I was a Democrat for decades and had relatives who were Democrats for all the right reasons, justice being at the core of what they believed in. Some of the fine works from the New Deal where I come from are crumbling from neglect. Others are being sold off into private hands, like the architectural gem of a post office in the center of the city that was sold to a developer for a song, It’s what we see passing away from the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society that moves us to utter epithets.
In the middle of the Clinton years I asked my local elections bureau to change my affiliation to Independent. My values didn’t change, but the Democratic Party’s surely did. It’s what a party stands for and what it does that are important, not its label or its history. The Democratic Party of today is not the Democratic Party of the New Deal. The New Deal has been replaced by the Raw Deal, with Obama’s cooperation.
I voted for Obama in 2008. He had promised to bring the Democratic Party back to its roots in the New Deal. He was lying, we now know. He didn’t struggle, slip and slide trying. He just went with the flow of Wall Street money. He betrayed his own promises to the voters. The only serious conclusion is that he intended to deceive. His actions since his inauguration are proof enough to millions of people who have been betrayed, thrown into want, made homeless, lost their jobs, and cut off from all those safety nets from the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. But don’t be too cross with Obama. And for god’s sake don’t get labeled “Left,” which must be on the other side of the fence surrounding all loyal, card-carrying Democrats. Actually, lots of us appreciate being lumped with the "Left," which term we don't consider an aspersion.
I am not yet the worst off among the betrayed. It is they who have every right to call names to the people who injured them gravely. Millions have had their life savings wiped out, with Obama’s cooperation. Millions have been evicted from their homes, with Obama’s cooperation. Millions have lost their jobs, and therefore their means of support, with Obama’s cooperation. Some have lost their lives. Is it getting serious yet?
Just look at the cast of advisors and administrators with whom he has stuffed his administration. May we call them names for all the harm they've done? Obama knows what he’s doing. His ‘handlers’ don’t handle him – unless you think him an idiot, which I don’t. It is he who runs the handlers, obviously. Betrayals, penury, homelessness and more; but mind your tongue. No name calling against people who kick you down the stairs. In my opinion, making nice to him now is the most childish thing to do.
The wars that were ongoing under Bush have been expanded, with Obama’s cooperation. Drones and small team raids drop into a number of countries repeatedly. If you are not aware of that, you’re not keeping up with events. Do you suppose the people labelled "Collateral Damage" have a right to look up and call names? Are the problems getting serious enough yet to let slip an epithet once in a while?
At home the Bill of Rights is being shredded, with Obama’s cooperation. The three branches of government have let millions of us down repeatedly. There’s no end in sight. The wolves will eventually reach every door outside the gated communities of America. But, hey, Obama’s only the leader of the Democratic Party with more corporate money in his pocket than all his likely opponents combined.
FDR called people terribly naughty names. Tut, tut. So did Truman and Johnson. There was precedent for that. Moses called people names, as did Christ. Look it up. Some of my favorite atheists are good at it too. And, oh lordy, the words Mark Twain used while chewing on a cigar.
Name-calling is not childish. Serious adults do it all the time, for good reason. The issue is whether the crime in question deserves such rebuke. You have my long list of particulars above.
There comes a point in human affairs when the lectures and proscriptions of Miss Manners become dilettantish and absurd -- not to mention complicit with the status quo. And so, at times, I am obliged to conclude with a disparaging name or association. The following is an example of the practice, with apologies to Venezuelans who invented the trope.
The Republicans and the Democrats, the Kochs and Cote, McConnell and Obama: “They’re caiman crocodiles from the same pond.”
Jay -- Ottawa
** Note to Readers: Thanks for your many astute, wonderful and thoughtful comments. I welcome guest posts too. These should be submitted directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.