There are some political shenanigans going on here at my second home. I’m like an old man deprived of his favorite chair – they’ve taken up residence at my favorite spot with their fliers and Macbooks and signs and magnets and things. You can tell who they are because they all wear buttons with one name: OBAMA.
I love the idea of a black President with a Muslim name. I really do. In an age where the common wisdom rejects our current President because the rest of the world hates him, electing a man from a race of former slaves whose father was a practicing member of the religion whose fundamentalist radicals recently murdered a lot of our citizens is a really appealing idea. We can point to our national conscience and say: “Hey, dudes. Check out our guy. That’s how better we are than you. We elected a black muslim. Would you elect a Christian woman or whatever to lead your country?”
But he’s not going to change a goddamn thing.
He’s not going to end the war and bring the troops home any faster than a Republican would. It’s cute that you think he will, but he won’t. There are overriding strategic ramifications at work in Iraq, many of which are invisible to anybody who isn’t the Commander in Chief. When the next guy gets in office, he’s going to meet with the Joint Chiefs, they’re going to show him how a fast exit from the theatre of war will result in one of the biggest clustereffs in the history of the American military, and then let him take credit for smaller-scale troop removals and draw-downs that were in the pipeline already. Obama gets to keep his political promises and the massive industry of war gets to continue.
Bush and his cronies made the decision to go into Iraq, for sure. But the consequences are undeniable and untenable. It’s their bath water, but we have to lie in it. I don’t like it either, but we just have to deal.
A woman’s right to an abortion is in no danger. Gay marriage will probably not happen in our lifetimes. Socialized medicine, one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas, won’t get past committee. A version of it that helps poor families might, but not the sweeping changes that many people are hoping for.
There’s a reason for all of this, and it’s called the wedge.
The Republicans know that they can continue to make money and stuff from people who don’t want two men to be able to get married to each other. If they want to keep making money, then they will make sure not to let the idea get very far.
This is the pivot around which all of politics moves – the acquisition of power, money and influence. People who want to change things don’t get very far, and their changes rarely amount to much. Waging war is the big exception, but even a war doesn’t change the domestic situation much.
Our politicians are figureheads, attractive faces slapped on stumps and soapboxes. They don’t represent constituents anymore, they represent themselves. They don’t fight for what’s right, they fight for more power. They don’t have opinions, they have exit polls.
Any illusion you have that Barack Obama is any different from the many people who followed him is just that, inexorably and inevitably. He is not going to make your life better. He is not going to change things.
How many politicians have run, and have been elected, on the same platform of change and solidarity? Every few decades, we elect an outsider who wants in.
Do you really think Barack Obama wants to be President because he wants to help people? Really?
I look over at the stumpers and I see the main guy adjust his Buddy Holly glasses and dive right into his argument against Hillary – he’s trying to convince somebody not to vote for her. I listen to everything he says, and I see his fervor.
But then I imagine what’s going to happen if Hillary gets the nomination and he’s out campaigning for her – he’ll be saying the same things, or maybe slightly different things, about a completely different person. He’s going to be arguing for the very person he’s arguing against.
Why? He can’t believe in both people, can he?