Every time Obama announces a new team member, I feel like I am reading the Onion. My hand flies to my forehead, creating a hollow thumping noise and a big purple spot on my forehead. I face-palm so much that I’m scaring my wife. I knew we were in trouble when Obama selected Rahm Emmanuel to be his chief of staff. Most of the other names proposed for cabinet posts are as bad as, or worse than, Emmanuel. Some of the contenders should not be washing White House toilets. Let’s take a look at some of Obama’s first draft picks.
Chief of Staff
A long time political consultant and lobbyist, Emanuel was known as Clinton’s hatchet man. Emanuel worked tirelessly to force Congress to accept NAFTA. Emanuel was also the power behind the Welfare Reform Act, which sent thousands of displaced workers into homelessness. Emanuel spent so much time in Newt Gingrich’s office during the Welfare Reform hearings that people were wondering who he worked for, Clinton or Gingrich.
National Security Advisor
Another veteran of Bill Clinton’s disastrous eight years in the White House, Rice is a name that I cannot hear without feeling my skin crawl. Unlike Condi, who was a full time professor, Susan is a former political consultant and lobbyist,a position she holds in common with most of Bill Clinton’s staff. Rice is African American, yet she is a stout opponent of affirmative action. I cannot see her sympathizing with oppressed Arabs. In fact, as Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State, Rice was behind many of Clinton’s blunders that led to the death and misery in Somalia.
Head of Homeland Security
In keeping with the neocon scapegoating of undocumented workers, Arizona’s Governor Janet Napolitano is up for Homeland Security Czar. Napolitano has a long history of cooperating with Bush by blaming everything on the Mexicans. My question is: if Obama represents change, why the hell hasn’t he eliminated Homeland Security-Bush’s Brownshirts?
Head of CIA
John Brennan is responsible for the torture of political prisoners in both Gitmo and Iraq. Why doesn’t Obama just bring Hermann Goering back to life and make him the head of the CIA? John Brennan is a war criminal who belongs in jail. Obama’s choice of Brennan is proof that Obama is only going to change the political rhetoric while maintaining the same neoconservative policies supported by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Secretary of State
No matter how you slice it, this is a blatant conflict of interest. Senator Clinton was the original counsel for Wal-Mart and a long term member of of Wal-Mart’s board of directors. Wal-Mart made a name for itself by selling under priced Chinese imports to drive the competition out of business. I cannot believe that Obama would put the Senator from Wal-Mart in a position where she could do even more favors for Wal-Mart and China. Putting Clinton in charge of Health Education and Welfare is like putting a fox in charge of a hen house. Her husband turned Medicaid into welfare for the HMOs. Bill Clinton did more damage to public education than both Bushes and Reagan put together, and Bill Clinton joined with Newt Gingrich to destroy the social safety net. I can only imagine the damage his wife could do as head of HEW.
Alternate Choice for Secretary of State
Lugar is living proof that good people can be found amongst the Republicans as well as the Democrats, and are equally as rare. Despite supporting corporate welfare, Lugar has worked hard to end nuclear proliferation. This is an interest he shares with Obama. Making Lugar Secretary of State will put a peacemaker in the cabinet while sparing the American population from still another “fiscal conservative”. It is unlikely that Lugar will get the post. Lockheed would not tolerate him, and Lugar doesn’t want the job.
For those of you who actually expected change in the national financial picture, your hopes have been dashed to the rocks with the selection of Timothy Geithner to the secretary of the Treasury. Geithner prevented the Europeans from taking over American financial institutions by masterminding the bail-out. Geithner also convinced Congress to bail-out AIG, despite AIG’s blatantly criminal actions.
In selecting this war criminal for Secretary of Defense, Obama killed what little credibility he had with me. Robert Gates should be wearing international orange and scrubbing out prison toilets. He should not remain in the position he so badly mishandled for Bush.
