Things are looking bleak for the Progressive Movement.  We’ve been saddled once again with a corporate-conservative Democrat whose willingness to drop popular policy positions to placate the far right will likely cost his political party — and, by extension, the rest of the country — the presidency; we’ve been threatened and bullied by increasingly uncritical sycophants from within the Democratic Party who refuse to acknowledge that their candidate isn’t what far too many Americans have pretended he is; and we’ve been denied by the corporate establishment any and all presidential candidates truly representative of the Progressive Movement.

Our options are few and dwindling by the day.  On one side we have Republican John McCain, who represents plainly and simply an extension of the Bush regime.  He is unacceptable.  On another we have Barack Obama, who has tacked so far to the right from the mythical “center” that his policies now show little or no practical difference from his opponent’s — or, for that matter, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s.  On yet another side, we have independent and third party candidates running for president: Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney (on the Green Party ticket), and Bob Barr (for the Libertarians).

Perhaps the single biggest limitation on our options is the elimination and marginalization of candidates whose records and rhetoric go against the status quo.  The establishment, from the corporate masters to their propagandists in the media to a large portion of the very electorate itself, actively discourages the voicing of that dissent which is expressed in the form of votes.  We are threatened with another Republican regime if we dare “waste” our ballots, if we dare presume to think that voting our beliefs might truly make a difference.  After all, the brainwashing campaign dictates, Democrats are better than Republicans by far.  By what standard, though?

Of the two major political party presidential candidates, McCain and Obama, which one has moved to the right of the shrub — let me repeat and emphasize that for you: to the right of the shrub — on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel?  Obama, that’s which one.  Not even McCain or the boys holding his leash have guts enough to state that position publicly.  On this issue, is Obama better than McCain or worse?  The answer, of course, is “worse.”

On a host of other issues, an Obama administration offers the following:

No health care reform,

Publicly subsidized slums,

No end to the occupation of Iraq on his watch,

Continuation of NAFTA and other disastrous trade deals,

All hope for a return of the Fairness Doctrine dead, and

Continuing erosion of civil liberties.

In what way is Obama fundamentally different from, or better than, his Republican counterpart?  From where I’m sitting he is absolutely no better, and in some respects he is much worse.  Why, then, should progressives throw away their ballots on him?

Desperate times require desperate and drastic measures.  Democrats blew their chance to hold Barack Obama accountable during the primaries, but it’s not too late to force him to run to the political left and stay there, lest he cost us the election like John Kerry and Al Gore before him.

A couple of weeks ago I received junk mail from the Obama campaign in the form of a contribution request.  Instead of enclosing money (which I don’t have anyway), I instead inserted a note stating that until Obama met certain requirements, he would receive no money or vote from me.  Those requirements were:

  • Immediately demand that Pelosi allow impeachment proceedings against the shrub and his gargoyle to proceed,
  • Stand up to the shrub on FISA, filibuster the amnesty bill, and filubuster all of the shrub’s nominees,
  • Push for single-payer health care, and
  • Push for cutting off funds for the occupation of Iraq and bringing our troops home.

You might share my positions on these and other issues.  I declared my intention to vote for Dennis Kucinich as a write-in if Obama does not get his act together.  You may wish to vote for Nader, McKinney, or the write-in of your choice.  The point is not to try to win the election for these independent and third party candidates, but to send a message to Obama that his cynical political games will not be tolerated by progressives.  This is the last, best chance we have of holding him accountable.

Democrats will only take their party’s progressive base seriously if they know in their hearts that alienating it shall only cost them more and more elections.  If they choose not to learn their lesson, then we progressives must break from the Democratic Party, abandoning it to its Republican masters, and start anew.  Either way, unless we act, Obama will surely blow it for us — and America — in November.

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