Presidential Progress

As I posted a few days ago on Facebook:
I am well aware that whoever we elect (if we can beat the 1%’s efforts), to a greater or lesser degree, will be a disappointment for those of us who want the revolution to succeed this decade. Even if they were to get a Democratic Congress.

We might be able to recapture the Senate soon, but House districts are so gerrymandered that it will take multiple election cycles at the State level to get that fixed.

Arguing over whether a President Sanders or a President H. Clinton has a better chance of getting any progressive legislation through a Republican-controlled House might seem like one of the most futile exercises since the Republican House voted to overturn the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) over 60 times. With the gerrymandering of most US House Districts by predominantly Republican state-level committees or boards, even a huge turn-out by Democrats and left-leaning independents that elect a Democratic president and give the Dem’s control of the US Senate is unlikely to wrest the House away from the Republicans for at least a few more election cycles. Congressional districts may be remapped after the 2020 Census.

Instead, let’s turn our attention to the consideration of what sort of legislation either of those potential Presidencies are likely to propose or endorse that would pass such a House. While avoiding the most regressive ideas that teabaggers and neo-cons want is a good thing, it can’t bring the progress necessary to reduce the power of the corporatocracy if they get other favourable laws. A President Clinton facing such a Republican House is much more likely, “in the interest of getting things (her backers want) done“, to approve corporate-friendly, people-abusing legislation. The sort of things that Republicans want and which, presumably most of we, the people do not. Sure, President Sanders would have great difficulty getting progressive legislation passed. But I don’t doubt that he would actually ‘go to the mats’ in his efforts to do so. Unlike either a President H. Clinton or our current President.

And a President that won’t enable the corporatocracy while fighting against the worst excesses of neo-con fundamentalism, (perhaps with a VP Warren?) would be better for we, the people. I appreciate the irony of saying we need to dream big while saying that passing just good legislation while avoiding terrible ones may, sadly, be the best outcome available at this point. But the reclaiming of the government for we the people, by we the people, will be a process. With President Sanders followed perhaps by President Warren, the process should take a fraction of the time the corporatocracy and oligarchy have retained the power for themselves.

Let me be clear; I do not believe that Secretary Clinton is a ‘progressive‘, or at least not progressive on enough various important issues and policies to count. Despite her populist rhetoric now. Sure she’s somewhat progressive on social issues now. Social issues can not be divorced from financial policies and our economic structure. Being in favour of ‘human rights’ but unwilling to address the systemic inequity of unfettered capitalism; talking about helping students with their educational expenses through better loans or expanded ‘Work Study’ programmes yet letting tuition increase multiple-times more than inflation; permitting (much less encouraging and being funded by) privatized prisons are not, in my opinion, suggestive of being a genuine ‘progressive‘.

Ranking the two Democratic candidates and the sitting Democratic president on the ‘political spectrum’ from left to right we have Sanders, Obama, Clinton.

There’s no serious question that Republicans were not willing to agree to anything that Obama likes- including concepts and proposals they originated. At the same time, Obama’s negotiation efforts started with less than what he ran on, supposedly in the interests of “working with Congress” to get things done. It is SOP to negotiate down- presuming that the other side has asked for more than they are willing to accept. So why did the Administration and Democrats not even start with a serious Single Payer proposal for replacing the current Health Insurance quagmire? The ACA is incrementally better than what we had before. But so much less than what we, the people, deserve from the self-labeled ‘Greatest Nation’. Now nearing the end of his second term, our President has started to push for genuine progress; to build a legacy.

Secretary Clinton is running to ‘continue and build on the Obama legacy’ – sounds good. There have been many good things come out of Obama’s presidency. However, good is the enemy of great. Obama ran a campaign promising Hope and Change. He appeared to offer a populist vision of our future, much like both Sanders and Clinton now offer. However, Obama was far more centrist than he appeared. His cabinet and list of advisers has been filled with far too many connections to Wall Street. Plenty of people from the first President Clinton’s circles. Centrist apologists behind the refusal of the current administration to indict any banksters.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool us a dozen times, and win the election.

I refuse to just surrender to the corporatocracy. Yes I know that Bernie (or Hillary) can not single-handedly bring about the systemic reform needed to return this nation to we, the people. It will take overturning “Citizens United” and reminding businesses, elected officials, Justices, and citizens that corporations are book-keeping fictions created by government. As such, they are constitutionally intended to promote the general welfare and help us build a more perfect union.

George Bernard Shaw wrote (later misquoted or paraphrased by various Kennedys):
You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’
But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’

(from ‘Back To Methuselah’)

Yes, if push comes to shove and Secretary Clinton is the Dem Party candidate I’ll vote for her. But wouldn’t it be great to vote FOR a candidate, for a chance to leave the nation better than ever, to reclaim our government; rather than merely voting AGAINST a person or party?

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