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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve been particularly harsh towards Obama in the days since the 2010 midterm slaughter. My criticisms might seem unwarranted and counterproductive; after all, it’s a case of the left attacking the left, isn’t it? And even if Obama hasn’t fulfilled the dreams he inspired in millions of reasonable Americans during the 2008 campaign, he is surely an improvement over George W. Bush, right? So why devote so much time to criticizing one of our own, rather than fighting our true enemies: Republicans and teabaggers?
Much was said in the days following Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity about the notion of false equivalencies, with Stewart being accused of inaccurately equating the lunatics of the Right (a.k.a. teabaggers) with those of the Left (9/11 Truthers and their ilk). If we are discussing the elements of the population who identify themselves as Left or Right, then certainly it was highly erroneous to imply that the level of insanity on both sides were equal. Applying this notion to the MSM itself, we easily observe that Fox News is more batshit crazy than MSNBC, and in the realm of politics, Michelle Bachmann is clearly more unstable than, say, mild-mannered Harry Reid.
But if we take a broader perspective, the supposed false equivalencies suddenly become genuine. On the vast political spectrum that exists beyond our narrow, corporate media defined perspective, Republicans and Democrats stand virtually side by side, as do their corporate-controlled mainstream media counterparts. Barack Obama might genuinely seem like an extreme socialist when compared with the likes of George W. Bush or Rand Paul, but compared to the actual Left Obama is about as conservative as they come. Fox News might be more blatant in its penchant for spewing out absurd right-wing propaganda, but at the end of the day CNN, MSNBC and all of the major so-called “liberal” players embrace the same distorted world view – a world view of which the parameters are defined and enforced by the corporate elite.
If we are interested in seeking genuine social progress, it is foolish and counterproductive to waste our time supporting politicians who fall within this narrow spectrum of American right-wing politics. While elected officials such as Obama might identify themselves as “liberals” or “leftist,” in practice this is but a skillful example of highly effective doublespeak in use. The reality, as should be fairly obvious to anyone who has been paying attention for the last fifty years, is this: Anyone who willingly associates him/herself with the Democratic Party, and succeeds in rising within the ranks of that party, could not possibly be anything but a corporate shill. Such are the facts of our jaded nation.
Following this vein of thought, it becomes apparent that it is impractical to waste our time and energy criticizing higher elected officials from either major party. Since we know by default that any Republican or Democrat who reaches the national stage of power is inherently corrupt, it is clearly pointless to highlight their flaws. It’s like making the highly redundant observation that shit smells. Well of course shit smells – such is its very nature.
The problem we face is that it is far easier to criticize the elected officials we now have than it is to speak in terms of the bigger picture. Obama puts a face on the failure of the left to overcome decades of corporate subversion, and it is a natural reaction to take out our frustrations on him. But Obama is doing exactly what he what he set out to do, which was to fulfill his corporate agenda. Obama is not the one who failed, we are. When we devote so much of our time and energy to criticizing Obama, questioning whether he is or is not a liberal, whether he will end the wars or repeal DADT and DOMA, we lose sight of the larger issues at hand. We fall prey to the corporate media’s ploy to control the boundaries of public debate, and we fail to push the national dialogue back towards the left where it belongs.
But there is a fine line to be observed here. Until enough people realize that Obama and the majority of his fellow Democrats are nothing more than the negligibly more leftward-leaning representatives of the Business Party, it is fruitless to discuss the larger ideas of social progress and genuine reform. It’s like outlining detailed designs of a permanent settlement on Pluto when we haven’t even moved beyond our own moon. So to a certain extent it is necessary to criticize Obama and his fellow Democrats, but it is imperative that we do not become so bogged down in the trivial details of pseudo-left and ultra-right that we forget about the larger issues at stake – which is precisely the strategy the corporate media has vigorously followed, and the reason for the Left’s seemingly perpetual state of squalor.