Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Very Rich

It only takes one night to see the striking differences between the Republican and Democratic conventions. Even though the process of politics, with all its influence peddling and diluted legislation remains the same, the Democratic Party looks and talks a lot more like the people that inhabit this country. Of course it depends on where you live and how you speak and what you value, but it's abundantly clear that this convention looks very different. Factor in Michelle Obama and her very personal speech. That just cements the perception. Watching the Castro twins from San Antonio, one the Mayor, another running for Congress, is a reminder of what this country will look like in 30 years. After hearing them, It's going to be just fine. Of all the contrasts between the two parties and their conventions, the most striking to me is the role that former presidents have played. I still find it incredulous that George W. Bush was blatantly absent from the big party In Tampa. Cheney I can understand. He's barely alive on a daily basis, but Bush has taken a complete power from public view. How's that for a validation of all his policies and programs. I guess it's terribly inconvenient when none other than Bishop Tutu, one of the most respected world leaders and one of the finest minds on the planet is calling for your prosecution. To paraphrase historian Harvey Wasserman, whose history of the United States from 1865 to the present begins with an intriguing sentence about the Civil War, "The war with Iraq made a few businessmen very rich." That this country is hugely polarized is obvious. Yet both political parties conjure up and embellish the mythology of the American Dream, both have rags to riches stories,and both support policies that have failed. If President Obama is reelected, we'll all have an opportunity to see just how effective a leader he can be. Without the burden of reelection and all the baggage that comes with that, he has an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. In the end, "the American people," whoever and whatever that means anymore, are terribly pragmatic. Only n America can a moderate centrist like Obama be labeled a Socialist by reactionary Republicans. It's clear that the Republican party is in shambles and will need to enter the 21st century if it ever hopes to regain the White House. What fascinates me more is what direction the Democrats will go post Obama. That could be as soon as next year, but I bet it won't.

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