I will vote for Barak Obama, but I have trouble these days calling myself a “supporter”. I explicitly deny that designation when it is suggested that I am. But I find it hard now because of the way he handled the banks, the way he has extended and built upon the “security” measures undertaken in the Patriot Act, and the way he has “held back” on a full-throated , tireless advocacy for a Works Program which is so obviously needed. I recognize that their are political barriers. I recognize that “reaching across the aisle” can (or should) build some common ground that will result in ,progress being made. But the outcomes and the politics of the great recesssion have made it disturbingly clear that the financial elites are calling the shots.
I read “Confidence Men”, Ron Suskind’s account of the economic team around Obama, and the numerous conversations with advisors with Obama and other members of the economic team, and it painted a not-so-impressive picture of the weakness of Obama’s economic policy moves and efforts, up to a point where it was widely known and expected that the bankers were expecting the hammer to fall on them when Obama called them to a meeting early on, just after the crisis hit. They were all in a state of “bracing for the hammer”. What they got instead was an assurance of support from Obama. I already had my doubts, given the lack of significant steps to hold the banks or SOME of them accountable. This account had the effect of sinking my remaining threads of confidence or hope that remained afloat.
And the GOP that is fighting anything and everything Obama does or tries to do (whether it be piecemeal or more substantive) , they have long ago crossed the line of any sign of integrity or showing any intent to actually serve the people. They have shown they are willing to go to any length to “defeat Obama” rather than to do anything which would help Obama improve the economy. It’s the politics of destruction , “our way or the highway”. But Obama has not been strong in the face of this. I keep hoping he would, in the very least, make us of the bully pulpit to lay out what he believes is needed. In the wake of what I learned about Obama and his economic team, and their refusal to lower the hammer on the banks when he had a clear mandate to do so, I am now doubtful of just what those desires really are; whether he really does desire to do what it takes to help us defeat the stranglehold the elite have over this economy. Or is he himself now IN that stranglehold?
This is not the Obama I voted for. The one who promised a severe challenge to the “way of Washington”; an end to the stranglehold of special interests, and even that Obama that seemed to be coming straight down a road of a social justice Christian tradition. I find it difficult if not impossible to see that Obama anymore. I’ve had some friends tell me that although they intend to vote for Obama this time (usually always because the alternative would be much worse, and bad things would come of it much quicker) , they will no longer support the Democratic party if the next term didn’t bring a very different Obama. It’ll be third party time. It’ll be serious challenges to the present system of representation, and the safeguards needed to protect it from being blown away by financial interests.
I’m thinking that’s where I am too. If nothing can get done in 8 years to make a dent in what has been wrought on our economy by the corporate take over of our politics, then its time for a new process. With Citizens United allowing unlimited propaganda to be dumped on the American psyche (and don’t be naive, people. Advertising WORKS, no matter how you may insist you;re not swayed by it, it works,else they wouldn’t be continuing to pour money into it. The effects are subtle, and largely imperceptible. And somehow the Supreme Court has overlooked this ; or, more accurately and/or likely, they HAVEN’T overlooked it; they are in cahoots with the aims of Citizens United), given all this, our “process” is truly screwed. It no longer sounds convincing to say “vote and make your voice heard”. It all comes off sounding like false piety.