Tuesday, January 29, 2008

WE ARE BEING PLAYED FOR FOOLS

"Obama is too intelligent to be stuck on stupid on the gay issue. His 'homophobic mishaps' are calculated moves to win an important voting bloc: black churchgoing homophobic Christians." [See this essay by Rev. Irene Monroe.]

"Fox host highlights 'affectionate' embrace between Bush, openly gay congressman." [See here.]

On my post of January 23rd entitled, "People Are Being Played Like A Fiddle," I discussed how LGBT people have been used as scapegoats for material, psychological, and political gains. Here, I want to make the point that I made before: There's not a dime's worth of difference between "liberal" and "conservative" politicians.

Just as Barney Frank was more than willing to throw our Transgender sisters and brothers under the bus, allegedly so as to give ENDA some chance of passing, even though he and most of us knew that Bush would veto that bill, he is embracing George Bush for the simple reason that he and Bush have far more in common than either he or Bush have with the electorate. In my opinion, there's not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans!

Politicians in this country are ideological only to the extent that they can appeal to their base and to those whom they perceive will give them the most votes to get elected, or re-elected, to office. Ideology has nothing to do with successful politicking in the U.S! Getting votes, and solely getting votes, is the the only ideology successful politicians know and, hence, seemingly disparate politicians like Frank and Bush have far more in common with each other than either of them have with any of us.

Obama demeans Gay people by embracing a Donny McClurkin, and many "liberal" people give him a pass because they say that he really didn't know what McClurkin was going to do or say. This nonsense of not realizing that everything politicians do is well-thought out and orchestrated to achieve their sole goal of getting elected to office, enables politicians on both sides of the aisle to snicker at us and laugh all the way to the bank!

We're being played for fools, and we're suckers to believe that Obama isn't catering to the homophobic voters; that Frank is unreservedly catering to "progressives" who are in favor of full and equal civil rights for ALL people; that Bush really gives a damn about having a Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage; that Romney really cares about limiting the rights of Gay people. Each do and say what they truly believe will get them the votes they need to catapult them into the White House; they don't necessarily believe what they say, nor do they have to believe it, in order to get the votes they need.

And this duplicity, this shell game, works time and time again on the American people! Both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of the status quo, and they seek to maintain the status quo, because they have handsomely profited from the status quo, as witnessed by their being in the position where they are even considered Presidential material. They are wealthy, they have backers, they have lobbyists courting them at every turn of the congressional corridor, and they get perks that neither you nor I can even imagine.

The only two contenders for President, Kucinich and Gravel, didn't have a chance to win, because they stood for something; they articulated the principle of fairness, and they, thereby, wanted to change the status quo by fighting for full and equal civil rights for Gay people. Therefore, their candidacies were doomed before their campaigns even got off the ground. The media, probably their competitors, and the voting public saw to that!

Well before the campaigns even got underway, it was reported that neither of these people of principle had a chance to win. How did anyone know that fact even well before the first Presidential debate? They knew it because that's what the media and other politicians wanted, and that's what they wanted us to think, so that we wouldn't take Kucinich and Gravel seriously as candidates from the very beginning, so that they weren't even out of the starting blocks when the conventional "wisdom" realized that people would be wasting their votes to vote for either of these two principled people.

It seems we don't want principled people to be President or members of Congress! Principled people are dissatisfied with some aspects of the status quo and are courageous enough to say so and do something about leveling the playing field. And most people (erroneously) feel that the status quo is paying off for them. And, to help enable people to think that the status quo is desirable for them, external "enemies" and "threats,"be they Iraqis and/or LGBT people, are constructed by politicians, with the all too willing complicity of most of the mainstream media.

I know the status quo is paying off for the politicians (How many politicians leave the White House or Congress without being multimillionaires?), but it is not paying off for many, if not most, people in this society. Yet most people still have that "false consciousness" that Marx talked about, where they really believe that unprincipled politicians will deliver "the goods" to them, watch their backs, and "make things better," when, in fact, it is in the interest of the politicians to keep things just as they are.

For example, President Harry Truman, in 1947, said that there should be universal health care in this country. We are farther away from realizing that goal than we were at the time he stated it! If Democrats really wanted change that would truly help people as they say they do (and they held the majority in Congress for many years), don't you think that we'd have universal health care by now?

The fact is that incumbent politicians and their families have access to health care that neither you nor I can even dream about. Yet, they don't want the rest of us to have it, largely because we are not really their constituents, but the lobbyists who crawl all over Washington are their real constituents. They listen to the lobbyists; they really don't listen to us, save to get our votes so that they can continue to remain in Washington, or get to Washington, so as to receive the perks that being a career politician affords.

