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Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:10 PM

Revolution

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
-- John Lennon; Revolution; 1968


Rhetorical Question: “Why should I vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday?”

I have stated several times over the years that I have participated on this forum that I am a Malcolm X Democrat. This is not intended to imply that Minister Malcolm, even in the last year of his life on earth, when he became more involved in politics than the Nation of Islam had previously allowed for, was a registered member of the Democratic Party. He wasn’t. However, his political activity included supporting democratic politicians, such as Adam Clayton Powell; working with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party leaders; and advocating voter registration.

I am a registered member of the Democratic Party. Being a registered Democrat does not prevent me from breaking bread with a wide range of people belonging to the Democratic Left. And the Democratic Left, while having some overlap with the Democratic Party, is distinct.

But what, some may be asking, does all this business about rhetorical questions, and the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Left, and the late “angriest black man in America” have to do with Tuesday’s election contest, which features perhaps the least angry man in the nation versus a pseudo-human corporate entity? Is this merely the nonsensical ramblings of an increasingly out-of-touch, semi-senile, forum fool? Let’s take a closer look.

In Malcolm’s day, his opposition frequently tried to marginalize his voiced opinions by claiming that he engaged in rhetoric. As if rhetoric, per say, is a bad thing. Malcolm would, of course, point out that the word “rhetoric” comes from a word that meant the finest form of teaching. Indeed, Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion” necessary for the rational grasp of political issues. Indeed, rhetoric is -- in its most proper sense -- the method used to teach those who are less well-informed about a given issue, with the goal of motivating them to take the correct action needed.

The Democratic Party of current times includes a wide array of people; these include, from left to right: progressives, liberals, moderates, and conservatives. For the sake of this discussion, and because the intent of the Democratic Underground’s early membership was primarily composed of these two groups, we will consider the progressives and liberals. In using the correct definitions, “liberals” tend to view the imperfect political machinery as in need of fine-tuning, while progressives tend to advocate the major restructuring of that machine. Individuals can, of course, be a blend of these two definitions. A good example might be to consider that, while working specifically for Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was engaged in liberal activity: he was seeking to gain access to the American Dream for black citizens. When by 1967 King had openly tied the horrors of the war in Vietnam to the wide-spread poverty in America that degraded the lives of people of all colors, he was advocating a progressive program to restructure the nation.

When we examine the on-going debates and arguments on this forum, involving good people who fully support President Barack Obama’s re-election, and good people who do not share the same passionate feelings about the President, much of that conflict is rooted in the differences between liberal and progressive outlooks. Is Barack Obama a superior human being than Willard Romney? Yes, of course he is. But has President Obama served in a manner that deserves everyone’s unqualified support? The answer to that may well be different among good and decent individuals who participate on this forum.

I’m a progressive Democrat. Among the many things that I believe requires a deep and wide-spread structural change in this country is the current economic system of “vulture capitalism.” That does not mean that I am opposed to free enterprise. It does mean that I am opposed to the perverse form of corporate socialism, that provides comfort to the opulent rich, by crushing the middle and lower economic classes. Malcolm, by no coincidence, taught that the American economic elite were once a mighty eagle, capable of taking any and every resource it desired from around the globe -- but which had turned into a nasty vulture, that dined upon the poor of this nation.

I advocate the idea of people at the grass roots level transforming our nation into a Constitutional Democracy. This is not romantic yearning of a return to a yesterday that exists only in my imagination. Rather, it is an understanding that the basic concepts of the U.S. Constitution -- including the additions that have been made to it -- tend to be solid. All efforts to rebuild our society should rest upon that foundation.

For many, many years, as documented in Arthur Schlesinger’s important book, “The Imperial Presidency,” the majority of presidents have sought to claim more and more power for their office. They do so primarily by talking about external threats to our safety, and by engaging in warfare (declared or undeclared). Obviously, there has been cooperation lent by either sick or weak members of both parts of Congress, from Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “red scare,” to the recent spinelessness of the passing of the Patriot Act. Both, of course, intended to limit the rights of citizens in this country.

