American Samizdat

Thursday, November 09, 2006. *
Blood on the Tracks

Dr. Menlo, perhaps this will explain my reluctant celebration and quite echoes my own outlook...

As I stood in line for coffee on the morning after election night, a Democratic Party supporter ahead of me in line said, "Thank God this country is finally switching trains."

If only that were true.

On Election Day 2006, the U.S. public didn"t switch trains but simply ratified a different group of conductors.

It"s the same old train, on the same tracks, heading in the same direction.

This isn"t an argument that there are never any meaningful differences between politicians; sometimes it does matter who is giving the orders on the train. But on this day after the morning-after, it"s crucial for those with a critical perspective to highlight that this train -- contemporary U.S. society -- is barreling forward toward disaster, no matter who"s punching tickets.


Many who would agree in some fashion with such an assessment will say, "Yes, but at least electing Democrats might slow down the train." With a reactionary right-wing Republican Party in total control, the train is hurtling forward at 100 miles per hour, according to this position, but with Democrats in charge the train might slow down to 90 miles per hour.

agreed, 90 mph is an improvement over 100 mph but only in a theoretical kind of a way; a crash at 90mph is still going to be lethal.

Jensen concludes that the only viable strategy is to continue to mistrust the Democratic Party and work hard down at the grassroots:
The small amount of time we might gain will be meaningful only if we confront the harsh reality that the systems that shape our world -- capitalism and empire, rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy -- are fundamentally bankrupt and indefensible, yet deeply rooted in our culture.

When I make this point, I"m often told by liberals and progressives that I"m not being realistic, that ordinary people won"t listen to such analysis. That"s not my experience. When I have tried to articulate this worldview in plain language in recent political talks, I have found that a growing number of people not only will listen but are hungry for such honesty.

Of course not everyone agrees -- not anywhere near the number needed for a mass movement right now, and certainly not a majority -- but one wouldn"t expect that in this affluent society in which many people are still insulated from the consequences of these systems. But more and more people, from many sectors of society, are facing these realities, and we are searching for a community in which to confront this together.

Our political work should focus on connecting with people on common ground, and then working to shape a radically new vision of justice and sustainability...

only 40 percent of the US electorate turned out at this critical juncture...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:42 PM
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