Praise B and pass the Koolaid

Posted: October 31, 2008 in Nibbling on The Empire

us-elections

Illustration: Latuff

As George Carlin famously observed: “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Next Tuesday, most Americans who go to the polls will opt to remain asleep and vote for for some combination of the four candidates most likely to continue to dispense the imperial koolaid.

In Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn and his colleagues have done a good job over the past many months of detailing and analysing the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden campaigns. In summing things up today, Cockburn shows there is fundamentally no difference between the guy who would “bomb, bomb Iran” and the guy who would maintain a force in Iraq, escalate the war in Afghanistan, get tough with Iran and increase the size of the US military.

Cockburn’s comparison of McCain’s life to that of the fictional standard bearer of the British Empire, Harry Flashman, is hilarious.

His dismissal of Joe Biden is succinct: “In his single person is  combined everything that is loathsome about the Democratic Party. He’s a phony through and through, serf of the credit companies and virtually incapable of opening his mouth without unleashing a falsehood, a plagiarism or an absurdity.”

Regarding Palin: “Though Sarah  Palin has enough horse sense to attack Wall Street greed, it’s a brave and foolish soul who would argue that she will ever be ready to run the country . . .”

Writing in the New Statesman, May 29, journalist John Pilger outlines the political convergence of Obama and McCain and describes the eerie similarities between the campaigns of Obama and Bobby Kennedy.

Kennedy’s campaign is a model for Barack Obama. Like Obama, he was a senator with no achievements to his name. Like Obama, he raised the expectations of young people and minorities. Like Obama, he promised to end an unpopular war, not because he opposed the war’s conquest of other people’s land and resources, but because it was “unwinnable” . . .

In 1968, Robert Kennedy sought to rescue the party and his own ambitions from the threat of real change that came from an alliance of the civil rights campaign and the anti-war movement then commanding the streets of the main cities, and which Martin Luther King had drawn together until he was assassinated in April that year. Kennedy had supported the war in Vietnam and continued to support it in private, but this was skilfully suppressed as he competed against the maverick Eugene McCarthy, whose surprise win in the New Hampshire primary on an anti-war ticket had forced President Lyndon Johnson to abandon the idea of another term. Using the memory of his martyred brother, Kennedy assiduously exploited the electoral power of delusion among people hungry for politics that represented them, not the rich . . .

Like Kennedy, Obama may well “chart a new direction for America” in specious, media-honed language, but in reality he will secure, like every president, the best damned democracy money can buy . . .

There are those who would regard the election of Obama as positive simply because it would demonstrate that a majority of voters had turned the corner on race by electing a black man. As Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice have amply demonstrated, being black does not confer immunity from that pathology called imperialism. It is as if the captain of the Titanic asked the passengers if they would prefer white deck chairs or black as they steamed unconsciously toward their icy nemisis.

If your main source of news is the mainstream media (including most political blogs, “progressive” or otherwise), you are unlikely to be aware of the campaigns of truly distinctive and healthy alternatives, such as Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. Instead of spending next Tuesday night glued to the tube to watch “the best damned democracy money can buy” read about the candidates, black and white, who did offer Americans an antidote to Imperial Koolaid.

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