I’ve long turned a jaundiced eye toward political ideologies. They’re like dogmatic religions, without the potential for occasional aesthetic beauty. When these ideologies become suicidal, however, I get absolutely pissed.
Let’s be blunt. The marginalizing tactics of the Left in America over the past thirty years have succeeded in doing one thing: handing us over to the Neo-cons, and their crypto-fascist flunkies in the Religious Right. Both major political parties are now entwined with religious extremists, though the Democrats have the decency to keep in on the D.L. While the Left was splintering into factions and maintaining whatever version of ideological purity their particular faction held to, the Right was unifying, and was quite effective. We now have national “debates” over whether or not torture is acceptable, when it should be obvious that a society which treats people as innocent until proven guilty will not under any circumstances punished those who are only suspects. There was a real danger, only just lessening now, of the United States becoming a total theocracy guided by a form of “Christianity” that is bigotry codified into doctrine.
It is into this context that Barak Obama’s run for the Presidency should be seen. He is far from a savior who will end all war and give us the national health care system that every other major democracy in the world enjoys. But he will help us transition from Extreme Right to Center Right.
This is all we can realistically expect under present conditions. Societies don’t just do a 180 and become sane after nearly a decade of insanity. It takes time to bring things back into focus.
Those who value social change in the direction of freedom and compassion have a choice: continue the politics of division and “protest voting” which put the current regime in office, or wake up to the reality that if we don’t make a small change in direction now no large change is feasible later. Revolution is a symptom, not a cure, and if we are to remain healthy, we need to practice some prevention.
There’s still time for the Left to grow up out of its adolescence, but not much.