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Frank Dwyer Headshot

Throw the Bums Out ... Ours, Too

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A plague a both your houses.

After another tiresome and moronic round of the same old discredited neocon booga-booga, enough of our Democratic Senators and Representatives have voted with their Republican colleagues to amend the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act and give our little Cromwellian Leader, our Little Lord Protector, just what he asked for: the right to continue "saving" us by continuing his unconstitutional (and thereby criminal) surveillance of us. One of my senators, Diane Feinstein of California, was one of the cross-over Democrats; she and the others have betrayed us, betrayed their party and their country, by this craven, shameful vote. I live in California, so I'll be able to support and work for any progressive candidate who challenges Senator Feinstein in any future campaign. She will never win another election in this progressive state.

We should make sure that none of the Democrats in the House or Senate who voted for this FISA amendment ever wins another election.

But what about conventional realpolitik? What if by opposing these neocon fellow-travelers we allow Republican troglodytes to win those seats? Minimum wage! Supreme Court! Global warming! Don't we have to stick to the hoary mantra of so many of our sad past trudges to the voting booth: two cheers for the lesser-of-two-evils! You'll have to make up your own mind, of course, but for me the compromise is over. Evil is evil, and I won't ever again vote for evil, even if it is "less" evil than the other choice the broken system is offering me.

As a matter of fact, I don't think Feinstein and her ilk any longer qualify as "lesser" evils. Democrats who voted to legitimize the law-breaking of this criminal president, long overdue for impeachment, Democrats who validated his contempt for the Constitution and his betrayal of his oath of office are, to me, more evil than standard-issue cartoon-villain Congressmen from that president's own irredeemably discredited and disgraced party. Make no mistake: I loathe, I anathematize, all the fiercely malignant, greedy, mean-spirited, rubber-stamping, corporofascist Republican leaders, but they can neither surprise nor wound me. I know them, I know what to expect of them; I know what they believe and what they will do if they think can get away with it. ("Government is not a SOLUTION to the problem. Government IS the problem," their grotesque old hero intoned. That means NO TAXES! Their only principle. NO TAXES! Though our children and grandchildren may fall with the falling bridges or be blown up by the bursting pipes, NO TAXES! If our children and grandchildren are so worried about old bridges and pipes, let them raise their own taxes, if they want to restore the infrastructure, fine, but they can pay for it themselves, if that's how they choose to throw away their lovely money.)

No, it's only my own leaders, my Democrats, the men and women I supported and trusted and believed in and donated money to and stayed up late to cheer for, only my Democrats who can wound me like this. So what if Cheney treats the Constitution and the planet itself as just so many plump tame quail thrown up in the air for his venereal delight--Cheney can't break my heart. But Feinstein, Bayh, Webb: those are the heartbreakers.

(The question of degrees of evil in political discourse is an interesting philosophical digression. Who do you think is the "lesser" evil: Rumsfeld or Powell? Inhofe or Specter? For me, the answer is easy: Powell and Specter are much more evil, because they knew better. So much depended on their intelligence, integrity, and courage, and they betrayed us: now that's the real thing, that's evil.)

All opponents of progressive thought who have found a safe haven in the Democratic Party need to be drummed out of it, replaced on our ballots as quickly as possible by decent, progressive candidates, just as the vile, self-aggrandizing neocon fantasist Lieberman was replaced on the Connecticut ballot by Ned Lamont. Lamont lost, of course, but that only makes the point more clearly. How many Connecticut voters equivocated, balancing this and that, choosing the lesser of two evils by some arcane private reckoning? Good old Joe. Lots of good swill for Connecticut over the years. Did they get what they wanted? More war, from their dim little surge-protector? Are they happy now? I suspect there are a large number of people in that progressive, educated, peace-loving state who are profoundly angry and/or ashamed. Joseph Lieberman will not win another election in Connecticut, either.

We must make our party, the Democratic Party, a progressive party, or we must abandon it and build a Progressive Party to replace it. We cannot save the country or the planet by following a policy that is only sloganeering and business-as-usual, with our elected leaders jostling each other as they try to find the choicest spots at the public trough for their own particular swine. (And if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Senator Schumer tapdance around the issue of legislating a new fair tax rate for the hedge fund industry.)

The Republican Party is finished, and perhaps the Democratic Party is too--look at the rising tide of registered Independents. Can the Democratic Party be saved? Is it worth saving? Perhaps--if it is profoundly reinvented, re-imagined, reformed. If that doesn't happen, the old centrist, false-hearted, nest-feathering Democratic Party will sooner or later be as thoroughly despised by decent, thoughtful, intelligent, caring Americans (surely not a permanent minority!) as the Republican Party is already despised. The well-vacationed, well-insured, well-pensioned leaders of our two major parties will go on backslapping and bloviating and pretending to be different as they guide their donors toward the trough, but their Parties, Republican and Democratic alike, appear to be going the way of the Whigs and the Know Nothings, and the slide may be irreversible. Good riddance.