The Ballot and the Wallet

It lies in front of me on the table.

I have always voted by mail so I can think while I vote. No lines. No pressure. No vote-flipping electronic voting machines.

Now it sits there, my ballot opened to the choice for President. There is my morning cup of coffee and a half eaten apple. There is the League of Women Voters Voter Guide and a pile of political junk mail. There is my laptop, its battery slowly dying, while out of the corner of my eye I watch the hourly chart of Wall Street, also slowly dying. The radio plays in the background: the local public radio station is conducting one of its semi-annual fund drives. I hold my pen in my hand and I am thinking.

Contemporary American political campaigns are personality contests and I am an issue-oriented person. I quickly reject the Constitutional Party. It wants to pull out US soldiers from Iraq, which is good; but the party has a thick Christian thread running through its platform which makes it anathema to me.

I consider the Libertarians. I resonate with the Do It Yourself (DIY) ethos and the emphasis on personal responsibility. But I do not like the Libertarians’ exaggerated notions of nationalism, individualism and immigration, or its abject lack of empathy.

I consider Cynthia McKinney, a smart, articulate woman with the heart of a fighter; but her sponsor, the Green Party USA, is so muddled by concepts of consensus and social harmony that it cannot grow out of its political adolescence. It is a party of nice people content to finish last.1

I look over the palette of socialist and communist party tickets, each with its subtly differentiated name and its subtly differentiated tenets. In light of the succession of economic crises — all predicted by Marx over a hundred years ago — I am tuned in to their messages, but I am tuned out by the stridency. They speak a vaguely antiquarian vocabulary from the early 20th Century that evokes Stalin and Mao and Lenin and Che. They all had very relevant things to say, for their times and for ours, but they are all dead now, and their message needs to be modernized for 21st Century times.

And then there is Ralph. I like Ralph Nader all the more when Zombiecrats, trying to dissuade me from voting for him (again), blather their rehearsed line that Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election. That tactic backfires. It is like McCain labeling the centrist Obama a “socialist.” When Democrats slam Mr. Nader for his “egomania,” it rings so false that it only increases my distaste for that “certain other party” that has shared the power and thus shares the blame for the Republicans’ misdeeds. All the Democratic and Republican mayors, governors, representatives and senators added together do not match the intelligence, understanding and integrity in Ralph Nader’s little finger.

Ralph Nader speaks truth to power.

However, speaking truth to power only makes you hoarse.

Power hears nothing and respects nothing except a greater power. We all say that we want our “leaders” to be intelligent, understanding and honest (although none of these qualities necessarily mean that one can “lead”.) Getting elected is different from leading, and unless we will have “philosopher kings,” the usual measures of intelligence and honesty are not meaningful. Getting “elected” to public office is not so much about intelligence as cunning; not so much about understanding as intuition; not so much about integrity as the appearance of integrity.

I sip my coffee and glance through the rest of the ballot: candidates running virtually unopposed in politically “safe” districts; initiatives to levy real estate taxes for public transportation, public schools and public parks; lists of notable somebodies endorsing this, that or the other. The public radio station continues pleading for donations so it can continue broadcasting. On my laptop, the mainstream news feeds continue to babble about the risk of a “possible” recession that everyone knows started a year ago and that the government will never acknowledge has happened until it’s over.

I recognize that everything has been stood on its head. Public transportation, education, health care, public parks, and public radio should be paid for out of the general revenues. Wars should be funded by local real estate tax levies. “Shall a tax of $9.99 per $1,000.00 of assessed value be levied on your private residence for the year 2009 in order to pay for 6 months occupation of Afghanistan so that we can kill half the population while bringing them the civilizing benefits of Christianity and Capitalism – Yes or No?” War, not public radio, should be funded by semiannual beg-a-thons: “We only need three hundred thousand more callers in the next half hour to meet our goal of $50 Billion for the invasion of Iran! Operators are standing by to accept your pledge of your teenage son’s or daughter’s life! And right now, we have a challenge from Boeing and from Halliburton — for every $250 million pledged by listeners they will match your contribution by building a munitions factory or bio-military laboratory right in your neighborhood; AND they will inscribe your name on a “smart bomb” or a missile fired by a U.S. drone at a school or wedding party in Pakistan, so it really can be done ‘in your name!‘”

