Seeing What Is, Imagining What Might Be

“The politics of fear has delivered everything we were afraid of.”
~ Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party

This is how future generations will think about this era. It will be remembered as an age of endless fear-mongering and self-defeating lesser-evilism. It will be described as the time when the Democrats became the party of mainstream conservatism and Republicans became the party of right-wing populism, reactionary lite and reactionary full flavor.

Historians will point to this odd moment of the 2016 election when the main Republican candidate, Donald Trump, had a mixed up campaign platform—sometimes campaigning on positions far to the left of of the establishment Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. For example, there is Trump’s support of universal healthcare. The only other candidate supporting it is the supposed ‘socialist’ Bernie Sanders whose support of such things, the establishment Democrats claim, is why he isn’t ‘electable’—despite most Americans also supporting universal healthcare.

Sanders is the most trusted and well liked candidate. Comparing his positions to public polling, it is obvious he represents majority public opinion. He is the only moderate candidate running for the presidency, not even close to being as far left as old school Democrats like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Yet present establishment Democrats and the mainstream media mischaracterize him as a ‘radical’.

We live in strange times. We are watching a campaign season where a large number of supposed ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ in the Democratic party are fighting against strong positions on liberal and progressive policies. The political left doesn’t need an enemy party when they have the Democrats to rig the political process and undermine any hope of a functioning democracy. We have an anti-democratic Democratic party—just think about that. The sad irony of it is mind-numbing.

I have lost faith in the political system, to say the least. Like so many others.

Research shows that the political elite of both parties are disconnected from and unresponsive to the vast majority of Americans. The political elite even ignore the middle class, which makes it all the more sad how the middle class betrays the lower class majority by sucking up to the political elite in being good soldiers in partisan politics. Class war trumps all else, and even for Democrats class war is mired in a legacy of racism (e.g., the decades of dog whistle politics from the Clinton New Democrats).

I want to make clear, though, that I haven’t lost faith in the American public, even as the public has lost faith in America. For one, there isn’t much of a public to speak of, as we are so divided and disconnected from one another. Second, I really don’t see the majority as having many realistic options available to them. The political system is so controlled and the MSM so propagandistic. The only way the citizenry could force change is by taking to the streets and threatening revolution, but that is a major step to take. Most people would like to believe there is still hope for reform within the system, no matter how all attempts at reform have continuously failed.

If we had a functioning democracy that engaged and inspired, that represented and was responsive to voters. If majority public opinion mattered and politicians weren’t corrupt. If there was an effective education system and news media that led to an informed public. If the Democratic party was actually democratic and the Republican party actually republican. If there was a genuine progressive liberal movement and a genuine libertarian conservative movement. If all of this, then we’d be living in a very different country and we’d have very different kinds of elections.

In that case, past elections would have pitted those like Ralph Nader and Ron Paul as the two main party candidates, along with some viable third party candidates having forced wide spectrum of public debate. And, in that case, the present campaign season would have entirely excluded heavily disliked and mistrusted candidates such as Clinton and Trump—instead, the main competition would be between moderates like Sanders and principled challengers like Jill Stein.

That is what a functioning democracy would look like. Such a world wouldn’t have endless obstructionism and corruption. Imagine it. Imagine a world of continuous progress where every generation had a better life than the last, where instead of cynicism and defeatism most people felt engaged and hopeful. Imagine a political system that instead of demoralizing with lesser evilism inspired with the greater good. Imagine such a basic thing as a government that the American people trusted.

Simply put, imagine if we actually had democracy. Not just the rhetoric and appearances of democracy but the real thing. And not just a democratic government but a democratic society and economy, democratic in all ways and at all levels. Just plain democracy.

Imagine… a new era.

14 thoughts on “Seeing What Is, Imagining What Might Be

  1. Are we the only industrial country that only has basically 2 major parties? I get the feeling in many other countries they have like 5 or 6 platform candidates to choose from.

    And there lies our problem. And it’s one of the main things I don’t like a bout Bernie Sanders. His wife even recently is talking about “reforming” the Democratic party. I just wish we had like 5-6 candidates to choose from. I hear they do this in many euro countries.

    • I know many other countries do have more than two major parties. I’ve seen a few countries talked about specifically. But I don’t know the typical number of parties in these other countries.

      “Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan and Philippines are examples of nations that have used a multi-party system effectively in their democracies. In these countries, usually no single party has a parliamentary majority by itself. Instead, multiple political parties form coalitions for the purpose of developing power blocks for governing.”

