is democracy dying, or just the democrats?

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In a recent Google+ thread Stephen Miller asked the question, “As members of a “Sensible Politics” community engaged in “progressive democratic discussions,” I’ll ask this: What is your greatest frustration with the current state of the Democratic Party in the U.S.?

While liberals see substantial differences between them and conservatives, it can be depressing to reflect on just how little separates Democrats and Republicans when it comes to substance over rhetoric.

In ‘The Left Has Nowhere to Go’, Chris Hedges writes some pretty scathing and insightful stuff as he reflects on an interview he did with Ralph Nader.

There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration. Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse. McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power. Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists. Environmental and anti-war groups, who plead with Obama to address their issues, are little more than

Democracy? A Tragedy

Democracy? A Tragedy (Photo credit: Byzantine_K)

ineffectual supplicants.

 Obama, like Bush and McCain, funds and backs our unending and unwinnable wars. He does nothing to halt the accumulation of the largest deficits in human history. The drones murder thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they did under Bush and would have done under McCain. The private military contractors, along with the predatory banks and investment houses, suck trillions out of the U.S. Treasury as efficiently under Obama. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus, have not been restored. The public option is dead. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts, adding some $900 billion to the deficit, along with the reduction of individual contributions to Social Security, furthers a debt peonage that will be the excuse to privatize Social Security, slash social services and break the back of public service unions. Obama does not intercede as tens of millions of impoverished Americans face foreclosures and bankruptcies. The Democrats provide better cover. But the corporate assault is the same.

Back when the above article was written, before the elegant crumbling of the GOP in the 2012 elections (shamefully, the Dems won the popular vote in the House but lost the majority due to redistricting), Nader laid part of the blame on the media — inclusing such liberal bastions as the New York Times — which was more interested in sensationalizing stories about Palin, the Tea Party and conservative big mouths than covering progressive issues.

The banishment from the corporate media, Nader argues, has been one of the major contributors to the demoralization and weakening of the left. Protests by the left, which get little national or local coverage, have steadily dwindled in strength across the country. The first protest gets little or no coverage and this leads to movements, as well as the voices of activists, being diminished and finally suffocated. 

“The so-called liberal media, along with Fox, is touting the tea party and publicizing Palin,” Nader said. “There was an editorial on Dec. 27 in The New York Times on the Repeal Amendment, the right-wing constitutional amendment to allow states to overturn federal law. The editorial writer at the end had the nerve to say there is no progressive champion. The editorial said that the liberals and progressives have faded out to let the tea party make history. And yet, for months, all The New York Times has done is promote Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. They promote Newt Gingrich and the neocons on the Op-Ed pages. The book pages of the newspaper ignore progressive authors and pump all the right-wing authors.

The sad truth is that unless America can create a truly independent alternative to a two party system that is almost entirely in the pocket of the corporatocracy, we will continue down the road we have been on for the last 50 years; one of growing inequality, a devastated middle-class, and mounting debts that make a mockery of responsible governance.

The corrupt appropriation of governments around the world by growing multi-national corporations with more wealth than the states within which they function has caused a global sweep away from what, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall, seemed a triumphant victory for Democracy, to “Big Brother” corporatism that threaten capitalism and democracy itself.

The timidity and silencing of the left fuels the steady impoverishment of a dispossessed working class and a beleaguered middle class. It solidifies a corporate oligarchy that is dismantling the anemic regulatory agencies that once protected citizens from predatory corporations. The economic system is designed to bail out Wall Street rather than replace the trillions of dollars and millions of jobs lost by workers.

America is bleeding.

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