I take another bite of the half eaten apple, now oxidized dark brown. My lap top battery flashes that it has only ten minutes to live as the Dow Jones Average, its chart blatantly manipulated, stages another one of its mid-day ersatz “rallies” on the Treasury Department’s promise to inflate another bubble by buying up every rotten Wall Street investment since the Beginning of Time, dropping interest rates to negative 2%, giving every every Fortune 500 executive a $1,000,000 dollar tax-payer financed year end “bonus”, and cutting taxes to absolute zero for those in the top 1% of annual income.

Do issues matter in the United States?

I flip back to the presidential candidates. My coffee is getting cold.

Politics is mostly amoral. It is about power relationships, and how to manipulate these relationships to achieve certain goals. The champions in the amoral manipulation of power relationships are the Democratic and Republican parties… both of which run as far from “issues” as they can.

In democratic countries that have parliamentary systems of government, voting for issues can make a difference. In parliamentary systems, when no single party wins a clear majority, minorities can play the king-makers.

In a parliamentary system, voting can be meaningful because even the smallest splinter party representing the narrowest constituency (if it meets the minimum threshold) can be represented in the legislative body. In a parliamentary system, the smallest party can make or break a government. A Ralph Nader, a Green McKinney, a Socialist, a Libertarian — even a Ross Perot decades ago — can force at least some of their agenda into the political mainstream as the price of supporting a coalition government. Once part of the government, a minority party can threaten to or actually withdraw from the coalition, which, in turn, can cause the government to fall or force new elections.

The downside is that in a parliamentary system a segregationist like George Wallace, who ran in 1968 on the American Independent Party ticket, could become a power broker, just as the National Socialists became the power brokers in 1932 at the tail end of Germany’s Weimar Republic even though the Nazis never won an election majority. Some parliamentary forms of coalition government have proved to be unstable, weak, rudderless, and subject to interim replacement on demand. By contrast, the “American” form of winner-take-all government is stable, strong, goal-oriented… as well as militaristic, authoritarian and impossible to replace on an interim basis notwithstanding the constitutional power of impeachment.2

Well, we do not have parliamentary government in the United States and we never will in my lifetime. I am stuck, therefore, with the usual fashion show that passes for political campaigns. In the absence of any clear debate on substantive issues, I am left to divine what the candidates might do in office. I have to decipher their nuanced speeches, their code words, their ambiguous double talk. The campaign managers and the talking heads on television tell me what I did not hear and what the candidates did not say. I, like all the rest of us, strain to transfer my hopes to the blank slate of the issue-less candidate, believing, as we always do, that the candidates might actually do some of the things that they promised to do. And, just as fervently, we hope that they will not do most of what they promise they would do.

Mr. McCain — the ostensible maverick who would follow in Bush’s burning footsteps — does his damnedest to appease Big Business and the right wing of the Republican party. Mr. Obama — the ostensible agent of small change — does his damnedest to appease Big Business and the right wing of the Republican party.

The “moderate” McCain picks a radical conservative as his running mate. The outside-the-beltway Obama picks a beltway insider as his running mate. Both candidates promise that they will change the way Washington and Wall Street do business while both candidates surround themselves with advisors who epitomize how Washington and Wall Street do business. Both candidates wrap themselves in the flag, flog us with the bible, and swear they will tame the very same lobbyists and moneyed interests who are funding their campaigns. It is anyone’s guess whether, if either candidate, is the more genuinely disingenuous.

I feel myself spiraling down into depression until, God bless her tiny frost-bitten soul, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann brings me back to reality, channeling the ghost of Joe McCarthy by suggesting that “unamerican” politicians in Washington DC should be investigated.3 I mean, what the hell is wrong with Minnesota? Michele Bachmann in Congress? The state that gave us the late Paul Wellstone replaced him with the Bush-licking Norm Coleman? And the home of Lake Wobegon hosts the Republican National Convention while violating the constitutional rights of every journalist and anti-war demonstrator with a conscience?

I refill my coffee cup. I try to focus on the ballot.

