As progressives, we sometimes feel a bit uneasy about making declarative statements about the values people express in their actions. We hesitate, for instance, to call things "evil," not wanting to be like George "With Us, or Against Us" Bush. That's understandable -- absolutism can lead to bad places. However, sometimes when confronted with the blatant, undeniable truth, we have to call things out for what they are. That's what I did in my newspaper column today -- the first of a two-column series on the anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre. In this column, I discuss the problem with blood money being used to buy off the Democratic Party.
We are watching our government attempt to ratify the murderous legacy of Ludlow on the world stage through its proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement. That pact, opposed by Colombian labor, human rights and religious leaders (among others), would reward the murderous Colombian government -- a government that has effectively condoned mass murders of union organizers; a government that allows union persecution to continue; a government whose president himself has been caught on videotape commiserating with death squad leaders.
The worst part is the behavior of Democratic Party -- the supposed party of the voiceless. Bush and his corporate pals have long ago stopped pretending they represent anything other than Big Money -- no matter how much death and destruction that Big Money sows. But Democrats were just elected in 2006 pledging to fight for fair, humane trade policies. But now with Colombian blood money flowing to a powerful cadre of Clintonites, congressional Democrats moved yesterday to delay the Colombian trade deal for the explicit purposes of making sure it ultimately passes.
This is a very important point that has gone almost completely unreported by the media -- even as Democrats go on record making statement after statement explicitly saying they are delaying the deal in order to pass it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's move yesterday to delay the deal is being billed as some sort of great victory. And while sure, it's great that the pact didn't actually pass yesterday, Pelosi herself has said she made the move to prevent the bill from being voted down.
The New York Times barely mentioned that "Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats said their intent was not to kill the agreement," adding that "under the right conditions, a sufficient number of them could probably be found to join with Republicans in approving the pact with Colombia." Pelosi herself said she delayed the Colombia deal because "If brought to the floor immediately, it would lose." Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) -- who never met a corporate lobbyist he didn't try to shakedown - told Roll Call the delay "is actually going to save [the pact] instead of kill it" because it would have been defeated on the floor otherwise.
This is the power and pervasiveness of blood money and what it buys from both parties in Washington. We should not hesitate to label that money in those terms -- nor should we hesitate to ask why the Democratic Party thinks it is acceptable to align with this kind of regime. The lawmakers who pretend to weep and cry at the atrocities in Tibet and Darfur maneuver to reward a Colombian government that helps commit human rights atrocities. It makes you wonder if their outrage over Tibet and Darfur comes only because they aren't getting blood money from the Chinese and the Sudanese governments.
You can read the whole column at the Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Ft. Collins Coloradoan, The Vail Daily, TruthDig, Credo Action or Creators. Or, you can listen to my podcast of it here. The column relies on grassroots support, so if you'd like to see my column regularly in your local paper, use this directory to find the contact info for your local editorial page editors. Get get in touch with them and point them to my Creators Syndicate site. Thanks, as always, for your ongoing readership and help contacting local editors. This column couldn't be what it is without your help.