The current focus of the Republican Party, being led by Romney and Paul Ryan, is the further denial of Constitutional Rights to a wider and wider segment of our society. The best illustration I can think of is their intense interest on denying women the right to control their own bodies. It’s not only about abortion: it includes access to birth control and health care. And there are literally hundreds of other issues, all of which overlap. Thus, while I view Barack Obama as an individual who flirted with progressive views as a teenager, and who was employed as a liberal community organizer as a young man, and who now spans the liberal-moderate-conservative parts of the Democratic Party, I recognize that is represents a totally superior option than Mitt Romney. If nothing else, his nominees to the federal courts -- including but not limited to the U.S. Supreme Court -- will keep open the most essential door for providing us with a fighting chance of establishing social justice. A Romney presidency, on the other hand, would slam that door shut.

Peace,
H2O Man

34 replies, 4464 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Revolution (Original post)
H2O Man Nov 2012 OP
Autumn Nov 2012 #1
H2O Man Nov 2012 #19
MichiganVote Nov 2012 #2
H2O Man Nov 2012 #20
MichiganVote Nov 2012 #34
underthematrix Nov 2012 #3
freshwest Nov 2012 #6
H2O Man Nov 2012 #22
Smickey Nov 2012 #4
H2O Man Nov 2012 #23
sabrina 1 Nov 2012 #5
H2O Man Nov 2012 #24
sabrina 1 Nov 2012 #29
Melinda Nov 2012 #7
H2O Man Nov 2012 #25
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #8
H2O Man Nov 2012 #26
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #31
H2O Man Nov 2012 #32
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #33
Gregorian Nov 2012 #9
H2O Man Nov 2012 #30
coeur_de_lion Nov 2012 #10
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #11
heaven05 Nov 2012 #12
L0oniX Nov 2012 #13
me b zola Nov 2012 #14
TomClash Nov 2012 #15
spanone Nov 2012 #16
calimary Nov 2012 #17
H2O Man Nov 2012 #18
raouldukelives Nov 2012 #21
Hatchling Nov 2012 #27
Uncle Joe Nov 2012 #28

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:15 PM

1. As always,well done Sir.

Thank you.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 10:05 AM

19. Thanks, Autumn!

I do appreciate it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:18 PM

2. The republican party views any dissent from the worship of the elite 1% as an attempt

 

to "collectively bargain" for a future that will support anyone but them. And we all know how they feel about collective bargaining.....

This election is small potatoes if all people do is think about a Obama or Romney choice. These serial anti constitution, anti bill of rights bigots want us all working for nothing.

Its time for the wealthy to start taking responsibility for their actions. Its time for them to pay up for the citizenship that they claim to want. I do it. Other do it. THEY can do it. They CAN pay their fair share.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 10:14 AM

20. Right.

Two months ago, when I attended a county Democratic Party meeting, one fellow noted that their local republicans were being "quiet." I warned against mistaking that for their not doing anything. My father used to say that republicans have willingly suspended their right and ability to thnk for themselves -- that the republicans often worked quietly, by having their machine simply call their ranks to instruct them on what votes they would cast. And their machine always gets its "turn out."

I also like your focus on unions. The teachers union has become, according to republicans, Public Enemy #1. That's so wrong.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 06:57 PM

34. Funny how that works. There isn't a teacher I know in Mi (and I know hundreds) who

 

doesn't feel the same way about the Michigan republicans. Hell even the republicans in education hate their party's fucking guts. I kid you not.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:20 PM

3. If you don't vote

you harm all the people you call family, friend or neighbor. If you vote for Mittnocchio, you are voting for HATE, FEAR, Racebating and the 1%. If you vote for President Obama you are voting for equal pay for women, a woman's right to control her body and her healthcare choices, and you are voting for we're all in this together. You are voting for equal protection under the law for all Americans. You are voting for returning troops who need housing, jobs, and other services. You are voting the victims of Sandy. You are voting for equal opportunity for all our citizens. You are voting for our undocumented citizens and their children. You are voting to keep American moving FORWARD.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:36 PM

6. Well stated.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:17 PM

22. Freshwest is right --

very well said!