Is Voting Relevant to Political Power and Does Morality Have Anything to do with It?

Electoral politics typically are not about morals. Matters of “morality” sometimes come into play but only when voters’ material interests are not at stake. First comes food, then comes morality, wrote Bertolt Brecht.4 Affluent societies can afford morality; societies in economic decay cannot. That isn’t really a knock on voters. They are not paranoid — their fears are justified. It is simple reality, a feature of evolutionary instincts; a reaction to the genuine threats that voters sense now imperil their welfare and the welfare of their families.

Ultimately, they gain political power who provide the greatest material benefit to the greatest number of people who matter.

So who are the people who matter?

To some extent, those who vote matter. Voting is the only political currency regular citizens have, but it is pretty small change. If a vote is a penny, then it is only valuable if amalgamated with other votes – like millions of pennies, or at least a roll of pennies, or rolls of pennies clenched in our fists.

They matter more, however, who register the voters and count their votes. As we learned in 2000 and 2004, the power to restrict access to the polls and to persuade you who you supposedly voted for is greater than the actual power of the ballot.

They matter more who influence other people how to vote because a psychotically self-confident talk show host, “an expert” who is never “right” but always on the air, a deceptive pollster, a raving preacher, a manipulative news media mogul can all tap into those deep veins of primal fear, paranoia and insecurity that twist hearts and minds everywhere on earth.

They matter still more who own the property and money enough to buy the votes, the vote counters, the news media, those who influence others how to vote… and who have the power to dictate what the political leadership will do no matter who wins the elections.


In 1964, Malcolm X said it was a matter of the ballot or the bullet.5 Today, it is the ballot and the wallet. This is progress? I drink more coffee. Caffeine clears my mind and the election comes back into focus.

Bush Won. We Lost.

Everywhere I read how stupid George Bush was. Craven, perhaps. Immoral, unethical, unprincipled, malicious… well of course. But not stupid. Bush wanted war, and he got war, an endless war on terrorism that, compliments of the still inexplicable circumstances of 9/11, we all heartily endorsed. We attacked and occupied two countries and made de facto colonies of many more. Eight years later, we’re still occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing several others at will. Bush mocked us as an impotent focus group. He was right – we were impotent and we could be mocked with impunity. They took the oil, they took our public money. They deliberately strapped the commonwealth with colossal debt then urged a “balanced budget” on the next administration so that there would be no economic room to fund essential public services. They stacked the courts with Federalist Society conservatives who will outlive the next five presidents. Bush, his cronies and his advisors abjectly lied. They conspired practically in plain view. They falsely imprisoned, tortured, robbed, and murdered people on a level that might have embarrassed Stalin. They and their John Yoos, their Alberto Gonzaleses, their David Addingtons, their Judith Millers, their Lou Dobbses, their Bill O’Reillys, their Rupert Murdochs, their Grover Norquists, all their trained media attack dogs and their politically motivated prosecutors, all of them trivialized the Constitution and trashed all notions of human rights. They did it with malice aforethought and they did it with absolute impunity. They got richer, we got poorer. They live better for it, we live worse. They get the bailouts and we get the bill. If they are stupid, then what are we?

I sometimes think that anyone who wants to be President of the United States cannot be qualified for the job. It’s sobering to realize that four, and probably five presidents have been assassinated.6 That means that 8.6% of sitting presidents have been killed in office. If you add in candidates who likely would have been elected had they not been murdered during the run up to the elections — like Robert Kennedy and Huey Long — then the presidency is as hazardous as coal mining, deep sea fishing and door-belling in Texas for gun control.

I think I saw the “shadow government” at work when the most recent financial crisis broke late this summer. There they all were in Washington DC, the blue bloods and white shirts, the masters of the universe and their enablers, working secretly behind closed doors over the weekend, building their own life boats at our expense. They sailed away from the Titanic‘s shipwreck. They left us to drown in their debt.

Earlier in the year, I think I saw the powers behind the curtains orchestrating immunity for the telecommunications companies that illegally spied on us for years. I think I saw some folks finagle an off-shore oil drilling bill. I saw them bust Scooter Libby out of jail. I saw them condemn nuclear power for Iran and, without batting an eye, simultaneously promote nuclear power for India. I saw them let New Orleans expire for the sake of politics and lucre. I saw it all in flagrante delicto.

