Say you are politically liberal as I am and was impressed by candidate Obama's soaring rhetoric and uplifting promises of change back in 2008; and say you are hugely disappointed by the fact that after election he mostly shut up and quietly took a moderate to conservative approach to the grave problems facing us as a nation; and say that you are irritated that now that reelection time is drawing near President Obama is out stumping and pushing again for the same liberal approach to problems that he promised but did not deliver the first time. What are you going to do?
I have a theory that President Obama and the Democratic party take the liberal vote for granted. After all, as some of my readers have suggested: who else is there to vote for? Better shall we not be for voting for Barack Obama than by voting for anyone in the Republican field who is running?
I do understand that line of thinking. But it is the chain that binds us to the plutocracy that has seized our country and is holding it in its viselike grip. It is the political version of Stockholm Syndrome.
So I would ask in return this question: If we really are concerned about the direction in which we are headed and want to see things change, how will voting for more of the same bring that about? A choice between the lesser of two evils is still choosing an evil. (And before anyone gets sidetracked here, I'm not calling President Obama evil; I'm suggesting that if we disagree with his approach yet think it is more tolerable than the alternative with which also we disagree, but maybe a bit less, we still in the end have willingly accepted something that we find undesirable.)
The truth is that President Obama is a plutocratic pawn. He promised as a presidential candidate to protect Social Security and Medicare but as president has willingly put those good programs on the table to be eviscerated by those who want to privatize them in the interest of Wall Street profiteers. He has repeatedly failed to address the regressive income tax system that has virtually eliminated the middle class and sent poverty and near poverty through the roof. He brought us a sweeping health care reform that is geared toward protecting the interest of the insurance companies more than recognizing it as basic human necessity. He has mostly continued the war policies (including the war against terror) of the neocons which seems to be the fulfillment of President Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex. The economy, it seems, took a back seat through most of President Obama's term as he worried about other matters. Yet he came into office with a clear mandate to change the way things were being done, and along with that mandate and control over both houses of Congress he still delivered to us more of the same.
And now he wants our vote again.
A vote for President Obama is a vote for more of the same. We are implored not to waste our vote on a candidate who has no chance of winning. But is a vote of conscience ever a waste? Is sending a message to the Democratic party that our votes should be considered important rather than something to be taken for granted not a worthwhile thing to do?
If those of us who are sounding the alarm about the Plutocracy that has replaced our democratic republic are right, it will take more than the results of one election to change things. It will take a long and sustained journey to wrest power back away from the privileged few. There are things we can and should do and first among them, I believe, is refusing any longer to be sympathetic to our captors.
Saying Hell NO! is a first step.
There are some folks trying to do some things about the problems we face. One of those folks is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has is championing the cause of protecting Social Security, and has recently introduced legislation that would strengthen the program. He has sent President Obama a clear "Hands Off" message after the president placed it on the bargaining table. Also, Sanders has formed a Defend Social Security Caucus and a petition which as of this writing has over 115,000 signatures. I urge my readers to follow that link and check out this man's mission.
Frankly, I would write in Bernie Sanders before I would vote for President Obama based on this one issue alone. It is, I believe, that critical.
Another person who is trying to do something about the mess in Washington and has been one of the foremost proponents of campaign funding reform is well-respected Democrat Russ Feingold. He has founded the political action committee Progressives United, which has as its stated mission:
To stand up to the exploding corporate influence in our political system by organizing and amplifying the voices of those who believe that corporations have too much power.
I am impressed with Mr. Feingold and hope he is able to get enough people fired up about this matter so as to get some things done in the way of addressing this important concern.
Finally, although it may be news to many, there are least two out and out political liberals who are also running for president in 2012, albeit without much fanfare. One of these is the Green Party's Jill Stein. Here is a link to her On The Issues page which details where she stands on things. I find her interesting and want to get to know her a little better.
And then there is Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson former Salt Lake City, Utah mayor. A man of unquestioned principle and a proven leader and pathfinder. He has started the Justice Party and is running on their ticket as a presidential candidate in 2012.
This shouldn't be considered as an endorsement (yet, anyway) but here is what a liberal prescription for what ails us looks like, taken directly from his website:
Economic and fiscal policy: Rocky supports increased tax on investment income; immediately ending the Bush tax cuts; cutting defense spending significantly; offering tax incentives to firms who hire US workers and disincentives to those that don't; splitting up too big to fail banks; and he opposes hiring ex-financial executives as advisors to the president on economic policy.
Healthcare: Rocky supports a system of universal healthcare, which would cost far less, be far more efficient, cover everyone, and achieve better outcomes.
Foreign Policy: Rocky has been a leading and unflinching opponent of the wars of the Bush-Obama Presidency.
Civil and Human Rights: As a lawyer, Rocky fought successfully to challenge abuses by government agents. As Mayor, he implemented an innovative restorative justice program. Named by HRC as one of the top ten straight advocates for the GLBT community, Rocky proposed marriage equality beginning in 1996. After completing two terms as Mayor, he founded High Road for Human Rights.
Environment: Rocky was named by Business Week as one of the top 20 activists in the world on climate change. As Mayor of Salt Lake City, he independently implemented the Kyoto Protocols and exceeded them by 48% (he attained 31% vs 21% as in the protocols => +48%). Rocky knows the solution to the climate crisis is not, as Pres. Obama calls it, clean coal. Rocky knows we must stop burning coal and destroying forests. Rocky will make climate protection a major U.S. priority – and provide sorely needed international leadership.
Okay, here is my point: we do have choices. We can vote for more of the same and be assured of getting more of the same, or we can say enough is enough and seek a new direction. I agree with Rocky Anderson when he said we no longer have a two party system ... there is just the one: Democrat-Republican. Whatever happens in 2012 will do little to change the status quo. What is needed is a long range plan for attacking the system that keeps the Plutocrats and their pawns in power. Revolutions take time, but they all begin with a first shot.
Speaking just for myself and with due respect to my fellow liberals and moderates who disagree with me, I don't see how I could in good conscience vote for Barack Obama. It would be a vote against the very things I hold important in facing our problems.
I'm not saying our president couldn't even yet change my mind about this. But it would take real and drastic action and not mere words to accomplish it. Honestly, I don't see how he would be in the position to do that even if in his heart he would desire to do it.