Time for Real Change

Listening to most Democrats is akin to a form of auditory torture.

By Margaret Kimberley

Increasingly, the Democratic Party is a near-empty vessel. Democrats “look down their noses at Tea Partiers with misspelled words on their signs but exalt Clinton era drug enforcement policies which filled the jails and the enactment of NAFTA and welfare ‘reform.’” Motivated more by prejudice than political substance, Democrats “rarely express opposition to any action, no matter how awful, if Democrats are behind it."

 

“Democratic presidents have taken positions identical to those of Republicans and yet their supporters seem not to notice or to care.”

Listening to most Democrats is akin to a form of auditory torture. They have nothing to offer in the way of true political discourse, and they have one constant refrain. “Anyone is better than the Republicans.” It doesn’t matter if Obama escalates war, keeps Guantanamo open, claims the right to assassinate American citizens, increases immigrant deportations, asks courts to uphold don’t ask don’t tell, allows the right wing to destroy ACORN, funnels trillions of dollars to Wall Street, and promises to undo the will of voters who want to decriminalize drug use. Nothing matters except keeping Republicans out of office.

Republicans are compared to everyone from Attila the Hun to Hitler. The very thought of their presence is supposed to inspire apathetic voters to head for the polls, suspend disbelief and keep voting for the party which treats them like chumps.

Closer inspection reveals something more disturbing, not about Republicans, but about Democrats. Most of them aren’t particularly concerned with the policy positions supported by their party. They rarely express opposition to any action, no matter how awful, if Democrats are behind it.

Most Americans, regardless of party affiliation, are proud believers that the state has the authority and the right to exert control over human life in this country and around the world. The end result is a rate of incarceration higher than in any country on earth and a military budget larger than that of every other nation combined. There are precious few citizens, Republicans or Democrats, who see anything wrong with this state of affairs.

“Most Democrats aren’t particularly concerned with the policy positions supported by their party.”

While Sarah Palin’s very name is used to turn her into a bogey woman who can frighten Democrats into toeing the party line, Obama’s administration actually varies very little from what would be offered by a Republican president. It is true that Sarah Palin is an intellectual lightweight. She makes up words such as “refrudiate” and writes notes on her hand like a middle school student surprised by a pop quiz. She is decidedly conservative and her endorsement was sought by the new crop of right wing Tea Party candidates seeking office.

Obama differs in every way. He is supposedly liberal, no one questions his intellectual grasp of the issues, but neither his acumen nor his party affiliation have inspired him to uphold progressive positions. He was a constitutional law professor, but in office he has asked courts to uphold Bush era decisions on surveillance and he has chosen to protect his predecessor from prosecution of any crimes. He has asserted his right to assassinate American citizens for any reason he deems necessary. Could civil libertarians be any worse off with a dumb Republican president? When a federal court ordered the military to stop enforcing the anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the Obama administration went to court seeking permission to continue enforcing a rule it claims to want to do away with. Could gay rights activists be any worse off with a conservative Republican in the White House?

Barack Obama and his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton were loved in part because they were the “right” kind of people. They came from the best schools, law school graduates of Harvard and Yale. Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review and Clinton was a Rhodes scholar. Their backgrounds are contrasted with Palin‘s lack of achievement, but did their intellects really make for a better, or more humane government?

“Could civil libertarians be any worse off with a dumb Republican president?”

In case after case, Democratic presidents have taken positions identical to those of Republicans and yet their supporters seem not to notice or to care. If a Democrat with the right credentials sends the nation and the world on the road to hell, party loyalists never question them.

Should Sarah Palin become president we would hear endless jokes about her stupidity, and her daughter’s teenage motherhood, and the baby’s daddy, and her inarticulateness. Democrats would moan and groan that the president was dumb and preceded in office by a smart man who wrote his own speeches.

Simply put, most Democratic political attitudes are based on little more than class snobbery. They look down their noses at Tea Partiers with misspelled words on their signs but exalt Clinton era drug enforcement policies which filled the jails and the enactment of NAFTA and welfare “reform.” He and Obama were the total package, representing the nation’s elite, complete with equally smart trophy wives. Image is enough to silence the faithful.

It is easy to sneer at Sarah Palin who hunts wolves, claims to see Russia from her house, and will soon star in a reality television show. Apparently it is hard to see that Obama’s health care reform is a giveaway to the health insurance industry and that he actively sabotaged both the Copenhagen conference on climate change and the Durban II conference on racism. Most progressives will hotly proclaim the importance of either or both of those issues in the making of their ideology, but most would be unaware of or staunchly defend their idol’s decision to actively oppose them on issues that are allegedly of importance.

The smarty pants Ivy Leaguer Democrats have no allegiance to their supporters and their duplicity cannot be forgiven or forgotten. There should be no reason to fear support for other parties or the damage that support may do to the Democrats who are not only useless to their supporters, but incompetent in maintaining popular support. It is time for real change, and that means a change in allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com.