A New Power Base

So, if I saw all this and if I believe all this, what do I really expect from a viable candidate for public office? The world being what I think it is, what politician would last three minutes should s/he espouse the opinions I hold? You want change, but damned if it’s possible to run on a platform for real change. Howard Dean, hardly a radical, was hounded out of politics for as little as a “howl.”7 Hillary Clinton and her national health task force in 1993 was torpedoed just trying to address the problem of health care.8 What kind of media attention would a candidate get who really was going to end the wars, really wanted to establish a national single-payer health care program, really intended to redirect money from the military-industrial-security complex to programs beneficial to society? Would that candidate be ridiculed or ignored or politically tarred and feathered? If you took those positions in a real campaign, who would put up the half a billion dollars necessary to run the race? You? Me? If we believe that they who hold power will never give it up for something as “trivial” as a democratic vote, why would we believe that a candidate could successfully run against that power playing strictly “by the rules;” for who makes the rules and who enforces them?

My pen starts to circle over the Obama line on the ballot.

Obama is very intelligent and polished, though his stated positions are less than earth-shaking. He has had the savvy to outsmart some of the slickest political machines around. His election would give heartburn to all the people I would dearly love to suffer heartburn. He is not the second (or the first) coming of the messiah, however. He is an “okay” orator, but then the competition isn’t very stiff these days. He certainly is no blue blood. He is a mutt, and most of us are mutts. The more Palin describes Obama as “dangerous,” the more I am drawn to him. McCain, unwittingly evoking the memory of the 2000 and 2004 stolen elections, “guarantees” that he will win in November… which lets me better understand the French Revolution.

Obama has no obvious power base, which naturally makes him lean toward the only power base there is; so he leans right. But he is still a cipher. Who knows what he really stands for other than the slogan “change.” Maybe that unknown leaves some room for hope that he might not be as mainstream as he appears to be. Maybe I’ll just be disappointed.

I’ve decided to vote for the slogan. Change. BIG TIME change! It’s not about you in particular, Mr. Obama, though I wish you well. Certainly, it’s not about the tainted Democratic Party, and it is definitely not about the Democratic party leadership. Ultimately, it is about the slogan. I’m going to help make you a new power base, Mr. Obama, a mandate comprised of us. It’s time to lean my way, Mr. President. I’m going to be paying close attention this time and from here on out.

I vote.

  1. The Green Party in Europe is an actual player, as it is in Canada. In recent history, the German Greens were part of the government led by the SPD, the Social Democrats. []
  2. Unlike the democracies of Venezuela and Boliva (where the president literally can be recalled by referendum, or Pakistan, where Pervez Musharraf resigned on the mere rumor of impeachment, impeachment is “off the table” in the United States for anything other than sexual peccadilloes. []
  3. Sam Stein, “Michele Bachmann Channels McCarthy: Obama “Very Anti-American,” Congressional Witch Hunt Needed,” Huffington Post. []
  4. “Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.” Brecht/Weill, The Three Penney Opera (“The Ballad of the Question What Does Man Need to Live”) []
  5. Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” []
  6. Historian Michael Parenti argues the convincing case that President Zachary Taylor was poisoned in 1850 because of his moderate views on the expansion of slavery. History as Mystery, “The Strange Death of Zachary Taylor.” []
  7. Howard Dean,” Who2? []
  8. 1993 Clinton health care plan,” Wikipedia. []

Zbignew Zingh is a writer whose articles are CopyLeft, free to distribute, copy, reprint or repost in full with proper author citation and with the "Copyleft" designation. Read other articles by Zbignew, or visit Zbignew's website.

21 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Rich Griffin said on October 31st, 2008 at 7:26am #

    What a sick article! Why was this posted on this site?? Obama?? Are you INSANE!??!??!! Endless wars? Pro-corporate pro-nuclear pro-”clean coal” anti-gay marriage – the list is endless! This article is insulting, disgusting, go f yourself!! My rage at anyone who votes for Obama grows and grows and grows. I’m so mad I will never ever even so much as visit this site ever again. Obama is so despicable!! GOODBYE!

