Obama 2012, Occupy Wall Street, and the Left
I attended an awesome Obama 2012 fundraiser on Thursday. I am a proud supporter (and occasional participant) of the Occupy Wall Street and broader Occupy movements. I see no inconsistency. The only really weird thing is that I’m Canadian, and thus my American wife needed to pay for my ticket to get in (to the fundraiser; the protests are free and open to the public).
I’m an Obama critic, from the left. I’m also an Obama supporter. Any president who cites Philip Roth when discussing the Jewish community has my vote (if I could vote). I have problems with some of Obama’s domestic and foreign policy. I also think he’s done an incredible job as president, after having been dealt a horrible hand by George W. Bush, including a failing economy, two mismanaged foreign wars, and an opposition dedicated to thwarting him without any regard to principle. I suspect my position is not that different from that of many of his staffers and campaign managers, not to mention his millions of supporters.
You can see all that has been accomplished in the video above. It’s an impressive display.
Sure, there’s a lot more to do. OWS will keep fighting. But we need president Obama on our side. Or we need a president Obama to move further along to our side. Because we know that as spineless as Mitt Romney is, he won’t move that way.
Now some of the far left insist that dangling that lunacy of the GOP as a tactic to justify voting for Obama is cheap strategy. And that the two parties are too similar. Well, frankly, they’re wrong. Despite what they may say, there are real and significant differences between the two parties, particularly on domestic policy, that are felt by poor and working class and middle class people on the ground. Felt by women and immigrants and gays and lesbians. Huge potential differences in terms of Supreme Court appointments. And it appears that since Mitt Romney doesn’t give a rats ass about foreign policy, there will likely be big differences there as well in the coming four years. Ron Paul’s libertarianism is both cruel and inefficient and would lead to disaster, even if some of his policies are good, but he can’t and won’t win the GOP nomination. And of course if Santorum or Newt somehow became president, that would be a national nightmare. The left really would be cutting off its nose to spite its face and committing political suicide if it did not back Barack Obama 100%. And it makes me angry when radicals don’t see this, and think that voting for Obama is somehow selling out the left, or picking to best of two evils. Because it really isn’t. I’m on the left. I don’t just oppose the GOP. I support Barack Obama. And not just because it’s the pragmatic thing to do, though that is part of it, for sure.
Because really this should be, and is, a positive campaign. Barack Obama has done a lot of good. And with a free hand in a second term, not having to worry about re-election, and hopefully with a more amenable congress, he can and will do a lot more good. And when he is re-elected, because I think he will be, the left should continue to offer critical support.I don’t always agree with Cornel West, but he did say something before the 2008 election that I thought made a lot of sense. He said that if/when Obama got elected, he would dance a great dance of joy (perhaps similar to Balky Bartokomous and Cousin Larry on Perfect Strangers, though he’d do it with Tavis Smiley). And then once Obama got into office, he would become his biggest critic, holding him to the highest standard possible. West has been true to his word. I haven’t always agreed with that criticism, but I admire his consistency here.
Criticism is good. But I don’t think the left should be unnecessarily critical of Obama. They (we) should support him when he is advocating for change that we believe him. But when he isn’t, or isn’t hard enough, we should try to move him, and congress, in the direction we want. Not give up on him. Because I do think that he, along with the American people, have the ability to make the country and the world better. I’m optimistic. Great things can and will happen. But we have to get there.
So, if you’re American, donate some money to the Obama 2012 campaign. Volunteer. And make sure you and your friends get out and vote for Barack Obama in November. It’s the only right and rational thing to do, whether you’re a radical leftist, progressive, liberal, moderate, or even a sensible conservative. Si se puede. I’m in.
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