      Anyway, I agree with your criticism.

      I understand why Sanders ran as a Democrat. Our political system is rigged such that it is literally impossible for a third party candidate to win. Any candidate that doesn’t have the backing of the establishment two-party system, MSM, and big money is simply shit out of luck. The entire system of wealth and power can simply shut out any outside challengers, such that the American public hardly knows they even exist.

      I’ve come to the conclusion, as have many others, that the Democratic party is beyond reform and redemption. What would be awesome is if Sanders won the Democratic nomination and then declined it to run third party. That would be glorious. A massive “fuck you” to the political establishment. But that is unlikely to happen.

      Still, it feels like we are finally moving in the right direction. This is the first time in my life where I’ve seen such large scale dissatisfaction with the status quo. Maybe we are finally ready for something new. One way or another, the political system is never going to be quite the same after this election.

      • We probably disagree, but I think Bernie Sanders is a sheepdog candidate. Him supporting the democratic party along with saying that he will back Hilalry Clinton is what pushes me in this direction. He has spent the last several months talking about how corrupt Hillary Clinton is… only to eventually endorse her? It’s goes against everything he’s been saying these past few months.

        Hilalry Clinton may very well be one of the right wing democratic candidates of all time. She is a candidate – possibly more than Donal Trump – that I could see getting us in ww3 against russia or china. She’s extremly hawkish. She was one of the chief arictects behind the libya disaster, and has said numerous times that she’d wipe Iran off the map.

        • I don’t have a strong opinion about Sanders as an individual person or even as an individual candidate.

          I’ve supported him so far for two reasons. First of all, I despise Hillary Clinton with all my heart and soul, as she represents what is wrong with out government and society. Second, I wanted a Sanders campaign to force open public debate on issues that would otherwise get ignored and to reframe those issues in a way not typically seen.

          Beyond that, I don’t care about the entire campaign season. It’s just an opportunity to inform the public and bring awareness to the corrupt failed system. In the end, I’m likely to vote Jill Stein.

          I have no faith in the political system and so, at this point, I can’t really lose my faith. It’s more that I’ve lost my faith in some people who I thought should have known better.

          I’m amazed by how so many people still can’t see the situation where in. I think people are afraid to admit how big the problems are. It is rather depressing, after all.

          • It’s going to be depressing when Hillary becomes the president. Can’t wait to be called a sexist for not wanting war with Iran or Russia =/

        • About the sheepdog view, I understand the wariness toward any candidate drawing more voters into the corrupt two-party stranglehold. But I just don’t think that is exactly what is happening. If Sanders is a sheepdog candidate, he is doing a horrible job of it.

          Many Sanders like me hate the Democratic party more now than when his campaign began, which is saying a lot since I didn’t like the Dems ever in my life. I know Sanders voters who won’t vote Hillary no matter what and have been permanently turned away from the Dems. The corruption of the Dems has been on full show this campaign season and Sanders supporters have been watching.

          Most of them probably weren’t Democrats before nor consider themselves Democrats now. They support Sanders and him only. They care not about the Dem party and they aren’t going to be manipulated by fear-mongering about Trump. At least that is the case with the Sanders supporters I personally know.

          If Clinton is depending on all or even most Sanders supporters to vote for her, she is clueless to an extreme degree. In that case, Trump is definitely going to win. That is assuming that, at the convention, Sanders doesn’t get the nomination. And it is looking like this will be decided at the convention.

        • I most strongly agree with you about your assessment of Hillary Clinton. You hit the nail on the head. I haven’t been able to get many partisan Democrats to understand this. They don’t seem to grasp what kind of politician Clinton is. She is way more hawkish than even the average hawkish professional politician.

          I’ve had the very same thought that she could be more likely to get us into WWIII than Trump. She is aggressively militaristic and no doubt she’d love to start some wars of aggression. Trump, according to his own rhetoric, is more of an isolationist. There could be plenty of problems with a Trump presidency, but we have no reason to think he’d be more of a military hawk than Clinton.

          • The post ww2 structure that the US set up is collapsing. Russia and China are rising. After the Yeltsin disaster in Russia back in the 90s, Russia in the past few years has really lifted itself up. China is on it’s way to becoming a major power.

