Summary: Reform movements in America have almost entirely burnt out, with Hope & Change Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama stamping out the embers. Yet the sparks remain and will catch fire again, sometime. Will we recognize harbingers of change after so many disappointments? See this new video by Taylor Swift; it shows what to look for. (2nd post of 2 today.)
The rash of police shootings has the Left hitting the streets again (like OWS but more vigorously), waving placards demanding things while delusionally marching along their road to irrelevancy — as described in this typical twitter comment (name omitted):
Its all coming down. No amount of armor can stop that now. The Left is in the streets again, the only place that matters right now. The endgame is same whether the street explodes and burns it all down from the bottom or the top finally loses control of ridiculous maths experiment on Wall Street and burns down from there. If the ‘white majority’ wish to be Fascists history shows what is in store for them.
As 2016 looms ahead the center-Left (i.e., liberals) prepare their bid for power by running long-serving, 67-year old, boring mediocrity Hillary Clinton. She’ll read her lines to generate support from the appropriate demographic and special interest groups. She’ll sing the Hope and Change, and the Democratic Party’s core will hum along with her. But nobody will believe. All but the core know she’s a creature of the banks, the war machine, and the mega-corps. Since the 1% don’t care about the proles mating habits and leisure pursuits, she’ll advocate a miscellany of social reforms (conflict about social policies creates a facade of conflict between the two parties).
Both Left and Liberals in their own way block meaningful efforts to reform America. They give us a choice of paths: boring or futile. Neither taps the public energy necessary to overcome the unassailable might of money. Obama did so in a slight way, showing the potential magnitude of the force available to us — but was limited by the insincerity of his campaign (obvious even in February 2008).
How can we identify a powerful political reform movement in its early stages? Here’s what it looks like:
Taylor Swift’s video shows us the elements of success in politics as well as music. A leader (she’s central in every segment), strong yet everyman (everywoman), in charge yet willing to be fallible in public. A competent team — the screen overflows with the talent of the supporting artists. And strong message that appeals to us, to who we are, to what we want, and to our dreams. Plus music.
Instead the Left gives us weak tea: slogans and amateur night productions. Journalists and advertisers loved the street festivals of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It created a sensation — clickbait for ten thousand articles — then vanished without a trace. Now the Left brings us new campaigns: fixing a fake “rape culture” on college campuses with crackpot measures (e.g., California’s explicit consent law, campus crusades crushing men’s rights), and protests in Ferguson about a questionable shooting of a man who had just robbed a store and then attacked a policeman in his car (police brutality is a serious problem, but this chooses the wrong ground on which to fight).
Do you want reform but have a low tolerance for crazy? We know what to expect from Hillary Clinton. Liberal presidents put inexperienced people in high offices: buddies, hot academics with theories, and skilled political hucksters), leavened with Wall Street bankers and re-treads from Republican administrations. We’ll get massive domestic surveillance, growing secrecy (plus persecution of whistle-blowers), increasingly powerful security agencies, bank bailouts as needed, and wars (humanitarian!) whether needed or not. Plus the occasional meaningful reform (e.g., ObamaCare, useful even after the maddening enrollment process).
So what do we do? Increasingly we give up. Obama’s Hope and Change administration couldn’t have done better if designed to discourage reform. Turnout in the 2014 election was the lowest in 72 years. The 1% applaud our decision, allowing them to burn the America-that-once-was and build a New America on its ruins. How pitiful for the people of a great nation, abundantly blessed with wealth and talent, inheritors of the Republic’s invincible democratic machinery.
In a different video Taylor Swift shows us a parable of modern American politics: mad, delusional, emotional, self-destructive. We pick we candidates, fall in love, build them up, and tear them down. Meanwhile behind the scenes the agents of the 1% run America, intellects cool and unsympathetic. As we are today, perhaps that’s for the best.
Although discouraged, I remain confident that somewhere in America there burns a spark that eventually will start a fire. Someday the forecast for November’s election day will be (in the words of Kate Beckett) “sunny, chance of ass-kicking.”
For More Information
See all posts about Reforming America: steps to political change.
(b) About protests
- How to stage effective protests in the 21st century, 21 April 2009
- How do protests like the TP and OWS differ from effective political action?, 26 October 2011
- The Million Vet March, a typical peasants’ protest. Does it portend more serious protests in our future?, 13 October 2013
- Martin Luther King Jr’s advice to us about using violence to reform America, 20 January 2014
(c) About music:
- A great artist died today. We can gain inspiration from his words., 26 June 2009 — About the Man in the Mirror
- The New America needs a new national anthem! Here’s my nomination., 24 November 2012
- Listen to hear the state of America (and its cure) explained in song, 8 February 2013
- The third step to reforming America, with music, 3 September 2013
15 thoughts on “Forgotten what political reform looks like? See this reminder by Taylor Swift.”