Those of you who were hoping that the Obama Administration would see a change in the federal marijuana policy are in for a big disappointment. Not only is Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel a big proponent of the drug war, but attorney general-to-be Eric Holder is also a big hawk when it comes to the war on drugs. So that’s another Obama myth up in smoke. Holder is such a loyal Clinton insider that his wife is Mrs. Emmanuel’s obstetrician. Eric Holder was also assistant to Janet Reno. We can depend on a continuation of the neocon Justice department. By the way, Holder was one of the Clinton team who helped Enron get away with murder
Well that’s it, folks, Obama’s Legion of Doom. This is the team that will be leading us further down the road to hell as more people become homeless and more billionaires enjoy even more corporate profits. Meanwhile the nation will continue to fall apart around our ears. I have not named all the cabinet posts for lack of time. I will look at the rest of them in later posts. We can only hope that the Senate will turn down some of these neocon criminals. Alas, hope has become a bad word around me. Every time somebody says hope, I face-palm.
The other night, I dreamed died and went to hell. Since I had accepted an executive position, Satan himself was showing me around the place. We came to an endless lake of fire where millions of naked men and women were screaming out their agony as imps with pitchforks were doing what imps with pitchforks are said to do. Overhead was the gaudiest and most enormous disco ball in the entire universe. On tiered balconies, same sex couples were dancing up a storm to the strains of the Village People. Every now and then a group of gays and lesbians came to the railing and poured a bucket of coal into the lake of fire. The flames would shoot up to the cheers of the partiers. A whistle would sound and the DJ started up the music again.
“This is Mormon hell,” Satan explained. “It’s our most profitable operation. Mormons suffer the usual tortures reserved for liars, but they have the added anguish of getting to watch the people whose Constitutional rights were denied due to the Mormons running a misleading campaign against same-sex marriages. Gays and Lesbians are consoled for losing their rights by being able to come down here and party in front of the Mormons. We charge them ten bucks a bucket for the coal. It’s all profit and no overhead.”
I woke up in a cold sweat and with a clear idea of what has to be done. We must save the Mormons from the torments that wait for them in the afterlife. Considering the number of Commandments the Mormons broke in preventing same sex marriages, I really doubt they have much hope in getting into heaven. Their only hope is to have their souls consecrated to Satan. As the Mormons dwell under the delusion that they are doing God’s work by denying their fellow citizens their civil rights, it is unlikely that they will consecrate themselves into hell’s service while they are still alive. The only chance they have to escape the eternal torment waiting for them, is if we take the initiative and posthumously consecrate their souls to Satan. Every Mormon soul that we consecrate to eternal darkness shall be taken out of the lake of fire and shall be placed on the right side of the Dark One Himself.
It is our sacred duty to study the genealogical records and find every endangered soul who has died in the Mormon faith. Then somebody must stand in as proxy for the poor Mormon soul screaming in the lake of fire. The proxy, acting as the Mormon being admitted into the legions of Satan, shall denounce the Mormon faith. He will then symbolically divest the Mormon of his magic underwear while desecrating the Book of Mormon. The proxy will then, in the Mormon’s name, swear eternal loyalty to the Lord of Hell. The ceremony will end in a good old fashioned Black Mass.
Should the Mormons object to this, we will simply point out that the Mormons have been doing the same thing for years. They baptize dead Jews into the Mormon faith. They posthumously baptize Holocaust victims. They even had the balls to posthumously baptize Simon Wiesenthal and Anne Frank. It’s bad enough that these lunatics knock on people’s door with their religious idiocy. Now they are harassing people in the grave. It’s not only Holocaust victims getting posthumously baptized. Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, and Groucho Marx have all had the dubious honor of being welcomed into Mormon heaven. The Mormons argue that the souls of the deceased have the right to refuse the baptism. Well, the souls of the dead Mormons have the right to refuse service to the Lord of Hell and remain in the lake of fire with gays pouring coal down on their heads.
Fair is fair. The Mormons signed an agreement to stop the posthumous baptisms and to remove the names of Holocaust victims and other Jews from the Mormon membership lists. The Mormons immediately refused to honor the agreement, stating that posthumous baptism is one of their fundamental beliefs. Well, guys, the First Amendment protects us, too. Consecrating the souls of dead Mormons to hell is one of my fundamental beliefs. I’m doing the first posthumous consecration at the next full moon, and I’m standing as proxy for Brigham Young. Don’t worry, though. Brigham has the right to refuse the consecration.