  2. tuned in said on October 31st, 2008 at 7:47am #

    bush didn’t win.

    the change obama will bring is not what all the obamazombies are hoping for. it’ll be a rude awakening…

  3. Kim Petersen said on October 31st, 2008 at 8:32am #

    DV has published many articles exposing the lesser (or equivalent) evilism of Obama- Biden to McCain-Palin.
    This co-editor certainly would not advocate a lesser evilist position. The article was well written and thoughtful. I found the conclusion flawed: that the writer would vote for “change.” “Change” does not appear on the ballot … and neither does “revolution.”
    In the submissions section, one can read: “It is understood that articles published in Dissident Voice do not necessarily reflect the views of its editors or all contributing writers. “

  4. bozhidar bob balkas said on October 31st, 2008 at 9:03am #

    morality is part of one and the only reality we have. thus, ethics, or lack of it, is interwoven w. politics, religion, guns, lying, etcetc.
    politics, regardless how wide or narrow it may be is also part or one reality.
    it is the nature which will have final say. narrow politics or politics w. little or no ethics, leads to catastrophies.
    also sprach die Nature! its revenge will destroy most or even all of us.
    it already, even before warming/pollution, puts everyone to death.
    i wonder why? do we deserve it? thnx

  5. bozhidar bob balkas said on October 31st, 2008 at 9:19am #

    i wld not vote for lesser of the lessers evils. and if chomsky had said it, he said it in the main, i guess, because he is a minizionist.
    and obama to prove his genuiness in the eyes of the ruling class may actually be worse towards pals than any rep.
    many of which, i’m led to believe, envy ashkenazim for their prowess at making money
    ahskenazim r true to torah the whorah: ye shall be lenders and not borrowers. Ye shall have servanst but will not serve goyim. thnx

  6. Sunil Sharma said on October 31st, 2008 at 9:22am #

    Rich,

    If you want an alternative, check out Matt Gonzalez’s article from yesterday. Go through all the articles we’ve posted regarding the election so far, and you’ll probably find the ratio of commentaries opposed to Zingh’s well-written one above to be about 100-1. Doesn’t hurt to get a different opinion every now and then, especially when it’s well articulated. I personally don’t agree with it either, for what it’s worth, but still think there’s insight to be gleaned from the article . . . even Norman Solomon’s.

    – Sunil

  7. cemmcs said on October 31st, 2008 at 12:54pm #

    channeling the ghost of Eugene McCarthy by suggesting that “unamerican” politicians in Washington DC should be investigated

    I think you mean Joe McCarthy.

    Nonetheless, I think this is a good article even though I don’t I will vote the same way.

  8. ron ridenour said on October 31st, 2008 at 1:03pm #

    Zbignew,

    This is one of the most entrancingly written prosaic articles I have read about the elections, and generally. You are a superb writer and thinker, regardless of you conclusion.

    For those who say they will abandon the informative, analytical, insigtful, entertaining, excellent writing of DV, because of one article with which one disarees is belittling to that for which we stand, and to yourself. You do not grow by refusing to reflete and argue against and for. That requires rigor. Face up to the tasks of change.

    Ron
    http://www.ronridenour.com

  9. Hue Longer said on October 31st, 2008 at 4:27pm #

    lol…I read the last paragraph several times trying to find a way that Zbignew was actually suggesting that his vote was for Nader while cleverly pissing us off. But it certainly does not imply this at all…oh well, nice writing anyways.

  10. Deadbeat said on October 31st, 2008 at 6:05pm #

    Zingh article is a good analysis of the void on the Left and the lack of viable alternatives. His analysis is not far from the pragmatism of the masses of voters. The reaction by Mr. Griffen exposes what I think is a serious problem on the Left. This is the Left’s inability to emphasize with the mainstream voter and the ordinary citizens in general. Rather than alienate, what Zingh articulate is the though process of many voters.

    I don’t disagree with Zingh voting for Obama I do disagree with the fallacy that he’ll be able to influence Obama. At best Zingh can engage Obama supporters with is concerns such that they have no illusions about Obama.

