Thursday, November 08, 2012

Obama & Martin Luther King

President Obama will be inaugurated on the day we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Colorado & Washington State

I'm waiting to see how many of my friends will move to Colorado & Washington State

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election 2012

Alright it's time to talk about the 2012 elections. I have been strugglin to make sense of this election. At first glance, the question immediately arises: How is it possible for anyone who isn't in the 1% to imagine Mitt Romney as president of the U.S. But then the the answer becomes obvious. As Charles M Blow writes in the NYT, "We have a very racially divided electorate." He refers to a report in the WaPo, which says: "Obama has a deficit of 23 percentage points, trailing Republican Mit Romney 60 percent to 37 percent among whites. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll." He also says: "The report also says that nearly 80 percent of non-whites support Obama, while 91 percent of Romney's supporters are white". ("The Company Romney Keeps", NYT, 10/27/12) This argument is echoed by University of British Columbia political scientist Bruce Baum in a letter criticizing a NYT book review (10/14/12): "But [Mark] Lilla [the reviewer] is looking for answers in the wrong places as he misses the obvious: conservative responses to Obama are mediated - sometimes unconsciously - by the legacy of racism and white racial myopia in the United States. That is the 'something else.'

"Public opinion researchers have found that because Obama is identified - and self-identifies - as Black, he has become a lightning rod for white racial resentment and status anxieties despite his moderate policies. Moreover, as a Democrat, Obama is leading a party that has lost a majority of white votes in every presidential election since 1968, largely because many white Americans associate Democrats with support for minority interests and welfare dependency."

It's incredible that nearly 50 years after the march from Selma to Montgomery. (March 7, 1965) the U.S. is still as racially divided. And this election will ultimately turn on this. We can't let that happen.

There is another aspect to the election which needs to be taken into account. This election is, according to some analysts a choice of what kind of capitalism we want to define our country. The version represented by Romney and, particularly Ryan, which has been characterized as "a more cutthroat form of capitalism than most other industrial nations" have adopted. And "our cutthroat approach to capitalism has extracted high social costs". "Yet though we seem to suffer more than our fair share of social ills, by the O.E.C.D. Calculation our public spending to address them is smaller as a share of the economy than in any other country in the developed world." The alternative version of capitalism, offered by Obama sees "the government as an agent to assist" those who have been left out of the so-called American success story (ie. the 99%). Although it may be clear to many of us (perhaps a growing number) that neither form of capitalism can work for the vast majority of the American people and it's very unlikely that the version of capitalism favored by Obama would in any way mirror even European Social Democracy. But as with his relatively weak & lackluster response to the latest capitalist crisis, something is sometimes better than nothing.

To top it all off Romney/Ryan are reduced to arguments like this. "The country's economic problems are large and deeply rooted in overreaching Washington policies." (Jonathan M. Trugman, NY Post, 11/4/12) or perhaps the killer of all:
The Republicans in order to defeat Obama have stood in the way of all attempts by the President & the Democrats to compromise & pass needed legislation. Now they have the unmitigated gall to argue that if Obama wins it will be impossible to arrive at any compromises, but if Romney wins compromise will be possible. That used to be called a protection racket. "If you vote for Obama, we'll break your legs."

So all this leads me to reluctantly support Obama. But next time no "lesser of two evils".

But ultimately what is most important is to remember is, as Robert Reich has said, "In my experience, nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington become mobilized, organized and energized to make it happen. Nothing worth changing in America will actually change unless you [we] and others like you [us] are committed to achieving that change." ("Beyond Outrage: What has Gone wrong with our Economy and our Democracy, and how to fix it").