I am surprised and appalled at the media pundits who are blaming African Americans for the passing of Proposition 8. I simply cannot believe some of the crap that I am reading. It seems to me that all the blame for 8’s success is being laid at the feet of the African American voter and nobody is blaming the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church joined with the Catholics and the Pentecostals in a Commandment-breaking smear campaign that was all lies, half-truths and fear-mongering. The Proposition 8 initiative was a symptom of some very sick minds who were acting out their own sexual paranoia. I think the funniest accusation was the one that stated all churches would be required to perform Gay weddings. That sounds like the block-busting ruse of the Seventies. Home owners were afraid that if one Black family moved into the neighborhood more Black families would move into the neighborhood and property values would drop. Are Mormons afraid that if one Gay couple gets married in their church, more Gay couples would get married in their Church, and the Book of Mormon would lose it’s value? What makes these jackasses think that a Gay couple would want to be married in a Mormon church? Besides, the law allows for ministers to refuse to perform a marriage for any reason. The sickest accusation was the forced sex ed for kindergarteners. What kind of demented minds think up this crap?
Speaking of crap, that leads us right back to accusing African Americans of 8’s so-called victory. I think that shows a tremendous amount of cowardice on the parts of the so-called liberal pundits. The Mormons are more than just a church, they are a major economic force with financial and voting interests in newspapers, radio, and television. If a reporter messes with the Mormons he risks his job. The Mormons are not above blacklisting reporters and commentators who stand up to them. So it is simply easier and safer to pick on African Americans, who are still relatively disenfranchised in this society. Also remember that we now have an African American president-elect. I would not put it past the Mormon Church to start a divide and conquer campaign over the gay marriage issue. It would certainly fit into the Mormon racist agenda to have the left in a race battle over Proposition 8, instead of concentrating on the actual malefactors in this debacle.
Mormons were not the only ones behind the campaign of lies for Proposition 8. The Catholics and the Pentecostals joined in with the Mormons in breaking the Commandment against bearing false witness. There is some comfort in the thought that these hypocrites are going to hell for pushing 8 through. After all the lies that were spread by these churches, it’s a wonder that their angry and jealous God hadn’t destroyed Rome and Salt Lake City like he did with Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s almost heartening to see two churches like the Mormon and the Catholic getting along so well. Both Churches have accused each other of heresy, apostasy, and halitosis for decades, but they managed to close ranks and behave like long lost brothers when it comes to denying a minority their civil rights. Then the Pentecostals come along and join with the Catholics and the Mormons just as if all three have gotten along for years. It seems that religious differences takes a back seat to the true purpose of the Christianoid Churches, which is to maintain their political power at any cost.
The doughty followers of Joseph Smith have been the backbone of the religious movement to send America back to the 19th Century. Pat Robertson and the Catholic Church would have not been able to do the social damage they have accomplished if they did not have the Mormon financial empire behind them. Mormons have spent billions of dollars in campaigns against women’s rights, teaching science in the classrooms, and most recently in pushing through Proposition 8 in California. The Mormons spent over 20 million dollars in influencing an election in California, and they blatantly broke election laws to do it. They organized phone banks in Utah and Nevada and sent bulk mail from Salt Lake City to push through a Proposition in California. That is as illegal as registering dead people to vote. Most aggravating of all, some of our religious initiative money went to fund this, and the Mormon Church still enjoys federal and state tax-free status.
Needless to say, interfering in the electoral process is a direct violation of the current tax codes. Jerry Falwell and his Old Time Gospel Hour lost their tax free status for pulling the same dirty tricks that the Mormons pulled during the 8 campaign. So why do the Mormons still enjoy their tax free status? For that matter, why do the Catholics or the Pentecostals? It seems to me that if Churches want to participate in the electoral process and impose their degraded superstitions on the rest of us, then they should be required to pay taxes just like everybody else. They play, they pay. I think that’s only fair.
Whenever I state that health care and housing are human rights, I get one of three answers. The least used answer is that health care and housing do not belong in the public sector, and that nationalizing them will lead to big government. Somehow this all ties in with the war on drugs, but nobody has clearly told me how national health and housing leads to violence in Bolivia. Another answer I get is that national health and housing are socialism and a threat to the Constitution and the Capitalist way of life. Most people simply object to the expense. My reply to all three answers is that medical care and housing are considered to be human rights in Europe. Then I ask the question nobody seems to be able to answer. Why do people in Europe have more rights than people in the U.S?
