Friday, February 12, 2016

On The Presidential Race (Not the last post on this subject, I'm sure...)

 I have been thinking about all this hyper-hoopla surrounding the 2016 presidential race...particularly about those lining up behind Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—the darlings of the far-left and the far-right.

It's all well and good to get out there every four years and hop up and down for the candidate you believe is going to produce the change you want.  But if, once elected, your Chosen One is unable to produce that change, you'll turn on him/her like a snake. Just look at what the more hard-line progressives have done to Obama. THEY very nearly cost him his second term.

But here's the reality, folks. The president can do very little on his/her own. With Congress, the Supreme Court and general pop culture as screwed up as it is in this country, it's madness to expect one person, president or not, to be able to make enough of a difference to effect any real change. Frankly, what progressives will be voting for this November is a place holder: Someone who, through vetoes and executive orders, can keep further damage from being done by the moneyed interests that currently control the country, until the people wake up and use their franchise to build a framework upon which a progressive Executive can build.    

The single most important task facing the new chief executive—in the direction of cleaning up the conservative mess that’s taken four decades to create, and advancing a progressive agenda-- will be the appointment of Supreme Court justices, four of whom will be of retirement age during this president's tenure.  And even that will be a monumentally difficult task, given the existence of a Congress more willing to stall or destroy the government than to acquiesce to the wishes of an “enemy” chief executive.  Compromise?  Cooperation?  Those words have been stricken from the legislative language.  It is our job, our duty, to rebuild a Congress more willing to govern than to win. 

We can't continue to wake up every four years and rattle our cages during the presidential election. We have to do the grassroots groundwork of taking over local and state offices, and work on changing the composition of Congress.  It’s vital that Congress be made to function again; otherwise, our Great Experiment--government of the people, by the people, for the people--will fail.  It WILL perish from this earth.

So why are we wasting so much breath, ink, film, and ether tearing each other—and the hapless presidential candidates—into tiny, ineffective shreds?  Why…when the reality is, that one person will not be able to get us what we profess to want? 

Why are we not (wo)manning up and taking long-term, boots-on-the-ground responsibility for what we want our nation to become?  Every election, from dog-catcher to mayor to governor to US House and Senate?  It’s taken decades of patient, nose-to-the-grindstone work, both publicly and behind the scenes, to drag the US to the disastrously hate-filled, heavily-armed and xenophobic (not to mention oligarchic) place we are in.  Those invested in bleeding us dry of every penny they can get away with have learned how to shake disasters—real or imagined—in  our faces, to keep us distracted while they have perverted the structure of the government to funnel as much plunder as possible in their direction.  They toil at this 24/7/365…never resting, never going backward; with each passing day adding more millions to their war chests, becoming stronger and stronger. 

We cannot expect to fight that if we can only rouse ourselves to political activism once every four years.  And if that is the path we choose, if we think our duty is done one year out of every four when we cast our votes in the direction of the next Progressive Messiah--and it seems only a little more than 50% of us can manage that much-- then we deserve the country we get.     


  1. Amen. I vote, it's my right to bitch about the results. If you (not you) don't vote don't complain to me about the results.

  2. We want to think the President can fix it all. It is an article of faith - like most such phenomena, it is without rational support. No wonder so many were disappointed in Obama; our hopes were high but we left it all to him. What we need is more grass roots action, consistent and continuous. A revolution in fact, though we are not supposed to use that word - not even in a nation born in revolution. It conjures violence in the minds of the "no, we can't" crowd. Hard to change things in a big way when even the words that come with significant change scare us. I am too old to hope for much, but too young to give up. A reluctant revolutionary.

    1. Yes...we need a revolution. And we're going to get one, one way or another. I got to thinking, after I wrote this, that one of the things the right has been working on "behind the scenes" for years is making sure the "common people" are angry...and armed. They are way more dangerous than we allow ourselves to consider.