OK, this is definitely one I want feedback on. If you're reading this, then please comment on it - and then send your comments to the Obama campaign. Comments, everyone, please; this is a blog, not a monologue (or will be if you add your comments). The Man may not hear you, but I certainly will, so let's hear what you have to say.
In November, my choice at the polls will be between Obama, writing in a candidate, or not voting; so unless something very wrong goes on in the Obama campaign I will be voting for Mr. O. This is because the Right is just plain Wrong, and is destroying our country and everything that is (or used to be) great about it. McCain is OK with turning Iraq into the new Hundred Years War, when every day we spend money we don't have to keep our forces and mercenaries there, and to kill Iraqis and suffer casualties for no good reason at all. McCain has no education policy to speak of, when our schools are increasingly destitute and we are rapidly losing our place in the global race to the future. McCain has no health care policy to speak of, in the only modern, industrialized nation in the world with no public health system worth mentioning. McCain has no energy policy to speak of beyond increasing oil production, which is another way of saying that we should hit the accelerator as we approach the brick wall of global ecological (and national economic) disaster so we can slam into it that much more quickly and effectively. I suppose the only positive thing to say about his "policies" is, that he is so old he'll be dead before his administration is, so he won't have to live to see our nation collapse as the incredibly likely result. Thanks, John.
The Republicans are irresponsible, immoral, and ineffective at leading our nation towards any goal other than that of widening the income gap by increasing the wealth of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. They are also happy to ally themselves with the far right forces which are fighting for a regime of authoritarianism, theocracy, and imperialist ambitions both at home and abroad. Every day under Republican rule puts this nation ever more solidly in the grip of Big Brother, and the future safety and security of our nation, our people, and our freedom depends on a fight for survival against these forces. We must fight against the Right with every weapon at our disposal, and Obama is one such weapon. I therefore urge every free-thinking and patriotic American to vote for Obama in the general election in November, and against McCain.
Nonetheless, I firmly believe that an Obama administration would represent at best a holding action, and really something more akin to an orderly retreat to more defensible lines. Despite the attempt by the Right to paint Obama as a "radical," it is clear to anyone actually bothering to look into Obama's actions, statements, and history, that Obama is a definitive Centrist, and not a Leftist by any means. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama speaks again and again on the need for the Left and the Democratic Party to compromise with the Right to reach a consensus. Obama argues against socialized medicine, against any radical increase or restructuring of social welfare programs, and against any "precipitous" withdrawal from Iraq.
The American political system is keyed to a process of negotiation and compromise between the two parties. Both parties hold close to even numbers of supporters, forces, and resources. In Congress, laws are worked out through deals and compromises, bargains are made in committee and subcommittee. Neither party has the clout to push through a program against the other's express will; it should be remembered that many of Bush's most unpopular initiatives involved a degree of participation by the Democrats. In any such situation, it should be obvious that to get anything done, each party must be willing and able to give up some of its demands in order to get others fulfilled. The ultimate positions reached in Congress are usually somewhere in between the starting positions of both sides. In theory, this should, or at least can, result in American politics being predominantly Centrist, providing that we have a strong Left fighting against the Right for influence and support.
But the problem is that we don't have a Left and a Right; we have a Center and a Right. The Democrats are ever apologetic about being "liberal" (and they are becoming less "liberal" every day), and rather than start out by arguing for Leftist goals, they start out by arguing for Centrist goals. At the same time, they negotiate and compromise with a Republican party happy to exploit far-right forces and always struggling unabashedly for conservative goals. The result is a compromise that lies solidly in the middle between the Center and the far Right, a definitively right-of-Center result. This brings us further to the Right with every political battle fought; and makes "liberal" ideals every day seem more "radical", "dangerous", and "unachievable."
A perfect example of this is the health care policy debate. Obama doesn't call for socialized medicine, which our nation has more than enough resources and knowledge with which to provide. He simply calls for the insurance of the uninsured - and will have to fight against Republicans with roughly even strength of forces in Congress doing all they can to inhibit this result, and trying to get all the Democratic support they can for their own conservative goals in return for what little they give back. The result of a "successful" Obama "fight for health care reform" will not be universal health care; but simply a reduction in the proportion of uninsured. It will be better than what we would get from a Republican administration interested only in corporate profits and increasing the centralized authority of the government and the church, but not much better; and it will be far less, inexcusably less than what our nation is capable of achieving. We are the country that introduced large-scale mass production and put people on the Moon. Is it really too much to ask to suggest that we might just be capable of doing what virtually every other country in the world does, including many that are so much poorer than ours is?
It is time for the Left to be what it is, to not feel sorry for it, to shout to the world that our nation has the money, the materials, the manpower, and the staggering ingenuity needed to achieve whatever we set our sights on achieving. It is time for Obama to be what the Right say he is, but which his own actions and statements say that he is not - a Leftist, the president that America needs to make our nation once again a great nation, and a true nation of compromise and consensus. It is time for the Left to be proud of itself again, and for us to make the conservatives feel a little guilty for their faults instead, such as promoting ignorance, centralized authoritarianism, theocracy, and a widening income gap. We will still, and probably always, have the Right to contend with and negotiate with (and, let's face it - to remind us of what we stand for and need to fight for, but also to remind us not to take ourselves so seriously that we forget we're not the only ones living here). We will probably never get a "radical" Leftist regime into office or achieve really "radical" Leftist goals; but we can, and will, still achieve our share of victories if we push for them, rather than start by offering to give up our rapidly diminishing ground to the enemy. The Right have declared, and have been winning, a war on everything that we value about our nation. It is time for the Left to stand up and fight back.