Are voters' expectations high enough?
What Are We Waiting For?
Our Founding Fathers were risk-taking visionaries. How about today's candidates? We welcome analyses from all points of view.
Joel S. HirschhornLong before the disastrous George W. Bush administration, I had been waiting for profound, systemic changes in our political system. Perversely, I saw the upside of Bush as motivating more Americans to demand political change. And that happened. But the national yearning for change was co-opted by Ron Paul on the right and Barack Obama on the left while John Edwards with the most authentic populist change message fizzled out early.
It is not enough to want, demand, and support change, not when change is more of a campaign slogan than a carefully detailed set of reforms. Critically needed is a firm understanding of what specific changes can restore American democracy and remove the privileged rich plutocrats and corporatists running and ruining our nation.
A huge fraction of Americans have bought into the Obama candidacy because of his polished and effective rhetoric. But Obama does not offer the changes I have been waiting for, or the ones the public needs. A great speaker does not necessarily have the courage or intent to fight for deep political reforms.
Our nation’s Founders did not create the United States of America just with smiles and slick rhetoric; they were bold, risk-taking revolutionaries fighting tyranny. Obama has not defined our domestic tyranny and told us how he will try to abolish it. Obama is no dissident or revolutionary. The change he mostly seeks is moving from senator to president. Not what I have been waiting for.
There is no evidence in Obama’s brief political career that he is a champion for deep political reforms to transfer power from the plutocrats to the people. To the contrary, the more you learn about Obama’s history the more he appears as just another super-ambitious politician making friends, using people, and cutting deals to get ahead.
To begin with, I have been waiting for a potential president that speaks out against the over-powerful two-party system that sucks up money from all countless corporate and other special interests. I have never heard a word from Obama to indicate he understands the many harmful effects of the two-party plutocracy and the need to open up our political system to a much wider spectrum of beliefs and strategies. Instead, Obama cleverly talks about bipartisanship just as many other Democrats and Republicans have, because that maintains the two-party status quo.
If Obama believed in opening up the political system he would, for example, advocate opening up televised presidential debates to third party candidates and removing the many obstacles the two parties have built to limit ballot access to third party and independent candidates. He would also openly call for replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote for president.
If Obama truly wanted to get rid of big, corrupting money from corporate and other special interests, then he should be advocating a constitutional amendment that would remove all private money from political campaigns and change the US system to totally publicly financed campaigns. Only a constitutional amendment can accomplish this. Campaign financing reforms by Congress are a distraction and next to useless.
And if Obama really supported universal health care, then he would have concluded as nearly all experts have that the nation needs a single payer insurance system that puts an end to the rape of the public by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Change? Absolutely. But real systemic, root changes that reform and transform the current system by changing the power structure that both major parties have nourished over many decades. What is so clear to millions of people highly skeptical of the Obama-as-political-messiah fiction is that he has not earned the presidency through diverse political and leadership accomplishments.
Sure, none of the other candidates are any better than Obama - not Hillary Clinton, not John McCain. More worthy candidates based on experience and authenticity succumbed to many bizarre forces and media disinterest. It is too late to enlighten ardent Obamatons, but millions of voters will justify voting for Obama as the lesser evil candidate. That proves how bankrupt our political system really is. Now is the time to reject the two-party plutocracy and vote for third party and independent candidates. Voters that define themselves as independents should assert their independence by rejecting candidates from both major parties.
With a longer view of history, there really is something worse than John McCain becoming president. It is once again upholding the periodic shift of power between the two major parties that stabilizes their tyranny. Just as the Bush administration has built demand for change so too would a McBush presidency. Maybe then in 2012 a true, trustworthy and proven agent of change would have a shot at the presidency. However, electing Obama will set back things back. He will only disappoint us and drain all the pent up demand for change by delivering, at most, some cosmetic actions. Just like his recent decision to wear a flag lapel pin.
The right question is not whether this African American can win the general election, it is should he be president?
After a few years as president, millions of people would realize that Obama is not the political salvation people have been waiting for. Of course, he would then focus on getting a second term, with more seductive smiles, empty platitudes and false promises. Why not? It worked the first time.
[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]
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