Even if you haven’t been watching the blow-by-blow on the
various blogs or lying-by-omission corporate media, the 2008 presidential
election is the most important in your lifetime. You may not realize it now,
but the person who assumes control of the White House in Jan.09 will inherit
the worst political, economic and social debacle in America since the Great
Depression. Even if Diebold and the local election tampering brigade
prevails and McCain slides into the role of President-Elect, he will inherit a
level of FUBAR-ity not seen for nearly a century. Hope itself becomes something of an accomplishment.
Frankly, no matter which side of the ideological fence you view it from, how you cast your vote tomorrow (and hopefully everyone reading this will be voting), this
election affects your life directly in ways you might not even suspect.
There’s a litany of consumer-assaults effected by Bush’s corporations-take-all
policies. You can pass out from hypoxia by attempting to recite all the
implication of his disastrous, imperialistic “damn the torpedoes”
foreign policy “strategies.” You can enumerate with increasing
confusion the ripple effect of “Turd Blossom”‘s divide-and-conquer
political strategies. But no matter what aspect of life you zero in on,
there will be a point at which the full power of Bush’s cynical zero-sum game
on your life will dawn on you, and you will wonder how in the name of Bierko it
can be fixed.
It’s a provocative question with no definitive answer. But that’s where
the 2008 election figures into things.
I view this election from the progressive side, but even so, it’s hard to
fathom a message of hope from the GOP collective, which seems to believe that
things are fine the way they are — the economy will be fine if we just send a
few bucks to people (and make the tax cuts to the very rich permanent); the Iraq war is fine, and won’t be over until the Iraqis sign over control of their oil; sending manufacturing to slave-labor countries is fine even as unemployment and poverty rates spiral out of control here in the U.S. and A; for-profit healthcare is fine because CEOs and shareholders deserve their multibillion dollar profits more than lives need saving; the environment is fine – doesn’t everyone like a warmer climate?; telecoms shouldn’t have to obey the law if they’re “only followink orders”; unregulated banking is fine because the market always works itself out (except when it doesn’t). Privatize the infrastructure. Let’s
build a fence to keep out “the illegals.” Double
It’s a prison of incompetence, avarice and power-madness, and escape will only be
accomplished one spoon-scrape at a time.
There’s a narrative out there that says that Hillary Clinton can get the
job done, that her experience speaks for itself, and that it will be a return
of sorts to the halcyon days of the
90s. That, to me, sends out a reassuring
message that everyone can go back to sleep and things will be right in the
morning. And maybe they will be. Maybe we should just let the politicians handle things. Maybe pragmatism is the answer.
The other narrative, the one I’m throwing myself body and
soul into as a voter, is that someone getting the job done won’t in and of
itself get the job done. The Bush
presidency has been a wake up call in a way.
There’s so much money in politics that to sleep can mean that when you
wake up, your TV will be gone, your refrigerator will be empty, your dog will be suffering from a broken leg, and you’ll have no idea how any of it happened so fast. Awareness, itself the cornerstone of democracy, has become a new kind of activism.
This collective awakening in the wake of the disasters of ’00 and ’04 coincides with a new face on the political scene – Barack
Obama. His narrative is not sewn out of
experience and a get-the-job-done mentality.
It’s more like an invitation for people to believe that true democracy
is possible in contemporary
and that we can do great things if we only unite for the right reasons.
What the spinmeisters (and Clinton I) are missing about
Obama is that this is not a fairy tale.
The ability to inspire has been missing from politics for a long time,
and accounts for why so many check out of the process altogether. Being
inspired is action, it’s a step forward.
It’s not the country as it is, it’s the promise of what it could be if
we were truly a democratic nation, rather than a black hole of ignorance and misdeeds.
As ElCapitanAmerica posted in the politics
forum, “I really just want to be proud of my president. When I go to another
country, I want people to admire our country…”
I suspect that a lot of people, including myself, will cast
a vote for promise. Not necessarily voting record or experience, in fact,
nothing that can be quantified on a box and whiskers graph. It’s really
more like a dream of hope — that we can get better, create a safer, more
stable world, fix the injustices, reestablish the law as a structure that all
must abide by, become a moral beacon in the world again, and have a government that once again protects life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.