Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Day Early

I am writing a day earlier than I had indicated because I want to draw attention to S. P. Miskowsi's post about John Edwards. As some of you may know, I have been on the fence as far as the Democratic presidential race, torn between Edwards and Obama. But the more I think about it, and the more I read books like Daniel Brooks' The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Takes-All America (a book that I recommend all my blogging friends read if you want to understand more clearly the source of your struggles as an artist and human being to hold onto your ideals in the face of relentless pressure to sell out), the more convinced I am that the most important issue in America today is, at root, the widening gap between the rich and everybody else in this country, an issue that plays out in every major problem from health care to globalism to environmental catastrophe. George W. Bush and his cronies have relentlessly created a plutocracy in which wealth and power is the only value.

In recent weeks, I have been reading several posts on "electability." I urge you all to reject such conjecture. The focus on "electability" is a sign of fear. We Democrats have become so fearful that the Republicans will win that we have lost all confidence in our values. Instead, we focus on strategic thinking like "electability" over confidently asserting our values. Haven't we learned anything from the disaster that was John Kerry, who Democrats chose in a collective sigh of "electability" over the too-populist Howard Dean? Could we have found a more boring and uninspired candidate? We are letting the media take us down that road again, and it is unconscionable. It was Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council who were responsible for the abandoning of the traditional populist values of the Democratic Party in favor of Republican Lite, a pro-business, pro-globalization approach that sold the soul of the Democratic Party to corporations and NAFTA and GATT. Hilary Clinton will continue that Faustian bargain.

John Edwards is a populist, which is exactly what we need right now. Regardless of what happens in the early primaries -- and I hope that the people of Iowa and New Hampshire will recognize that Edwards is the only Democratic candidate who gives a damn about changing an agricultural policy that is destroying our environment and eliminating the small farm model -- I hope Edwards and all the other candidates will remain on the ballots for future states so that we all have an opportunity to vote our conscience.

We must not let the media determine our choices for us. We must not allow fundraising numbers to determine our values. We must not allow cowardly conjecture about "electability" to lead us to vote anything less than our true values. We must get our spines back and stand up for what we believe in.

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