Saturday, August 30, 2008
Cynical Smile: Four Years of Blogging
I started this blog with a cynical eye but with hope that things could be improved. This seems less and less likely, despite Obama's nomination. Superficially, Obama seems like a sign of progress, his nomination by a major party to run for president practically unimaginable just a generation ago. Yet I have seen little evidence of substantial change coming if he is elected. Oh, his administration will probably be head and shoulders above the current administration or McCain's but these are exceptionally low bars to clear.
I've always had little confidence in the US political system above the very local level of participation. Democracy does not thrive well beyond the local representative level where you can actually talk with your rep or attend meetings with them. At a national level, the corruption of power, money and ruling class values dominates discussion and influence. Lobbyists write legislation to benefit their clients/special interests and money talks louder than the voices of constituents.
This is Labor Day weekend and I suspect large numbers of people under 30 have little clear idea what it originally represented. Today, unions have been losing members for decades and the percentage of unionized US workers is at its lowest ebb. The idea of banding together with other workers even seems bizarre to many because we're now acclimated to the idea that we're competing with everyone else.
"Collective bargaining? Solidarity? Aren't those commie ideas? Commies are bad, right? We won the Cold war and I don't want no truck with commies."
So politicians continue to pull our strings to get votes. There are no guarantees that the promises made before the election will be kept after the election. They'll claim new facts and a fuller understanding/briefing on the situation means that there are other factors in the balance.
I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt but I also expect nothing more from him than I expect from any politician: reversals of positions, inaction on many pre-election promises, and equivications when confronted on this pattern.
I never believe slogans or promises; I only believe in actions. I recommend you do as well.