            It’s going to come down to if the political elite are willing to let other major powers come into play or if the US establishment wants to take a gamble with war on Russia and China. This is a war that I feel the US has a good chance of possible losing, even with allies. This won’t be like us attacking countries in the middle east or even Iran. Looking at US history since the Revolution – the US has always been expanding it’s power. After WW2, Europe self destructed and US expanded it’s power. After the cold war the US again expanded it’s power. The US is not used to giving up control. And looking at this history. I wonder if the US will gamble with Russia and China to keep its position of global hyperpower. Or if it’s willing to be one of many new players in the coming new global order.

          • Your thoughts are in line with my own. The US government has been expanding its power since the country was founded, along with some major expansions of territory and now with military bases all over the world. The US government isn’t likely to willingly give up its power. WWIII might be for the US what WWII was to Germany or maybe even what WWI was to the Ottoman Empire. There is also the other possibility that the result of WWIII will be mutually assured destruction where there are no winners and no global superpowers left standing.

        • Here is an article that fits your own doubts and misgivings about Sanders’ Democratic campaign. The author maybe gets a few things wrong. For example, he doesn’t seem to understand that Sanders is the candidate of the poor. Sanders’ left-liberalism holds little appeal to the comfortable professionals of the middle-to-upper class. Still, it’s a good article and I agree with much of it.

          “The Republican Party is my class enemy. But sometimes I respect my enemies. Republicans form in clear tendencies; they fight, undermine each other and violate virtually every one of Aristotle’s fallacies. However, one thing I admire is that they don’t swear allegiance to each other before, during or after the primaries the way Bernie Sanders has done to Hillary.

          “How obvious does it have to be that the left liberals have no party? Is the coming genuflection of Bernie Sanders to the neo-con in waiting, Queen Hillary, not enough to convince you? The Democratic Party stands for nothing but capitalism – before and during the primaries. It does what it has done for as long as I can remember: it presents a boogeyman Republican – whether it be Trump, McCain, Bush or whoever else. It then defends itself not by the sweet dreams it promises to deliver, but the Republican nightmares it promises to forestall. […]

          “One last way to make my point is by naming names. I trust Ralph Nader more than I trust Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky or Cornell West. Ralph Nader is a straight up New Deal Liberal. He knows the Democratic Party is the graveyard for left liberals. Neither does he play games with the term “socialism”. He is against it and he says so. On the other hand, while I see little or no difference between Bernie Sanders’ program and anything Ralph Nader proposes, Bernie insists on calling his New Deal program “democratic socialism” – and he joins the Democratic Party to implement it! Why would I trust that? Then there are the Left Gatekeepers who are also untrustworthy. Noam Chomsky writes about workers’ councils between elections then every four years tells us to vote for a Democrat. Cornell West talks about democratic socialism, yet he too, instructs us to vote for a Democrat when push turns to shove.”

  2. In recent times certain EU countries like France want to take off the sanctions from Russia. There’s pressure from a few EU countries to do this (including Germany). Even Japan has signaled that it wants normal relations with Russia. I just know all of this is seriously pissing off US political elites. All this going on when the US has really overstretched it’s military and many around the world are resenting the US influence. Someone like Hillary is so dangerous coming in when all of this is happening 😦

    US is losing it’s grip. And this is a country that has for the pat 200 years by and large done nothing but expand it’s power. I think we live in scary times. If Hillary does something so stupid as attack somewhere on Russian or Chinese soil, we could all be dead before we know what the hell happened.

    She supported Bill Clintons brutal sanctions that killed over half a million children on iraq during the 90s ( ) Bill Clintons secretary of state Madeline Albright mentioning it was “worth it.” madeline Albright, ironically is helping Hilalry Clinton with her campaign.

    Her praising of someone like Henry Kissinger, who dis some really horrible shit in south east asia.

    Her threatening the nuclear option on iranians or naming “iranians” her most hated enemies during a political debate a couple months ago.

    Her not being afraid of antagonizing Russia.

    Her role in the destruction of Libya into a failed stated and laughting at Gaddafi’s horrible fate.

    Her “I support isreal no matter what” stance.

    We live in scary times. And it’s so depressing seeing all these women painting her as a feminist.

      • I don’t want to sound conspiratory, but I wonder what Bill Clinton meant by this recent speech he gave:

        “Because she’s better qualified to be president for this time than I was when I ran, because of the trouble around the world … The world’s in tough shape, and one of the things that could stop us from rising together is a crisis around the world. I want somebody there that doesn’t have to figure it out. I want somebody there that will instinctively know what to do.”

        Maybe it’s nothing. Just seems kinda suspicious to me with all these recent developments are going on. It could be nothing.

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