Democracy means constant struggle. And that requires that we have the courage to fight for our convictions.

It also means that Wednesday is Day #1 of the next round of struggle.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:22 PM

4. Good read. n/t

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Response to Smickey (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:18 PM

23. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:28 PM

5. Very thoughtful post as usual H2O Man.

We need more thinking and less hyperbole, and way, way more emphasis on ISSUES rather than personalities.

Thank you for your refreshing take on the reality of where we are and where we need to be headed.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:22 PM

24. Your post

means a lot to me.

We are in a heck of a struggle in this country .... and indeed, on this planet. We do not have the luxury of petty squabbling. And I include our participation here on DU in that. We aren't going to all agree on every part of every issue, but we face a common enemy that poses a common threat. More, we can actually find greater strength in the fact that we do not all see everything exactly the same.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 01:48 PM

29. Thank you. I don't know if you saw this article on Al Jazeera

about Malcolm X. I thought you might find it interesting:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/11/2012111103312998744.html#disqus_thread

It is true that we do not have time for pettiness of any kind but sadly that is the state of our political discourse. Hopefully that can change

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:36 PM

7. Your ideas have a wonderful written flow. You're always a good read, H2O man.

You are an old soul, a very wise old soul.

While I am and shall always remain a strong liberal both socially and economically, I recognize that until such time a majority of Americans decide the time for real revolutionary change is near, that me and those like me will make the best with what we have. I voted for President Obama a few days ago, and I'm more than content today. There really is no other choice.

Thank you for this thread.

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Response to Melinda (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:28 PM

25. Well, thank you!

I certainly agree that I am very old! (grin) I'm not so sure about the "wise" part. Many years ago, my good friend Rubin Carter told me that wise people learn from others' mistakes; most of us have to learn from our own mistakes; and fools .... they never learn. I'd say that in all of the years and decades that I've been on this living Earth, I've made a very large number of mistakes ..... and in my old age, I try to review them objectively, so that I don't repeat them over and over. I think that, with any luck, I could end up with my Ph.D in error review!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:42 PM

8. Well put. However, after the election, we need to encourage Pres Obama

 

to reestablish the freedoms that Bush took away via the Patriot Act, MCA and domestic spying. We also need to encourage him to take a hard stand against indefinite detention. If we cant get these freedoms back with a Democrat as president, I am afraid we will never get them back. And the next republican will move the line farther until our Constitution is totally worthless.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:32 PM

26. Absolutely right!

I agree 100%. As I've noted elsewhere in this thread, Wednesday is Day #1 of our next round of struggle for social justice. Far too many of us -- and I certainly include myself -- did far too little in the early days of the Obama administration. This created a void that the tea party, aided by the corporate media, was able to fill with bitterness and hatred.

We have our work cut out for us. But we can achieve our goals.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 04:13 PM

31. I agree and I appreciate your optimism. We have a huge task to

 

over come the advantage that the oligarchs have.

One thing I think we should launch on Nov. 7, is to get Election Day changed to a Saturday. What would this take?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 04:23 PM

32. Good question!

I have also thought -- not an original idea by any means -- that Election Day should be a federal holiday. I'm not sure if that would be easier to achieve, or moving it to a Saturday. I'd be curious what you and others think.

It seems that, despite the fact that the republican party is the playground of the corporate whores, that the symbolic patriotism of making it a holiday could be used as leverage. We know, of course, that these self-identified "job creators" do not want to "give" workers a single extra crumb off their table. But the more recent, definitely rabid tea party strain does seem to have a bit more respect for the working class, and their clearly limited concepts of patriotism might translate into support for working class voters' rights.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 05:02 PM

33. Not all employers recognize federal holidays and let their employees off.

 

It would help but still a lot of Americans would have to vote after or before work.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:45 PM

9. One of your lines seems somewhat trivial, but is not.

Is Barack Obama a superior human being than Willard Romney? Yes, of course he is.

