Why This Really Is "the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime"
I would like to commend to you Senator Robert Byrd's new book, Losing America. Byrd, you will recall, accused his Senate colleagues of "sleepwalking through history" for their failure to resist George Bush's spurious rush to war against Iraq. Now he expresses the bleak conviction that we are on the verge of losing our democracy, just as Rome slipped from republic to autocratic empire through an inert populace, a supine legislature, and an ambitious and arrogant executive.
To my mind, we are repeating our own historical experience. The Jacksonian era saw the extension of the vote to the working class and mitigated the overweening power of the wealthy in the 1820s and 30s; the Progressive era led to the extension of the vote to women and to some limitations on the power of the monopolistic corporations and trusts in the 1890-1920 period, and the modern Civil Rights era re-enfranchised African Americans and sought to better the condition of America's poor.
Conversely, the conservative triumph over Jacksonianism of 1840 led to the Civil War by its unwillingness to deal with slavery in any serious way. The repugnant excesses of the Gilded Age brought about the labor wars of the end of the 19th century, and the anti-Communist fanatics, the intransigence of the segregationists, and those who belittle women led to the struggles of the 1960s and 70s.
The Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s paralleled to Civil War. The Affirmative Action period paralleled Reconstruction, and the present Right-Wing ascendancy promises a return to the Jim Crow era.
Once again the right aims to reestablish the complete dominance of the wealthy through a language of rightwing populism with its rhetoric of religion, stoking hatred for minorities and foreign enemies, and by fomenting nationalist and imperialist fantasies.
In his address to the VFP Convention, Vietnam Veterans of America founder Bobby Muller defined our next mission in what I consider to be precisely the right terms. He urged that we must create the "political space" in our home communities that will encourage John Kerry to adopt more progressive policies than those he is espousing now. We must, he said, steer our country's leadership away from disaster and toward policies truly suited to producing peace and stability in the world.
Very well said, but his comments take as a presumption that John Kerry is the linchpin around which our efforts should take place, and we are not yet, unfortunately, united in that view.
VFP past president Barry Riesch said: "We want [John Kerry] to show the same courage he showed when he came home from Vietnam and spoke out against the war. I'll vote for him, but some of our members are on the fence." (My emphasis.)
Another friend says, "I could never vote for a candidate who promotes or votes for war." Until Kerry's nomination acceptance speech, my wife felt the same. There are too many others who feel that way.
Many of us do not yet believe that, as Kerry said in his acceptance speech, "this is the most important election of our lifetime.
I, however, believe that Kerry is right for precisely the points made by Daniel Ellsberg, Howard Zinn and Robert Byrd. If we do not step back from the verge now, it may be to late to have any hope at all for salvaging our already deeply damaged democracy, much less a democracy with progressive leanings.
Those of us who feel that there is no substantive difference between Bush and Kerry--those who hope that four more years of Bush will open the possibility of a real and broad-based turn to the left--are dreaming. Our nation has always been more susceptible to the blandishments of the right than to the left. For some idea as to why, I commend to you John Leland's New York Times article, "Why America Sees the Silver Lining" (Week in Review, June 13, 2004). Meantime, and having participated in the American electoral process since 1963, I believe that this is "the most important election of our lifetime," and the most dismaying.
For those of us in safe states, there may still be room to vote Nader or Green as a message to Kerry. But, as I go off to a not-so-safe state to work for a Kerry presidency, let me urge my friends on the left to consider the possibility that four more years of George Bush may lead us down a very dark path indeed, while a vote for Kerry may give us, as Bobby Muller says, some space in which to maneuver.
Peter D. Molan, Ph.D., a member of Veterans for Peace, Baltimore, is a retired Middle East analyst for the US Department of Defense.
Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on July 30, 2004.
Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]