Saturday, March 17, 2012

Counterlight's Peculiars Endorses Barack Obama

Time to dig out Shepard Fairey's famous poster from the hard drive.

This blog makes its official endorsement a little early this time. There's a simple reason. There's really no better alternative, and the others contending to push him out of the White House are so very much worse. It's a choice between Gordon Gecko who just really wants to be President as well as to protect his investment interests, a used car salesman trying to sell us a 1972 Renault as a brand new hybrid, and Sister Dolorosa Excruciata's best pupil at Our Lady of Unbearable Pain Academy who beats up the sissy kids and shakes them down for their lunch money. And the people supporting them are even worse. There's the dozen or so plutocrats bankrolling them, and the mobs baying for blood who upstaged the candidates at every Republican debate.

No, I'm not completely happy with this guy as I've said in past posts. I remain deeply unhappy and disturbed over his continued expansion of the National Security State inherited from the Bush/ Cheney regime. I'm not at all happy about the completely lawless way Bin Laden and others were taken out. I think he handled the mortgage crisis very badly. He hired some of the very people responsible for the financial crisis to try to fix the problem they created. He caved and was humiliated during budget negotiations this summer, negotiations in which he offered to turn back the clock on Social Security and Medicare. Stopping progress temporarily in the name of political expediency I can tolerate, but not rolling it back. He very nearly lost my support completely over that. I understand his decision to accept PAC money, but I'm not at all happy about it. The Republicans have their patrons, and so do the Dems, and the rest of us are shut out.

On the other hand, he's the best President on gay issues ever. We saw the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, something I thought might never happen. He's been out front on gay civil rights issues, especially on the international level. Hillary Clinton's speech on gay rights at the UN in Geneva was historic and wouldn't have happened without his initiative or support.

The healthcare reform is far less than the Medicare For Everybody that I'd like to see. On the other hand, it is several big steps in the right direction finally putting the health insurance industry under regulatory control and ending their practice of terminating coverage for arbitrary reasons. This is the biggest piece of progressive legislation on healthcare since the Medicare Act of 1965.

Unheralded are Obama's reforms to the student loan program, taking it out of the hands of private insurers and making the situation for borrowers much more predictable and a lot less lawless.

Also for my students, Obama means a lot. For the first time, they have a President who looks like them. They now feel fully a part of the United States.

Is Obama a socialist? Seriously? He's to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon in his policies, even his foreign policy. The only reason he looks in any way "radical" is because the political center in the USA has lurched so far to the right after 40 years of Republican domination of the political debate with timid Democratic compliance. The platform of the John Birch Society which once looked "extreme" to no less a dirty lefty hippy than William F. Buckley is now mainstream and respectable, discussed with serious solemnity by overpaid pundits on the Washington dinner party circuit who really should know better.

And there's another reason for my endorsement. Here's a bright and clear a view into the dark minds that would throw him out and take over the world. This illustrates so plainly the fear and resentment out there that would turn all the clocks back 150 years. But, time only moves in one direction and it doesn't stop. Obama personifies the inevitable demographic change that's coming, and the cultural changes that happened over the past 50 years and are accomplished facts. Those accustomed to always being charge and to taking their supremacy for granted are deeply terrified; "I want my America back!" ("Tell it to Sitting Bull!" replied one comedian). This sticker is so offensive it's hard to know where to even begin. It's already appearing on car bumpers.*

What else would you expect from an ideology built entirely on spite? But of course, it's not about race (can anyone still say that and still keep a straight face?).

Obama, like gays and lesbians, is fortunate in his enemies.

*Please Note: The authenticity of the above bumper sticker is in doubt. Snopes lists it as "undetermined." If it does indeed prove to be fake, then it and all references to it on this post are coming down.

UPDATE on the sticker. Huffpost seems to think it's genuine, tracing it to a website called "Stumpy's Stickers" that sold a lot of similar very racist anti-Obama stuff. That site is now down.


susan s. said...

We would be unbelievably naive to be totally happy with any choice we have, but I like you am also supporting Mr. Obama. I like your reasons.

And I hate that bumper sticker.

Brian said...

I have very mixed feelings myself. As a public school teacher I have watched the President and his Education Secretary preside over the beginnings of the dismantlement of public schools in America.

Race to the Top and other signature programs came straight from the Heritage Foundation playbook and are driven by corporate and privatization interests. The requirement of RTTT and exemption from No Child Left Behind put into place a very unfair and egregious teacher "evaluation" system that is required to participate in both programs yet is clearly designed to crush teachers' unions and rid the system of as many tenured, experienced teachers as possible and divert money to profit-making, private companies who will hire inexperienced, cheap labor.

The ridiculous testing craze has been driven further into centrality by the president who claimed in this year's State of the Union address that teachers need to "stop teaching to the test" while his Dept. of Education made the results of those tests a mandatory part of teacher's evaluation that must be at least 50% of the final decision and decides whether or not we remain employed and what we get paid.

Do I vote to end my own career and profession and support the end of public education in America in exchange for for-profit charter schools that are controlled by the same people who drove the world economy into the ground or do I vote for the greater good in other areas?

I've never had to face such a difficult voting situation in 32 years yet I know that I cannot support any of the Republican candidates and I've never missed a vote in my adult life. I will pray.

JCF said...

You've said some very disturbing things, Brian (and Doug, too, for that matter). Things we SHOULD strongly demand answers to . . . in Obama's second term!

Re the bumper sticker: Shockingly Predictable.

Counterlight said...

I'm sympathetic to Brian. We have some draconian new regulations on financial aid coming down the road from the Feds on the college level. The lifelong maximum for Pell Grants will now be 12 semesters. That makes changing majors or second degrees much harder.
The same trend toward over-management and testing that plagues primary and secondary education is starting to hit the college level.
Both parties are responsible for this. Both are driven by corporate patronage.

There are so many times in voting when it's a choice between bad and worse and figuring out which is which.
For me, as a gay man, the choice is a clear one this year. President Santorum would be a catastrophe. President Romney might be an equally bad disaster since his many patrons and the angry right that gets him elected will demand payback, and bashing the queers wouldn't cost him anything.

As far as I can see, the Republican program for public education is to effectively end it, and their program for higher ed is to return it to its early 19th century function as a gate keeper for the class hierarchy.

Tristan Alexander said...

I have seen pictures of the sticker on cars, not photoshoped, it is a real sticker!

Tristan Alexander said...