Amendment to my 8/2/08 diary:
Thank you to everyone who spent the time to comment on the following diary. I realize now I owe you all an apology, and want to offer a bit of an explanation of where I’m coming from, although I don’t know why anyone would care. I only offer this because many people who commented made incorrect assumptions.
First off, I am no troll, or if I am I don't mean to be. I do not mean to insult anyone in the Kos community. And I sincerely apologize to all of you that I didn’t read the FAQ’s. Now that I have read them I understand that I have invaded your space since you are a Democratic site. I hope you will believe me that being offensive to anyone personally was not my intent. I don’t spend enough time on blogs to realize how people feel about these things. I hope you will accept my apology.
My mistake was an honest one. I am a very frustrated liberal from Brooklyn NY who only became a Democrat to work for Howard Dean in 2003-2004. After those primaries I volunteered for Kerry in PA, and in 2006 I worked for Democrat Chris Owens in his doomed Congressional campaign back here in Brooklyn, as Chris was 100% pro-impeachment and would have worked as hard as anyone to bring our soldiers home from Iraq. I’ve also been involved in many community peace efforts that do not have a primarily political focus. About six months ago I couldn't stand being in the Democratic Party any more and am now an independent, again.
Ultimately all the activist work I’ve been involved with since 9/11 revolve around the fact that our government and mainstream media lie to us constantly and dare us to do anything about it. People kill and die and the world becomes a much scarier, dangerous place as a result of these lies, and well meaning citizens often unwittingly support the forces responsible for the deceptions by accepting assumptions that really need to be closely examined. The corporatization of our government is the central threat to all Americans of all party affiliations. It will continue to destroy our Constitutional order. Since the Republicans are truly hopeless, I wish that the Democrats would challenge their party’s leadership to create rational, historically literate, non-partisan long-view perspectives concerning the various problems facing all of us. From that place, Democrats could truly inspire and lead the American people instead of just playing the game.
The way the progressive Democrats have dealt with impeachment is indicative of their inability to break out of the short term, business as usual thinking. People like John Conyers and Jerry Nadler know exactly what’s going on. They should be leaders demanding accountability and adherence to the Constitutional order, but they are not. So my rant/diary below was born of frustration with these people. I am suggesting that progressive people refuse to support their capitulating ways.
If all that makes me a troll who offended you, then I apologize. Your community is your business. Our country, on the other hand, better learn damn quick that just because the truth hurts doesn’t make it any less true. So while you are right to patrol the Diaries armed with the FAQ’s I certainly should have read before I posted, I gently suggest you should address your larger concerns to the Democratic Leadership.
Hope this helps – I’ve left the original diary below unedited.
No reasonably well informed American of conscience can support any Democrat or Republican anymore. Both parties are bought and paid for by their corporate sponsors. Whatever one's politics, anyone paying any attention to what's going on who still votes for any Republican or Democratic candidate is a willing partner in his or her own self-deception. There are of course differences between individual Republicans and Democrats, but those differences only serve to perpetuate the illusion of real choice. Ultimately, all party members bow to the dictates of their party's leadership.
"Progressive Democrats" offer the starkest proof that party members can only distance themselves so far from their leaders. Take for example my beloved Dennis Kucinich, a man I truly admire despite my seeing him for what he ultimately is, a loyal Democrat. Everyone knew Kucinich was never going anywhere as a presidential candidate. He had nothing to lose by telling the truth and pursuing impeachment, which is why I originally supported him. And yet just before the Iowa caucus, way back when, he withdrew from that contest and gave what little support he had in that state to Obama, the man who famously labeled impeachment as "unacceptable". Why did he do that? I suggest he did that in accordance with the wishes of his corporate masters, who wanted progressives to think Obama really represented "change we can believe in". So what? Read on.
Fast forward to June 9, 2008, when Kucinich introduced his 35 articles of impeachment against Bush. The date is important: on June 8, 2008, Clinton ended her campaign. While it is true that Kucinich had to run back to Ohio to tend to his own primary battle and therefore had to take impeachment off his own table for awhile, there is no way these two events – Clinton ending her campaign and Kucinich’s 35 Articles - happening one day apart is coincidence. I suggest there are two possible explanations.
