Democrats still just the lesser evil

PHOTO: \'Bush made me a Democrat\' sticker on car

In the last decade the Republican party has methodically tacked further and further to the fringe. I’m reluctant to say they’ve moved more to the ‘right’ because I still associate the ‘right’ with conservatism. However, I don’t think there is anything remotely conservative about the prevailing Republican ideology.

Republicans are now the party of endless war, astronomical deficit spending, institutionalized bigotry, reckless privatization, torture, and warrantless spying. It would be nearly impossible for the Democrats to represent a worse strain of public policy ideas. But they come pretty damn close.

The problem is that the Democratic party, either because it is full of cowards or because it actually agrees with the Republicans, has put its rubber stamp on the malignant policies pursued by the party of George W. Bush. Their votes are instrumental in funding an unpopular, immoral and failed war. They have sought no punishment for the blatant violation of our laws on torture, or invasion of our privacy in contravention of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. And now Glenn Greenwald is reporting that the Democrats will finally cave on granting immunity to telecoms that aided Bush in his illegal domestic spying program:

Democrats are about to institutionalize a proposition that has been rejected since the Nuremberg Trials — namely, that individuals (or, more accurately, lobbyist-protected corporations) are free to break the law as long as they can claim afterwards that they were told by the Leader to do so.

Like the President, members of Congress swear to ‘defend the Constitution,’ a duty they have repeatedly neglected. The theory is that the Republican party and the most unpopular President ever shouldn’t be challenged on the chance that it would hurt the Democrats prospects for victory in the upcoming elections. A none-too-comforting thought for the wrongly imprisoned, the tortured and the families of the dead Iraqis and dead American soldiers.

If electoral success is indeed their primary motivation, it is damning when the stakes are life and death for thousands of people. The Democrats have done nothing but pay lip-service to the antiwar groups in the country. We should never forget that when the country needed a strong opposition party, the Democrats helped put our country on the disastrous course set by Bush.

Keep all of this in mind when you vote in November. Electing Democrats to office is essential for slowing the decay of our republic. Democrats may have gone along with Republican policies but at least they didn’t spawn the awful ideas that now permeate Washington. Nevertheless, either the Democrats have to be changed or they have to be challenged by a more principled political movement. November is just the first step.

Flickr photo by Waldo Jaquith

8 Comments

  1. Ian

    In the gym last night, someone had The Situation Room on TV. I watched them reading off letters from viewers and one stated that Obama was “extreme left”. I think this country needs a reality check if a lot of people here see McCain as “too liberal” and Obama as “extreme left”. I would place “extreme left” somewhere beyond socialism or communism. In general, I find the Democrats lean too far to the right for my likings. Everyone here just lacks perspective and the current administration has managed to turn “liberal” into an insult.

  2. Chris

    To be fair, liberal was an insult long before the Bush administration. But yes, “extreme left” would be someone like Chomsky, not Obama.

  3. Ian

    Yeah but I always felt like people weren’t really buying into it being an insult. Fox News and its ilk have started to make a large impact on the country. See Rachel Ray the terrorist and Obama’s fist jab among other completely absurd reports.

  4. Ted

    Yeah, The Situation Room will get your heart pumpin.

    I feel the need to beat someone with a shovel.

  5. Chris

    Because of the Situation Room? Or are you just generally homicidal?

  6. Ian

    You are just jealous your name isn’t as cool as Wolf.

  7. Chris

    Ian,
    Re: ‘Liberal’ being a pejorative…
    http://themoderatevoice.com/politics/progressives/20449/time-to-give-the-c-word-a-trashing/

    People who didn’t reach the stage of political awareness before 1980 probably think the “L” word, liberal, is a pejorative term. For more than a quarter century, since Ronald Reagan’s first term, virtually every progressive idea that came into the political arena was pilloried, and often outright trashed, when the dreaded L label was pinned on it.

    This was no accidental happening, no natural political turn of the wheel, no inevitable evolution. It was largely the product of a systematic, well financed campaign by right-leaning think tanks and kindred media manipulators to discredit an approach to governing they didn’t like.

  8. Ian

    No I realize that people have been talking about the “liberal media” and using liberal as a slur for a long time now. I always felt that the only people who ever really cared about that kind of thinking were far right conservatives, not the every day average American. I think Bush, Fox News, and 9/11 really made lots more people see things in that light. Yeah, ideas like socialism and communism have always been taboo in this country (since the 50s anyways), but I feel like public perception has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.