Tue Jun 27th, 2006 at 07:21:15 AM EST
DailyKos and Markos and them rowdy Kossacks are all about Democratic Party activism. Real projects, real politicians, real campaigns, real elections -- and oh yes, the unbridled flow of intellectual and emotional and spiritual underpinnings that ignite and drive all those real doings.
Of course, "real lefties" see the entire Democratic Party as simply one half of the single party state that America is. Both political parties are owned by, and serve, the same economic masters.
Even if the Democrats win every office they desire during this political season, the victory will represent nothing more than the handing of the ball to the other team for their fair turn at it.
The game will still be played inside the marked white lines. The game will still take place inside the stadium. The voters will still be spectators forced to choose between two teams only, while the team owners, the team players, the team sponsors, and the stadium owners make obscene amounts of money by providing spectacular croissants and circuses in those two terrific tastes -- Dem and GOP. You pick one, or the other.
It reminds me of my mother's favorite way of announcing dinner -- "You have two choices this evening, children. You can eat this, or you can go hungry."
If You Aren't Rich, Who The Hell Are You?
With all due respect to the passionate and hard working activists at and represented by DailyKos, the fact remains that political power in America is a direct expression of economic power.
Even netroots campaigns come down to money. Every Kossack will concede that after all the essays and diaries and comments are posted and perused, the netroots difference comes down to putting some money into somebody's campaign coffers, some money that did not come from a corporation or a wealthy patron of politics.
Economic power in America has steadily shifted since the early 1980's toward the energy, banking, pharmaceutical and defense industries. Beginning with Reagan, the Administrations of both Democrats and the GOP have worked to keep America's wealthy as wealthy as the Saudis and other foreign oil suppliers so that wealthy Americans could and would invest in American corporations and assets rather than just letting all of America's companies and properties be bought up by foreign oil barons on the open and free market.
Had a few foreign cartels been allowed to dominate our economic landscape, they would naturally have dominated our political landscape, and that has been deemed unacceptable up to now.
This has meant class warfare for the rich, and upon the middle class, and this has meant skewing the tax and regulatory systems wholesale, always in the direction of corporate monopolies, privatization of public properties and utilities, deregulation, and reduced taxes on invested capital.
All Our Eggs In Their Basket
This has meant putting all of America's eggs in one basket -- Big, Big Business, especially the energy and defense industries. We are the world's largest arms supplier. Our military prowess is so far beyond what our next ten nation state competitors can put out that it is ludicrous. Yet we spend on and on because it's no longer about whatever weapon is being built, it's about the profits created by building that weapon, in quantity, and then wasting or using it so it needs replacing. These wonder weapons don't even have to work anymore. The game is to just go build some stuff -- the Pentagon or Congress pay for it, plus ten percent for your trouble.
Pay to Play
Consider the perfect devotion of both political parties over the decades to this Iron Triangle -- the Congressional Military Industrial complex, a rigged game where a dollar in political donations gets you a ten dollar 'earmarked' contract to manufacture some stuff in China or the Honduras and then sell it to Halliburton for its latest war of convenience. For a two dollar donation, you get your taxes reduced, and for three dollars you can get the EPA, SEC and IRS off your case, rather permanently.
It works the same for both parties. That's why both parties are funded by largely the same clientele. It's just business. The business of politics.
Real lefties perceive that even when the Democratic Party hits full victory mode, no serious plans are afoot to change this basic economic arrangement. Feingold or Kucinich would probably change it, but they are in that unelectable five percent who don't fiddle the facts.
Political Suicide Not Likely
For the Democrats to change this basic arrangement would require going straight to the American people and saying, "Thanks for your vote. It's good to be back. Now, we all need to voluntarily reduce our living standards by about 30% in order to avoid national bankruptcy in the coming decade. We need most of our suburban population to give up their private cars and start taking buses and trains to work, or move closer to their jobs. We have unilaterally cut the Pentagon budget by 50% today, and will put those hundreds of billions into getting our national infrastructure on a green basis, our schools back on top, and our national debt under control. More than anything else, friends, we need to make science and mathematics our national pastime instead of baseball and football. Are you with us?"
(cue the crickets . . . )
Well, they'd not be in office more than a few weeks after that, would they? Ach du lieber -- how the tar and feathers would fly!
For too many Americans, you can take away their SUV when you can pry it from their cold, dead fingers.
Not In America
And yet our most sober and wise futurists and thinkers say that this downsized, relocalized America is precisely the nation that will emerge from the restrictions forced by Peak Oil and $150 per barrel crude that is coming.
It will happen. Right here.
We can either make the necessary changes with our eyes open, or we can wake up to these changes one distant day, after all the brutish unpleasantness of trying to avoid it gets a lot of Americans hurt and killed, both Over There and here at home.
Real lefties have left the stadium. We see grownups playing a game while reality waits. Oh, we will reliably vote D on Election Day, out of necessity. After all, Mother's two choices were not really choices, were they?
But please do not presume we see a Democratic sweep of all three branches of government as Judgement Day and Kingdom Come all rolled into one. If such a Democratic Party sweep happens, it will represent nothing more than the first national opportunity in half a century to address the actual problems of our tottering nation instead of the imagined problems of the political gridiron, with its two teams already purchased, and everyone playing for pay.
Real lefties know that on Judgement Day, when Kingdom Comes, and a Democratic sweep is complete, and the Dems stand in serried ranks across all three branches of government -- guaran' ball bearin' cher the Dems will blow the opportunity. They will play the game inside the stadium, and inside the lines. They will move the ball within the economic boundaries allowed for play until such time as it is the other team's turn again.
Because that is the business of politics. Politics truly is the art of theater. It is all a performance, all of the time. The politicians are there to fiddle for their audience, and to fiddle their audience.
Why All The Fiddling?
Why did Nero fiddle while Rome burned to the ground? Because he was crazy? No. Because he was a politician performing. Because to not fiddle would be to confess and address harsh reality -- that the city outside the stadium is on fire. To confess and address reality leads beyond two, or ten, or twenty political parties. It leads you beyond the marked lines, and out beyond the stadium.
And then whose side are you on? Whose empire? And then where do you stand?
After a farewell to arms, do you stand on the side of humanity? On the side of all species including our own? On the side of the planet, as it tumbles through a vacuum headed who knows where?
After the game leaves you, what work do you do? Where do you go? What do you call that journey where you don't know a destination, you just know you're not staying?
If your politics introduces you only to empire, then rosin up your bow and ho' down. Do the people proud. Do 'em but good. You will never lack for an audience or for assistants.
If your politics introduces you to humanity, congratulations -- you have outperformed Nero and all the fiddlers stalking the halls of power today.
You may find yourself out here with the real lefties.