Opportunity For Leftist Reform

I realize often think about things differently than others. What seems obvious to me doesn’t seem obvious to so many people I might agree with on various issues.

Many liberals fear the Republicans which I find odd because Republicans are weaker right now than they’ve been in my entire life. Many liberals fear Ron Paul, but what they don’t understand is that most Republicans and conservatives in general fear Ron Paul even more. It is people like Ron Paul who are forcing the Republican party to run toward the center, Romney being the most centrist GOP presidential candidate in a long long time. For a half century, Democrats have run toward the center as Republicans ran to the extremes. But now the complete opposite is starting to happen (or that is what I sense, the future will prove me right or wrong).

Why can’t the average liberal see this as the first real opportunity for reform they’ve had in decades? This is the new liberal moment. We should take advantage of it while we can, rather than hold to the center out of fear. What I fear is that a centrist Democratic party will continue to disempower the liberal movement from making real change and instead help to reinforce the status quo alliance between neoliberals and neoconservatives, between big business and big government.

It seems to me that all of the older generations, maybe including GenX as well, are afraid of any and all change at this point. The irony is that by resisting change the negative changes already made become even more difficult to reverse. It seems the only hope we have left in this country is from the younger generation, Millennials, who are the most liberal generation in American history. All the older generations are too afraid to fully challenge the status quo, whether of partisan politics or of corrupt capitalism.

I’m hoping that there will be enough left-leaning GenXers, especially the youngest GenXers, to form an alliance with Millennnials to force change. 2012 will be the first year Millennials will be eligible for running for congress and so this will be the first opportunity to dislodge the divisive Boomer majority since they took power a decade ago. This is an opportunity to be seized if people can just see it and take the chance of seeking real reform of the kind not seen since the Great Depresssion.

There is a class war going on. The demographics most affected by the class war, the young and minorities, are also the demographics most strongly pushing for left-leaning reform. The Tea Party represents the older established demographic that grew up in a prosperous white America during a time when economic inequality was low, economic mobility was high, college and housing was cheap, jobs were high-paying with good benefits, and opportunities were plentiful. This older demographic just wants to cling to the few programs left that benefit themselves while wanting to deny anything that will help anyone else. To put it simply, they are reacting out of fear and so creating a politics of fear where everyone loses.

So, this class war is ultimately a generational and race war. The fastest growing demographics are the young and minorities.

This conflict is even seen within my own generation, GenX. Older GenXers grew up in Reagan’s America when politics and society was dominated by the GOP’s Southern Strategy and anti-communist Cold War rhetoric. Younger GenXers grew up in Clinton’s America during a time when the Cold War had ended, when immigration was at its highest in a century, and when Democrats advocated moderation and the right-wing was offering ugly culture wars and militant violence (terrorist bombings, abortion doctor shootings, etc). It was in the middle of GenX that America hit a turning point.

Young GenXers like me are hardly spring chickens. The very youngest of GenXers are in their thirties while the oldest GenXers are moving toward middle age. Still, the divide is clear in that younger GenXers seem to have more support of such things as the Occupy movement while older GenXers either support the Democratic Party status quo (Obama being on the oldest edge of GenX) or support the Tea Party partisans (Beck and Palin also being first wave GenXers). It’s the older GenXers who are goading the already divisive Boomer majority.

I’m curious how this will play out. From here on in, Boomers will be losing power and they won’t go out easily. Nonetheless, the stupidest and ugliest of older GenXers (such as Beck and Palin) have already lost their popular support which leaves room for younger GenXers to take their place. I’ll be on the lookout for these younger GenXers who will be able to speak to the Millennials who desire real change. It is important to keep in mind that Millennials are the only generation, according to recent data, that has more positive views of socialism than capitalism.

Is Banking Bad?

“A Pew Research Center poll in December found that only 50 percent of Americans reacted positively to the term “capitalism,” while 40 percent reacted negatively. Among Americans ages 18 to 29, more had a negative view of capitalism than a positive view, the survey found. Those young Americans actually viewed socialism more positively than capitalism. In other words, America’s grasping capitalists are turning young Americans into socialists.

