Jul 28, 2010

DC Larson Dissects Duopoly Ideology: "Democrat is just another word for Republican"

A commentary by DC Larson, emailed to TPID, published in full:
Democrat is just another word for Republican: GO THIRD! 
by DC Larson
"Bipartisanship is political apartheid to third parties and independents. Bipartisan means fair to a Republican and a Democrat. Bipartisan translates into manifestly unfair to those who have no intention of running in or voting for either major party. Bipartisan to third parties and independents is a term akin to all -white, if you are black and trying to buy housing...to all-male, if you are female trying to get a job...it has a 'Do Not Enter' sign on the door; it is separate and unequal..."
-- Teresa Amato, "Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice In a Two-Party Tyranny" (2009 New Press)
Amato served as 2000 and 2004 National campaign manager and in-house counsel for Ralph Nader. And though it is correct, hers is not a perspective one often encounters in mainstream media news.
As elections loom, progressives should consider our invisibility in mainstream media, and be on guard against TV pundits' urgings of practicality and compromise.
Bipartisan does have a commercial press counterpart. "Both sides" sounds inclusive, until one reflects that numerous and diverse challenging views draw breath beyond accepted parameters. What mainstream paper, magazine, or network  doesn't decorate and implicitly restrict electoral coverage with reproductions of Thomas Nast's elephant and donkey?
Rather than spotlight the many significant voices in our society, MSM contrives a disputatious mid-opinion spectrum spectacle.  Faux Left spokespeople are routinely propped before audiences, but they do not challenge fundamentals. All rally 'round a belief system embracing capitalism as sacrosanct. And even those rare voices decrying private globalization and world-rending militarism end up endorsing the donkeys -- who embrace those evils.
(Some would argue -- and I am in their rank -- that several conservative speakers ubiquitous in MSM are considerably closer to the Right-most edge than their counterparts are to the genuine Left one. It is much easier to imagine Cal Thomas sporting a pointed hood than, say, Maureen Dowd directing a brick toward a Starbucks window.)
Sadly, much the same is so of self-bannered "progressive" online sites. Milquetoast agonists the Huffington Post and Daily Kos grant loyalists the placard-hoisting myth that they are raging against the machine; all the while they are instead enabling its terrible career.

Real dissent and rebellion do not dwell on such pages, ones that offer only smugly contrived soft-core outsider fantasies that inevitably recommend the donkey. 
Voters are manipulated like chess figures, their Pavlovian ballot-booth reactions to road-tested Republican and Democrat bogeymen bankable projections. The public interest, meanwhile, goes unserved. Indeed, important efforts never leave drawing boards.

During my years as the Iowa Green Party's State Media Coordinator, and 2004 service as independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's Iowa Coordinator, experience taught me that partisanship is the natural enemy of principle.
Among Bush Administration initiatives that I joined millions in decrying were the Iraq War, the odious and rights-trampling PATRIOT ACT, denial of civil rights equality to gays and lesbians, executions, mingling of public government and private religion, and denial of genuinely universal, single-payer health care.
Like others across the country, many Iowans were swayed by the Democrats and the Obama campaign. "Hope and change" had such a positive, invigorating ring to it. And so, anti-Bush voters fell in line, and believed.
Some were suckered. Others who'd once carried antiwar placards knew as well as anyone how false theObama-as-peace -
candidate fairy tale was (even Obama supporter Cornel West stressed this in a Rolling Stone interview, earlier this year). But, having no inflexible principle to call their own, these "sunshine progressives" grabbed up Barack banners. 
Bush-era conservative agenda items many of us protested have been continued by the Obama Democrats -- and sometimes even increased. Obama's last proposed military budget surpassed even its Bush predecessor. 
Democrats continued the PATRIOT ACT. Governmental spying on citizens proceeds. Just as do Republicans, Democrats  institutionally oppose equal marriage rights for gays. They've refused to investigate the Bush White House. The practice of sending "terrorism" suspects to countries that torture has not ended.
Obama and his party refused to even consider single-payer health care, instead proposing that millions of Americans be indentured to private insurers (Never mind that we're losing our jobs and homes.)
And it gets worse. On 2/4, CommonDreams.org reported that "the Obama Administration has adopted the Bush policy of targeting select American citizens for assassination if they are deemed (by the Executive Branch) to be Terrorists."
Only the face changed; the execrable policies remained.
Appeals to nostalgia mislead: The Democrat Party of 2010 is not that of 1965. It has devolved into a fully corporatized, pro-war, anti-civil rights, decidedly anti-progressive power vehicle.

Today, Democrat is just another word for Republican. And for real progressives, disappointment time and again rides a donkey.
Any who would argue that Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin/Tea Party conservatives constitute the greatest impediment to genuine progressive changes in the public's interest couldn't be more wrong.
Of course such conservatism is plainly inimical to social justice ambitions. And its adherants make obvious and visible targets, 
with cartoonish personas, controversy-spading rhetoric, and foul, self-centered philosophies.
But despite all that, conservative Republicans are at most the #2 problem.
It is the deceptive and posturing Democrat liberal who most effectively frustrates practical progress in electoral and social justice spheres, who legislates practical offenses against the public interest. 
A Democrat president aided by an obsequious, donkey -
Congress can get away with anti-public interest policies Republicans can only dream of. Ronald Reagan fired air traffic controllers and was rightly attacked by Congressional Democats for it.
But Bill Clinton's pressing NAFTA into law -- decimating organized labor, nationally -- was championed by Democrat office-holders.
Obama has followed in these regrettable footsteps, the most obvious instance being his simultaneous escalation of US militarism in Afghanistan and preening reciept of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Still, each election year, the same scenario is played out:
Republicans put forward some Halloweenish harlequin on the order of George Bush or Sarah Palin, and among opponents the cry is raised -- we must elect any Democrat, no matter how indifferent to the public interest, lest The Right assume power. 
Of course true progressives oppose Republicans. But we also oppose Democrats.
Pursuing progress isn't for everyone. It means accepting that one will lose, and lose, and lose, before winning. It takes years. Decades. 
I suppose it is more comfortable to go to the mall and buy a Che Guavera t-shirt than take an unpopular stand, refuse to abandon principle, and risk ostracization from one's peer group.
But breaking the dead-end 2-party addiction, declaring one's independence, has life-renewing and society-improving benefits beyond articulation.
Come Election Day, let principle be your guide.
(DC Larson of Waterloo, Iowa is an author and music journalist. This was adapted from an earlier version that appeared on his blog, http://www.trueleftiowa.blogspot.com, and IndependentPoliticalReport,com. It has since been linked by numerous sites.)

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