The American Bear


For Egypt's voters, revolution feels light years away | Egypt Independent

The first presidential election following a popular uprising celebrated for giving Egyptians their voice back is not as glorious and exciting as it was expected to be. Instead, it’s marked by fear and disappointment.

Having learned throughout the last year and a half that there’s no room for dreamy revolutionary aspirations in the world of electoral politics, most people seem to be choosing their candidate out of fear of the alternatives rather than conviction in their choices.

A few days ahead of the big day, a dozen voters from different backgrounds and political inclinations interviewed by Egypt Independent all said that they were choosing “the least bad” option from among the candidates. [++]

Oh, so it’s not just a problem in the U.S.

Snapshots of Washington’s essence | Glenn Greenwald

Bipartisanship defined - both teams in the National Politics League parties are now in full agreement on killing people.

This media invisibility of America’s [drone, war, collateral, etc.] victims is due in part to the fact that it’s considered unpatriotic to discuss them in any prominent way (as MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield pointed out in the 2003 speech that led to her demotion and firing), but also because, at this point, there’s no partisan gain to be had from it: given that it’s a policy supported by both parties, it doesn’t help one side or the other win an election, so what’s the point of talking about it? Anyone who does raise it will be immediately met with these vapid questions from election-obsessed partisans: but what does this have to do with the election [the one that’s still almost a full year away]? Won’t it help Mitt Romney if you complain about this? In general, people aren’t tuning in to MSNBC to hear stories about the Muslim children killed by President Obama’s covert killing operations (and certainly aren’t turning in to hear their bereaved relatives interviewed): it doesn’t prove how horrible Rick Perry and John Boehner are, so it’s the last thing Ed Schultz or Al Sharpton are going to talk about (as Charles Davis so memorablyput it in parodying the Democratic partisan mentality: “Remember when Michele Bachmann killed all those innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Libya? Ugh. Hate her”).

Democrats: A necessary but insufficient condition | David Atkins

[FOR] the anti-institutionalists, realizing one simple point is crucial: as long as Republicans are in power, no amount of protest will move them. Over a million people could camp out on the National Mall for months at a time, and nothing would change. Speaker Boehner and his caucus of Tea Party nutcases simply will not be moved except by one action and one alone: booting them out of office. The chances of their addressing the grievances of the majority of the American People are less than nil, regardless of the public pressure placed upon them.

And yet, for the institutionalists, it’s also critical to recognize just how damaging the last 30 years of Democratic acquiescence to conservative ideology has been for not only the Democratic brand, but for the nation’s belief in the power of electoral politics to create change.

It is quite literally impossible to say with a straight face that working to elect more or even better Democrats will actually create the change necessary to address the grievances being expressed in Zuccotti Park. It’s laughable. That ship has been sailing away for decades, and disappeared completely over the horizon with the disappointment of January 2009 through November 2010 and beyond. It is painfully obvious that electoral politics alone are utterly inadequate to deal with the nation’s problems.

The reality is that putting Democrats in power is a necessary but insufficient condition to creating real change in this country.

Republicans are ideologically opposed to creating the necessary changes, and are more afraid of being primaried by an even more crazy conservative, than of even the biggest protest movements from the left. Democrats, meanwhile, are ideologically compatible with most of the changes, but are variously stymied by the system, blinkered by a desire for “compromise,” fearful of conservative anger, or corrupted by the influence of big money.

In order for change to take place, good Democrats do need to be in power. But only an angry and motivated populace angry with both Parties and strongly intent on holding Democrats accountable will scare and motivate Democrats enough to do what they were elected to do.