Sunday, November 28, 2010
Many progressives rightly criticize the notion of faith-based politics in this country. We rightly oppose the imposition of any particular faith on others. We quietly (or not so quietly) laugh at those who force reality to conform to unconfirmable beliefs. But can't the same criticism be levelled against those who support the Democrats? What about their "faith" in Obama and the Democratic Party as a means for change? Don't we rearrange or distort facts to comply with our "faith" in the Democrats? One example: Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A Democrat is responsible for this noxious policy. Democrats have the power to put to an end to it and have had two years to end it. But they've chosen not to. Now, as the spin goes, we blame the Republicans. Isn't this distorting facts to conform to faith?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Election Day 2010
I recently read a piece by David Mixner that pissed me off.1 Yet another commentator telling us what this election “means” even before the election is over. “The new political reality?” Really, Miriam, enough with the hysterics. A couple nutjobs won seats, a couple didn’t. Don’t be so eager to swallow the crap the corporate media is serving us.
Lenin’s Tomb1 offers a great analysis of the recent elections here in the United States and, surprise, it’s not at all what you’re hearing on the TV news.
"The Democrats have lost the House of Representatives but kept the Senate by a slim margin. The Tea Party 'movement' will be credited for giving the Republicans this energy in the polls, but in fact there will be little evidence when the dust settles that anything particularly remarkable happened here. A few whack jobs got elected, quite a few didn't, turnout was probably around 40% (which will be hailed as a record high if true), and capitalism remains firmly in control of the political process. The dominant faction of the 'political class' will still comprise rich corporate lawyers, the majority of senators will still be millionaires, and Wall Street will still control the Treasury.
The Republican sweep, announcing a "seismic shift", will be every bit as flimsy as the 'revolution' of 1994. This was when Gingrich's hard right rump took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in fifty years. They added 54 seats to their total in the House of Representatives (2010 equivalent: 36, with 14 undecided), while adding 8 senate seats to their total to gain the upper house (2010 equivalent, 5, with 3 undecided - and no prospect of gaining control of the upper house). But the 'Republican revolution' took place with the support of less than 20% of eligible voters, with a turnout of less than 40%. Many of the same personnel who drove that 'revolution', and drafted the 'Contract with America' that few read or understood, are now 'activists' in the Tea Party movement. The FT calls Dick Armey an 'activist', for christ's sake."
So memorize this lesson, folks. The election is NOT a sign of a right wing surge. It's not a sign that people reject Obama's "socialist" agenda. It's a sign that people are pissed off that Obama didn't even bother to propose it and fight for it in the first place! We're still waiting for Obama to keep one promise he made! Just one! Given our shitty political system, you either support the party in power (in this case the Democrats) or you reject them. This is the "democracy" our soldiers are dying for?
The only people sad and depressed after the election are people who had illusions that the Democratic Party was the party of the people and that they were on our side to begin with. Hopefully, these elections had cracked that illusion and that's a good thing.
Tea Baggers are not taking over. Nothing has really changed. We still live with a White House and a Congress and a Supreme Court occupied and controlled by political parties that oppose lgbt equality. We were not equal before and we are not equal now.
Our job today is the same as it was the day before the election: we fight for our rights against two political parties that oppose us. We fight against racism, including racism against immigrants, Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and we condemn Obama's silence on the disproportionate impact of the recession on the African-American community. We still fight to defend a woman's right to control her own body (especially as queers for if women can't control their own bodies, what right do I as a gay man have to exist?) against assaults by both the Democrats AND the Republicans AND we continue to fight for abortion to be free, legal, and safe for all women who choose to have one. We still fight to end these still illegal wars for oil and empire that Obama has not only inherited from Bush, but has expanded. We oppose being forced to support Obama's wars in order for some of us to have equal rights on the job (DADT). We fight against the draining of our money and our public dollars for the sake of the military and Wall Street. We demand an end to draining money from the federal, state, and local budgets to pay for their wars and their bailouts.
In short, we're still fighting for the same things we were fighting for when the progressive majority of this country elected Obama to fight for these same things.
Mixner is wrong to say that passing ENDA and repealing DOMA and DADT are over. He seems to forget one very important factor, a factor that the politicians and Gay Inc tend to forget: US. We are not passive lumps of flesh waiting for the Democratic Party Good Fairy to grant us our wishes. We have the power to force those fuckers in DC to act.
Richard Nixon was nasty, right wing, conservative asshole President. He was also the LAST liberal president this country had. How, you say? Because the social movements of the day FORCED him to act. Nixon...
* Simultaneously reformed welfare and brought in serious new civil-rights laws and agencies for minorities, women, the handicapped and children.
* Proclaimed the first official U.S. Earth Day/Earth Week in 1971.
* Totally reformed the government's relationship with Native Americans, bringing new self-determination and civil rights to U.S. tribes while saving such Indian natural wonders as Pyramid Lake - the tribe even renamed its capital "Nixon."
* Spent more on social programs than defense!
* Recognized the People's Republic of China
* Created the Environmental Protection Agency, created OSHA to oversee workplace safety and comfort
* Created the Consumer Product Safety Commission
* Created Title IX for women's sports
* Added the cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security
* Expanded food stamps and welfare assistance
* He also supported the Equal Rights Amendment
We’ve seen what happens when we sit and wait. We’ve also seen what happens when we agitate. Let us commence agitating.
It's time for a change. And change begins, as it always has, with us.
Let them fear the queers.
1. “LGBT Community: What Now?”, http://www.davidmixner.com/2010/11/lgbt-community-what-now.html
2. “The class basis of US elections”, http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/11/class-basis-of-us-elections.html