The American voters drank the Reagan Kool Aid, that getting rid of government will safe guard our Constitutional rights. Many people continue to believe this despite the evidence. Deregulation does not guarantee our rights. The more government we get rid of, the stronger grip Wall St. has on us. The American government was not meant to be a rubber stamp for EXXON and Halliburton. The American government was meant as a limit between human beings and soulless corporations. Without government, the corporations can do anything they want with us, and they don’t have to worry about consequences.
Our Constitution was meant to be an instrument of the will of the people, and that is why the Founders built change into the Constitution. Capitalism is not a part of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers extolled the virtues of Capitalism. Jefferson and Jay did not have everything their own way. Regulations protecting the individual from corporations were written into the Constitution despite the Federalist Papers. We also have a series of amendments so that the Constitution can change with the times. As conditions change to make a strict adherence to capitalism nothing more than a religious affectation, the Constitution will still be just as strong as we evolve into a more practical and humane economic system. Our civil rights will be just as strong and maybe stronger, for having a government that will support the limits between government and corporations.
The people who do not want the expense of government are really the people who drank the Kool Aid. Freedom is not a free ride. There is a monetary expense in protecting and expanding our freedom. People in Europe have a strong social safety net. They have national health. They have housing. Those who work get a mandatory month’s vacation. Why, they even have the disposable income to go to other countries for their vacations. Did you ever stop to wonder why people in Europe have the disposable income to go on vacation when most families in the U.S do not? They have higher taxes, but they have much less out of pocket expenses. Their rent is subsidized. Their health care is through their taxes. Their electric bills are though their taxes. Public transportation is subsidized. The average American pays more in out of pocket bills than a European pays through taxes. This does not mean that everything is perfect and there are no slums, but it does mean a much lower crime rate. It means that everybody has a roof over their heads. It means that not everybody has private hospital rooms, but everybody has a minimum standard of health care.
We, the people of the United States, have nothing to lose and everything to gain if we restore our government. We will have to wrest the government out of the hands of the corporations. The only people who would suffer from that would be the criminals who just stole 700 billion dollars from the American people. They would be forced to obey the law and pay their fair share of taxes for the first time in decades. No, it will not be easy to force them to pay their share, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Ask the early heroes of the unions. We can do it if we put our minds to it.
I cannot for the life of me figure out how Guy Fawkes became a symbol of revolution. I see all these anarchist types wandering around with their V masks, and I wonder if they even know who Guy Fawkes really is? It baffles me why a reactionary like Fawkes has been so heartily adopted by the American left. Why did the main character of V for Vendetta wear a V mask rather than a Che mask, or a Lenin mask, or even an Abbie Hoffman mask? Why Guy Fawkes, for the love of heaven?
The Gun Powder Plot was not, in any reasonable sense of the word, revolutionary. It was counter revolutionary in the strictest interpretation. The English Reformation was a social revolution that freed Britain from Papal tyranny. Under Queen Elizabeth I, the old Norman aristocracy lost their influence in favor of the new merchant class. Guy Fawkes himself was the son of an upwardly mobile middle class Protestant family. His father was a minor official in the Church of England, and his mother was the daughter of a dry goods merchant. Fawkes’s conversion to Catholicism may have stemmed from teen rebellion.
Guy Fawkes and his fellow Gunpowder Plotters wanted to destroy the new Church of England and return England to Papal control. How can this possibly be seen as revolutionary? Despite popular belief, Guy Fawkes was not the ringleader. That dubious honor went to a hereditary Catholic by the name of Robert Catesby. The Gunpowder Plot could have been thought up by Sir Edmund Blackadder. The conspirators rented a house next to the Winchester Complex, planning to mine beneath the House of Lords, pack it with gunpowder and blow it up during Parliament’s opening session. That way they could get King James, most of his court and family, and all the influential Protestant nobles. The opening of Parliament was delayed three times on account of the Black Plague, yet the tunnel was still not completed. So they rented the cellar beneath the House of Lords and stocked that with gunpowder instead.
If Robert Catesby was Blackadder, then Guy Fawkes was Baldric. Even though Fawkes knew that the plot had been revealed by a Catholic nobleman who was appalled at the plot, he tried to go through with it anyway. The guards were looking for him. They caught him in the cellar with 32 kegs of gunpowder and with fuses and matches in his pocket. He still tried to lie his way out of it. He was taken to the Tower of London and tortured while his buddies epically failed at getting away.