“The Financial Times recently published a series about “capitalism in crisis.” It noted that the Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey, found that only 46 percent of Americans had confidence in business to do the right thing (and only 25 percent trusted banks).”

Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor | Pew Social & Demographic Trends

“As a result, in the public’s evaluations of divisions within American society, conflicts between rich and poor now rank ahead of three other potential sources of group tension—between immigrants and the native born; between blacks and whites; and between young and old. Back in 2009, more survey respondents said there were strong conflicts between immigrants and the native born than said the same about the rich and the poor.

“Virtually all major demographic groups now perceive significantly more class conflict than two years ago. However, the survey found that younger adults, women, Democrats and African Americans are somewhat more likely than older people, men, Republicans, whites or Hispanics to say there are strong disagreements between rich and poor.

“While blacks are still more likely than whites see serious class conflicts, the share of whites who hold this view has increased by 22 percentage points, to 65%, since 2009. At the same time, the proportion of blacks (74%) and Hispanics (61%) sharing this judgment has grown by single digits (8 and 6 points, respectively).”

No Hope for Obama’s Change

Has Obama changed the way politics is done in Washington?

I don’t see it. Both parties are working together for the interests of corporations and the wealthy elite… which is what always happens in Washington politics.

Change? Like was brought up in this discussion, two main issues of Obama’s campaign were the wars and Bush’s tax cuts. He has compromised on both. Everything the American public wants (ending tax cuts, public option, etc), Obama just gives away without a fight.

The bow tie guy said there is nothing wrong with business as usual. That might be fine if Obama didn’t campaign on fighting against business as usual. Obama has continued most of what Bush started: both wars, tax cuts, Patriot Act, etc. Obama refused to push for investigations of war crimes or illegal activities during the previous administration. Obama’s great success is passing a healthcare reform that helps health insurance company more than anyone else.

I saw early on the problems with Obama’s attitude of compromise. There was one issue that bothered me, but most people probably never even noticed. There was plans for the Dalai Lama to visit with Obama which has happened with all recent presidents. Obama refused to see the Dalai Lama (who is the greatest human rights leader in the world) right away in order to compromise with the oppressive Chinese govt. No president (including Bush) has ever refused to see the Dalai Lama.

It’s not that Obama hasn’t accomplished anything (see: What The Fuck Has Obama Done So Far). It’s just that he has compromised on his core principles… or at least what he pretended were his core principles. When does compromise become capitulation? And when does capitulation become collusion? Either he is a spineless coward or a corporate whore… which would just mean that, either way, he is just like any other professional politician. Business as usual indeed.

Compromise, eh? And what did Obama get in return?

So, compromise means the other side gets everything they like and nothing they don’t like. Sounds like a sweet deal. I wonder if Obama will ever consider compromising with Democrats.

Survey: Young Voters – Obama Hasn’t Changed Much

This is interesting. Millennials are the largest generation ever born in the US and in the next couple of decades they’re going to dominate society and politics. They’re very liberal and apparently more liberal than even Obama. The Tea Party protesters and other rightwingers think that Obama is a socialist or communist. Well, they’re going to be in for a big surprise when the Millennials come into power.

So, Millennials voted Obama and the Democrats into power, but now they’re thinking twice. These young voters are leaving the Democrat party (although they’re still largely Democrat), but they aren’t shifting to the Republican party. They’re instead identifying as Independents which have always been the where the swing voters reside. Having voted for Obama’s progressive message of hope and change, they’re not likely to embrace the conservative brand. These young voters are going to force the Democrat party to become truly progressive or else they have the numbers to simply force progressivism onto society through other means. They’re a very socially active group who believe in volunteering and so I’d say they’re going to take Obama’s message and make it a reality to the best of their ability.

Despite my GenX cynicism, I support their optimism.