition has to decide whether to spend its time, money, and effort to try to take over the Democratic Party.
And I don’t mean doing what the Tea Party is doing–getting enough votes to hold the rest of the party hostage. (Though that might be a good start.) I mean turning the Democratic Party into a full-bore progressive party that doesn’t give a shit about moderates who are really Republicans in Democratic colors. This has been the cry from Democratic Socialists for generations, and for generations it just hasn’t succeeded. But it is one of the options.
The other is to throw the full weight of the progressive coalition behind a third party, something that has been tried in past and usually, if successful at all, created a nudge for change and then disappeared. Neither strategy has kicked ass, but the past need not define the future.
In either case, or perhaps the third option, is that we actually mobilize our constituency. We may talk politics more than many, but usually it’s shaking our heads over a beer. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” means DOING SOMETHING. Actions, instead of whining. Message to self, maybe something more than just signing petitions (see my 3/21/11 post LOVE ME, I’M A LIBERAL).
We also ought to redefine our constituency. We typically try to politicize the voting public. I believe our real goal has to be engaging the forty plus percent of the population who doesn’t vote, maybe has never voted. Unless we appeal to these folks, they never will vote and we’ll never have a real progressive government.
“Don’t make me repeat myself.” ~ History
(Might want to laugh or cry at: