Very, Bad, Indeed.
I have read numerous diaries, from numerous well known progressive commentators, such as Cenk Uygyar, who posts here frequently, blasting Obama for any number of things, like "selling out his followers," "not fighting for health care reform," "not supporting Gay Rights by not fighting against DADT," "not fighting for global warming legislation," and on and on.
It is one of the great issues of DailyKos about the spectrum of Obama bashing / categorical support should take place. Should we support his mild liberalism? Or just throw him under the bus, "the way we have been thrown under the bus," etc. etc. Personally, I believe that things can get bad in the USA, very bad, inconceivably bad, and before we start bashing, we should think twice with a long-term perspective on our situation.
I will turn to history and a book I have recently read, "The Nightmare Years," by William Shirer, and the Spanish Civil War, to clarify the issue.
The battle for justice, freedom and peace never ends, just like the Dick Cheneys of the world, who profit from global destabilization and continuous warfare, will never stop fighting for their agenda. The anti-choice, forced birth movement has not abated, and the racist, anti-immigrant movement is now stronger than it has been in decades. All emphasis in the following quotes are mine.
Almost all progress has been through a ratcheting process, with occasional jumps forward, and plenty of significant backsliding into the reactionary darkness. I wanted to quote William Shirer's book, "The Nightmare Years 1930 - 1940" at length about the Spanish Civil War as it gives a true, historical perspective of just how bad things can get, and how the successful European fascist movements closely mimic the reactionary tea bag, anti-intellectual movement, and the Republican fascist agenda. I will quote a rather long passage, but it paints a frightening anomaly of the political situation in the US today.
"The Spanish Republic, which had done so much in the bare two and a half years since its birth to liberate Spain from its medievalism, already was tottering to a fall... The balloting turned out of office the men who had founded the Republic.. and who had brought Spain abruptly... into the modern world."
"The stranglehold of the Church was broken. Church and State were separated, religion disestablished... Women were given the vote for the first time and equal rights in all matters. Divorce, which the Church had forbidden, was made relatively easy, and civil marriages were recognized. Minimum wages were established and the state recognized the right of the workers to organize... The army, which with the church had been a pillar of the monarchy, was brought under the direct control of civilian government..."
"All these changes and reforms and many lesser ones, hurriedly legislated within a couple of years, were the equivalent for an American of those brought about in our country by Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt over a period of a quarter of a century."
"The Republic began to be undermined not only by the reactionary politicians and their backers, the Church, the wealthy landowners and capitalists... but most outrageously of all, by the anarchists, whose mass following among the workers and peasants the Republic in two short years had done so much to liberate...
"So the fledgling Republic,in its first two years, knew who its enemies were - on the Left and the Right. It sought to curb them, but the mild, tolerant liberals and socialists who ran it could not bring themselves to be drastic enough to render their foes once and for all of overthrowing it...
All that fall and early winter, after the liberal government fell and was replace by a rightist bloc, I reflected gloomily on the swift decline of this still very young Republic, so splendid in its ideals, so inept in guarding its strength, so innocent of the threats of of its determined enemies..."
All italics are mine, forgive me my paraphrasing.
500,000 people died in the Spanish Civil War (see the shocking film "Pan's Labyrinth" which captures the spirit and brutality of the war). Today, Spain is one of the most liberal countries in Europe. It took 50 years to reverse its rightist rule.
Today we see ultra-rightists who oppose the division of Church and State, women's rights on almost any level, the teaching of science over religious doctrine, supporting drastic, racist ideologies, and the support of fascist doctrines aimed at drastically increasing the wealth of a tiny portion of our society, railing against labor unions and minimum wages, now running for our highest political office. See the polls that show the fine liberal Russ Feingold running behind in his Senate reelection bid if you want to know how extreme the political climate is.
We should take history into account before we stridently denounce the mildly liberal leaders in our country because the are not the end-all and be-all in our desire for a progressive society, a goal that will probably take decades to achieve, and a constant struggle to maintain.