I see in today's New York Times that the Reverend Al Sharpton is urging opposition to Rush buying the St. Louis Rams. My first thought is that since the Rams left Los Angeles, my home town, I don't much care what happens to them. My second thought is that it's perfectly appropriate for a war-loving lunk like Limbaugh to own a team in one of the most violent sports on earth, "professional" football (remember George Carlin's routine on the difference between baseball and football? If not, check it out here.)
But most important is my third thought, which is that people on the liberal and left side of the political spectrum are so freaked out about the American right-wing taking over the nation's political discourse that they have done little to prevent the American right-wing from taking over the political discourse.
A perfect example is the health care debate. One would think that pro-reformers would have learned from the Clinton health-care debacle of the 1990s that this would be a big fight and that Obama would not be able to do it all alone, he would need troops in the streets. And to be fair, there are many dedicated activists, including those in the wonderful California Nurses Association, who have fought bravely and fought hard. But there has been nothing anywhere near the kind of mass movement around this issue necessary to counter the health industry's juggernaut of lobbyists and lies. Why not? Because too many liberals and leftists think that crying and moaning over the big bad right's terribly unfair tactics is good enough. It's not.
It's time to get tough, just like Rush and those big bad football guys. It's time to tell the American right to get fucked, to ride roughshod over them just like they have done to the rest of the country all these years; it's time to realize and understand that the majority of Americans want health care reform, want out of Afghanistan, want help for people losing their homes, and want to put the corporations into regulatory straightjackets so they can never sink the economy with their greed again. The left can have tea parties and town meetings too, and it's time to start having them.
As for President Obama, he's either with us or against us. Something tells me that once he has the troops he needs, he will do the right thing. But it's up to us to provide them.
In need of inspiration? Yesterday singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie spent the hour with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Give it a listen. Lots of songs, lots of wisdom.
More wisdom. From Andrew Bacevich in the Boston Globe, about the endless war in Afghanistan and what Obama's choices mean. A key graf:
As the fighting drags on from one year to the next, the engagement of US forces in armed nation-building projects in distant lands will become the new normalcy. Americans of all ages will come to accept war as a perpetual condition, as young Americans already do. That “keeping Americans safe’’ obliges the United States to seek, maintain, and exploit unambiguous military supremacy will become utterly uncontroversial.