Progressives seem to be thorn in the side of Democrats these days, especially when you see groups like “Progressives Against Obama’s Re-Election being formed on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ProgressivesAgainstObamasReElectio
An icon of the group is a unique Photoshopped graphic circulating among progressives which shows Obama pinning a medal of honor to Robert Holmes, the accused mass murderer in a shooting in a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, this past summer. In an article written for the New York Times headlined “A Cruel and Unusual Record”, former President Jimmy Carter suggested that the US and Obama is in violation of 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a result of his campaign of targeted assassinations.
It’s of course no secret that his signing off on the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives him the authority to deny due process to any U.S. citizen based upon facts or allegations which will never be revealed for national security reasons, is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and about as far as one can get from the most fundamental foundations of progressive thought.
The illusion of choice in respect to the two parties has become quite clear. Both Mitt Romney and Obama are united on innumerable points: they are pro NDAA, pro-Patriot Act, Pro Agenda 21, pro endless war, pro bank bailout, pro TSA, pro NAFTA, pro North American Union, pro-Neocon, pro-IRS and IMF, pro aid to Israel, pro corporatism, pro drug war, neither will do anything to end the revolving door between the legislature and lobbyists, or the corrupt money that buys legislation.
Obama has signed 923 Executive Orders, which, according to an article in the Bellarmine Report, indicates a clear bent toward fascism.
An article in Counterpunch this past month written by Russell Mokhiber declares
I’m not with you, Barack.
And I’ll say it right now – I’m not with you, Barack.
Here are ten reasons.
Number ten: Single payer. As a young politician, you said you were for single payer national health insurance. Then when you became President, you were against it and worked to keep the insurance companies in the game. Result – 123 dead a day from lack of health insurance.
Number nine: Kill list. You said you were against detention without trial, but you are okay with killing without trial? And according to the New York Times, you personally pick the candidates for execution. Result: Shredded Constitution.
Number eight: Minimum wage. During the 2008 campaign, you promised to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. When you became President, you didn’t lift a finger to do anything about it. Result: Unchecked poverty.
Number seven: Corporate crime. It’s been four years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy. And still, not a single prosecution of a high ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm. Fraud played a major part in the meltdown. Yet, your Justice Department, led by corporate lawyers, hasn’t gotten the job done. Result: No justice.
Number six: Israel/Palestine. Instead of standing up to Romney and Netanyahu, you buckled. Or as Tom Friedman put it, you shut down the peace process. Result: No peace.
Number five: Energy. Instead of pursuing a 25 year plan to get us off fossil fuels, you accepted the fossil fuel industry’s mantra of – we need it all – oil, coal, nuclear, alternatives. Result: Ongoing addiction.
Number four: Taxes. Instead of getting behind a Wall Street speculation tax and reversing our regressive tax structure, you surrendered to the top one percent. Result: Increasing poverty.
Number three: Money in politics. Instead of campaigning against the moneyed interests, you swim with them, in the cess pool of American politics. Result: Democracy in decline.
Number two: Military industrial complex. You push Republicans in the Congress to increase military spending. As a percentage of GDP, military spending under your administration has been higher than it was during any year of the George W. Bush administration. Result: ObamaBush.
Number one: Capitulation. You never had it. You folded from the get go. Or as your former Harvard Law Professor Roberto Unger put it – You “evoked a politics of hand holding – but no one changes the world without a struggle.” Result: Wasteland.
Last month, Unger said that you “must be defeated in the coming election.”
Anything less sends the wrong message.
The organization I am a member of, United Progressives, has come to the same conclusion. However dangerous it might be to elect someone like Mitt Romney, support by progressives for Barack Obama is perhaps the worst thing we could do. We cannot send a man to the bank with $10,000 with a request to deposit it, watch him steal the money, and then give him another $10,000 and ask him to do the same thing again. This is obviously the pinnacle of ignorance. Obama was elected in a great euphoria of hope for change from the policies instituted during the administration of George Bush. He has done exactly the opposite.
United Progressives members are fully aware of the fraud that is being perpetrated upon Americans and are doing things to shake things up. We believe that there must be a space where progressive values are always held high and never forgotten. Our organization is a group dedicated to reminding electors and the elected what those are all about. We don’t give a free ride to candidates who don’t advocate them themselves. It is important to challenge them to stand up for the things that we believe in.
With a few exceptions, as members most of us are not running for office. We’re here to remind those who do about all the things that we believe in. Compromise with the opposition, or with “the other side of the aisle,” doesn’t start with us and should never be a part of our discussion. Compromise occurs in the legislature when votes are cast. Compromise occurs through the recognition a candidate gains that he cannot win office by holding to all his ideals. Any so-called or self-styled progressive running for office, in making any compromise, is compromising with us – i.e., progressives — as much as he is compromising with his challengers in any political race.
We must always demand the ideal, not the real. It is not our role to decide what is real. That is his. He must fear losing his constituency as much as he fears his opposition. He should never be given the idea that he has our loyalty and commitment. Loyalty and Commitment are evil words in politics. Anyone is a fool to show loyalty to any party or any person, when they have no corresponding loyalty to uphold your values.. Loyalty invariably means showing support when there has been a deviation from something otherwise expected or anticipated. The candidate must be motivated to fight for us, and there can never be a free ticket to paradise.
When I use the term “progressive” you may wonder what I mean. A progressive as United Progressives views him tends to view the world through the scriptural advice of Jesus: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That raises a unique challenge for some who have always believed that they were progressive and yet had never contemplated the meaning of the term or the philosophical or ethical roots inherent in our beliefs. They’ve never asked themselves why we believe it is wrong to take the life of another human being. They’ve never asked themselves seriously why another person deserves to be treated equally in matters of the quality of life. They’ve never asked themselves why we believe that, regardless of your education, race or status in life, you should have no more rights or privileges than anyone else. .
Curiously, it has sometimes been assumed that because we quote Jesus that we are a Christian religious organization. We are not. The Golden Rule is generally recognized by all religions, and as well as by many atheists.
There are no political expedients that should be substituted for the Golden Rule, whether it’s war against the Afghans or assassinating Islamic preachers who have a bitch with America. We believe that our ideals centered on human rights and equality should never be let down. Someone has to keep reminding the public and aspirants to political office of what they are. And that’s our mission.
We ask people who want to join United Progressives to take a look at our platform, our mission statement and our statement of values which can be found on the TOP menu at http://www.unitedprogressives.org/ If you feel comfortable advocating these positions as a member of United Progressives, then we welcome you. If you have minor differences, that’s ok. We just want fundamental agreement on the underlying principles. Respect others. Respect their rights. See them as equals, equal in the quality of life they deserve, regardless of their circumstances.
Members are free to advocate candidates running for office as long as the platform of such a candidate parallels our own in most respects. Some major positions would mean no war, support for not-for-profit universal health care, opposition to the policies of Israel toward Palestinians, end the drones, end NDAA, etc.
As an organization we do not endorse political parties or candidates and Obama supporters are typically removed. Obama’s actions have been far from progressive, and he has not brought the change he has promised. He should not be rewarded with another term in office just because he might be the lesser evil. It would be a much greater evil to give our implicit stamp of approval to a man who will promise anything to get elected and then pretend that he has a mandate to do just the opposite. Obama is a criminal. He’s a liar. He’s an Obamination. We should suffer the consequences, bite the bullet, and let him know that we do not re-elect people who fail to live up to their promises.
Paul Barrow is US based writer, activist and founder of a policy group www.unitedprogressives.org.
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