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toritto: In Defense of 'Hysterical' Lefties

The following is by one of my favorite writers (and human beings) -- toritto!!!

Yes. I busted my ass for Obama the first time around.

Opened my checkbook, campaigned, knocked on doors. Did everything I could to see that he carried Florida in the Presidential election.

Not an easy task when Fred Thompson signs were as common as plastic pink flamingos at the time and right wing nuts carried Soviet flags outside of local Obama campaign headquarters. Where women thought Palin was the essence of true feminism. I had the lone Obama sign on my lawn in a sea of McCain ‑ Palin cardboard.

But I got the last laugh. At least I thought so at the time.

We had elected a progressive Democratic President and controlled the two Houses of Congress. And we carried Florida.

Maybe something would get done.

Maybe true universal healthcare. Maybe peace would come. Maybe a society which would leave behind racism. Maybe repeal of the Bush tax giveaways to billionaires. Maybe we would spend money on people rather than aircraft carriers. Maybe we would stop torturing people. Maybe Gitmo would close.


I knew progressives were in trouble when the public option went down without a fight. When the government would not negotiate with drug companies to set the price of drugs under the Medicare prescription drug program. When our war adventures continued. When Gitmo didn’t close. When no one was indicted for torture. When no bankers went to jail. When the assault on civil liberties was embraced and left standing.

What progressives got was precious little. We got ignored. Thank you Dems. Seems like progressive ideas migrate to the Democratic Party ‑ to die.

And in the mid‑term elections of 2010 every candidate I voted for lost. We had two billionaires running for Governor (We have 26 living in Florida) in the GOP primary, one of whom should be sitting in federal prison for Medicare fraud but instead he is now our Governor. The other billionaire candidate simply hung around on his yacht with Lindsay Lohan.

The mid‑term election saw much of the same across the nation ‑ a Republican / Tea Party tide. The Dems lost the House. Why were we so surprised at the assault on the middle‑class we saw in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio?

“Toute nation a le gouvernement quelle mérite”

Every country gets the government it deserves

So true.

So here we are into Obama’s second term with the wheels of government paralyzed by the minority – not that the wheels of government were turning anyway. The gerrymandered GOP House approved the dismantling of Obamacare some 40 times. Great work. The Senate can’t take a dump without 60 votes – and neither party wanted to change the rules until recently when the Dems pushed through Presidential appointments via the “nuclear option”. Finally.

Americans were killed in Afghanistan this week. Did anyone notice but their families?

We are leaving Afghanistan – except for the 9 military bases we will continue to occupy for the foreseeable future. Right.

Gitmo is still open while prisoners are being force fed to end their hunger strike. Gitmo is a CONCENTRATION CAMP. Call it anything you like – but that is what it is.

Our drones kill our own citizens without formal charges or evidence; they kill after coffee and danish at the White House. Our militarized police in Boston give an order to “stay home” and everyone does. Thousands of Americans are gunned down each year by other Americans but Congress sees fit to veto legislation requiring a background check at gun shows.

The Justice Department is chasing leaks which affect “national security” (don’t all leaks always?) and had the Associated Press up in arms – like there are real investigative journalists anymore anyway. They have mostly been silenced and the few that are left take their futures in their hands when they speak out. Don’t make donations to Wikileaks lest you find your name on a terrorist watch list. If someone leaked the “Pentagon Papers” today they would undoubtedly spend the rest of their lives in prison.

No one seems to care that Ed Snowden was right. No one was going to tell us what was going on until he did.

Today, this very day, guys armed with automatic weapons and dressed in kevlar could break down your door and whisk you away under Presidential order without public charges, without the right to face your accuser, without the right to trial, habeas corpus or judicial due process ‑ all under the umbrella of “protecting Americans” and fighting future “terrorism”. And then they can water board you.

I might as well have burned the Magna Carta myself. Yeah I know. I’m being hysterical.

If you happen to be a “suspected terrorist” and a US citizen overseas, the President can order you killed without charges, trial or presentation of evidence to the public. Your “due process” will be a meeting in the Oval Office on a Tuesday afternoon over coffee, before the drone takes off.

After Boston, members of Congress stated publicly that they had no objection to “enhanced interrogation” of the remaining suspect ‑ torture him for information. Many would support moving him, an American citizen, to Gitmo to be held at the King’s pleasure. To hear such statements from Glenn Beck is one thing; to hear it from a Congressman is just, well breathtaking. And chilling.

Recently on several posting sites a number of folks I know and respect have been accused by other “progressives”of being somewhat overwrought and hysterical about the state of our national politic. Ready to throw America under the bus at every opportunity; unwilling to recognize the “good” of America and this administration.

Now let me be fair. In the interest of full disclosure I got mine already. I live comfortably in the sunny South, got my steady income, my “socialist” medicare and prescription drug coverage that younger people wish they had but will never get. I sent my girls to college and grad schools and they are successfully out on their own. The world won’t run out of gas before I go and the planet won’t get too hot before I rot.

I no longer march for anything – going on 72 I don’t want to risk getting my head busted. My daughter warned me to stay out of downtown Tampa during the last RNC Convention. Now I write mostly my “poetry” and I like to think some of it has “sting”. Writing about the current political scene sometimes seems a waste of time in that minds are not changed – but someone has to do it.

I can’t change anything; but there is a difference in knowing you can’t change what is and being blind to what is……….especially when you are not really blind but just find it comfortable to keep your eyes closed – which many on the left are doing only because Obama is President.

Seems to me more time is spent dissing the “traitorous snitches” rather than investigating what they told us. This week a Federal Judge appointed by George Bush no less said that Snowden was right.

I see what is – even if I no longer write about it everyday. And I appreciate that others have picked up the banner to carry on the never-ending struggle. And for this good work they do not need to be criticized as “hysterical”.

[cross-posted on open salon]

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