Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is This Ironic Or What?

In what has to be one of the most ironic moments in US political history, John Edwards arguably the best progressive candidate in the Presidential race is being ignored. Mr. Edwards is being ignored not because of his ideas or policy positions. It is not because he is not a tireless and exciting campaigner. No, my friends it is because he is a white male. Despite both other candidates call for and representations of change, no one is pressing the issue of changing the status quo more than John Edwards. In normal times with the mood of the country, Mr. Edwards would be the front-runner. However, times are different. I never thought I would say that being a white man in America is detrimental to being elected President. It sounds crazy just saying it, but here we are. With history weighing in the balance, Mr. Edwards could not have picked a worse time to run for President. There is Hillary Clinton making a bid to be the first woman nominated by a major Party and Barack Obama trying to become the first black man nominated. Unfortunately for Mr. Edwards the march towards history will not be kind.

After almost 220 years and 43 Presidents, all of whom were white males, the tide appears to be changing. Because of these history making events the Edwards campaign has been ignored and minimized by the media and a lot of the voting public from the start. It seems that the Democratic primary voters have decided to vote for anyone, but the white guy. This is not to say that the other two candidates are not capable or attractive. It is not to say that they do not present ideas and visions of America that the voters like, but no one has articulated the current struggles that America faces as well as John Edwards, in my opinion. So as the country and the Democratic voters flirt with history, a white male that seems to finally get it goes unnoticed.

There will be voices that say it is about time for the changes we are witnessing and I for one could not agree more. I have to ask myself though what is better, to have a history making President or a President that will make history. While I believe that either Obama or Clinton will do a better job of being President than any Republican, is that good enough for us? We are at a defining moment in American history and I for one do not want to choose a President that’s just better than a Republican. I want a President that will have the courage to take on the entrenched power structure that has allowed the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle-class to the wealthiest Americans. While I applaud the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for their historic significance, I don’t have confidence that they will take on the difficult task of reforming a system that is thoroughly corrupt and broken.

My sense is that they will attack some of the symptoms, but leave the disease intact. After George Bush this may satisfy a great many Americans, I however will not be one of them. I am not looking for Bush-lite in the war on terror, corporate influence over our democracy, or empire building. I want someone who will repudiate in no uncertain terms the past and not just the past eight years. I was watching Bill Maher on HBO and he had Tony Snow on the panel and listening to him trying to continue to justify the policies of this administration and the status quo was more than I could bear. What it did do was further illustrate to me the depth to which the propaganda has reached. This is no time for band-aids, we need to tear down the old and create something completely new. If I hear one more person say we are “fundamentally sound” as a nation, I am going to scream.

We are not fundamentally sound as a nation. We have hundreds of people imprisoned without trials in Cuba, we have over 2 million of our own citizens imprisoned, we have 150,000 troops in Iraq with no plans to get them out, we have over 40 million citizens without basic healthcare, we have just 1% of the US population owning 38% of the wealth, we have millions of people who are getting or about to get evicted from their homes, we have racial tensions boiling just under the surface, we have homelessness and poverty at record levels, we are torturing our fellow humans, we have a democracy that is being sold to the highest bidders, we are continuing to replace living wage jobs with service oriented minimum wage jobs, and we have a two-party system that is not responsive to anyone.

It is time we stop kidding ourselves, we have some serious issues that need to be addressed. We need a President that is willing to lead the fight to reclaim America for all Americans. It has always amazed me how the wealthy have used their talking heads to discredit those who talk about real change. Obama and Clinton are only offering to change how we do things, not changing what we are doing. John Edwards is saying we need to change not only how we do things, but also just as importantly what things we do.

The media has ignored him and they have labeled him a hypocrite. Here is what I don’t understand; when a poor person speaks out against the wealth discrepancy they are labeled a communist or a socialist that is jealous of the wealthy. When a rich person speaks out against the discrepancy they are labeled a hypocrite. My question is this, “who can speak out against the wealth gap”? The answer is no one can. The media will continue to ignore, denounce, and misrepresent anyone who has the nerve to speak out against the corporate raping of America.

I believe in John Edwards. I believe in his determination, his commitment, and his honesty. The American people are being offered a hoax. The hoax is that they are being offered the appearance of change in the candidate’s appearances, while the candidate that offers true change in substance is being marginalized. This is the real irony of the election, because it is the white guy.

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