That was the historic Guy Fawkes. He was not the great defender of freedom as portrayed in V for Vendetta. He was an expendable flunky in a hare-brained plot to stop the wheels of progress and to return England to the “good old days” of Papal domination. The only advantage to that would have been to the Catholic nobles such as Robert Catesby, who wanted their old power and influence back. Fawkes himself became a figure of ridicule amongst the British, as shown by this rhyme.
- Remember, remember the fifth of November
- It’s Gunpowder Plot, we never forgot
- Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your purse
- A ha’penny or a penny will do you no harm
- Who’s that knocking at the window?
- Who’s that knocking at the door?
- It’s little Mary Ann with a candle in her hand
- And she’s going down the cellar for some coal
Guy Fawkes became identified with the Anarchist movement in the early 20th Century. British Anarchists put up posters with the modern stylized sketch of Fawkes, declaring that Guy Fawkes was the only man to enter Parliament with honest intent. This was, of course, using Guy Fawkes as a figure of ridicule. It was meant as a sort of black joke. Somebody lacking a sense of humor started taking the joke seriously, and the next thing we knew, we had V for Vendetta, and kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks in honor of a man who was trying to put Britain back under Papal control.
- The irony is that these kids in their Guy Fawkes masks are pretty well accomplishing what Fawkes set out to do. They want to destroy government control without replacing the structures that have been destroyed. In this they actually share the same goals as their neocon opponents. The result is that money rushes in to fill the vacuum left by the lost structures. The more government is torn down, the more control falls into the hands of those who have the most money. This has been going on for twenty eight years and nobody has yet figured out that our loss of civil liberties is equal to the amount of government regulations that have been eliminated. The American left has not figured out that tearing down the government is a bad idea which will accomplish the opposite of what we want. The bad guy in V for Vendetta said at the people need to realize that the people need the government. This is very true. A dear friend of mine, who is a big V for Vendetta fan, adds that the government needs the people’s consent in order to govern. This is equally true. Government and the people exist in a symbiotic relationship. When that symbiosis fall out of balance, disasters like the present economic melt down occurs.
- This leads us to the present cult of the Constitution. America has become as conservative as the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. The American left has not yet realized that by trying to return us to the original Constitution, they want to return us to the times when only property owners were citizens and could vote. Women were chattel, and African Americans were bought and sold like cattle. America has grown beyond those times, and trying to return us to them is only going to place Wall St. in charge of our lives. Looking backwards, even to the days of the American Revolution, is as reactionary as the Gunpowder Plot. There is also the truth that it is easier to destroy what we have in a vain attempt to make the clock move backwards, than it is to build. The more we destroy the government, the more of our civil liberties fall into the hands of Wall St. The only logical step is to rebuild the Government into what we want it to be.
- This is perfectly Constitutional. The Constitution was never meant to be Holy writ, nor is it a mortal sin to change and revise it. The writers of the Constitution knew fully well that the world changes. They wrote the Constitution in order to deal with the changing conditions of their own time. They knew the world would continue to change, and built structures of change right into the Constitution. Hence the constitution was changed to allow all economic classes to vote. In 1971, Richard M. Nixon signed an amendment that changed the voting age from 21 to 18. Women won the vote in the early 20th Century. African Americans were freed by a Constitutional amendment. We have all the tools we need to change the government back into what we want it to be. All we need now is a plan.
- Planning is the difference between revolutionaries like Jefferson and Burr and morons like Catesby and Fawkes. Rather than have some vague idea about returning the country to what Tom Jefferson wanted, we need a clear idea of what we want and need as a nation. There were many movements which had clear and precise goals as to what they wanted the government to be. The Labor movement, the Suffragist movement, and the Civil Rights movement are three clear examples of revolutionary movements that have changed the nation. Despite the best efforts of the neocons and their religious lapdogs, we still enjoy many of the benefits we gained from those movements.
- Remember that the Constitution was written to be an instrument of the will of the people and not chains to bind us to a past age. Trying to return the Constitution to the days of the founders is like Guy Fawkes trying to return England to the tyranny of the Pope. It simply cannot be done. Maybe Guy Fawkes is really the appropriate symbol for the 21st Century American left, as they lead us to the future with their asses firmly in front of them.
- A penny loaf to feed the Pope
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
Hip hip hoorah!
