Obama, the middle road, and the left

So, like many progressives, I often feel like I am much farther to the left than the rest of this country. Then I talk to other people on the left and I feel very moderate or even conservative because I don’t want prostitution to be criminalized or because I believe Israel has a right to exist.

But an interesting thing has happened since Obama was elected. Progressives were ecstatic, and now some progressives are bitterly complaining because he hasn’t been progressive enough. Which annoys me to no end for several reasons: First, he wasn’t elected on a progressive campaign. He wasn’t. He ran as a moderate, he’s governed as a moderate. For G-d’s sake, he won’t even come out in favor of same-gender marriage, something that Republicans-who-aren’t-running-for office now across the board feel free to support.

But moreover, Obama isn’t governing like a progressive because it is going to be a fight – a very, very big fight – just to keep this country from becoming a theocracy. He doesn’t have the CHOICE to govern as a progressive when there’s a solid 30% of this country that believes women should have their rapists’ babies and that burning the Koran is a really good idea.

So when gay activists in this country get pissed off because Obama hasn’t made their issues #1 priority, or environmental activists get pissed off because he hasn’t been able to do virtually anything on that front, remember this: He’s still your best chance of ever getting anything you want passed. And please, try to remember there is a world outside of New England and the west coast, and out in that world, we are a lot closer to becoming Iran than you think. Maybe not Iran. Maybe just Pakistan. You know, the “stable” democratic country in that region, right?


~ by realsupergirl on September 13, 2010.

11 Responses to “Obama, the middle road, and the left”

  1. No, we’re just getting back on track of re-becoming America. The only reason that seems theocratic to you is because it includes the concept of Right and Wrong.

    America, learn to love it or plan to leave it one way or another.

    • The Founding Fathers appear most united in their belief in the division between church & state. If you believe ‘Re-becoming America’ means enacting some silly concept of right and wrong, that America is a mere figment of your imagination.

      Though Supergirl, I must admit I find progressives a little disappointing when they on the one hand advocate strongly for things that are The Right Thing to Do and at the same time concede morality to a bunch of extremist religious leaders who are neither moral nor the majority.

  2. But who gets to define “right” or “wrong”? Christians? Corporations? Republicans? Democrats?

    America was founded on the fundamental mistrust of anyone trying to tell you what is “right” or “wrong” for you. Along the way we’ve lost sight of that and become far to (mis)guided by Christian fundamentalists and greedy corporations.

  3. Yeah, there are those who will complain simply because the president hasn’t supported their view on any issue they happen to believe is important, but that’s not really the problem the country faces. The problem the country faces is that we have a system that has fundamental flaws for which we are now broadly suffering. To fix these fundamental problems requires rebuilding the system and different factions within the country disagree on how it should be rebuilt. But more important than the Right vs. Left disagreement is the willingness to address the system as a whole.

    Improving America’s global position means resolving America’s economic recession, the housing crisis, addressing rising illiteracy & drop out rates, the loss of middle wage jobs, the difficulty of keeping a new business (which create most new jobs) going, the rising costs of health care… etc.

    In a parliamentary system each party must clearly define their intent to rule, and then, if they win, rule based on the system they were elected to implement. We tend to ignore the links between components in the system, so we want systemic improvement, but aren’t willing to make the systemic change required to get there. So some progressives (and some conservatives) do see the link between individual pieces of legislation, so when a piece fails, they see the chance to improve the system failing with it.

    • I have always admired parliamentary systems of government from afar, and then I talk with friends in Israel and Britain about why that system is just as flawed as our own style of democracy.

      I think it’s like Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Or something like that.

  4. We had lost site of our purpose and greatness; that part is quite true. It wasn’t the Christian fundamentalists and supposedly greedy corporations that led the nation astray though.

    Look to the amoral Left with their hatred of all things American and all things of intrinsic value for that.

    Fortunately that’s changing and Americans are rising up to reclaim their nation and return it to honor and glory.

    • I find your assumption that the Left is amoral to be offensive and most importantly WRONG. I have very strong moral values, I even happen to be religious, though morals don’t have to come from religion. And if you look at records of people on the right, they are certainly as guilty (possibly more so) of egregious moral flaws as anyone on the left.

      And “hatred of all things American”? Fuck that shit. There is nothing more proudly American than disagreeing with someone, even disagreeing with your leaders, and then supporting them anyway, if they are elected. THAT is the essence of what it means to be in a democracy, which many people seem to have forgotten today. It was unpatriotic to call Bush out for his illegal war actions and erosion of civil liberties, but it’s OK to imply Obama is Hitler because you disagree with his approach to the health care crisis? Come on.

      • You question of, “It was unpatriotic to call Bush out for his illegal war actions and erosion of civil liberties, but it’s OK to imply Obama is Hitler because you disagree with his approach to the health care crisis?” quite well proved my point with its horrid bias and in-built vitriol.

        It is not that the Left disagrees that makes them so very pernicious; it is what they choose to disagree with.

        • “Horrid bias and in-built vitriol”? Let’s deconstruct that a minute. Bias? Well yes. This is MY BLOG. It’s not journalism, it’s my opinion. And obviously, I don’t think it’s horrid. Bias is not by its nature horrid, it’s a fact of life. It has no place in journalism, but it has plenty of places in this world.

          Now, I have to guess what you mean by the awkwardly constructed “in built” means, and I don’t see what you’re referring to as “vitriol” at all. If you want vitriol, I’ll give you that. But saying Bush pushed for an illegal war is not vitriolic, it’s a fact. Even at the time, many people openly questioned the legality of the Iraq war. Unfortunately only 1 of those people was in Congress at the time. And parts of the Patriotic Act have by now been ruled unconstitutional, so to say that Bush called for the erosion of civil liberties is also not vitriolic, it’s just a fact.

    • “Greedy Corporations” like Big Tobacco and Kosh Industries fund things like the Tea Party to use religion to get people who would otherwise find their actions reprehensible. Instead of behaving in a morally responsible way themselves, they distract from the real issue by screaming about buggary and pre-martial sex and they use a few nutter religious leaders like that loon in Florida who wanted to burn the Koran, who are far from the mainstream to get legitimacy and whip up fervor for their hysteria. How is that moral?

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