By James Thompson
It’s the opportunism, stupid!
No one will argue that the election results of 2008 are the same as the election results of 2014. Many people in the US, including this writer, were thrilled when an African-American was elected to the Oval Office. It was especially thrilling when Pete Seeger sang “This Land Is Your Land” during inauguration events. Many people were excited because of the candidate’s campaign promising “Change” and “Progress.”
The candidate’s campaign promises to address many progressive issues after the horrors of the Bush administration were like an oasis in a very harsh desert. Promises to close the Guantánamo Bay naval base, provide healthcare for all and provide support for labor unions made us all feel good about the election.
However, progressives quickly noted that the thumping hangover after the inauguration festivities was unusually severe.
Here we are in 2014 and Guantánamo Bay is still alive and well. Legislative proposals for “Medicare for All” initiated by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich were thrown under the bus in favor of a Republican health care plan ironically dubbed “Obamacare.” Many people are noticing that “Obamacare” falls far short of “Healthcare for All.” The “Employee Free Choice Act” was the talk of the town leading up to the 2008 elections. This legislative proposal, if it had been passed, would have strengthened labor unions and would have made it easier to form and join a union. Soon after the 2008 collections, this proposal was unceremoniously thrown under the bus as well.
Many progressives choked back their tears but vowed to support the first African-American President in the history of the United States no matter what.
The opening shots against progressives after the 2008 election was followed by capitulation to and collaboration with the most extreme elements of the right wing political sector. President Obama has distinguished himself by deporting more immigrants than George Bush ever dreamed of. He has ramped up more wars around the globe than George Bush ever dreamed of. He has done this in a disgusting repudiation of his Nobel Peace Prize. He has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined. He has truly been a friend of the corporations and the enemy of working people.
Why is he the enemy of the working people? It’s the opportunism, stupid! Obama’s administration has been focused on attempting to strike deals with the ultra-right wing as he sells working people down the river. The really sad part is that the ultra-right has ridiculed him, and attempted to thwart his efforts to support their causes.
Working people are not stupid. They can recognize opportunism easily since they have had to deal with it for centuries. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is not a new opponent for working people.
So, what did working people do in the 2014 elections? They sat on their hands and did not vote. Voter turnout in Texas was 28%. Only the ugliest Republicans and a few diehard Democrats showed up to vote. This was in stark contrast to the 2008 election.
Why should working people vote for candidates masquerading as progressives who, when in office, outdo the nastiest right wingers in pushing the agenda of the 1%?
The people of the US always want the best of everything. They want the best cars, best houses, best jobs and best sports teams on the planet. In the 2014 elections, they had a choice between two opportunistic parties. They chose the better opportunists of the two, the Republicans. Republicans are, hands down, the best opportunists in the country.
Just think what the people of the US would do if they had a real choice and could vote for a candidate or party of candidates that really fought for their interests.