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A fagot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
It’s called the bait and switch. It’s the most effective con game ever created. The conman offers to sell something bright and shiny to the mark. When the mark looks at what he bought, he sees that it’s not a bright and shiny as he thinks. The conman made it look better than it was. The old bait and switch works best with intangibles. If a mark buys a watch and it turns out to be a piece of crap, the mark can go to the police. He can identify the conman in a line-up, or get his friends together to beat the hell out of the conman. You can’t do that with ideas. Ideas are intangible. That’s why the bait and switch works so well in politics. The mark put all his money and his energy into a dream, and the mark isn’t willing to let his dream go. The mark will even make excuses for the con. Bill Clinton campaigned by promising the public a national health plan. To this day there are people who will not admit that Clinton conned them. The idea is so bright and shiny that they cannot even admit to themselves that the guy who promised it to them was lying.
Barack Obama has promised America something even brighter and shinier than a national health plan. Obama has promised us hope, and hope is the most intangible idea of all. Like the song asks, did you ever have a hope sandwich? That’s when you have two slices of bread and you hope that you get some meat. We have our two pieces of bread, where’s the meat? When are the troops coming home? When are we going to get our national health plan? When is Wall St. going to be held accountable for its crimes? So far, Mr. Obama has not given us any definite answers to those questions. He has been elected because we hope he will give us acceptable answers to those questions. I voted for Nader because Obama did not answer those questions.
Obama has not given any satisfactory answers to those questions, but the American voters continue to hope. They assume that Obama will improve health care even though Obama has put his health care plan on the table, and it sucks. Obama has made quite a lot of talk about the economy, but he has not mentioned the fact that the SEC and the FTC as well as the Treasury service have been underfunded to the point where they cannot do their jobs. Wall St. commits major crimes on a daily basis. Will Obama put a stop to it?
What we can expect is more hope. Barack Obama is a fantastic orator. Were he a life insurance agent, he would have a place at the million dollar round table. The man is that convincing. I can just see Obama telling us that we have to keep the troops in the Middle East to protect the victims of our own invasion. We will all still hope that the troops will come home soon. While Obama plans to throw billions of dollars to his supporters in the health care industries, we will continue to hope that the HMOs choose to treat our illnesses. By the same token we can continue to hope that we can keep a house over our heads and hope that our jobs are not shipped to the mysterious East.
Then there are the issues that both Obama and McCain have just mentioned in passing. Obama’s energy plan is utter and complete insanity. Wake up and smell the coffee, folks, the planet is out of cheap crude oil. Gas prices are going to jump higher than a kangaroo with a kink in his tail. Obama wants to build more nuke plants. I was an eye witness to the Three Mile Island disaster. Nuclear reactors are not the answer. Obama is promising us another meltdown. The next one may very well bring us into a “China Syndrome”. The nuclear fuel could melt through the container and make thousands of miles of the United States hostile to all forms of life. Obama does not seem to care about that. Unlike the new solar technologies, nukes will bring tremendous profits to his backers. We already know that profits come before human life. We are just supposed to hope that Obama’s energy policy doesn’t kill us all.
Then there is global warming. We are watching new and stronger hurricanes hitting our eastern coasts. Polar bears are losing their habitats. Entire forests are being decimated by insects because the natural cycles are broken. We continue to hope that Obama will support the ecological regulations needed to keep global warming from getting any worse. At the same time the homeless can keep hoping that somebody will realize that it is not their fault that the jobs have been shipped overseas or that it was not their fault that their mortgages melted down. We do have a lot to hope for. Will Mr. Obama deliver on any of it?
If Bill Clinton is any indication, I doubt it. Clinton joined with Gingrich’s so called second revolution and decimated the social safety net to make sure that displaced workers had nowhere to fall but the streets. If Nancy Pelosi is any indication, I also doubt it. Nancy was George Bush’s number one girl. She voted for everything he asked for. She took impeachment off the table and made sure that Georgie could rape and ruin to his heart’s content without any sort of consequences. I fully expect Obama to act the same way. Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi taught me the futility of hope.
