Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Bad Week for Liberal Idealists

I feel bad for my liberal friends today, especially for those people (young and old) who thought electing Barack Obama as President would make the U.S. a different country.

Item: "President Obama's decision to overhaul and restart the Bush administration's military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay terrorism detainees won support from congressional Republicans yesterday, but deepened his estrangement from the liberal activists who helped sweep him into office."

Item: "KABUL - Human Rights Watch accused the US military of not doing enough to reduce civilian casualties during battles in Afghanistan and called yesterday for changes to prevent civilian deaths like those earlier this month."

Item: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi either knew about the torture of prisoners by waterboarding and said nothing at the time, or else she let the CIA fob off a bunch of misleading statements and significant omissions on as an official report. Either way, she made the Democrats complicit with the Bush administration in committing war crimes.

It's gotten to the point where political cartoonist Rob Rogers shows Obama reading all-too-familiar phrases from the Bush teleprompter!

Is this all a big surprise? It shouldn't be. As far back as June 2006, Obama revealed himself to be cautious in temperament, conservative in morality, non-confrontational, willing to test the limits of the possible but ready to retreat at the first sign that he'd gone too far. If we sit back and let the right wing exert all the pressure, Obama will do what's expedient and not what's really needed. As for the Democrats in Congress, they have always been more concerned about getting back their majority than about repairing the damage to the country that first the Clinton, then the Bush administrations created.

Liberals, this is your chance to give up wishful thinking. If you want progressive policies, you need to build a progressive movement. Putting new faces into office simply means hearing new voices try to explain why the U.S. has to keep pursuing failed and immoral policies. The officeholders are the ones who have to start hearing from us for a change!

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