'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Out of Kool-Aid 

From an e-mail that I received earlier this week:

Dear Friends,

Our President is gearing up for a fight against the corporate elites and their Republican allies in Congress. To prevail he's going to need our help. There are two quick and easy things you can do right now to support President Obama.

First, please click on the following link and sign up for our new xxxxxx 4 Obama group on the Organizing for America website: http://my.barackobama.com/page/group/xxxxxx4Obamaatxxxxxx. We will be working with President Obama's grassroots network in the weeks and months ahead to mobilize local support for the President's progressive agenda.

Second, please watch the short video below from Mitch Stewart, Organizing for America's national director. Then click on the link to sign the Organizing for America Pledge.

As President Obama said on that magical night last August at Mile High Stadium in Denver, "At defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time."

Now is that time. Please join us in supporting President Obama and his effort to bring real change to America.

In Peace & Solidarity,
xxxxxx x

Apparently, a lot of American liberals are engaging in a willful flight from reality. Obama, like Bush before him, is channeling trillions of dollars into bankrupt financial institutions, and he has expressed the intention of paying for it with reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits. Meanwhile, he has sent more troops to Afghanistan and intensified the conflict in Pakistan while abandoning his pledge to withdraw US forces from Iraq.

Such actions, and the willingness of liberals to uncritically accept them, raises the question as to whether liberalism has any ideological grounding at all, whether it represents anything more than the substitution of one group in power with another. As the e-mail indicates, the rhetoric associated with this sort of politics reminds one of the partisanship usually associated with fans of professional sports, although, in actual fact, fans of various franchises express more criticism about their performance than most liberals do about the Obama administration. One noteworthy exception to this phenomenon are the lonely liberals at firedoglake, continuing to fight the good fight and reinvigorate liberalism as an ideological alternative to the left and the right. Unfortunately, I see no indication that their effort is gaining any traction at the local level, at least here in the Sacramento Valley.

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