by joe courter
As most of you have gathered, I am a political junkie. It was the Presidential campaign of 1968 that first caught my attention, specifically the Democratic party debate I watched after Robert Kennedy joined the race. I was 17, had already started to question things I was seeing in the world. The news of his assassination devastated me a few weeks later, in him I thought there was hope. And going forward, it’s been a cycle of hopes and horrors. Nixon over Humphrey, and then trouncing McGovern. Yikes. Carter in with hope, then Reagan twice followed by elder Bush … a dozen years of bad news, some obvious then; others revealed as decades have passed. Hope with Bill Clinton, but major disappointments and flat out bizarre-ness in that term, followed by the installation of George W. Bush and the shit-storm that followed. Then, yes, I bought into the hopes again with Obama, but again disappointment and disgust at a ideologically paralyzed government and a President who did little but compromise with the right and conspire with the corporations.
And now; here we are. The Iguana will be at the printer on “Super Tuesday” March 1, so that outcome is unknown, but I am again in hope mode. During the span of the decades run through above, there has not been a major candidate telling the truth and speaking from principle like Bernie Sanders. There is a definite buzz out there and the people with the biggest stake in the election – the ones feeling the pain of debt, lack of opportunity, and a questionable environmental future – the young, are overwhelmingly in his corner. Florida and Ohio will be the major primaries voting on March 15. Early voting here starts March 4.
There is a burgeoning consciousness change out there. Economic inequality is being addressed and challenged. It began in the Obama-Romney race, and the huge impact wealthy donors tried to exert, but it amplified during Occupy, when the 1percent vs 99 percent came to the fore. Unbridled capitalism is being challenged in a big way, special interest groups like the Koch brothers are being exposed. The demonized concept of Socialism is being better understood as, in the words of the Constitution, a way to “Promote the General Welfare.” The police violence against African Americans and their lack of punishment has lead to the powerful new voice embodied in the #blacklivesmatter movement and the Dream Defenders. Young Latin Americans are challenging deportations and harassment. On another front, climate change and environmental degradation have awakened a growing movement of people to the need to address the health of this one planet we all share.
We are witnessing a real challenge to our two political parties. The Democratic Leadership Council has lost control of the D’s, and the coronation of Hillary has had a monkey-wrench thrown in the gears with the Sanders campaign. And the R’s?? They have created their own multi-headed monster and they have no idea what to do next. Meanwhile any third party challenge is squelched by the entrenched two party system (perhaps as big a problem as big money). These are exciting and alarming times. And we need an alarm clock to collectively wake us up.
My take? Feel the Bern, but keep that fire burning. If he is the candidate and elected, he will need a movement to back him up, and change the House and Senate. If Hillary prevails as nominee and wins, we citizens need to be awake and active, and not complacent as we were with Obama (and Bill Clinton). It’ll be awkward, she will need to, at times, feel our support, especially against sexist attacks (true now, by the way), but also our feedback and heat. And if any of the current crop of Repubs are elected? Get ready, ‘cause it’s gonna get crazy. In any case, nap time is over. Brrrrriiiinnnnggg it on. D