I nearly laughed when I read it. And that's because over the last few months I have been reading some of Alice Miller's books. Profound revelations have come from the realization that much of the way most people operate is reactions to how they were mistreated as young children. Not unlike how you view the means of shaping and improving this country, I see something similar. And in fact I see that there is another level below that which you speak of that is equally, if not more important. I see Romney, Bush, Hitler, and many others as emotional cripples looking to take out their revenge upon supposed enemies. Still working out their childhood frustrations, but taking sight at the wrong foes.

I think there is another revolution that still has not been born. And it is akin to that which you speak. And I say this because if one takes the responsibility to recover, heal, and then to transcend the emotional scaring that most of us have been through as the result of poor parenting, we will then also begin to see a more conscious and empathetic nation, and even world. This can only lead to more liberal ends. I don't see much of an alternative. Those who are still stuck in the unconscious state of upholding the Fourth Commandment, in spite of the fact that they were tormented and abused as children, will most likely never be able to see clearly the suffering of others; the needs of others.

As we speed ever faster toward dangerous situations, I am yet ever the more optimistic that with the modern tools at our disposal, we can create a better Union. I see a better way. I see people in places of power who do not seek power. They do not need to rehash their personal problems at the expense of nations. Re-electing Obama is going to go a long way towards furthering many good things, regardless of how far to the right he may span.

For what it's worth, this is what I'm listening to right now-

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 04:02 PM

30. Interesting response ....

well said, and thanks!

I definitely intended the line in the most serious of ways. Romney lacks the capacity to take any responsibility for the suffering he causes to so many people, both in the USA and the rest of the world. I believe that President Obama does want to help people in this country. I think he agonizes over the injuries and death among the US military he sends into harm's way. I question his decision-making processes in much of the violent foreign policies he is responsible for. But I do not think he takes the glee that George W. Bush took in violence and destruction, or has Willard Romney's ability to reduce human life to profit margin digits.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:52 PM

10. well said especially this part

I advocate the idea of people at the grass roots level transforming our nation into a Constitutional Democracy. This is not romantic yearning of a return to a yesterday that exists only in my imagination. Rather, it is an understanding that the basic concepts of the U.S. Constitution -- including the additions that have been made to it -- tend to be solid. All efforts to rebuild our society should rest upon that foundation.


Once Obama wins we can start to rebuild.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 07:06 PM

11. The only problem is all arguments really break down on climate change

 

If you are a voter that believes climate change poses an imminent threat to our immediate existence, then all other issues become second tier and almost moot (yes, including even Civil Rights & democracy as a whole). If we cannot live and propagate our species, do incremental progressive social issues really, really, matter?

Some people are becoming polarized single-issue voters (and I am being progressively pulled in this direction). It isn't silly. It isn't wrong. Its human nature to put existence in the forefront of any dilemma, sacrificing morals and ideals while doing so (just as soldiers at war must murder to live).

So how do you construct an argument to get people to the polls who cannot vote for their own existence, when all they primarily care about is their existence?

There is no candidate that I am aware of who is advocating the throttling of energy consumption (production/economic activity/etc). We have one drill-baby party and one cornucopia party (Jimmy Carter being an exception).

What if there are people who do not want to vote for more mindless production and see that as the one overwhelming political/social/economic issue of our century?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 08:24 PM

12. Hear! Hear!

 

superbly and eloquently said.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 08:30 PM

13. Romney is the incarnate corporate person hood in the flesh.

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 08:58 PM

14. K&R

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:15 PM

15. Two tiny moans

Barack Obama did not " flirt with progressive views" - at least not in college. I will say no more.

A Romney Presidency would not slam the door shut. But it might force you to "alter your approach" and I am not sure where that leads.

Otherwise, I am glad I read your interesting pice.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:19 PM

16. k&r...

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:41 PM

17. Mightily eloquent, H2O Man!

Your essays are ALWAYS wonderful!


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 07:40 AM

18. kick ......

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 11:41 AM

21. k&r nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:47 PM

27. Excellent read.

I think it also explains the disconnect many of us on this board have with each other: liberal versus progressive. But in the long run Obama must be re-elected or any chances of the progressive ideal being furthered will be put on the back burner for at least another decade, if not longer.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:57 PM

28. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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