Friday, February 18, 2011

Au Contraire, Rachel

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I love you, Rachel, but I think you have this one wrong. Last night in your program, you asserted that what's happening in Madison is a result of Republican efforts to obliterate the opposition, i.e., the Democratic Party. "What's going on right now in the American Midwest is about Republicans versus Democrats. ... This is about the survival of the Democratic Party."

Honestly, I don't give a ripsnort about the survival of the Democratic Party, because it has already been subsumed by the same forces that are trying to bring down the last vestiges of union power in the United States. The assault on the Democratic Party commenced decades ago and has essentially already been successful. The Democratic Party that stood for something died when Russ Feingold lost his bid for reelection last fall. The Democrats who are left have no teeth, no guts, no convictions. They stand for nothing. They are as beholden to their corporate masters as the Republicans are.

Look at what happened with "health care reform." The Democrats held the executive branch and a supermajority in the legislature. But the bill they managed to pass, in spite of overwhelming support for Medicare for Everyone across the country, was a gift, tied up with a bow, for the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies. What the people got out of that was a constitutionally questionable mandate to buy health insurance with few to zero restrictions on cost, quality of service, and the extent of coverage. The people did not triumph; they were set up and railroaded. The Dems proved to be a bunch of namby-pamby wimps, unwilling to stand up for the interests of the people who voted them into their supermajority. This is not what democracy looks like.

The current assault may appear to be on the Democratic Party. But what's going on in Wisconsin is more sinister than that. Who is fighting this fight? It's not the Democrats. Obama is not standing up for the workers in Wisconsin. Obama is treading around this issue so very lightly because he cannot afford to enrage his corporate sponsors. He has even added credibility to the notion of Walker's supposed fiscal difficulties. He only voiced mild support for the protesters in Wisconsin on the fourth day of protests. Pretty slow out of the gate, there, Mr. President. The voices from Democrats in support of the Wisconsin protesters are slow in coming, soft-spoken, and without teeth. No, this is not an assault on the Democratic Party.

This is an assault on the people of the United States. It's an assault on the middle class. It's an assault on freedom and civil rights. The best the Democrats could do was to get out of the people's way, which, thankfully, Wisconsin's Democratic legislators have done. But it's the people who are fighting this fight. And their opponents are not the Republicans, much as we might like to believe that. Their opponents are the terrifically powerful monied interests who won't stop their juggernaut of greed until we have returned to a system of serfs, vassals, and lords.

No, what's going on right now in the American Midwest is about the power of the people versus the power of greed. This is about the survival of the middle class. There's nothing less at stake here than the survival of freedom and civil rights and democracy. And the ones who are on the front lines are most decidedly not the Democrats. They are the ordinary, hard-working, anything-but-radical people of Wisconsin, who have finally had enough bullying from the billionaires' thugs.

Note: If you're reading this on Facebook, click on View Original Post to see the video clip from Rachel's show last night.

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