I Sold My Bicycle for Democracy and Other Fables of the 2004 Democratic Convention

Posted on August 25, 2004

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Well its another fine mess progressives (and I use the term disdainfully) have gotten us into. Ignorance and an “anything but Bush” attitude have allowed us to be led around by the nose by a Democratic Party that varies, officially, just a few degrees from the current Republican administration. I thought Kerry was bad before I read the official party platform (find it here on PDF. Not for the fainthearted). Now I’m truly scared.

What once seemed an unmistakeable Democratic opposition to the war in Iraq has been downgraded to a minor quibble about timing. The permissable dispute has evolved from war versus peace, to navy captains versus air force pilots; an apt metaphor for the very little difference between the two wings of the American system of governance. The war is no longer wrong, since, as the platform manifesto says, “people of goodwill will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq”. Over half of the document is dedicated to military and security issues. The rest is shared by the usual Democrat buzz words, health care reform, middle class tax break, etc.

In essence, Kerry and his cohorts want you to know that even though they believe strongly that Bush is evil incarnate, Democrats will only change things slightly, just in case the public only finds him sort-of-evil. Instead of Health Care Reform, Democrats will give us a tax break to buy insurance and try to convince HMO’s to make services a little cheaper, instead of Tax Cuts for the Rich, we get Tax Cuts for Corporations and the Middle Class. Unbelievably, the document brags about the Democratic Party’s intention to “raise the minimum wage to 7.00/hour”.

The reality is we’re screwed. Noone can save us. Thanks to the collective belief that Nader is unelectable, Nader is unelectable. Even if Nader could have won, we have let the Democratic party run him out on a rail in so many states that Jesus himself would have to come down and stuff the ballot boxes to give him even a chance in hell. Corporate media outlets seemed to have strived to become as useless as possible. Even the once usual alternative suspects, like NPR, became National Pentagon Radio, perhaps further embedded in the military-industrial complex than any other media organization. The closest thing the US public now has to an accessible and objective media source has become Comedy Central’s The Daily Show; a fact that is not funny.

We have only ourselves to blame–hindsight could have called this one. Remember in 1992, when Clinton got the gay vote by claiming he would start a ‘Manhattan Project on Aids’? Remember when he vowed to reform health care, then came up with a lame half-ass solution that he didn’t even bother to defend? Clinton can’t even honestly claim to have boosted the economy; he just had Greenspan monkey with things to produce the dot com bubble, a bubble he must have known, along with every other serious economic analyst, would burst by the end of his last term, leaving the next administration holding the bag.

As if all this is not bad enough, three decades of activism, culminating in a massive protest against the two gulf wars have been completely reversed. Thanks to Kerry, the Vietnam War was a great place to begin one’s ascent to the highest public office in the nation. The fact that Kerry actually volunteered to invade another people’s country is a non-issue. Kerry even now brags openly about the purple heart he earned after, according to his own account, helping to destroy the food supply of a subsistence farming community in an impoverished third world country (if you really want to be scared go to this link to read a defense of Kerry’s purple heart. (I look forward to the expose “Kerry’s Willing Executioners” to be published after our nation has collapsed from sheer heartless arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy).

So what can we do? Here are some scenarios, but I suggest you hold your nose before trying any of them:

1. Vote Nader: Yes, he can’t win, but if he gets a good percentage in the states where Democrats fail to railroad him, it is a message which may begin to turn the Democratic Party around and also add momentum to a multi-party system.

2. Vote Kerry: But don’t you help put this war-mongering A-rab hater in office unless you’re going to be out in the street the next day, demanding he pull out of Iraq and advocate a negotiated solution to the Palestinian issue, and insisting he come up with real solutions to health care and the economy that put people before corporations. If we don’t call Kerry and his party to task immediately after we elect him, we’re putting a pretty lame price tag on our heads.

That means you, MoveOn.Org, you organization that has worked so hard to indoctrinate Americans into believing that the Democratic Party offers a substantial alternative to Republican excess. I would hope that war and occupation are equally as appalling when overseen by a Democrat. That means your website better beat on Kerry like he owes the Board of Directors money.

That means you Green Party; you’d better get on that f***er’s case like summer stink on a locked outhouse once you deliberately thow your presidential race and help dash Nader’s bid for the presidency.

That means you progressives, now nattering away that Kerry has to get behind the war to get elected. Once you’re proven more wrong than a fish with wings, you’d better get behind the real anti-IraqWar movement.

Or else? Well, it may become clear next election that with Republicans you know what you’re getting. The real cynical hypocrites will be revealed to be Democrats, their puppet orgz and dim supporters. Us lower and browner classes may begin to wonder why progressives are always asking us to choose the lesser of two evils in lieu of no evil at all. Maybe we’ll come to the conclusion that the reason progressives mime multi-party alternatives but do little to support them when it really counts is that they are actually getting something out of the current closed election system. Maybe Democrats are the lesser of two evils because they defend the upper middle class’s right to never have to sacrifice anything no matter how bad things get down on the ground. With the global economy cycling down and vital natural resources running scarce, it’s not hard to envision a very ugly class war in the near future.