    In the meantime the Left has to devise new strategies to reach out to voters like Zingh and find way to build the level of solidarity needed in order to construct a viable alternative.

  11. Zbignew Zingh said on October 31st, 2008 at 11:25pm #

    Because it’s Halloween and I am suffering from a sugar high, I thought I would do something I have never done before: respond to some of the posts.

    1.There were two errors in the article, and I thank readers for catching them. The first was that “Do It Yourself” is “DIY,” not “DYI,” as I wrote. The second – more egregious – was misnaming Eugene McCarthy when I meant Joe McCarthy. Joe McCarthy’s ghost was one of the ghouls traipsing around on Halloween night. Gene McCarthy will rest in peace. Literally. My sincere apologies to all for being a crappy proof-reader of my own writing. As the patient editors of DV know from past experience, I always make one or two errors of this type in every article. It is my curse.
    2.This article has made the rounds of several sites after starting at DV. Some hate the style; some like it. For me, the style and the content of each particular article should be inseparable, each focused on the same goal – like painting. I recognize that I sometimes apply too much “paint.” I am sorry if the way I write bothers some, however I am only trying to create a vehicle to express thoughts in a way that will not bore people. For my own edification, I try to vary the style of my writing, borrowing, sometimes shamelessly stealing, sometimes experimenting, trying different techniques to test their effects. Some succeed; some fail.
    3.I had no intention of trying to change anyone’s political convictions, just express my own. Doing so in writing merely helps me to make up my own mind. I hope no one minds when I share.
    4.Cynthia McKinney is a terrific person and very tough. The Greens are very well-meaning, and I have carried their card in the past. For me, right now, however, they do not move the ball toward the goal: attaining power.
    5.Ralph Nader, in my view, is one of the heroes of our times. Interestingly, if one reads his autobiography, one learns that he is hardly a radical. Indeed, Mr. Nader is probably the one truly “conservative” candidate out there. His autobiography describes an ethos that could be borrowed from nearly every old world Mediterranean family, spanning myriad cultures and religions from Portugal to France to Italy to Greece to Lebanon to Egypt to Morocco. I know it well and personally. Mr. Nader irritates others precisely because he believes the system will work if we all are honest, ethical, well regulated and hard-working citizens. Like him. Unfortunately, the majority of people – myself included – don’t always fit that job description. As I pointed out in the article, I am more comfortable with and prefer a parliamentary system because it can accommodate minorities. In a parliamentary system, I could help Ralph Nader and all of us become a part of a coalition government, perhaps gain him a significant ministry, perhaps help him become prime minister leading a coalition of parties who could coalesce and work together. But we don’t have a parliamentary system. It ain’t gonna happen. Not in my lifetime or yours.
    6.There are two basic ways to get past a wall. One way, you ram your head against it until it collapses. Another way is you figure out a way to go around it. The object is to get past the impediment as soon as possible without destroying yourself in the process. I’ve tried the battering ram approach. It hurts like hell. Now I will try a more subtle approach. Do I think Mr. Obama’s politics match up with mine? Hardly. I think two things about him, however. One, he really has no power base except what voters give him. I am convinced that a vote for him is not a vote for his rather nondescript “policies,” such as they are, but a huge vote of disgust against the status quo. He’s too smart not to recognize that. Although I think well of the DV readership and its insight, I have a much more guarded opinion about the population on the whole. For the citizens of this rather unenlightened country to express an unequivocally strong measure of disgust with the status quo is progress, indeed, and perhaps the most I can expect from a nation with our track record. Second, Mr. Obama has come to symbolize something, precisely because he is not your typical white bread politician born with a silver spoon in his mouth. There are a lot of people for whom the elevation of a Barack/Michelle Obama to the White House will be symbolically meaningful in and of itself. Astoundingly meaningful. The symbol, of course, means nothing except the inspiration that the impossible can happen. And that’s what eggs on folks who read this site (and I don’t mean the surveillance types who undoubtedly lurk here) to step up to the next impossible task – something substantive that’s more than just symbolic. I am patient and deliberate enough to take a step at a time to get past the wall without smashing my head against it.
    7.Lastly, my only truly “reactive” comment is to those few who ask why an article appears at DV if it is inconsistent with the reader’s own opinions. The editors of this site – to their immense credit – clearly believe in the message of the name Dissident Voice. If it were “Harmonious Voice,” I could understand how readers would want to be forever reinforced in their own opinions. If I may be forgiven one last lecture: those who would only want to read and hear what they already know and believe may be like the Puritans. They dissented from the Church of England which discriminated against them. They then came to the Americas… where, in delicious irony, they promptly discriminated against everyone else and engaged in one witch hunt after another in the name of preserving their own ideological purity. Such is the legacy of this country and it shows itself time and again at places like FOX television, various talk shows and in many of the subliminal political messages emanating from the Right during this campaign season. We don’t need that or want that, and the editors of DV are gutsy enough to resist the trap of ideological homogeneity.
    8.My sugar high having now worn off, I will now retire to my cave and shut up. Thank you. z