The first one accepts a degree of accepted thinking that I reject but that might be more palatable to others. With Clinton’s campaign over, the Democratic Party now had their presumptive nominee and could get on bringing Clinton and Obama supporters together. It was only after the spotlight of the horserace was turned down and Obama was now seen as the Democratic candidate that Kucinich was allowed to resume his work on impeachment. There is a presumption, based I’m sure on TV ratings, that most people pay attention to politics during a campaign, and the Clinton/Obama slugfest did generate a lot of attention. The last thing impeachment opponents like Pelosi wanted was to have people actually pay attention, so while the Clinton/Obama bloodbath was going on, Kucinich was told to cool it. You couldn’t have him talking impeachment when all that TV time had to be filled – someone might actually ask Clinton or Obama about impeachment, and that might start a – horrors! – real dialogue, and the next thing you knew, Democratic complicity in all of Bush’s impeachable acts would have been pretty hard to ignore. It was an unacceptable risk that some Code Pink or Iraq Veteran Against The War member might just get him or herself close enough to one of the candidates and ask about Executive Abuse of Power, and how Bush’s crimes would lead to future abuse by future presidents. That conversation could possibly have lead to the (obvious) truth that members of the House were shirking their oaths of office by not demanding impeachment hearings of Bush/Cheney now in the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). Couldn’t have that, so they made a deal with Kucinich. Once Clinton ends her candidacy, you can take a whole day on the floor for your stupid little impeachment resolution. Go knock yourself out, Dennis.
That all sounds believable enough, but I think this second explanation gets closer to the truth. Remember Democrats don’t know how to really fight: their strategy is not to take chances, to win by not losing. As long as they end up with the White House, nothing else matters. So with that framework firmly in mind, the Democratic Leadership needed to clean up loose ends once the presidential nominee was decided. In part that meant making sure impeachment advocates, despite their irritating insistence on the rule of law, still voted Democratic. As long as they realize they have nowhere else to go in November, who cares what these freaks do now? No one listens to them. As long as they get in line on Election Day, they can feel very righteous and empowered with their websites and their petitions and their pathetic little vigils and visits to their Congressional representatives. Much better they do that than start working for Ralph Nader or Cindy McKinney – keep them hooked on the Democratic Party no matter how much of a pain in the ass they are.
I think Kucinich was allowed to move forward with his 35 Articles, and a month and a half later on July 25 the HJC was allowed to hold its sham hearing "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations" in order to throw a bone to us uppity impeachment supporters that somehow proved at least some members of the Democratic Party heard us and deserved our support. We all knew the hearing wasn’t going anywhere – Conyers himself kept reminding us of that. It certainly felt great to have A Real Hearing with Bruce Fein, Vincent Bugliosi, Elizabeth Holtzman and others testify to Bush & Cheney’s gross abuses of power. It was great to hear Hank Johnson and Tammy Baldwin tell us all what we already know, and hey – it’s all now in the Congressional Record! Smells like.... Victory! Wear Orange! Blog about power to the people.
But what difference did it all really make? I suggest that the difference did not happen in Washington – it happened around the country where impeachment advocates watched and believed they had some true supporters in the Democratic Party. Of course we hate Pelosi and Nadler and other Dem enablers, but as long as the Dems also have people like Kucinich, Baldwin and H. Johnson, "we progressives" at least have a place at their table and can work to change the party from within.
To the degree this happened, Nancy Pelosi slapped on a codpiece and said Mission Accomplished, and you’ll now see Kucinich on the trail, maybe even at the Denver convention, telling all of us to vote for Obama and all Dems down-ticket in November. Thank you ma’am may I have another.
So with love in my heart for Dennis Kucinich, I propose to you that as long as he or anyone else you think of as "progressive" remains a member of the Democratic Party, all this impeachment talk is not only 100% sideshow, but it’s a lot more of a cynical, twisted sideshow than most people believe. I don’t doubt Kucinich’s sincerity for one second, and I continue to respect all the hard work and sacrifice of impeachment supporters around the country. But we have been had. The Dems expect us to get in line behind Obama, just like Dennis did both in Iowa and in the timing of his 35 Articles. And because so many of us are political "realists", we’re going to hold our noses and do just that. Again.
Well not me. Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike have all abdicated their responsibilities under the Constitution. They are willing participants in the dissolution of the separation of powers. And while they personally may be gravely troubled by this, as long as they remain Republicans or Democrats they operationally couldn’t care less. All they care about is that we believe that one party is worse than the other and so we continue to support the lesser of two evils. In reality, they are both sides of the same devalued coin, and it is up to us, the citizens who may and do disagree on one "issue" after another, to come together in support of what’s left of our Constitutional order, and refuse to support any member of either corporate party.
Americans of all stripes should therefore support independent candidates who call out the corporate government and complicit mainstream media, the defenders of the indefensible, unconstitutional status quo. The most prominent of these races is Cindy Sheehan’s campaign against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. We will never have real choice in this country, let alone an honest debate about how to solve the huge problems that confront us, as long as we accept the false choices now offered to us by Democrats and Republicans.
If you’re a Republican, you are beyond hope. But if you are a Democrat, please understand that you are part of the problem, not the solution. Do whatever you have to do in your state to re-register as an Independent. Support Independent candidates and tell your friends who remain blinded by hope that the Dems are different to open their eyes. Republican and Democrat are different brand names for the same foul product, the corporatization of our system of government.
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