Obama does not deserve a honeymoon period. Yes, it will be a rare pleasure to have a President who can pronounce nuclear, but let us not forget everything that we are hoping for. Let’s not let Obama forget it either. I hope his inauguration is interrupted by major protests. I hope he is flooded by emails and by petitions to end the war. Remember, change is not created by protests alone. We also need boycotts, works outages, strikes, and sit-ins. Johnson did not sign the civil rights bill because it was the right thing to do. That old Texas redneck signed it because there would have been civil war had he not. Don’t let a Black President fool you. Don’t be content to hope. Obama is not going to do anything for any of us unless we make him, just as Dr. King made Johnson sign the Civil Rights Act.
This was the title of one of my favorite essays by Lenin. The title itself is a powerful comment on the human condition. I can imagine early humans taking two steps forward as they left the canopy of the never-ending forest to see the clear blue sky overhead. Then they took one step back because the unfamiliar is frightening. Then they took two more steps forward. Then another step backwards. Eventually the bolder amongst them took three steps forward and one step back. Then four steps forward as the more timid fell behind. Soon the tribe broke up as the bolder went on to explore the savanna and the rest returned to the familiar gloom of the forests.
The more things change the more they stay the same. To this day we still have the explorers and the chickens. The explorers go forward into uncharted territory while the chickens huddle in the familiar as they are determined to fight change at any cost. The problem is that change is the only guarantee in life. The more the chickens fight change and huddle together for warmth and security, the more change happens. Back in the old days, the tribe that stayed in the forest was forced backwards as the forest receded to changing climate. The tribe that went forward founded the modern civilizations. The tribes who stayed in the forests tried to keep civilizations from happening.
Of course this is an oversimplification. Dynamics are rarely black and white. Absolutes do not occur in nature, but two steps forward and one step back describes life as we know it. Take Christianity for instance. I know Christians who are very progressive, yet Christianity as a whole is regressive institution. While Dr. King was leading the civil rights movement, Christianity as an institution was doing everything it could to hold him back. White preachers condemned him outright, or begged him to hold off until society was “ready” to accept African Americans as equals. There were many African American preachers who condemned him as a dangerous radical.
Today there are Christians who welcome gays into their congregations. There are Christians who will support a “separate but equal” condition for gays (“why do they have to call it marriage?”), and Christians who actively discriminate against gays. There are even Christians who will murder gays. Yet there are Christians who deny that there is any correlation between gay rights and Dr. King’s civil rights movement. Oh, how I remember the Southern Crackers who trotted out the Bible to tell us why civil rights were a sin! Gays are facing the same religious resistance today.
The few exceptions do not justify the whole. The fact that there are a few progressive Christians does not justify Christians resenting being classed together with other Christians. Very few progressive Christians do anything to protect their good names from being lumped together with Fred Phelps. Most progressive Christians are not doing anything to stop discrimination in the name of Christ. There are no Christians suing Pat Robertson for hate speech. At the very least I will say that progressive Christians are not active abusers. A very few are making a token attempt to improve their own ranks. The remainder are enablers who are allowing abuse to happen by trusting God to stop it rather than changing their lifestyles and stopping it itself.
Just so Christians don’t feel as if I am picking on them exclusively, I can toss in other religions as well. Walk through San Francisco’s Chinatown and you will see Buddhist Temples as ridiculous and bigoted as anything Pat Robertson could think up. The Islamic countries are famous for their discrimination against people outside of the tribe. Over the last twenty five years I have watched the Pagan movement become more and more like the Christians to the point where the Goddess looks like Jesus in drag (except in one notable instance where she was Joseph Smith in drag, but that’s another story.) My attempts to talk CAW into acknowledging the rapes and sexual assaults that happened amongst them have fallen on deaf ears. That’s the thing about religions, they think they can get away with anything because some make-believe higher power loves them.
I think that Starhawk made a huge mistake when she tried to graft anarchism onto religion. What she created was the social equivalent of a nuclear reactor. What is a nuke plant but a giant steam engine powered by the most unstable energy source on Earth? Religion is as reactionary as a steam engine, and anarchism is certainly a very unstable political system. The two have been in the middle of a meltdown where many branches of Paganism are taking on the most unsavory aspects of mainline religion: arrogance, intolerance, and the Protestant Work Ethic. Any religious movement, no matter how well meaning, eventually becomes a social anchor, and limits the believers to events that happened in the past rather than that which is to come. Be it Paganism or Christianity, religion is the force that makes us take one step backwards for every step forward.