  12. Hue Longer said on November 1st, 2008 at 12:51am #

    DB,

    I love you more than some here, but I gotta ask as they have…who is the “left”? Where do you see yourself? You certainly are not right-wing or centrist… are you the man with the plan, the right plan? Are there any others who are in your circle? what would you call this circle? Please Mate, tell me…definitions are required before logic can be applied

  13. Deadbeat said on November 1st, 2008 at 2:04am #

    Hue asks several questions…

    [1] who is the “left”?

    I would generally define the Left as the assortment of Marxist, anti-capitalist, socialist and who believe in redistributive policies. Essentially I define leftist politics as supportive of justice, equality, fairness and democracy. However the “Left” that I am critical of are particularly the “Chomskyite” Left who are critical of U.S. hegemony but unfortunately have used their intellect to form sophisticated arguments using U.S. hegemony and imperialism to obscure injustices and sow confusion.

    [2]Where do you see yourself?

    I guess I would consider myself a deadbeat without any affiliation. I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut. In an earlier time I was a supporter of the Democrats and considered myself a “Liberal”. I read Chomsky and Marx and studied economics and have a MBA.

    I’ve spent some time in NYC in the 80′s during the Ed Koch regime and saw the politics of the Jewish community politics shift more and more to the right and grow disdainful of the African American community. This was shocking to me especially when years earlier there seemed to be a real working relationship between the two communities.

    What has changed over the past 20 years is that now you can openly speak about and criticize Zionism. You wouldn’t dare do that 20 years ago. But as you can see even here on DV there is still denial on the Left regarding the extent of Zionism influence upon the U.S. political economy. The inability of the Left to tackle this issue is a major reason why solidarity is extremely weak on the Left.

    This conclusion for me however is fairly recent. What REALLY opened my eyes to this was how the Left deliberately diffused the anti-war movement and failed to coalesce four years ago to build upon Nader 2000 showing and build a real alternative to the Democrats. The people who I respected in the past decided to betray solidarity especially because the issue of Zionism was being raised as a source of the problem leading to the War on Iraq. I agreed with the War for Oil explanation to a large extent but I also saw Zionism as a factor as well. This caused a major riff among Left activists to the extent that they would discredit those who was bring up the Zionist influence.

    Seeing the extent that the Left wing “celebrities” was going to diffuse the anti-war movement and thwart solidarity really opened by eyes to the hypocrisy on the Left.

    The hypocrisy of the Left is that the Left today fails to put the ideology of the working class above all else.

    [3]you the man with the plan, the right plan?

    My plan is to advocate Deadbeatism. In fact I think Deadbeat Dads are modern day radicals. Fuck all debts and especially court induced pecuniary payments. This is something that the Left doesn’t seem too willing to advocate.

    [4] Are there any others who are in your circle?

    My ranks are growing. All you have to do is check the business pages and the divorce filings.

    [5]what would you call this circle?

