A Drop in the Progressivist Bucket

Whoop dee doo! Barack Obama has acknowledged that gay people should have the right — as other human beings do — to marry. It is long overdue step in supporting every human’s right to form a love partnership regardless of sexual orientation. Obama wasn’t even a leader in his decision; it came after his vice president Joseph Biden had announced he was in favor.

To be sure, progressivism demands that LGBTQ share the same rights as every other person, and the United States president’s affirmation of that right is important, but it should be a given — not a sudden, monumental revelation. Yet, even though Obama has tepidly espoused a tenet of progressivism, endorsement of one or two progressivist principles does not make one a progressive.

Obama’s evilism (it’s definitely not lesser) lost (or it should have lost) a while back the support of progressives. When a presidential candidate promises change (and gullible people start to envision an end to warring, an end to torture, an end to incarceration without habeas corpus, and an end to unfair distribution of wealth, and other progressive moves) and carries on with the extremist status quo of warring and neoliberalism, what reaction should one expect from progressives?

Obama does not acknowledge, by deeds, the right of workers to form unions unencumbered — which is vital to ensuring workplace safety, protecting worker rights, and attaining a fair wage for their labor.

Obama does not acknowledge, by deeds, the rights of all humans to have a job — especially a decent paying job that upholds the integrity of labor.

Obama does not acknowledge, by deeds, the right of all citizens to universal, easy access to healthcare whether poor or well off.

Obama does not acknowledge, by deeds, the rights of Afghanis, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, and Palestinians to live free from the fear of drone attack and US or US-backed military assault.

Back in the homeland, the president does not acknowledge, by deeds, the rights of citizens to escape the clutches of financial robber barons. His administration has been surveilling the Occupation movement. Whose side is Obama on? He bails out the 1% and he spies on the 99%.

Wealth at any given moment is finite. Imagine if one divides the economic pizza in a crowd of 100 people, and 100 slices are cut. That is one slice for everyone, and everyone should be satisfied, no? However, what if one person grabs 67 slices of pizza and leaves 33 slices for the rest of the people? How will the 99% feel then? It seems very clear to see what would happen. There is a reason why the Occupation movement arose.

While average citizens were being foreclosed and jobs were disappearing, Obama bailed out the 1% with cash — much of it created by the blood, sweat, and tears of working people, and yet he says nothing meaningful about the right of the 99% to have their slice of the economic pie.

Workers cannot even retire secure in the knowledge that they will be provided for in their retirement years under Obama.

Why can Cuba provide free education right through university, universal healthcare, and high employment with poverty constrained? What does the Cuban Revolution know about progressivism and an egalitarian society that stymies Obama and the others who follow the Washington Consensus through its economic collapses, bailouts, and to whichever economic precipice looms next on the dark capitalist horizon?

Anyway, at least gays can now sleep well knowing that the president has drummed up the gumption to say it is okay for them to marry.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.