Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Time to Focus

People that regularly stop by my little corner of the “tubes” know I am pretty passionate about some things. They know that I was a supporter of John Edwards and they know that I have serious concerns about the depth of Barack Obama and his ability to carry the mantle of the Presidency. They probably also know that after Edwards left the race I settled (with not a lot of conviction) on Hillary as potentially the best of what was left.

I was never comfortable with that decision spiritually (for lack of a better word) for it was made intellectually and not from the heart. The reality is that as I look at what is happening in the contest between Obama and Clinton I see a spreading darkness for the future of progressive action. While I haven’t been able to give complete form and wholeness to the vision of the future I see, I can and do see a clear picture of the past and present. It is not a pretty picture.

In October of 2007, John Edwards laid out what he called the "moral test of our generation":

And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" -- the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton's road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington -- and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.

When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.

Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party -- more money than any Republican candidate.

She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.

She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.

The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.

We have a duty -- a duty to end this.

We are, I think, at a point in the life of these United States where we are being presented with the defining moment of our future. When you look out across America and look beyond the plastic and soulless pseudo-reality that the traditional media keep trying to sell us. When you look out across America and into its soul you see an illness and misery that is calling for a cure and relief. The symptoms are clear. You see millions of uninsured facing each day knowing that if they get truly sick that they will be lost. You see millions of families growing increasingly afraid of job security or losing all hope of ever finding a job that will let them live even a modest life. You see millions of children with poor nutrition. You see the millions, of all races, getting cheated out of an even chance by a marginal public education. The symptoms are myriad and touch every sector of our society. We are at the turning point and we need to turn toward the sun.

The Democratic electorate in this country has made its choice and that choice is Barack Obama. The more I dwell upon where we are in this country the more I believe that the soul of America is making itself known in this choice. The soul of America is rejecting the status quo and embracing a new direction. Hillary represents the past and present and Obama represents the future.

If we judge the erosion of what is/was best about our country over the last 20 years we have to admit to ourselves that we have surrendered too much to corporations and they, in turn, have surrendered too much in the quest for profit at any cost. We have stood quietly by and let them send the heart of America to China and India and a hundred other places. We have placidly accepted the cheap and poisonous fruit of this export and even begged for more. Our leaders have done the same and have sold their souls to the moneyed corporatist in the ever growing quest for power and influence. The speed at which this devolution of America has happened tells us that it is quite likely that this election will be the last time we actually have a chance to change the direction of this country. If the corporatist in the guise of McCain or Clinton take the game this fall then we are surely lost save an armed insurrection.

Hillary’s failure to concede her loss and the continuing effort to secure the nomination at all costs is causing a tear in the progressive heart of this country and we cannot afford to be distracted from what is surely the moment of truth for our future. Obama’s message expresses the dream of America for change and recognizes the serious need all Americans have for fairness and an even chance to build a life. While there is no guarantee I believe we need to rally our forces behind Barack Obama and insure, without a doubt, an opportunity to shed the shackles placed upon us by the oppressive leadership we have known for the past few decades.

It is time to focus like a laser on what we have to do to initiate the changes needed. To quote John Edwards, "We have a duty -- a duty to end this."

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