And by weak, I mean aggressive, stupid, and immoral just like Republicans. I recently wrote a piece on DailyKos and was mildly surprised at the high level of tacit support for killing babies with drone strikes as long as Obama is doing it instead of Bush. You can find the responses by searching DailyKos under my name for something with vegemite sandwich in the subject line. Aside from one person in agreement, and another rightly pointing out my penchant for run-on sentences, most of the rest was pure politics. I was attempting find out where the average Democratic voter’s moral threshold is for holding Obama responsible, and describing why I can’t vote for him again. Here ’tis:
I would reluctantly support Obama in 2012 despite the inept political machinations that led him to compromise with radical right wingers on numerous issues, thereby legitimizing their incredibly stupid, dangerous, and cruel policies, his cozying up to the bankers and gamblers who have nearly destroyed the world economy and the middle class here at home, his prosecution of the whistle blowers who bravely reveal waste, fraud, war crimes, and other abuses in an effort to hold the powerful accountable, his disgusting support of “clean coal”, nuclear energy, and drilling off shore without any significant improvements in safety regulations… even after recent catastrophic accidents in each of these industries, his general inability to fight for democratic principals, the lack of Liberals in his administration, a justice department that goes after pot smokers instead of torturers and Wall Street criminals, his lack of support for Acorn, Shirley Sherrod, and Van Jones when they were swift-boated by lying right wing propagandists … all that I could hold my nose and try to forget as I voted for him, but…. his homicidal, illegal, and disgusting continuation and expansion of the brutal Bush foreign policy make it impossible for me to vote for him again. I will not eat a load-of-shite sandwich just because the people at the table with me are convinced it’s vegemite.
Democrats who suggest that people who think the way I do are somehow un-pleaseable pie in the sky idealists who don’t know how good we have it under Obama never answer the basic questions… what will you condemn him for if not expanding war (we are in 6 wars of varying scope right now), holding human beings without trial for years on end, killing hundreds of people with cowardly drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, funding dictators who murder peaceful protesters, using the same stupid ignorant excuses for staying in Afghanistan that Bush did, and last but not least, his lack of faith in the justice system in this country which requires that we investigate admitted war criminals.
Why do you support him after this? Lesser of two evils? A lot of evil can be accepted using this model. Instead, I choose to hold him accountable. The fact that you apparently won’t means these atrocities will continue unabated. You will never get a truly decent president if you do not hold the office accountable. If you are willing to compromise to the extent required to support this man, then you are either profoundly ignorant of what he is doing, you support it, or you are willing to overlook it to win. Did you support Bush when he did some of these same things? Are you really a progressive, or just another Lanny Davis “Liberal”? Lavishly lauding and liberally labeling your laughably ludicrous lectures Liberal does not make it so…. Lanny.
The short term political game of winning is less important than the long term arc of human decency for a country and its people. As long as the political game ignores human rights abuses, illegal wars, and the constitution, how will the public ever learn what a real liberal democracy might look like? If Obama would have held to, and fought for, the beliefs he espoused in the past instead of taking the road of ever expanding militarism, corporate coddling, spying on Americans, flirting with conservative monetary policies that have proven to be miserable failures, treating antiwar and environmental activists…. and yes, even airline passengers like criminals and terrorists, the continuing and pervasive abuses of the 4th amendment making us resemble a quasi-police state, unaccountable mercenary armies committing war crimes paid for by US tax dollars, knee jerk fealty to the right wing Israeli government no matter what human rights abuses they perpetrate including the murder of a US citizen, and his pathetic lack of real leadership on the environment, immigration, and prisons and schools for-profit scams. Doesn’t all this sound more like a Republican than a Democrat?
I understand that many otherwise decent and smart people will vote for him again, but if you are one of them, please do not attack those who have legitimate and important reasons for calling him out. Attacking people like Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman, Jeremy Scahil (I’m talking to you Ed Schultz), and others on the left makes you look bad. Leave that to hacks like Lanny Davis. If you are simply under-informed and want to learn more, please try watching the wonderful Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, and The Thom Hartmann Program (both on Free Speech TV or the web) to widen your world view. It is healthy to stay away from the nearly always pathetic CNN, and always stupid-evil-propagandistic Fox, while tuning in to a few of the MSNBC programs like Maddow, O’Donnel, Cenk’s show etc. Keith Olbermann is back on Current TV. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Jeremy Scahil and others of The Nation are fantastic. Chris Hedges is a national treasure. Jim Hightower is great. Noam Chomsky is brilliant. Even the comedian Jon Stewart does a better job of the news than Fox and CNN put together. There is no excuse for being under-informed…
Once you admit to yourself that our president, although much smarter, is only slightly more decent while selling/practicing war than Bush, and far worse when it comes to drone attacks …just imagine them in your neighborhood… really, stop and think about that for a minute…. then you may come to find a new path forward to help pull the rest of the country away from the militaristic and fascistic slide we are on and back towards the principles that can make this country what it has always claimed to be… a guiding light for freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, not a world wide tyrannical force that spouts tired meaningless phrases about freedom while crushing it when it tries to bloom in a way that our corporate overlords, and imperialistic chicken hawks are uncomfortable with.
If Obama loses to whichever pathetic lying nutcase the Republicans put forward, it will not be the fault of the small group of people who believe in speaking out against the wrongs that I have outlined here, it will be because he did not fight the good fight of a real liberal Democrat, but instead caved as per usual and accepted the way the debate is framed by Republicans… arguing all the stupid issues that are merely a side show cooked up by the corporate media and their bought-and-paid-for contributors. I’m not falling for that crap. Go after voter suppression, and the talking-head liars, not those who conscientiously vote for quaint little concepts like peace and justice.
You may vote out of fear, I will vote my conscience. My vote is precious to me, and must be earned by those who are running. I will not “throw my vote away” on Obama, or on a bunch of spineless democrats. My message to politicians… Fight for me and what I believe in or kiss my ass. If more people voted their conscience the world would be a better place. There is a place for pragmatism, but not without conscience. My conscience is clear. How about yours?
Please come back with something other than “you must want Republicans to win,” or “we’ve never had a better president”. His list of legislative accomplishments are not the issue here either. I know you can do better than trotting that out for another tour, and I’m well aware of what he has accomplished. Please address the points I have made. At the very least tell me why you support blasting children into little tiny bits, extra-judicial homicide, holding innocent human beings for years in secret prisons without due process, and failing to prosecute the torturers who came before him. Obama will not do better unless he is forced to. He has said as much himself.