So, when Frank and Bush hug each other; when Obama and Clinton say they are for equal rights (but not for LGBT people, as LGBT people make up only a fraction of the votes they need to win); when Edwards says that his "religion" prohibits him from being in favor of same-sex marriage, "liberals" still more than willingly drink the Kool Aid and think that by voting for a Democrat that this country will become more progressive than by voting for a Republican.

The fact is, in my opinion, it won't matter whether a Democrat or a Republican wins the Presidential election! It wasn't a Republican who got us into the war in Iraq. It was Bush himself! And he would have gotten us into this war even if he had run as a Democrat! His mean-spiritedness (Remember, when he was Governor of Texas, he made fun of Karla Faye Tucker shortly before she was about to be executed.), willfulness, relatively limited intelligence, and seemingly unresolved Oedipus Complex would have held sway regardless of which political party he was affiliated with.

It's true that Obama wouldn't have gotten us into that war! But that would be the case because he, personally, was against it, and not because he is running as a Democrat! He could well be running as a Republican and he would undoubtedly act no differently in this regard than by his being affiliated with the Democratic party. Indeed, should he win the Presidency, I'm not at all confident that we will leave Iraq any time soon, given the military, economic, and political forces at play in our country that has become the greatest debtor nation in the world; with the largest deficit any country has had in history.

For the 1952 Presidential election, Eisenhower, considered a war hero and easily electable, was courted by both the Democratic and Republican parties. He decided to run as a Republican, and handily won the Presidency in 1952. In the U.S. it can safely be said that our political parties are not based on ideology, despite what politicians want us to believe. Rather, political parties can best be seen as groups of people getting together for the sole purpose of getting elected to office. Period!

We have to vote, not for the political party, but for the person! And, looking over the slate of candidates in both parties that are being offered to us, I have no hope that we will leave Iraq in the foreseeable future; that we will have universal health care in the foreseeable future; that the economy will significantly improve in the foreseeable future; that full and equal civil rights will accrue to LGBT people in the foreseeable future.

So, I go into the voting booth, hold my nose, and vote, not being oblivious to the fact that it's not likely to make a dime's worth of difference whether or not a Democrat or a Republican wins the election because politicians in each party are in favor of, and profit from, the status quo, and have far more in common with each other than they do with those of us who elect them, and continue electing them, to office.

Even the office of President of the United States.
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4 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

The American people get exactly what they vote for . . . I truly believe that. And judging by who's been elected to office since 1980, they've gotten what most of them wanted: The status quo, moving a little more right of center all the time. You're absolutely right! Regardless of who wins in November, you won't find me celebrating.

Jerry Maneker said...

I won't be celebrating either, Don Charles. We do get what we deserve, and the tragic fact is that so many people falsely believe that they are profiting from the status quo, and all too many people are bereft of critical thinking skills sufficient to realize the enormous implications of the increasing coarsening and fragmentation of our society. And so many people have a studied indifference to politics as long as they perceive that their own short-term needs are being met. We need visionaries and we come up with crass self-serving politicians; we need statesmen and we are left with political hacks; we need a sense of compassion, and we see so many people relating to divisiveness that the politicians use to their own advantage. You're right! We are getting what we deserve!

genevieve said...

That's why we ned a legit third party. A party that takes NOTHING from corporations or special interests. As for LGBT rights, we need to tell our own stories and work with organizations we believe will work for the people.

Genevieve

Jerry Maneker said...

I agree with you, Genevieve, but the problem as I see it is two fold: 1. The media and the Democratic and Republican leadership are making it virtually impossible for a third party to have a reasonable chance of winning, as the people are told that they are "throwing away" their votes if they vote for a third party, and the people believe it; 2. I am not sure which organizations "will work for the people." I was never impressed with the HRC, for example, and their throwing Transgender people under the bus for political expediency, and thereby further fragmenting the LGBT "community," just shows me how anemic and pathetic they really are.

I still maintain that it will only be grassroots activism that will force the HRC to become more aggressive in agitating for LGBT rights. That grassroots activism can take the forms of such things as writing letters to the editor of newspapers; picketing homophobic churches; going to marriage license bureaus demanding the same right to marry as any other tax paying citizens; speaking out to neighbors and others about the validity of the lives of LGBT people; demanding dignity and full and equal rights that accrue to all other citizens in every venue possible; systematic boycotts of businesses that in any way discriminate against LGBT people, etc.

Without such grassroots activism, I'm afraid that the organizations will merely be moribund bureaucracies that allow careerists to collect quite a bit of money for helping to maintain the status quo.