Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Note to the Ideological Purists

This was written as a post in the comments on Alternet.:

I often wonder how many of those who post here are paid operatives of the Corporate Right. All of the concern trolling… ‘oh, I fell for Obama and now I see the light’; ‘both parties are the same’; Obama let us down and proved that he is beholden to corporations, just like dubya and Romney’; ‘I’ll use my vote to send a message to the Democratic Party’ [what message? That you are better than the rest of us? more ideologically pure? more reality based? All of these messages are good – but they are not morally superior, because any kind of morally superior judgment would know that no message will be sent and that every one of your friends, neighbors, family and fellow countrymen & women will be irretrievably fucked when Republicans are installed in office due to your morally superior message sending.]

I have been reading back through publications from early 2009. By April of 2009 many on the Progressive Left had already written off Obama and convinced themselves and others that he was a traitor because he did not live up to every single one of their ideals. I have felt the same way often, and have expressed the same concerns to the WH, my congressional rep, my Senators, my local government, friends, family and anyone else that would listen.

Now, however, during this election, I do not have the luxury of ideological purity. Neither does our country.

Obama said one thing during his acceptance speech that I have seen get no play in the analysis. “As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.”

Catch that? Self-government. Hard and frustrating work of self-government. Not, I’ll send twenty five bucks to Obama, give him my vote and expect him to fix everything that has been fucked in this country for the last 35 years. And, I will give him, alone, 3.5 years to do it.

That is not how it works in self-governance. Not how it works. We must be involved every step of the way. We are the government. We send representatives to DC to represent us. However, we need to do the very hard work of staying on top of them every step of the way and ensuring that they are doing the work that we want done. This requires direct involvement.

I talk to a lot of Progressives and most of them are filled with the same dour frustration of the comments here. Most are rightfully and righteously frustrated with the BS that has not been fixed and the BS that has been continued. I get it. [Many of them also seem to have been only paying attention for the last 4 years and do not get the institutional structure or broken-ness of our congress, elections and campaign finance structure.]

However, to a person, most of them have not been involved. They do not attend party meetings. They are not involved in Progressive groups. They do not attend protests (or start them.) They do not sign petitions or write letters or make phone calls to their reps. They do not do, and have not done, anything to move the course of decision making in the right direction or the direction they want it moved. If we are not actively involved and do not continually use our voices and our power, then we lose our power and the moneyed interests are the ones who are heard. We need to be loud and louder. Our elected representatives need us involved. They need to be pushed by us.

I do not understand those, who have not pushed over the last four years, thinking that withholding their vote or voting third party will all of a sudden be the needed push. In self-governance you have a lot more responsibility than voting once every four years – yet many do not even do that. Your vote is powerful, but it is not your only responsibility.

The corporate masters are counting on you getting discouraged. They are counting on you thinking that ‘both parties are the same.’ They are counting on you sitting this one out or voting third party. They want this and need this. Michael Moore is right, they know that they cannot win if more people vote and so they are taking away the vote from whoever they can get away with taking it away from. We need to vote just to make up for the millions disenfranchised.

It is high past time for those of us who feel powerless to exercise our power where ever we can. Sitting out the election is not exercising power. Voting Green is not exercising this power. Not now. There is way too much at stake.

I am not a Democratic apologist. I am just as pissed about many, many things that have been done or not done. When I look at the Party Platforms, though, it is the Democratic Party that is closest to my beliefs. When I look at the demographics, it is the Democratic Party that most resembles true representation. When I look at the last 80 years of law making in this country it is the Democrats who have supported Women, Unions, Civil Rights, Peace and the Social Safety Net. It is the Democratic Party that says that We are All in This Together [The Right would have us jumping from windows of a burning factory because we are all just means to an end for the factory owner – not actual people, actual people all created equally.]

We are at a major fucking turning point. We do not have the luxury of waiting for the candidate who believes in everything that we believe in. We need to ensure that Obama is reelected and do everything that we can to get him a congress that will not block his every move. Then we need to be involved to push our representatives to enact laws for the people, undo the damage done over the last 35 years, enact laws that remove the power of the financial elite, restore our Rights and Civil Liberties and prosecute those who have screwed us. We need to elect them, then we need to push them.

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