The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A True Progressive Democrat Must Run Against Obama in 2012

It’s clear that the Republican party has no effective leadership today. But what about the Democratic party? Do you really want to call the course that Barack Obama has been on leadership? Here was the golden opportunity to reverse the downward course our country had been placed on by Bush and Cheney. Here was the open road to restoring our sense of self-worth as Americans and restoring our standing in the world. Here was the new horizon of restoration and renewal. And what did Barack Obama do with it all? He threw it all down the tube of mediocrity, the stagnant tank of business-as-usual. This man is definitely not the leader many of us worked so hard to get into the White House and we had better start facing that brutal fact and stop closing our eyes to what has become so obvious that it’s continuously cracking us in the face. We have no reason to feel either guilty or inept. What alternative did we have? McCain I won’t even talk about. And Hillary Clinton? The hyper well-heeled Democratic establishment candidate who thought herself a “populist” because she was willing to throw a few extra crumbs at the public. No, there was some hope of real change only with Obama. In reality he was just another variety of the Clinton corporatist with a better line of rhetoric. But we were right to take a chance on him. It didn’t work out but we have nothing to be ashamed about. We had to take the chance. And now we have to rectify the unfortunate results. The future course of the nation depends upon what we do now. If we fail to meet the demands of the task then our country will continue its downward slide and we’ll really have something to be ashamed about.

The old-time comedian Groucho Marx had a line: “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that accepted me as a member.” There’s Obama’s attitude toward the progressive movement in a nutshell. Progressives chose Obama as their standard-bearer, worked hard and succeeded in getting him elected President. And what did Obama do for them in return? He rejected their basic principles and embarked upon a course of catering to the agenda of those who had tried to defeat him. They won by losing while progressives were left out in the cold confused and disbelieving in what had happened. Obama did not appoint even one person who could be called progressive to his cabinet or to any key position. Instead, he chose old-guard establishment figures. So who got his ear from his first day in office? If you look objectively at Obama’s course of action from the very beginning you will come to the conclusion that he has been driven to establish himself as “respectable” to the Washington plutocracy, whose agent he has been eager to become. It’s as though he had been mentored and appointed as successor by Bush. Oh, I know he throws out a few “populist” feints now and then- but basically it’s Bush all-over-again: the Bush bailouts; the Bush wars; the Bush corporate government. And worst of all the Bush relentless deadening of the American spirit to the point that people will just submit and accept it all. And Obama has consistently sought to protect his predecessor’s administration from investigation and prosecution for criminal acts- which in fact justifies and vindicates the aberrations of the Bush years. The fact is that Obama just couldn’t wait to take his place with the moneyed establishment. And it’s their agenda that he will pursue. There will be no substantial change. There will only be subterfuge.

The mistake too many of us are making is harboring the hope that Obama’s actions will finally come to reflect his campaign rhetoric. They will not. Obama has set his course and his hubris, his misguided ambition and his lack of innovative courage will keep him on that course. And unfortunately there may be no effective counterforce. Obama’s agenda will be supported by the complicit corporate media; the exhaustion, depression and denial of progressive elements; and the distraction of a population preoccupied with economic survival. The Brave New World commences- or rather- continues. That’s what I see happening unless we finally get our voice and assert our collective power. That certainly hasn’t happened yet. It had better start happening soon. And it has to be more action than talk, including most importantly choosing and putting in place the strongest possible progressive Democrat to run against Obama in 2012.