Friday, August 29, 2008
THE TIME IS NOW!
We have endured eight long years of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and a right-wing stranglehold. Eight years of failed policies, failed posturing, and failed peace-keeping. Eight years of corrupt partisanship, enacted to serve only those in power. Tax cuts for the rich and zero relief for the poor. Tax breaks for companies that outsource American jobs and zero reward for companies that stay at home. A healthcare system that shuts people out, plays by a shifting set of rules, and discriminates against those who need good care the most. A self-serving foreign policy that has completely abandoned vital American diplomacy and strong strategic intelligence. A unilateral occupation entered under false pretenses that has alienated the United States from nearly all of its once-strong partners and allies. A stubborn, greed-fueled reliance on foreign oil that has ushered in the arrival of $4 gas prices...and even higher than that in certain areas. An environmental policy that has ignored the environment and thus worsened our global climate. Eight years of neo-conservative leadership...and we have indelibly worsened the state of our country and its citizens.
It's been a long way down during these eight long years. But finally we are transitioning into a new era of American history. We are nearing the time when the atrocities of Bush 43 will be considered past-tense. We are leaving "then" and entering "now." The primary season we all experienced--some would say endured--in the past months was pristinely indicative of the move toward "now." As grueling and difficult as the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was, there we all stood, at the doorstep of the future, the gateway to progress, the precipice of history. After years of white male dominance, the two top contenders for a major presidential nomination were a woman and a black man.The uprising began, and after months of hard-fought struggle, a winner was finally declared. Three days ago, the woman who didn't quite make it stood up and spoke out to the masses, all of those whose passion was ignited by this exciting moment in American history. She stood up to say that we must not forget where we are and where we need to be. She told us to put any shred of enmity behind us and to unite behind the tidal wave of change. She exhorted us all to fight for this moment--our moment, our NOW--and never look back, not even when we think the job is "done," for it never truly is.
In this moment, as we stand on the brink of taking back our world, it is more important than ever to do every single thing we can to usher change into Washington, into the White House, into Congress, and into our lives. There is not a moment to spare. This is our Now.
Of course, if this was an easy task, there would be no reason to fight. But the resurgence of pride, the revolution of humanity, and yes, the audacity of hope, are movements that will chafe against the brick wall of apathy, the barricade of the status quo, the all-consuming evil of regression. There are enemies in this battle to take back our country, and they will not let up until their antiquated ideas for an evolving world become even more widespread than they already have.
John McCain is running on the image of a "straight-talker," a "Maverick" politician who understands the wisdom of bipartisanship. But McCain's image, much like his policies, are rooted firmly in the past. After falling victim to the upstart insurgency of Rovian political machinations in the 2000 Republican primary, McCain opted not to work at beating the sinister forces of neo-conservative fear and smears, but to join them. For the last eight years, the Senator from Arizona has made it his mission to pander so completely to the far reaches of the right-wing that his reliable "Maverick" moniker was no longer appropriate. Indeed, it was no longer recognizable. Stating broadly that McCain has voted with the Bush administration 90% of the time is damning, but it is vaguely damning. Stating more clearly that McCain not only voted for the Iraq war, but continues to support it to this day is more specifically what our people need to hear. Stating clearly that McCain does not support a woman's right to choose and does not believe that women should get equal pay for equal work is what our people need to hear. Stating clearly that McCain thinks the economy is moving in the right direction, that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans need to be made permanent, and that the working class poor are not suffering under the current system is what our people need to hear. Stating clearly that McCain's solution to solving the issue of sky-rocketing gas prices is to drill off-shore, kill the environment, and hope for the best is what our people need to hear. Stating clearly that McCain wants to privatize Social Security, thereby demolishing the longest-standing and most effective and celebrated social program in our nation's history, is what our people need to hear. Stating clearly that McCain does not wish to reform a health care system that has left the sick, injured, and dying without proper care and with no way out is what our people need to hear.
These are not the policies of an independent soul. These are not the plans of one who wants to work with the opposition. These are not the promises of a Straight-Talking Maverick. No--these are the wrong-headed and dangerous ideologies of a brainwashed, power-hungry politician. He is pandering to the innocent people who were duped by Karl Rove and George W. Bush, and now he wants to dupe us, too.
Now, after a four-day celebration at the Democratic National Convention where those with the passion to change this country united to nominate Barack Obama and Joe Biden as the candidates who will lead us into the future, the enemy has countered with their own news: John McCain has selected a running mate, and that running mate is Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska.
When word came that Palin was McCain's selection, I was wary of what it meant. It seemed like a savvy move, one that would work in McCain's favor moreso than in Obama's. For months now, there has been speculation--mild though it may have been--that Palin was a strong dark horse candidate, one who could sway some of Hillary Clinton's former supporters by virtue of the fact that, aside from seeing a woman on a major ticket, they would also respond to Palin's alleged independent record. I was worried.
But I am not worried anymore.
Now, instead of worried, I am engaged in this election in a way I hadn't been heretofore. My passion has been ignited in a way it hasn't been since the heart of the primary season.
We have a real opportunity here. The selection of Sarah Palin is very revealing, indeed: it was orchestrated to reinforce the Illusion of the Maverick, since in the lead-up to this announcement, everyone from Republican strategists to CNN anchors were touting her "dedication to fighting corruption" and "record of bucking the system."
But that just underscores simultaneously the sneaky tactics of the neo-cons and the fact that no one knows ANYTHING about who Sarah Palin really is. In point of fact, Palin is far from centrist--she embodies the heart of hardcore conservatism.
McCain and Co. want us to believe--and want independents to believe, and certainly want former Hillary Clinton supporters to believe--that Sarah Palin is the voice of common Americans, the voice of bipartisan judgment. But when your VP candidate is anti-choice, anti-women's rights, anti-environment and, alternatively, is pro-gun, pro-war, pro-tax cuts for the rich...she is following in lock-step with the far right base of religious conservatives. She is helping DEFINE the far right base of religious conservatives.
You can't be a system-bucking maverick and a staunch social conservative at the same time. This idea of Palin as Independent was completely and utterly manufactured out of thin air. The idea of McCain as Maverick may have turned into a fantasy the last eight years, but the idea of Palin as Maverick is worse than a fantasy--it's an outright fabrication.
This is the contradiction that Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and all loyal Democrats, liberals, and progressives should be pouncing on in the days, weeks, and months to come. Hell, they should be pouncing on it in the seconds, minutes, and hours to come. There is not a moment to spare. The time is NOW.
The time is NOW to put an end to the corruption in our government. The time is NOW to reverse these policies and programs that have set our country so far behind in every area, from the economy to foreign relations to health care to women's rights to gay rights to education. The time is NOW to speak out against those who want to continue derailing the potential of our government and the hard work of our citizens, and to speak out for those who want to help us set this nation right once again. The time is NOW to get out there and knock on every door, make every phone call, and donate any penny of spare change we may be lucky enough to have and afford--no matter how little that may be. The time is NOW to do what we can to help this country fulfill the greatness of its promise.
We cannot let our country down. This is our time. This is our Now.