So, we elected Democrats to fight for progressive values and working people. Time and again, we've been sold out. And so now we learn that the Democrats are no longer the staunch and unwavering defender's of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. No, they are PROPOSING to be complicit in cutting into that part of our social contract. Is there anything left now that Democrats supposedly stand for?
Defender's of women's rights? Their vaunted Lily Ledbetter law didn't mandate fair pay for women: It only fixed a statute of limitations issue in gender discrimination lawsuits that had been fucked up by a decision from our conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices. And, in the face of anti-abortion zealotry and laws being passed across the country, where have our staunch defenders been? Nowhere to be seen. In fact, the Democratic majority helped light the fire, enacting the biggest federal restrictions on abortion since the Hyde Amendment as part of their precious healthcare law. Did they consider new legislation after abortion providers started getting gunned down in church? Did they even start treating the anti-abortion extremists like the potential terrorists they demonstrably are?
No longer the party of universal healthcare, they are now the party of half-measures and individual mandates as their signature achievement--not even a public option for us idealistic sods. In an age of deficit hysteria, they couldn't even manage to pass a law that would have done the most for our deficit by reigning in healthcare costs. But the Affordable Care Act does very little to actually ensure that care is, you know, affordable.
Most dems treat gay people and our issues like the plague--until its time to treat us like an ATM to fund their campaigns. We wouldn't have gotten DADT passed if we hadn't shut down the ATM and screamed bloody murder about it during the lame-duck session. 90% of the country thinks that ENDA (employment non-discrimination) is ALREADY the law (or should be), and the Dems couldn't even be bothered to bring it up.
Speaking of employment and labor, what of standing up for union rights and the middle class generally? Don't make me laugh. No EFCA passage. Not even a fight on it. No Obama on the picket lines when labor has been under assault in states across the country. We have unions threatening not to support Democrats anymore if they don't support labor. And, there's unfortunately good reason for that.
Immigrants, who also needed a defender, are being deported at rates that even Pat Buchanan should be proud of. They aren't happy with this party of ours either.
Protecting the environment? After the oil spill response? I'm not talking about BP's response; I'm talking about the fact that there was NO legislation proposed in response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in this country's history. And on Climate Change, the Dems pretty much decided it was off limits after the Republicans decided it was all a librul conspiracy, melting ice sheets notwithstanding. Any defense of the EPA, now under constant Republican assault??
We are supposed to be the party of the Voting Rights Act, but where has our party and leaders been in the face of Voter ID laws and other new ballot restrictions across the country? No, instead of fighting, our party thought it would be a great idea to participate in a witchhunt against ACORN, which registered voters in communities that tend to be Democratic in their voting habits. Where is our party on denying the right to vote to prisoners who've served their time, or the ineffective Drug War that has led to us imprisoning a greater percentage of our population than any other civilized country in the world?
And do I really need to list all the betrayals on war and civil liberties? They all just finished a bipartisan re-authorization of the damnable Patriot Act without even a debate, ferchrissakes. And, Guantanamo, anybody?
And now, selling out these social programs, along with not fighting on the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, the Democrats have given up any credible claim to fighting for economic fairness and shared prosperity.
So, tell me again: What is the Democratic Party's raison d'etre--the reason for being--anymore? Why should anyone be or vote for a Democrat again? Just so they can maintain power for themselves and keep the oh-so-scary Republicans out? But, they don't want the power to actually DO anything you want. They just want to, you know, have it. Apparently, so they can just cave in to the oh-so-scary Republicans oh-so-scary demands anyway. Good luck with that winner of a campaign message.
So, this is the place that Obama has led us. He's the leader of this partisan organization, whether he likes it or not. (He doesn't). It's clear now that he'd rather be the second coming of Ronald Reagan, but the Republicans these days are f'in crazy AND racist, dontchaknow. But, he's still quite determined to cut yet another disastrous sell-out deal with them. Obama is obsessed with achieving some "grand bargain" for his presidential legacy checklist--his legacy on the future welfare of the middle class and the poor be damned, not to mention his legacy for being a sucker for the latest vogue in rightwing talking points.
I mean, which of the following seems more believable:
A. The Democrats led by Obama will fight for [insert your pet cause championed for years by Dems here]?
B. When the Republicans say jump, the Democrats will ask 'How high?'
The problem with today's Democratic party is that the second statement is truly the more believable, given all the recent evidence. The notion that the Democrats would actually fight for anything at this point is pretty laughable. In that sad, pathetic kind of way.
The result is that the Democratic party has just about lost all claims to being a credible opposition party in this two party system of ours. They can hardly be said to be opposed to anything, much less doing so credibly. They don't hold the other side accountable, and yet let the other side hold them to standards to which they do not subject themselves (IOKIYAR), allowing a double standard to solidify against Democrats and progressives politically.
America is not going to get a "national" conversation that it deserves in this election. Not from the Republicans, and it is clear that Obama will only empower Republican frames and talking point and promise only that "well, things coulda been worse". A real winner of a slogan there. But the REAL winning slogans out there he no longer has the credibility to campaign on. He's sold out too many of our (and the public's) priorities too often to now come back and credibly champion them. Obama can't call out Wall Street--or even campaign on reforming it (again)--when he's stacked his administration with Goldman Sachs guys, Bush holdovers, and Tim Geithner, for example. The country will laugh at him under its collective breath--and deservedly so. You know, kinda like everyone did to Bush when he was decrying the Russians not respecting international borders and national sovereignty in the Republic of Georgia after he'd invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq. Hell, we can't even campaign against the Republicans cutting Medicare anymore--cuz now the Democrats, via our ingenious president, are apparently gonna propose (and likely vote for) doing the same damn thing.
But we here are not Republicans. We are not lemmings. Howard Dean once told us that we are the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and WE have the power. And we do. And we have the power to cause some serious heartburn for the powers that be if we are determined and united in doing so. And I hope we can be united in self-preservation: In not following Obama and the rest of the party establishment over the cliff they've brought us to. If Obama walks that plank, he should understand that he'll have to fly or fall without us going forward. When he was elected in 2008, I would have been ready to jump off the mountain with him. Not now. That faith is gone. Long gone. Let the Republicans he's been trying to cater to for so damn long vote for him and his idiotic and uneconomic austerity program.
Let's face the (metaphorical) reality: The Republicans have become like rabid, chest-burster aliens on our body politic who need to be isolated and contained before this country can move forward again, whether on energy or climate change or fair tax codes. This president--and the party he leads--fails to recognize that when you are dealing with chest-burster aliens, either they are going down or you are--and they have no human decency and acid for blood to boot. This is not the time for playing patty cake and kumbaya. We didn't start this little pet political/culture/class war of theirs, but we damn sure ought to stop pretending that it isn't being waged and make sure we do what we have to in order to counter it--and ultimately WIN it.
Truth is, we needed a Churchill and got a Chamberlain. We needed a Gen. Grant, but it's clear now that we elected a Gen. McClellan instead. Like Lincoln, maybe it's time for us to decide to cut bait and give the army to someone who will actually appreciate it and know how to use it. Cuz I, for one, am done with this piece of shit for a political party that comes back to its base voters every year with their donation hat ever in-hand and nothing but excuses delivered with hippie-punching condescension for a long and increasing list of political failures that now spans across DECADES--and across every single constituency that this political party is purportedly supposed to represent.