Nader is in the race. This causes me a host of philosophical and practical problems. I’m not quite ready to jump ship yet, but I have been carefully considering Obama’s stance on a variety of issues and find them wanting. Granted, he is probably the most progressive candidate one can expect, but this isn’t such a great allocade when one considers the sorry state of progressive politics in America. On the issues, Ralph and I have no disagreement. Ralph Nader takes these stands: Adopt single payer national health insurance. Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget. No to nuclear power, solar energy first. Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare. Open up the Presidential debates to legitimate third party candidates. Adopt a carbon pollution tax. Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East. Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law. Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax. Put an end to ballot access obstructionism. Work to end corporate personhood. Obama supports, well, none of those things.
What does it mean to be a progressive? What does it mean to be a leftist? These are not simply meaningless philosophical questions. Obama is probably the best we can expect from the Democrats. He’s no JFK, but even Nader himself called Obama "a person of substance" and "the first liberal evangelist in a long time". Unfortunately, when you look at his positions, he stands for, at best, incremental change. I feel like that isn’t enough. It only took the Republicans seven years to destroy the economy, eviscerate the constitution and trash America’s reputation in the world. They certainly weren’t holding back on their agenda for the sake of political expediency. I don’t know. Maybe I am so disenchanted with the inherent corruption of the political system that I cannot get beyond the fact that these great media driven personality contests that are trotted out for public consumption every four years have very little to do with things that concern average Americans. Presidential elections aren’t about issues; they are about money and personality. Issues tend to bore the media. Plus, well, we know who controls the media. Corporations are perfectly happy to allow us to wallow in ignorance as long as we are spending money to buy their products. Some days I feel like a human ATM. But I have questions. I want to know why are we the only western democracy without government sponsored universal healthcare? Why is no one running for president talking about that? How come the war in Iraq isn’t being debated? Why isn’t Obama demanding the repeal of the Patriot Act and coming out strongly against warrantless wiretapping?