5 Mar 2010

A 'Democracy' Without Democracy

[col. writ. 2/28/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

It would be impossible to overstate the energies unleashed during the 2008 election.

This election broke a pattern of the last half-century by attracting 63% of voter participation. Not since Kennedy faced Nixon in 1960 have we seen numbers exceed 62%.

Key to this may have been the engaged participation of millions of youth, Blacks and Hispanics, energized not merely by the presence of an attractive candidate, but by the nature of the monochromatic opposition. The Republicans ran a weathered warrior for the top spot, and a V.P. choice that seemed more gimmick than substance.

Their appeal was pitched to yesteryear, and didn't even pretend to attract African American or Hispanic voters. The nation's Black community is perhaps the most anti-war of any other demographic. They also ran with the albatross of perhaps the least popular president since Nixon around their necks -- George W. Bush.

But a year into the Democratic administration, and much of the excitement of the election is markedly diminishing.

A pro-business, pro-war, and anti left orientation has been the theme of the opening year. Healthcare legislation has been stymied by both Republican and Conservative Democratic (so called Blue Dog) opposition. And although the Democrats hold majorities in both houses, they have been battered by a year of Republican and industry attacks.

They may hold a majority of seats, but they act as if they are still in the minority, for they are unwilling or unable to oppose their corporatist wing, which has whittled down healthcare to a mere shadow of it's original proposal.

In the first months of the administration, polls showed overwhelming support for a public option, and opposition to the Afghan war. A year later, and healthcare is on life support; and the Afghan war is in support of a corrupt, election stalling regime that is backed more by narcotics traders than its own people.

In essence, the new administration is doing largely what the last one did - just with a bit more class.

-- (c) '10 maj

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