Sunday, July 01, 2007


From Hullabaloo:

But this is a bigger problem than just this administration. It is a defining characteristic of our entire political culture. We are in an era of ruthless power politics --- institutions arrayed against institutions, levers of influence and action set against each other in a battle for supremacy. Those who have the superior ability to dominate and manipulate those institutions are able to advance their goals and agenda. The Republicans have been far better at this than Democrats.

So, it remains for liberals and progressives to figure out how to traverse this culture without losing their souls. It's clear that most of the DC establishment and the political media lost its way some time ago, allowing themselves to be led by corporate values and slick GOP public relations. It does us no good to be naive and expect everyone to "just say no" and "do the right thing." As I said, this is an era of power politics and if you don't exert power with intelligence and energy (and integrity) when you have it, average citizens who will pay the price when the Republicans return to power by any means necessary. The situation is what what it is, and if we are going to change it, it's going to take time and dedication to changing the entire political culture in fundamental ways.

Click here for the rest.

Liberals and progressives cannot "traverse this culture without losing their souls." Once one becomes a part of the political machinery, one must play by its rules, no matter how much one desires change. Sure, there is such a thing as change within that machinery, but it's very slow, incremental, and usually doesn't amount to much. Historically, all the great changes in US political culture didn't come from idealistic political operatives working from the inside. They came from mass social movements which scared the living shit out of all those insiders.

For instance, when the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965, essentially putting a legal end to the Jim Crow era, it was simply a formality, an opportunity for politicians to take credit for other people's work. Jim Crow ended because of years of social organization and agitation. Average ordinary Americans, black and white, joined together to challenge the political establishment, both liberal and conservative sides of it, and kept up the pressure. When it became clear that the movement wasn't going away, and couldn't be crushed, the political elite did what any scoundrel would do under the circumstances; it joined the revolution and quietly tried its damnedest to dilute it.

Rights and freedoms are not granted from on high by a powerful elite: they are seized by the people. That's the difference between a liberal and a leftist. Liberals think the system can be changed by becoming a part of it. Leftists know that the system is always inherently corrupt, and that true change can only come by pushing the entire establishment in a desired direction.

I've been told countless times throughout my life that I ought to go into politics. It's hard to explain that doing so would be, for me, total capitulation to the corrupt and immoral plutocracy that owns and runs America. The only fight that will ever do any good is for the hearts and minds of my fellow citizens. Politics, as it is conventionally understood, is a waste of time.

Standup comedy, however, has some very distinct possibilities...