Nearly a month ago we had an American muso, George Mann, a former union organiser come to Brisbane and stay at our house.
After his gig at Foco Nuevo in February, we stayed up late and I asked George to explain the US primaries to us. No, we did not fall asleep.
George informed us that it is all rigged, that a couple of states and SuperTuesday (Trump and Clinton scored landslide victories across 11 states) determine who the candidates for the US Presidency will be, the rest is all fake and that America is not the home of democracy. No surprises there. George explained that Florida and Nevada are crucial states, that California being large should be but it is so late in the primaries it rarely makes a difference. Only if it is a close race does California determine who the candidates for President will be. Interestingly in 1960 Gore Vidal got more votes for the Democratic Party than did the drug taking, womanising catholic, John F Kennedy. JFK did have good speech writers and knew how to deliver them. But he did have a drug taking wife, Jackie, using was a fix to deal with her husbands excesses.
Now that would have been interesting if a gay candidate (Gore Vidal) had run against Nixon, and even more so, in the early 60s when there were few game enough to come out. Private lives, aye.
We did not know then that Roosevelt had an affair with his cousin who was 30 years younger and that Eleanor Roosevelt was probably gay.
Also, George told us, in some states the winner takes all and in others the candidates only gets the votes he or she wins. Enough said.
I then asked if it makes a difference if an Obama or a Bush or a Trump or a Clinton gets in.
He said yes and gave ObamaCare, America’s national health scheme as a reason.
This I do not get, because there is no way that ObamaCare is anything like as good as our Medicare and public hospital system in Australia or the National Health in the UK. There is no way that the American health system under Obama’s Presidency lives up to any of the social democratic ideals that led to Australia’s or Britain’s – the US health system is one where the rich get proper medical care and the poor don’t.
So now to Bernie Sanders whose platform is informed by social democracy – public health, public education, public housing and good public transportation system with sustainable environmental policies.
Only thing is even if Sanders were elected as Democratic candidate and he defeated Trump in November we all know that his policies can’t be implemented in a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer because American capitalism will not allow it. Here is why:
Sanders is unlikely to contest the Presidential election and so that leaves it to Clinton to face off against Trump. On one issue at least, Clinton & Trump agree. They both voted for the US to invade Iraq. What more needs to be said?
The Left should stay out of sham elections and organise among workers and the poor to resist the system that gave us Trump & Clinton.
Now here is David Swanson’s view.
Only a nation already far down the freeway to fascism could call what the United States is doing “democracy” and not laugh or cry. The most ill-informed, incarcerated, disenfranchised, overworked, fear mongered, and impoverished electorate in the wealthy world is picking gladiators for this year’s electoral entertainment.
In one corner, the brainwashed dads are backing a two-bit Berlusconi with as many positions on any issue as the Bible, but without God’s humility. This guy talks at a third-grade level, but having skipped over the lessons in cooperation and nonviolence that most people picked up between Kindergarten and second grade. He pushes religious bigotry, racism, exceptionalism, ignorance, and violence. He’s in favor of greed, theft, oppression, armed borders, and murdering families. He supported attacking Iraq in 2002 and now lies about that. He wants an even bigger military, though how big nobody’s bothered to ask. He pushes mythic lies about the success of wars and torture, including the idea that murdering Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs blood brings peace and harmony, and that torture accomplishes something useful. He also despises th e disabled or female and absolutely adores himself. If there was ever an argument for swiftly disarming the world of nuclear weapons, it’s not to be found in Barack Obama’s pretentious platitudes but in the dimwitted demagoguery of Don Drumpf. Don’t give this man nukes!
In another corner, Hillary Clinton presents a humanitarian face for total corruption. She, too, holds every possible position on every issue. But her decades of public “service” make it clear that only the awful positions are the ones she means. The Republican Don might expose the Saudi support for 9/11, remind everyone of Bush and Hillary’s Iraq lies (which apparently fooled Drumpf at the time), denounce Bush and Obama for creating ISIS, reject the TPP, etc. He might welcome refugees or ban them and wink at lynch mobs. He’s not exactly predictable. Like any Republican, Drumpf would energize the peace and justice movements, but he might also make things very hard on them. Hillary would use her goons on protesters as she did on Ray McGovern. She’d punish whistleblowers with the vengeance she directs at Manning, Assange, Snowden, et alia. And she’d push for every war she can get her hands on, as she has for many years.
In a third corner is Bernie Sanders. His best primary states lie ahead — but only if people turn off their televisions and block out the endless repetition of the idea that Hillary’s antidemocratic superdelegates, and states that have already voted have decided everything.
Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross was published over 35 years ago and has now been released as an ebook. It describes the state we’re now in, not the state we might reach because of Drumpf’s similarities to Mussolini. People should really stop saying they underestimated Drumpf. That would be quite a feat. What they underestimated was the power of the corporate media to create a candidate — something that media could only do by having already reached a view of the world in which fascism is just another policy choice. And they underestimated the depravity of a large number of U.S. voters willing to back hatred and ignorance packaged together with inconsistent rejection of current elites and dogmas. Imagine the overwhelming stupidity of a culture that 15 years later treats it as news when someone points out that George W. Bush was president on September 11, 2001. Try to fathom the idiocy of a c andidate whose nasty, childish insults and threats may be doing as much damage to U.S. foreign relations as Obama’s actual missiles and bombs and walls and deportations.
Sadly, only the Bernie Sanders campaign, or an actual revolution, lies between us and a Hillaridrumpf gladiator match. Would we, in such a contest, go with the evil we know and dread or switch to the evil that resembles old-fashioned fascism but might actually be an improvement on some issues and would certainly awaken the slumbering activists who’ve hibernated for the Obama years? And if we didn’t choose the guaranteed evil, but opted for the unknown sadist, would the rest of the world ever forgive us?
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director ofWorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books includeWar Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
War Is A Lie: Second Edition, published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016. Please buy it online that day. I’ll come anywhere in the world to speak about it. Invite me!
By David Swanson