Are We as Brave as the Burmese?
The value systems of those with access to power and of those far removed from such access cannot be the same. The viewpoint of the privileged is unlike that of the underprivileged.
Want to stir up a hornet’s nest? Just suggest boycotting an election – say, the upcoming midterms – to any dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.
Since doing so the other day in some comments here, I’ve been noodling around with the idea of explaining – in terms so simple even a DNC Chair could understand them – why not voting this November may be the Left’s last, best hope for wresting back control of the Democratic party; back, from those who believe its salvation lies in placating and even kowtowing not to the whims of the mainstream GOP – which at this point is merely the other branch of our One-Party System – but to lunatic fringe Righties cast in the Joe McCarthy mold.
Clearly, our Democratic demogogues – frightened by the bluster of those who packed last year’s town-hall health care forums and packed heat at public rallies for Dick’s Armey (the so-called “Tea Party”) – believe (1) the “movement” of a few fundie nutjobs renders the 2008 elections meaningless, and/or (2) what really matters is how much privilege their offices can buy them.
These beliefs mean it’s them – not the fundie nutjobs – who are the real threat to any hope of true, progressive change in this country. Whether motivated by mayhem or money, I believe they are either too cowardly or greedy – or both - to hold any seat representing we who would move us forward. If true progressives are unwilling to finally and unapologetically embrace this truth and kick these frauds to the curb in order to reclaim what should be their party, our nation’s retrograde motion will continue – and accelerate.
As it happens, I’ve run across something that fulfills my stated criteria: Even a DNC Chair can understand it.
Linked here, here and here are stories about bravery. About a people – and one very brave woman, Aung San Suu Kyi – who understand that citizens begin wresting power from the few who leverage it to their own advantage by stating in no uncertain terms an unwillingness to continue playing the minority’s little ballot game; by not giving the few something to point to – namely, votes – as confirmation that things must not be that bad, since people are still “having their say.”
The Burmese people’s long-held disgust at not being heard should sound familiar to any long-term member of this country’s Democratic party and the too-far-Left-for-the-party Independents without whose support Barack Obama would not be occupying the White House today.
The Burmese understand that the fight for real democracy, a democracy whose leading edge blazes a swath which accomodates not just the majority’s moderates but its more avid adherents as well, demands using every tool at one’s disposal. Only then will the majority’s voice be heard and heeded by the well-armed minority so intent on silencing it. In Burma, that minority is armed with guns and tanks. In this country, its weapons of choice – for now, at least – are public relations firms and rubes from Alaska.
At what point will we on the Left stop swooning before a hijacked party that supports our beliefs in word only, and only to garner our vote at that? A party that relegates those beliefs to the auction block the moment a few CEOs begin clearing their throats?
A midterm election loss would be a small price to pay for winning back the Democratic party, known for so long – too, too long ago – in both word and deed as “The Party of the People.”
By announcing, supporting, and following through on a voting boycott this November, Democrats and lefty Independents could achieve a wholesale housecleaning. We could succeed where once-progressive but now acquiescent voices in Congress have failed, forcing Barack Obama to get out his veto pen and, with each stroke, rebuild the vigor, discontent, and dedication to the interests of working men and women which the Democratic party has lacked for more than a generation.
A boycott would have to be blatantly intentional; planned, announced, promoted and phone-banked. A final, all-out trial by fire for Obama. Objectives stated without compromise.
For starters, Mr. Obama must understand why it is happening: Because he has failed to lead based on his 2008 stump speech. And to have even a hope of keeping his job in 2012, he must begin doing so.
Then, on November 3, the massive Democratic loss still stinging, he must fire Rahm Emanuel. Tim Keane. Robert Gibbs. Tim Geithner. They are replaced by Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich, Al Franken, and Elizabeth Warren respectively. And Warren’s counsel – alone – determines who will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If Larry Summers has a problem with any of this, he can hit the fucking pike, too.
On November 4, Mr. Obama addresses Congress. In the five-minute speech – two minutes is better – he creates by executive order a public works program which mirrors the WPA – but in 2010 proportion to FDR’s 1935 model. He blunty states that a vote against funding it is a vote against putting Americans back to work. And while he’s at it, he announces the end of DADT, and demands legislation outlawing corporate personhood, in similarly blunt fashion: “Refusal to do so will make quite clear whether you work for real people or phony ones… and, I’ll venture, subject you to the same kind of popular revolt my party has just undergone.”
This is the housecleaning for which the Democratic party’s clueless, privileged establishment - by virtue of ineptness and panphobia - has begged far too long, and the midterm elections of a presidency that has proved DINO up to this point are the perfect opportunity to do it. If it sounds too last-ditch to you, you clearly haven’t been paying any attention during the past two years.
The Burmese people pursue full voice in the face of guns and tanks. If we, the American Left, are too cowardly to stare down even our own party, PR firms and dim Northern Lights will be no match for us in 2012.
It’s time to take out the trash.