I bought in to the madness of 2008 – the belief that electing a young new Democrat from the Senate might, just maybe, this time, change things for good. He had the ground support and momentum, which I was a part of, and he even spoke like he understood what the majority of Americans were going through. After eight years of blatant criminal leadership in the White House, we all thought that maybe this time, the Washington insiders would hear us loud and clear, and our collective hope for change would be realized.
Fast forward to the present day, when our new President has sat in the top powerhouse of this country’s government for a year. Some people under-stand that all government, no matter what the level, is a slow-moving process, but there are undoubtedly signs from the past 365 days that the American people’s hopes for change have been usurped again. As has always been the case in the two-party system, when we “throw the bums out”, so to speak, every two to four years, we really are just changing the mask on a deceitful, corporate beast. As Ralph Nader said in 2008, Barack Obama is just as corporate as George W. Bush, from “A to Z”.
A glimpse at his three big “accomplishments” of the past year shows us that indeed, to paraphrase The Who, the new boss is the same as the old boss, and we have been fooled again.
(1) President Obama has vowed to continue to fight our foreign wars, and actually up the military power in Afghanistan, a place where even the Soviets could not win.
(2) He has still allowed the unaccountable bank bailouts to go through to the same Wall Street people who engineered the financial crisis, and even played golf with UBS President Robert Wolf during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, as Amy Goodman noted in August 2009, after UBS had received a healthy taxpayer bailout through AIG.
(3) His precious health care legislation that has just been pushed through Congress still leaves insurance corporations and big drug companies, as Dr. Ron Paul and others have pointed out, large and in charge, keeping health care just as corporate as it was under any previous President.
All of these situations have Democrats and Republicans continuing each other’s unpopular policies, and going against what the majority of Americans want on all three issues. The majority of Americans want us to stop our expensive foreign wars and bring our troops and tax dollars home.
They also want the banks to be held accountable for their actions, and certainly not given taxpayer bailouts.
And, though they are dissatisfied with the health care in this country as a whole, the majority of Americans do not want to see this issue tackled at the Federal level – and with the recent results, we can certainly understand why.
As a recent Politico article mentioned, 2010 could very well be the “year of Independents”. Already in big races from East to West, from the state to the Federal level, third parties are starting to pop up where once there were only two choices. I myself will be challenging two savvy political opponents in the arena of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, riding the wave of brilliant ballot access maneuverings of the Libertarian Party of Ohio. For me, after running for Mayor of Bexley in 2007 and earning both the Franklin County Libertarian Party and the Central Ohio Green Party’s endorsements, this decision was not difficult.
The question is, how difficult will it be for the rest of the voters of Ohio, and indeed, of America, to come to this same decision as well? We are at a critical point in the history of our American democracy in 2010.
George Washington, for whom much adoration has been given in this country, did not believe in political parties, and in our current situation, one can certainly see why.
When only two parties emerge as the power brokers of the government, messes are made and there is nowhere else to turn when the time comes to clean them up. However, if we are forced to play this political game against two behemoths, then a commendable third party may be our only chance.
If it turns out that we cannot rely on that – working within the system to change the system – then the real audacity of hope for the majority of Americans will be finding a solution that can work.