    Deadbeats

  14. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 1st, 2008 at 8:11am #

    as an aside to readers (but not to me) lying, deceiving, ‘promising’, cheating began a few millennia before prostitution or giving sex therapy for bread, beans, meat.
    sex therapy is a twoway affair. nobody knows when this affair started.
    probably 10-16 millennia ago. thnx

  15. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 1st, 2008 at 12:55pm #

    the Left or the other Left, naomski left does not possess/control following:
    cia, fbi, police, congress, senate, politicos, eduaction, wh, military, churhes, corporations, etcetc.
    it is the Right who controls w. irn grip all of that. to paraphrase stalin, how many tanks has chomsky? thnx

  16. Hue Longer said on November 1st, 2008 at 5:30pm #

    thanks for the read, DB …funny stuff. I’m not one for labels, but “left” is one I thought safe from bastardized status (unlike “liberal”). I’ll have to consider the nuance now that the Deadbeats are on the rise (There’s a joke in there to tie back into bastardized with a correlating number of bastards on the rise, but I’m tired).

  17. Max Shields said on November 1st, 2008 at 6:06pm #

    No void created by the left. It was created Zingh who can barely get passed a cup of coffee to march down to the polls let alone roll up his sleeves and begin to change what’s outside his window.

    This is not about a leftist void. It’s about laziness. Start with yourself Mr. Zingh.

  18. Max Shields said on November 1st, 2008 at 6:34pm #

    DB, I read your first time response (I guess I never said the magic word “love”) to what you’ve got in your head when you say “left”.

    The problem is you are generalizing. US hegemony does exist even if Noam Chomsky was never born. People who see the US as an imperialist empire are not zionist apologists. Zionism as it exists in Israel and supported by the Bidens of the world is fundamentally a racist imperialist ideology. But Chomsky is NOT the left. He is merely a social critic and self-proclaimed anarchist.

    It is this incredible conflation you make by using some sliver of a “left” which for me is not represented by The Nation or The Progressive, because at the end of the day they are the magazine version of Michael Moore the Hypocrite par exellance.

    These personalities – Chomsky, Moore, Zinn, Marx, whatever – are observers. In some cases, in some cases there actions are wholly divergent with their writings.

  19. David said on November 1st, 2008 at 8:11pm #

    Mr. Zingh;

    Thank you for this excellent piece.

    Let me suggest a third way to get past a wall: wait until it collapses naturally as it surely will.

    There is no need for you to be there to witness the event. But you may be confident that it will happen.

  20. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 2nd, 2008 at 7:16am #

    there is Left and the Right also in US, but what’s in btwn? is it people like my wife who says, What’s zionism? What’s rome? bozh aren’t u nuts? etc

  21. Ramsefall said on November 4th, 2008 at 6:40am #

    Zbignew,

    some valid points made in your article:

    – “Power hears nothing and respects nothing except a greater power.”
    Good reminder for those of us who may criticize excessively, vocalizing our disgust, one post at a time. As futile and ineffective as that behavior actually is, aside from serving as a temporary emotional outlet, that recognition should help guide us to more community organization; localism as has been suggested by other writers on other discussions. United, our nation could be the greater power that trumps the absolute power.

    – “We only need three hundred thousand more callers in the next half hour to meet our goal of $50 Billion for the invasion of Iran!”
    Useful analogy gussied up in thick, comical sarcasm.

    – “The champions in the amoral manipulation of power relationships are the Democratic and Republican parties… both of which run as far from “issues” as they can.”
    It would seem obvious to anyone capable of observation and analysis that the “issues” for the people are not the “issues” for the corporate bitches being bought and sold and represented to the public as candidates. Still, we shouldn’t award the fecal crown of tyranny just to the political bunch when it comes to amoral manipulation of power relationships — the corporatocracy and its complacent media industry along with the military are co-champions with the aforementioned.

    – “If they are stupid, then what are we?”
    Both stolen elections in 00′ and 04′ along with the 9/11 coup caused me tremendous anguish in not being able to help others convince themselves of the calamity taking place. I can’t even count the endless number of conversations with people across the country who were idiotically stubborn to realize the truth that their government was doing its best to nail them in their Zielscheibe. Now they have succeeded, and that they congratulate the suckered public with a complimentary election and more illusory just goes to show how stupid they believe the majority are. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    A great article overall, colorful, insightful, metaphoric, appropriate quotes, comparisons and contrasts, nicely done.

    Best to all.