Friday, September 24, 2010

The Politics of Despair

So I guess this is what is supposed to get me excited about voting for my party:
Senate Democrats give up push for pre-election tax cut vote
And this:
Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor Side with GOP to Block Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
And this:
Justice Dept. objects to ‘Don’t Ask’ injunction
And this:
White House unloads anger over criticism from 'professional left’
And this:
Obama Down on Prospects for Passage of 'Card Check' Legislation
And this:
No Congressional Action Until After Elections on an Unemployment Extension and Tier V
And of course, all this:
Obama's view of liberal criticisms; Gibbs Stands By His 'Professional Left' Critique, Expects Liberals To Vote In 2010; More taunts to the Democratic base
Once upon a time, before Reagan's warm fuzzy brand of corporate hate liberated people to embrace their lowest impulses and call themselves patriots for it, there was a Democratic party that stood for equality, lifting up the underdog, fighting for the common man and woman, and weighing in on behalf of ordinary citizens when corporate interests and robber barons tried to rig the scales. Once there were people in this party who actually stood up in the face of hatred and opposition and fought back, because what they fought for was right, and they knew it.

I know there must still be people like this, but I haven't seen them in the Senate, and seen damned few of them in the House. I see people who have been so completed co-opted by financial interests and the slavish addiction to political power that they can't even form a coherent platform of progressive justice and then fight for it. I see a party that has been utterly poisoned by the Clintonian "Third Way", which was just another way of giving the Right what they wanted with the bonus of the political cover they needed to keep appealing to their reactionary base and playing the ideological victim.

What made the last election different for me was that I made a deliberate decision to abandon my long-standing cynicism about politics to trust Barack Obama, and to believe what he promised. I understand the difficulties he faced, and the toxic environment into which he stepped when he entered the White House, and I know compromise is necessary in governance. But he has consistently disappointed me by his vehement rejections of the very things he promised he would fight for (public option thrown away before even sitting down to the negotiating table? Expansion of executive power? Torture?), rejections so total that he cannot seem to even rouse himself to use his eloquence to TRY to rally the support these things needed. Rejections so total that it makes me think possible what others have already charged: that Obama's comportment and actions since taking office reveal the real man behind the mask of the campaigner.

And even though we are faced with evidence of the complete takeover of the Republican Party by the extremists of the John Birch and Aryan Nation and Michigan Mitlitia varieties, even though we are treated daily to ever wilder conspiracy theories and accusations that would even give paranoid schizophrenics pause, the Democrats and the White House still can't bring themselves to confront these idiocies and call them by their true names, for fear, I guess, of seeming intemperate or harsh.

Yet Robert Gibbs and Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel have no trouble calling people like ME names, and denigrating our passions and disappointments, because they assume, as have the kept media and the right-wing hatemongers, that we liberals don't count, and couldn't make any difference.

Well, we did, once, in 2008, and we will again if enough of us give up in disgust and despair. They threaten us with a Republican takeover if we stay home, that we won't have a voice in our own governance if we do, but I really haven't felt I've had a voice since November 2008 anyway. I know there are substantive differences between the parties. But if one of them lives in fear of the other and votes accordingly, I'm not sure how much different another 2 years would feel.