Saturday, March 19, 2011
Liberal Hamlets and Ralph Nader Syndrome
Much like the Bard's fickle and morose Danish prince, liberals and progressives unhappy with the current state of le monde politique wrestle with agonizing questions regarding their posture in this morally ambiguous age. To support Obama or not to support Obama? That is the question.
I know a lot of liberals and progressives are unhappy with President Obama. Since he was sworn in, the diminution of our civil liberties instigated by Junior Bush (ostensibly in the interest of "fighting terrorism") has continued apace. Indeed, President Obama is setting dangerous precedents! (One need look no further for evidence than the case of Private Bradley Manning, an American citizen being held in solitary confinement in conflict with the Eight Amendment of the Constitution.)
To be sure, there is merit to liberal complaints. In fact, I share them. And I'll join any effort to get the Obama administration to change its policies.
But, barring some Great Earthquake in the political landscape of this country, I will be voting for President Obama in 2012.
The dangers we face --we, the underclasses, the vassals --are myriad. Our interests are all under assault: labor rights, environmental protection, rights for GLBT citizens and for immigrants (both documented and otherwise), and, yes, civil liberties. Liberals and progressives don't have the luxury of holding themselves apart from their natural allies (labor unions, racial and religious minorities, et alia) in order to air their pet grievances.
The opposition, the plutocrats and oligarchs, are united against us. They have infinitely more resources than do we, unless we unite. And they are experts at dividing us against each other.
As was so devastatingly demonstrated in the election of 2000, which led to 8 years of irreversible setbacks in not only civil liberties, but progress on carbon emissions, progressive taxation, and general prosperity, holding ourselves apart from our allies leads only to unmitigated disaster. We will never regain the ground we lost under the Bush administration.
Liberals, we musn't indulge ourselves in Ralph Nader Syndrome. Not this time.