Sunday, June 5, 2011

MORE THAN A DIME'S WORTH

Just got off the phone with my old friend Paul Harryn discussing the state of our families and health and politics and the world. More or less. And one of the things I started riffing about is the whole idea that the problems we're facing in this country have been created to a large extent by both political parties' subservience to the interests of corporations and the wealthy and that neither can address the root causes and basic changes needed to address and solve some of these endemic (Paul's word, and a good one) problems.

There's certainly truth to that. But the distinction I'm always trying to make  in my forays on this blog into the state of our politics, is that even though too many Democrats are beholden to their wealthy and corporate contributors, just like the Republicans, their philosophies and voter base are different enough to create a very different approach to governing. Much more than "a dime's worth of difference" to use the old cliche that Nader used in his presidential campaigns and was wrong to do so from my perspective.

I believe it is not only healthy but necessary for those of us more to the left, as well as for the centrists (like Obama, despite the crude characterizations from the right that have had such an almost fanatical influence on the Republican base) to hold elected Democratic officials'—and the leaders of the party's—"feet to the fire" (to use another cliche). Absolutely criticize Obama and the Democratic Senators and Representatives for the ideals of the party they aren't living up to (like extending so many of the Bush/Cheney so-called "security measures" that impact our civil liberties, etc.) BUT...

...at the same time, to understand that when it comes to election time, there is much more than a dime's worth of difference between say a Nixon and a Hubert Humphrey or an Al Gore and a George W. Bush. The difference in reality includes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who died because of policies set in place by the Republicans who won. There is no doubt in my mind (nor in that of most historians) that Humphrey was planning on ending the war in Vietnam and that Gore would not have invaded Iraq.

The world would have been and would be now a much different place (imagine if we hadn't accrued the debt created by fighting the Iraq War all these years (since Bush/Cheney decided to cut taxes for the wealthy while expanding the federal government and waging a war that costs billions and billions and etc.) what our economy would look like right now and the debate over the national debt) and a much better one.

6 comments:

Robert Berner said...

Dear Lal--Readers of your blog might be interested in reading Michael Hudson's article, "Europe's New Road to Serfdom," posted at Alex Coburn's blogspot, CounterPunch. Hudson's piece is particularly scary because it contains an analysis of the possible takeover of the economies of Greece and Ireland by a combine of the European Central Bank, the IMF, and certain large private banks, producing in effect a neo-feudalist form of serfdom, all of which amounts to a bailout of the creditors of Greece and Ireland, at the expense--of course!!!--of the people of those countries. Cui bono? As usual, the banks.
Bob B.

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
harryn said...

And to continue yours and Robert's thread with a little twist - the degrees of separation between the corporate machine and banking institutions is so far removed from the lives of the majority of our country's population that our service is to nothing more than numbers and material things. Ideals and dreams - something that constitutes the nurturing of 'soul' is a fading memory. And even those memories are being re-written and perverted by regressive constructions based more on imagination than the reality of hardships our predecessors endured to create a more level playing field from feudalism to now.
C.G.Jung talked about the soul-decaying effects of narcissism and the need to avert it to maintain our humanity. Something that is definitely part of the endemic problem that moves far beyond party lines and calls for the kind of leadership that few people are capable of and even fewer could accept.
Like you and Cubby said Michael - "you have to identify the disease" ...
Another thing we can be certain of if Gore would have been rightfully seated - a lot more consciousness would have been given to the health of the planet + it would have created a forum for dialogue among people that would have emerged - leading to more remediation of the oppressive fear accompanying 911 (rather than the over-reactive cowboy spirit that Bush represented).
If we've learned nothing from the civilizations that preceded us, it should at least be to move forward with rational thinking and a respect for nature (Plato and Marcus Aurelius).
And more recently, one of Lally's colleagues:
"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Well said Paul. Well deleted I'm sure Michael. When the source of the deleted comments falls victim to the results of his own dogma, perhaps he will wake up. i predict another deleted comment will follow this one.

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.