(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
There’ve been so many different comment tracks recently, man! I could go off in nineteen different directions, but… I’ll hold off on that temptation and see if I can go with this Hedges piece instead. He pretty much cuts to the chase (below the click).
Meanwhile, while all this was rattling around, I had this tune come to mind this morning. Heh.
Just for the heckuvit, I will add this opinion piece today by Thom Friedman titled Third Party Rising:
Obama probably did the best he could do, and that’s the point. The best our current two parties can produce today – in the wake of the worst existential crisis in our economy and environment in a century – is suboptimal, even when one party had a huge majority. Suboptimal is O.K. for ordinary times, but these are not ordinary times. We need to stop waiting for Superman and start building a superconsensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now. Pretty good is not even close to good enough today.
I include mostly because I’m amused by this quote there:
“We basically have two bankrupt parties bankrupting the country,” said the Stanford University political scientist Larry Diamond. “If competition is good for our economy,” asks Diamond, “why isn’t it good for our politics?”
Good question. But ultimately, almost irrelevant at this stage of the game.
On to Hedges. The Sept 13 2010 piece from Hedges could’ve stood a better title than Don’t Pity the Democrats, but he makes his points with no apology. He gets right in your face (as usual).
There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.
The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party, which may make huge inroads in the coming elections, but the institutions tasked with protecting democratic participation. Do not fear Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. Do not fear the tea party movement, the birthers, the legions of conspiracy theorists or the militias. Fear the underlying corporate power structure, which no one, from Barack Obama to the right-wing nut cases who pollute the airwaves, can alter. If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.
All resistance will take place outside the arena of electoral politics. The more we expand community credit unions, community health clinics and food cooperatives and build alternative energy systems, the more empowered we will become.
One of these days, maybe I’ll write an essay and call it “Karenomics”. (“LadyLibertineonmics” doesn’t sound quite right. Heh.) I live a rather bizarre double (financial) life that’s hard to explain. [edit: and perfectly legal!] That can wait. But, at some point, I do want to have a conversation about “poor people” and alternative economies, if you can call it that. (Note to self.)
Hedges quotes Nader a good bit .. this, hoo boy, should prompt further discussion:
“Poor people do not organize,” Nader lamented. “They never have. It has always been people who have fairly good jobs. You don’t see Wal-Mart workers massing anywhere. The people who are the most militant are the people who had the best blue-collar jobs. Their expectation level was high. When they felt their jobs were being jeopardized they got really angry. But when you are at $7.25 an hour you want to hang on to $7.25 an hour. It is a strange thing.”
“The corporate state is the ultimate maturation of American-type fascism,” Nader said. “They leave wide areas of personal freedom so that people can confuse personal freedom with civic freedom – the freedom to go where you want, eat where you want, associate with who you want, buy what you want, work where you want, sleep when you want, play when you want. If people have given up on any civic or political role for themselves there is a sufficient amount of elbow room to get through the day. They do not have the freedom to participate in the decisions about war, foreign policy, domestic health and safety issues, taxes or transportation. That is its genius.
But one of its Achilles’ heels is that the price of the corporate state is a deteriorating political economy. They can’t stop their greed from getting the next morsel. The question is, at what point are enough people going to have a breaking point in terms of their own economic plight? At what point will they say enough is enough? When that happens, is a tea party type enough or [Sen. Robert M.] La Follette or Eugene Debs type of enough?”
Zings me back to this portion of sharon’s comment from last night:
i think often about a session dfa did with george lakoff a few years ago. he talked about building common ground with conservatives and his message was to talk about the things that matter to all of us as human beings and he pointed immediately at the environment, suggesting that here treehuggers would find common ground with hunters. max-neef also sees the environment as the focal point. … “we are all environmentalists now.”
We’re all in this together. Clearly, clearly, we are talking about our very survival, and that of our only planet. How is it that people do not get that?! Oh right, hyperbole. Yeah whatever.
Hedges concludes with:
We do not have much time left. And the longer we refuse to confront corporate power the more impotent we become as society breaks down. The game of electoral politics, which is given legitimacy by the right and the so-called left on the cable news shows, is just that – a game. It diverts us from what should be our daily task-dismantling, piece by piece, the iron grip that corporations hold over our lives. Hope is a word that is applicable only to those who grasp reality, however bleak, and do something meaningful to fight back-which does not include the farce of elections and involvement in mainstream political parties. Hope is about fighting against the real forces of destruction, not chanting “Yes We Can!” in rallies orchestrated by marketing experts, television crews, pollsters and propagandists or begging Obama to be Obama.
Hope, in the hands of realists, spreads fear into the black heart of the corporate elite. But hope, real hope, remains thwarted by our collective self-delusion.
All fo this reinforces several of the concepts in Tocque’s essay here yesterday and comments as well.
We face a mammoth and wealthy Goliath. We need to recognize & identify The Enemy (delusions) and be sharpening our
slingshots weapons (Truth, Compassion, Multiply Knowledge).
What choice do we have?