Democracy generally doesn't apply to warmaking. Until the last weeks of the 2008 campaign, it was dominated by the differences in approach to war and foreign policy between Barack Obama and George W. Bush and many of my friends told me that the main reason the preferred Obama over all the other candidates was his bold stand in that arena.
That was election talk. It's been that way my whole life. Obama and his people figured out early on that they share power with the Military Industrial Complex and they had little desire to use political capital to exercise what they have. What they didn't figure out is that (since 1968, anyway) Democratic presidents get screwed regardless. The MIC knows it has the place locked up --- at this point it's about the spoils, and they get slightly fewer goodies and more petty political hassles under Democrats. (Plus there's the macho Jesus factor.)
I don't know what to do about it. I guess you have to hope that Democrats who run like Obama ran in 08 will want to at least make some changes around the margins that will hold over time. But that's about the best you can hope for as long as America is the world's dominant imperialist power. Until that changes --- and it will, because it's unaffordable --- we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking we are voting for people who will do these things differently, regardless of what they say on the stump.
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
I have endured the dashed potential for a more transformational regime under Obama. The man has made himself an accomplice in the imperial crimes of his predecessor as well as committing his own. He has also almost certainly been the most progressive president most of us will live to see. I fear we'll look back on his years in office with mild gratitude for a respite from national leadership that was habitually stupid and vicious, as well as wrong.
Visitors here will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading. I am very intentionally reading intensively offline these days. When it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."