Are you a Democrat? Well, if you are, I have some questions for you. It occurs to me that somewhere in the last decade (maybe longer), the differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have been blurred. I’m going to try to break down why I believe the two political parties find themselves not only similar to each other, but in all actuality, mirror images. Let me begin by bringing up a few points about our touted two-party system.
There are those that seem to believe that the two party system is exactly what our founding fathers envisioned when they crafted our republic. The fact is that many of the founding fathers were opposed to political parties altogether. In fact, the two political parties that are now dominant didn’t exist until the mid nineteenth century. In our history, political parties have come and gone, and the republic continued to thrive. In fact, according to a recent show on the History channel:
“The framers of the Constitution of the United States made no provision in the governmental structure for the functioning of political parties because they believed that parties were a source of corruption and an impediment to the freedom of people to judge issues on their merits. James Madison argued in his “Federalist Paper #10” against a system in which “factions” (his word for parties) might be able to seize control of the government). George Washington, in accordance with the thinking of his fellow Founding Fathers, included in his cabinet men of diverse political philosophies and policies”
The problem with using the words of our founding fathers to justify anything political in this country is that politicians are adept at taking portions of what’s been said and using the words of great Americans completely out of context. One only has to look at Barack Obama’s speech the other day when he accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace. In that speech he said:
“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”
Barack Obama then attempted to justify his actions by invoking what had been said by Martin Luther King, a man he tries to emulate, but apparently doesn’t understand.
“I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago – “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.”
I’m not at all surprised that Barack Obama invokes MLK to justify his actions. Some will see this as an attempt to bring reason and idealism to his recent decisions. People will see what they want to see. Sadly, there is nothing idealistic in what Obama is doing in Afghanistan or the rhetoric he uses against Iran. There is nothing altruistic about occupying seven new military bases in Colombia, just as there is nothing commendable about supporting the rigged elections in Honduras that installed a right-wing illegitimate regime.
As we close out another year, I am reminded of the promises that Senator Obama made when he campaigned for the presidency. When, during the campaign, I wrote about the corporations that spent millions to support Obama through “bundling” (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and other investment houses), I was told in comments that this was just politics as usual and that Obama was just “playing the game” to get elected and that I was a Republican troll that was trying to put him in a bad light. When I mentioned that he refused to take nuclear weapons “off the table” and that he wanted to expand the war in Afghanistan, I was called a liar.
I remember blasting him for failing to vote against the FISA bill that would give the telecom’s immunity for providing wiretaps to the Federal government. Still, I was told over and over again in comments that he was better than McCain.
Sometimes I wonder if he is indeed better than McCain. At least if McCain had won the election the American people would understand what kind of man was running the country. The most troubling thing about Obama is that there are people out there that still believe that behind the decisions to expand the war in Afghanistan while rattling the saber’s against Iran and reviving the 5th Fleet for duty in Latin America and propping up right wing governments there, that deep inside of Obama, there is this liberal, moral man that we have yet to see.
During the campaign, Obama promised that military commissions would cease, that Guantanamo would be closed within the year, that secret CIA prisons would be closed and extraordinary renditions would cease. Guantanamo is still open, the CIA prisons are still operating at Bhagram Airbase and other locations are still open and people are still spirited away to foreign prisons. People are still dying in Iraq; we have just allocated 1.4 Trillion dollars for the defense budget which includes the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and the 16 intelligence agencies that the military operates. We have military bases in 177 countries with more opening every day.
Make no mistake, Obama is counting on military means to insure the continuing supply of oil and to keep China and Russia encircled. One may ask why NATO still exists and keeps expanding long after the Warsaw Pact has become a footnote in the history books. You may like to believe that in the 21st Century the world would be a more civilized place, but peace will continue to be an elusive thing as long as we rely on brute force to implement our foreign policy.
Our War/Peace President and his administration refused to sign the Land Mine Treaty that has been signed by 157 other nations . This is a very interesting development in that landmines are responsible for thousands of innocents being injured every year. From nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, cluster bombs and landmines, there seems to be no weapon that the United States won’t embrace.
For those that believe we are better off with the “progressive” Obama in office, it’s time to think again. The sad part of this charade is that in 2012, if we survive until then, the Republicans will run a candidate that will be more unacceptable than Obama. The Congressional critters will continue to be funded by corporate America, and there will be no change on the horizon. I could say that the Republicans and Democrat have long outlived their usefulness, but that will be met with skepticism and disbelief by a majority of Americans that believe these two co-opted political parties still represent real democracy, if indeed they ever did.
Maybe in the near future enough people will take the time out of their busy lives and envision a future where the Democrats and Republicans have been relegated to the dust bin of history. Think of a time when we can vote for individuals with vision instead of voting for a political brand. Change will not be broadcast through our media that has a deep working relationship with the two major political parties and their corporate overlords. Real change will come from the voices of reason found in communities. If ever this country needed to listen for answers, it’s now.
Read Tim Gatto’s new book Complicity to Contempt