What’s the most urgent political problem in the USA and the world today? It’s not Libya. not Bradley Manning. not – put down the remote Mike and stop jumping around like a 4 year old on a sugar high. The biggest problem is that the far right, anti-union, anti-democracy, anti-environmental, immoral, basically crazy Republican party is inches away from completing its power grab. They have stuffed the federal courts with Federalist Society ideologists, dominate the media corporate media, run Fox and hate radio 24/7/365, control many state governments and the US House and have enormous influence on the Senate. They’ve been working for 20 years or more to infiltrate religious loons into the military. They have huge political and media machines and have managed to hoodwink a lot of people about their actual goals.
You know all that Mike, that’s why you went to Wisconsin, but you keep letting them distract you.
The Midwest is still under assault by the Republican Governors from Mordor, Mike, and you’ve wandered off the field to yell about Libya! for God’s sake, Mike, the crisis in Wisconsin only erupted in February and now it’s still March. what would have happened if the Reuther brothers had walked out of Detroit in 1936 and started marching around to support Puerto Rican Independence or fundraising for the Spanish Civil War instead of slogging ahead on the hard work of organizing? are the unions in Wisconsin and Michigan no longer a fashionable story? is that it, Mike? are you going to keep jumping from topic to topic under the direction of cable TV hosts? is helping out with maybe a general strike in Wisconsin too boring or just too hard? is it too much for us to ask rich and media saavy people like you to focus for a couple of months on how to break through the Iron Curtain of Chamber of Commerce dominated media in the Midwest?
Now the usual suspects will jump in and insist that the real issue is their rights and duty to attack President Obama night and day – I mean, hold his feet to the fire, or something. But that’s nonsense. when Martin Luther King finally spoke out against the Vietnam war, he didn’t drop his civil rights organizing and he didn’t lose sight of the good that Johnson was doing as well. King knew that politicians are, at best, imperfect. The best ones are imperfect and there are plenty of not-best ones around. I’m sure that the River Rouge strikers, nine years into the New Deal, wished for some more help from the President. But when they didn’t get it, they helped themselves – they didn’t stalk off to New York and rail at FDR for disappointing them or failing to protect refugees from Germany (a terribly immoral act). They kept their eyes on the prize and not on the headlines.
So, if you were speaking out against the war without playing into the Republican winning argument that all politicians are the same and you were helping set up a pro-union radio station in Flint or Dayton or Toledo, I wouldn’t be yelling at you. Being principled does not require being stupid or fickle. How about a focus, maybe even a plan for how to win? There are elections coming up in 2012 – what’s the plan? you want the United States to have a less interventionist, violent, foreign policy? well, perhaps if Wisconsin had not just replaced its anti-war Senator with a wingnut or there were big strikes in Michigan demanding more investment in US industry and less in blowing things up and protecting oil routes, we’d have a chance for one. Snarking about President Obama, on the other hand, is only going to make it easier for the Republicans to take the White House in 2012. And that will be a catastrophe for the whole world.
What’s the second most urgent problem in the world? It’s the fractured, navel gazing, whinny, self-centered attitude of America’s liberals, Mike. America needs liberals to articulate a vision that can compete with Rush’s glib cruelty and the comforts of racism and xenophobia. Most Americans are stranded in a tsunami of right wing and corporate gibberish that leaves them confused and resentful. They need to find reasons for belief in our heritage of political liberty and democratic action that stretches back to abolitionists, unions, peace and civil rights marchers, feminists, environmentalists and beyond – they need to be encouraged to take their country back from the loons. what they don’t need is to hear more people tell them how disappointed they are in President Obama and how hope and change are a bitter fraud.