Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree
I’m an Obama supporter, but I’m not an Obama cheerleader. While I agree that President Obama has done more for this country in the short time he’s been in office than any president since Franklin Roosevelt, presidents are not only assessed based on what they do, but also what they fail to do. So in spite of the fact that he’s saved America from a second Great Depression, his success in that area pales in comparison to what he’s failing to do - aggressively confronting America’s most insidious domestic enemy and the most serious threat to our democracy since the civil War, the current GOP.
President Obama made his first mistake when he said, “We should look forward, not back,” with regard to the Bush/Cheney war crimes in Iraq. First of all, the attorney general is supposed to be independent to decide what course to take in such matters, so Obama was supposed to simply keep his mouth shut and let his attorney general decide whether or not Bush and Cheney’s “alleged” war crimes warranted prosecution. By failing to do so Obama effectively established, and elevated Bush and Cheney to a class of people who are above the law - and that's not a good thing in any democracy. It was such a class in the Jim Crow South that allowed Black people to be lynched with impunity.
But in spite of that, many Obama apologists often argue that the president is only one man, so he can’t do everything. That’s an invalid argument. First, one man or not, the president sets his own agenda as to what he considers important to this country. And secondly, the president of the United States has the largest staff of lawyers and experts in the Western world, so why can’t he do everything? That’s his job. Even Obama himself said that the president has to be able to do many things at one time.
But even if the president can’t do everything, failing to aggressively confront the Republican Party constitutes neglecting the biggest threat to America in generations. The GOP is a bigger threat to the American way of life than Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda can only destroy buildings, but the GOP is on a single-minded mission to destroy the United States Constitution, and in his oath of office, the president swore to protect that precious document.
So those of us who are merely supporters of the president, as oppose to blind cheerleaders, understand that the primary reason this country is in its current mess is because the American people have been brainwashed into supporting politicians instead of principles. That’s why our system can be so easily controlled by money. Money is being used to brainwash us into loving politicians over principles. It’s the oldest game in the world. We are literally being pimped. It’s just that instead of selling our bodies, we’re selling our souls – and the souls of our children.
When we support politicians over principles we tend to ignore, or go into protective mode, when the politicians that we support go off course. That allows politicians to control us. On the other hand, if we supported principles over politicians, politicians would be forced to adhere to the mandate that got them elected, which would allow us to control them.
As I’ve pointed out many times in this column, the primary quality that should set progressives apart from all others is an affinity for humanity, independence of thought, and a fierce determination to remain a seeker of truth above all else, regardless to where that truth may lead. But those values no longer seem to be the case among many who define themselves as progressives today. Many contemporary 'progressives' tend to possess the very same rigidity of thought, and meanspirited, knee-jerk adherence to ideology that the progressive movement was created to combat. The response that many of these people bring to even the slightest divergence from their rigid ideological beliefs can only be described as one of radical reactionism.
That concerns me greatly, because while conservatives and today's so-called progressives remain completely divergent in their views toward governance, in terms of intellectual disposition they've become different sides of the same coin. I've often heard it stated that the regimented intolerance of reactionary conservatism is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. That may, or may not be true. But if it is, it must also be acknowledged that the intolerant regimentation of many contemporary radical 'progressives' represents the USSR at best.
Many modern 'progressives' have allowed themselves to become infected with the exact same kind of intellectual rigidity that we previously associated with the radical conservative mindset. In fact, many who define themselves as progressives today could very accurately be called latter-day conservatives. They have a slightly updated set of values, but their rigidity and rabid defense of their ideology will surely morph into the closed-minded conservatism of tomorrow.
While many liberals are busily distracted in fighting for the political fortunes of 'their man', radical conservatives are hard at work taking America apart, both brick and mortar. Thus, while the patient is lying on the operating table dying, the surgeons are engaged in a feud over what brand scalpel to use. And while we should be saying I love America, we’re being distracted by cheerleaders chanting, “I love me some Obama.”
I like Obama too, but not nearly as much as I love America. Thus, a politician should only be supported as long as he adheres to his mandate, no matter how warm his smile, or how nice a guy he is. If we’re looking for love, we should go out and find a lover, because if we want to maintain the kind of democracy in which we've become accustomed, when it comes to politics, there’s absolutely no room for blind love affairs.
Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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