The Drowning Liberal

After having read “The Shock Doctrine” and now plowing my way through “The Wrecking Crew” by Thomas Frank, I find my sunny progressive enthusiasm sinking slowly in the Left into a sea of cynical disillusionment.  I’m like a drowning swimmer slowly being pushed underwater by a heavy hand upon my head.  The game is rigged so that liberals no longer truly get to play.  The conservatives control the 3 M’s: money, the media, and the military (which explains the militarization of city police departments).

GOP conservatives attempt to paint President Obama as a liberal for two reasons: 1. to convince liberals they actually elected a liberal president. 2. to convince conservatives that the liberals actually elected a liberal president so that they fall back into line and elected an actual conservative president next time.  You see, while Obama does do the bidding of the Right by getting “free trade” agreements that only free up trade for a few multinational conglomerates and enslave poor workers passed, by keeping the banksters and Wall St. securities traders who knowingly melted the financial industry in 2008 out of prison and in power, by going even further than Dubya did in using the PATRIOT Act to trample over the Constitution, he also has a recurring nasty habit of doing good for the American people.  Installing fairly liberal justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, favoring the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act, supporting choice if not exactly favoring abortion, and all that nastiness of creating public works jobs and raising taxes on corporate and wealthy Americans (corporations are people, too, my friend). Redistribution of wealth, some would call it. Obama has made some half-hearted attempts to mollify his sponsors—I mean, the conservatives, by raising trial balloons about budget cuts in Social Security and Medicare, but no one thinks he really means it anymore. He issues executive orders to expand mortgage loan modification programs but made sure to keep lender participation in them voluntary. Remember, Obama is supposed to appear liberal, not actually be one.

What adds to my cynical disillusionment is that here we are 4 years into the Obama administration and nothing has really changed in Washington. Why in the first two years of their administrations, both Reagan and Dubya decimated entire federal agencies and de-fanged hordes of liberal, consumer protection laws. Reagan alone drove the first stake in the heart of the labor movement by firing the striking PATCO workers. Seems to me the least Obama could have done during his first two years is to bounce any lingering Reagan and Bush I & II appointees and staffers out of D.C. and install his own guys. This is exactly how the conservatives took control of the federal government. Unless in actuality the old guys ARE Obama’s guys.

So, there’s Occupy Wall Street camped out, well, no longer camped out in parks and around city halls because the Obama administration FBI hooked up a conference call to all the city mayors and gave them identical battle plans for getting rid of the insurgents—I mean, protesters. They even coughed up a few free on-site advisors, similar to the American advisors once dispatched to South Vietnam, Indonesia, Argentina, Chile, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Nicaragua, in fact, all over the globe. But still OWS is singing the “We Can Change The World” chant of the 60’s, which was silenced by a hail of bullets at Kent State and Jackson State universities. We were shown who was boss then and all the parents and grandparents of the OWS protesters still remember that lesson.

The futility of it all kept them away from the ballot boxes for over 40 years, and kept them from running for public office in majority numbers for the same length of time. Along the way, some of them defected to the other side and saw their personal and financial fortunes significantly improve. Another lesson learned. The last great liberal wave crested in 2008 to land what was perceived as the Great Liberal Hope in the White House.  Three years later, it’s the liberals who feel like the wave crashed on top of them and now there’s that heavy hand pushing them underwater.

So, does OWS march from the streets into the ballot boxes next November, joined by the 63% of Americans who support them, the over 75% of American who want taxes to go up on the rich and the corporations, and the 16% of Americans who are out of work (I know, they’re kind of all the same group)?

Make no mistake—the guys we’re up against are all professionals. They not only brought down the liberal movement in this country—these guys have brought down whole countries. They’re very good at what they do and they have the wealth of this nation—including the Federal Reserve—and, thanks to Citizens United, the wealth of nations worldwide to fund their war.  Make no mistake again—it IS a war, class warfare or whatever you want to call it—call it a war game where we’re forced to play by the rules while the other side can do what it wants. It’s like the centuries-old Bill Cosby Revolutionary War joke where the colonists can dress in camouflage and hide behind trees and bushes while the British have to wear redcoats and march in a straight line.  Anyway, if I squint real hard, I think I can see the waterline up there above my head. But with OWS there’s hope and where there’s hope there’s enthusiasm. With enthusiasm comes buoyancy so perhaps I can break the surface again. If I’m too be pushed underwater again, please let it not be by the Hand. Please make it the Monty Python Giant Foot.  At least I can laugh on the way down.