The political polarization is the greatest it has been since the Civil War; http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/look-how-far-weve-come-apart/?_r=0
The left is drifting without any leadership. Hillary Clinton is the default candidate. Many on the left would like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. We shall soon find out.
The right has many potential leaders ranging from Ted Cruz to Marco Rubio to Jeb Bush (of PNAC infamy but with centrist views on the pivotal issue of immigration).
This polarization may not be solvable within the current political framework. Let’s see what happens the next two years, we are in uncharted waters.
BTW, the OWS movement has not died but may be going through a metamorphosis.
I disagree with this on all points. This is politics, not physics, so these are just my views.
(1) Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for President
Exactly as I said, the Left is delusional. A 72 year old socialist or an academic with only 4 years in office? Quite the power choice. I see they’ve learned nothing from the Obama years.
No. The article you refer to describes not polarization of the public but of the two major parties. Their low degree of ideological homogeneity resulted from the discontinuity of the Civil War, rendering the Republican Party unelectable in the South. Political parties should have some ideological foundation. There is no reason to fear parties that offer clear choices. They should have strong internal coalitions so they can implement their policies if elected.
That said, the “polarization” is largely a sham. Both support the 1%’s core policies. Pro-banks, pro-war, pro-security services, pro-megacorps. There are differences (they differ about social policies, about which the 1% has no interest), but the high degree of overlap means we get an echo — not a choice.
Why this remains unclear to people — POLARIZATION! — after two terms of Obama is a mystery to me.
(3) The OWN movement is not dead.
Neither is Tinkerbell or Elvis. They’ve just returned to their homes (FairyLand and Neptune, respectively).
No disagreement on the influence of the 1% in both parties. OTOH I believe there are significant ideological differences at the grassroots level. One side trends towards a “social democracy” the other has a “no government is a good government” libertarian framework accompanied by a “no separation of church and state” thinking and the remnants of the Southern Strategy.
Certainly Sanders is a bit over the hill but watch out for Warren. I met her and I find her very savvy and charismatic.
Movements do much better with leadership, OWS was not structured for “leadership”. I was exposed to a couple of general assemblies and although they were effective internally they were not conductive to the emergence of leadership. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_assembly_%28Occupy_movement%29
But FYI, spin-offs are emerging that will become visible soon IMO.
(1) “Savvy and charismatic”!
I think we have a FAILure to learn here. That’s exactly what they said about Obama.
Perhaps eventually. But professors do not become effective presidents so quickly. Which was exactly the same mistake the Left made with Obama, as I noted in February 2008. There are none so blind as those who will not learn from experience.
The resistance to leadership is an ingrained part of American society today, seen in OWS as well as the Tea Party. It keeps us weak.
As for the future resurgence of OWS, I suspect that this is as unlikely as a Warren or Sanders win in 2016. Belief in this is a retreat into fantasy.
You’re discouraged? Now you know how we unwashed feel.The politicization of everything,including Taylor Swift,generally does that.Most tune out the political noise except for a few bitter clingers that make a living off politics or are to emotionally or egotistically invested in politics to occasionally step back.
Its hardly worth getting involved in politics presently except to leverage it.I’ve half a mind to start a faux political movement myself to see who the highest bidder is I can sell out to.Purely for scientific research only,and new shoes.
I don’ t know that politics can reform itself before it destroys itself.There is no “Golden Age” of politics to aspire to.Many feel politics has been usurped by strangers and no longer represents the American people,just special interest groups.
That being said,I will put my faith in the American people,not politics.Things are always worse than they initially appear.That spark is out there somewhere,maybe just not recognized yet.
I don’t understand what you mean by politics. It’s the process by which people govern themselves. Like every other social process — war, love, science, business — it’s not pretty when examined. You appear to be abandoning your responsibilities as a citizen, perhaps waiting for a time when it is easy, fun, or clean. The Republic will be dead by then. Cold, dead, and buried.
Fortunately those before us did not do so in times of great need, despite the cost. It’s something to reflect upon.
Elle, you and I might have the same opinion regarding politics:
In the end politics can’t be fixed; it will have to be rendered obsolete. (I would say the same for capitalism.) How that can be accomplished is not yet known, and will probably only be recognizable after it is a fait accompli.
“politics … will have to be rendered obsolete”
These comments by Leftists on this and other threads illustrate the Left’s retreat to fantasy better than anything I can say. Aristotle wrote about politics 2300 years ago. It’s a basic aspect of human society.
I refer to Washington DC politics.
Exactly what responsibilities do I have as a citizen to a government that spies on me,lies to me and views me as a thought criminal for not believing global warming or whatever its being pandered as today?
You and I are the people. The government is our agent, and its deeds are our responsibilities. We’re the crew of the Republic, not its passengers. If it does not run well, we don’t get to complain about the service — but have the task of fixing it. Voting is the beginning of citizenship, not the sum total.
