Posted by doones on November 02, 2000 at 10:54:03:
In Reply to: Thanks for your petition - Naderites are living in a fantasy world posted by Pat Nalley on November 01, 2000 at 15:46:15:
Of course, another possibility is that the fantasy lies in the impression that Gore will somehow defend Democratic values (what are those again?) "working in an environment of compromise and collaboration." One fantasy that even the esteemed Mr. Alterman has commented on (early in the primaries) is the illusion of choice in the current race b/t Gore and Bush.
The "Clinton/Gore haven't done all that they wanted to do for America, but Bush would be a nightmare!" argument seems soft to me. Both candidates are very near the center, because the major parties have figured out that that wins elections. Of the following short list of recrent failures, the majority have to do with money or with some other shortfall in integrity that comes with squatting in the middle:
* Clinton/Gore were unable to do a thing about the continued expansion of the military industrial complex, and proposed a "kinder, gentler" missile defense that still violates the ABM treaty. On top of that, Clinton has watched the armed forces militarize our high schools in the name of education, which sucks funds from band, speech and debate, and other activities that actually educate.
* They failed utterly in finding any way to improve health care (oh, wait, I forgot, that was the Republican Revolution's fault. Oh, sorry, that was largely over in 1995...hmm. Oh well, it must be somebody other than C/G's fault...Ooh, I know! It was the millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions from huge pharmaceutical corps!).
* They royally screwed up the CTBT vote (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, among other periodicals, indicate that Trent Lott was not in fact the center of the universe on this issue).
* They raised money from corporations and then protected those corporations from a broad range of taxes, regulations, and
annoying social norms.
* They just plain shafted the gay and lesbian community, first in terms of AIDS spending, and then over and over in terms of equal rights.
* Clinton did squat for salmon. Ask a state wildlife official, ask a conservationist, ask a commercial or recreational fisherman, ask a power company rep looking to build a dam, ask anyone in the timber industry. Ask anyone you want. Ditto spotted owl and all of his other high profile eco-summit photo ops. The Sierra Club's concern for international environmental degradation is touching, but it's *current* US foreign policy, and their involvement in international development financing, that's hosing the globe. Funny how that's not in the letter. Also, see above regarding the C/G administration's attitude toward the military, which is one of the most significant polluters on the planet.
Bush will be worse? You sure? Everyone understands that Supreme Court appointees have to go through the Senate, right? And everyone groks to the fact that "all we've done for the past 30 years" for whatever issue was done at least half of the time under a Republican president? And that, try as he might, Georgy is going to have a hard time repealing Title IX, or getting the public to swallow any of the other oh-so-scary things from the Alterman article quoted above? Bush cannot pander to the actual right anymore than Gore can pander to the actual left. They will both cozy up to the money. It's that simple.
The Green Party, and Ralph Nader, never imagined that they would win the presidency. Indeed, the whole idea of a grassroots movement is to gain traction from the bottom, and work up. In other words, the "sweeping grassroots victory" is local. Nader's campaign has allowed a number of local candidates in my state and others to make a run for a number of state offices. Equally important, the campaign is likely to gain the Greens federal support in the next cycle. And never before has there actually been discourse, from the left, on a national level about the total lack of integrity in federal decision making. Change happens at the community level, when people take an active role in local decisions and share thoughts. We don't want Nader for "dictator" (that was funny, by the way, considering that Buchannan is in fact on the ballot), we want our democracy back. And I don't think that "splitting" the Democratic Party is the point: the Democratic Party doesn't speak for the people any more than the elephant.
Last but not least, playing the hippie card is just plain stupid. I'm 27. I don't take drugs, and I don't like people who do. My wife and I want to have kids and we want all the things that parents want for their kids. I'm neither a crusty old radical, nor am I utopian (what I think you mean by "purist"). I like how you blame the excesses of hippies and swingers (who weren't, by the way leftists) for the increasing centralization of the party. That's awesome rhetoric. So do skinheads and abortion clinic bombs make guilty Republicans cross over too? The leftists hurt their own cause by not living the values they espoused (witness, eg, the treatment of women in sixties socialist cliques). But I don't think that liberal-baiting was ever as potent a political force as, say, lesbian-baiting. Frank Church, for heaven's sake. (Just to clarify, he wasn't a lesbian, but a liberal ;-)
Rock on! It is good to see people get energized by politics again, no matter where we land. I'd encourage y'all to get commitments from their friends to vote their hearts on the 7th.