Why isn’t this clear? Who do you believe has the responsibility to fix the Republic? Previous generations fought and often died for its defense.
Trend lines, trend lines as I always repeat. These represent social and economic momentum. Like supertankers you can turn the wheel and wait for ages before any change occur. There are no signs of any ‘turning the wheel’ within the US elites.
The US (and increasingly its satrap nations) is on a trend. This trend has been growing for ages. A simple description of this is a endless movement to a ‘corporate totalitarian’ state internally, combined with an insanely aggressive foreign policy, basically summed up be “:if you are not with us all the way, then you are against us’ and we will use everything to destroy you…
Not some interesting elements in this, like the foreign policy thing. Even if the attacked state surrenders and complies …it is still destroyed. Just trying to resist (say trying to maintain a good health system) means you are marked for destruction.
Take a big example, nothing Russia can do or say will change the fact that the US will endlessly try to destroy it, totally. Putin could cave in tomorrow…and it won’t change a thing, the US is going to go all the way.
Another: There is not a single American who doesn’t now know that that there are 2 laws. One for the ‘small people’ where you are faced with endless oppression and stunning violence if you resist. The other for the ‘big people;’ where you can do anything (and I mean anything murder torture, drugs, rape, etc) and be free from any legal problems whatsoever.
Not every element is there yet, though over the last 20 year most have put in place, but they are nearly there. The TPP and TAP are classic example of enshrining corporate totalitarianism in multiple countries, except China and Russia.. Backed up by massive, though at the same time hopeless, US military power.
How long ago FM did I Ask the question” when are US drones going to be used against people in the US”, the answer is now…what…months…now.
The economic and national/security/military/police/etc elites are in lockstep..currently, though this will end in the future, they agree with every move made. They are united (now) in what is happening.. Though the seeds of their own destruction are obvious.
For an average American citizen they are caught between two elites dedicated to their oppression and exploitation. And that is not going to get any better for the short to medium term, the exploitation will get worse the oppression will get worse. Those who object to the exploitation will be oppressed…real hard (the well coordinated shutdown of OWS. by Wall Street security people, police forces, FBI, HS and all the rest was instructive. The ramshackle Govt called the US which can’t even organise a decent health system…is amazingly competent at ruthlessly oppressing dissent..well in the US that is…the Taliban have kicked their ass all over the place..and ISIS is desperate to hammer the US all over again in Iraq.
The ultimate example of the ‘perfect’ US society as imagined by the NS and economic elites is the US prison system. In the end, in their dream, every citizen will be a totally controlled and exploited prisoner. As per http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228
Of course the contradictions of this model will end up in its collapse…but not soon. Unless there is a trend change, I currently put a higher probability on nuclear war with Russia and China than a serious US societal change within the next 10 years. Nothing., except total US economic collapse, will change the US elite’s path.
Currently there is zero difference in overall domestic and foreign affairs outlook between the head of the US Marine core and a CEO in Wall St…they are in lockstep together…into perdition (well for us…not them…they think) .
“Like supertankers you can turn the wheel and wait for ages before any change occur.”
This is a very true observation that should be kept in mind. It usually takes in the order of two generations for a movement with a powerful idea to come to power and finally be in position to change society according to its views. Examples that come to mind are slavery abolitionism, communism, political islamism (Muslim Brotherhood), neo-liberalism, the Indian independence movement, sufragettes.
So when FM calls for setting up a thoroughly organized movement with thought out objectives, this means to be in it for the long-haul, knowing that only one’s grandchildren or at best one’s children will really take full advantage of its achievements, assuming an exhausting and frustrating life-time struggle, and accepting only small, very partial and often disappointing achievements along the way. It also means that the next electoral cycle will not bring success in any form.
Yes. Note the examples I give were all long-term projects. Two of the ones most relevant and that I cite most often…
The first Committee of Correspondence, the initial step towards independence, began in 1764 at Boston. These went large scale 8 years later, in 1772. The first Continental Congress was 1774; fighting started the next year, the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1883.
The first antislavery organization in America, the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society, was founded in 1775. The Emancipation Proclamation was 1863. Blacks received full civil rights in 1964.
“politics…will have to be rendered obsolete” is the same kind of vacuous triangulating practiced by Bill Clinton, and, later, by Barack Obama when he parrotted empty slogans like “We are the change we’ve been waiting for.”
Personally, I prefer “And remember — wherever you go, hey! There you are.” — Buckaroo Banzai
In politics watch what they do, not what they say. Clinton’s triangulating and Obama’s speeches by Hallmark are both examples of VERY effective politics. The exact opposite of dreaming about a post-political world (or a post-gender world, or a post-commercial world, or any of the other dreams of the Left).