Some Political/Cultural Ramblings

It?s not puzzling that John Edwards has been officially designated missing-in-action by the major media organizations. He is so clearly anti-corporate, and the television channels, networks, and most newspapers are either large corporations in themselves or owned by even larger corporations.

I doubt there?s any actual memo issued or e-mail sent (though you never really know these days), but it wouldn?t be a shock if someone came forward later to testify that they were told at the highest level to more-or-less stop covering Edward?s run for the nomination; just cease paying attention to the man. What is much more likely is that there?s no direct, person-to-person conspiracy involved; there doesn?t have to be. The corporate influence that prevails everywhere, combined with the supreme superficiality of American popular culture, would be enough to doom John Edwards to obscurity.
Doesn?t have to be instant cable news either? I noticed that even the New York Times today, in writing about the Nevada caucus, referred to John Edwards, who finished a dim third, as, ?another candidate.? Not ?John Edwards? or even ?the other major contender,? just ?another candidate.?

Well, of course? What corporation in their right corporate mind would aid (by fairly covering his run for the nomination) a man whose sworn mission is to hold corporations to account for their long-time rape and pillaging of America.
If major corporations were simply made to pay their fair share of taxes, it would amount to tens of billions of dollars a year. (And then there are the CEO?s with their obscene ?compensation? packages?and the dozens of billionaires in a country with tens of millions of people living in poverty?)

Naturally, Edwards? competition, Obama and Clinton, are far bigger news stories, simply because of gender and race. Whatever else they are or stand for, whatever their backgrounds and histories, the most prominent issue, of course, is the revolutionary fact that a woman and a black man are leading candidates for President. It represents a major evolutionary change in American culture. And it?s hard for yet another white man?no matter how genuine, intelligent or decent he may be?to compete in terms of pure news value.

Aside from the real newsworthiness of Clinton and Obama?s prominence, there is always the issue of celebrity.
Because mere style, flash and novelty have become more newsworthy than any real content or substance at all?Edwards has almost nothing going for him except as far as celebrity goes?which leaves, in modern news terms, almost no public appeal at all.
As one of the callers on my Sirius radio show said the last night, the only way the media will pay attention to Edwards again is if his wife suddenly gets very ill. That would be news they?d have to cover?or be labeled unfeeling by the large segment of American news-entertainment consumers who gorge on the constant stream of television shows devoted to sadism, disasters and other people?s personal miseries.

Having said all that, I will now (in my very minor media way) do what the major media does?ignore Edwards and talk about Clinton and Obama?

You can see the celebrity factor at work when you watch the debate exchanges between Clinton and Obama?
Mrs. Clinton is visibly irritated and often just says so, when Obama uses his voice, smile and pure charisma to claim everyone?s allegiance and vote. The woman just doesn?t have the performance gifts; charm, speaking style, and humor (which her husband has always had) to compete with Obama. So she naturally (and sensibly?in my opinion) talks about experience and action over ?just words?.
Now, there?s surely nothing wrong with inspiring words, inspiringly delivered. They can change the course of history and the spirits of whole nations when there is nothing but darkness surrounding them. Think of Roosevelt?s and Churchill?s speeches (even Hitler?s for that matter) in the Thirties and Forties?especially just before and during the war. Think of some of John Kennedy?s speeches; even Reagan, the silly old fool, and his speech about the Berlin wall.
All these people delivered words with great emotion; with power and artfulness, at times when people desperately needed to hear such things.
But it?s important to remember though that these people also acted?set actual things in motion that affected the world.
They didn?t (even Kennedy and Reagan) just talk.

This country, in the grip of rapidly advancing catastrophes, needs to hear such stirring words now?and Obama is good at delivering the words? What actions he will take seem completely baffling to me.
Personally, I find him dishonest, hypocritical and hollow? My impression is that he just wants to be President for the sake of being President?to be at the very top?to have and to bask in all that power. Obviously all the candidates have that hunger for fame and power but Obama seems to want it more for its own sake than any of the others.

I?m certainly not saying that Clinton?s experience (especially in the Senate) is anything to be happy about. She has voted consistently to go along with almost every one of the Bush administration?s crimes?especially his foreign policy of threat and attack.
She has almost always, conscious of her Presidential aspirations, taken the cowardly route; voted the wrong way on bills that took away our constitutional rights, on war funding for Iraq (and even on resolutions about Iran). All this so she never, appears to be ?unpatriotic.?
Hillary Clinton plays politics every moment?Her ?experience? is long and deep, but she promises nothing but business (and I mean BUSINESS) as usual. This never-ceasing sense of shifting and playing the best odds?of taking polls about what people want to hear and then fashioning statements and positions based only on that?gives you a feeling that the woman has no real passionate and radical plan for changing anything about the way things get done in this poor, crazy country.

To me, Clinton and Obama are liars and, if shame was in their natures at all, they should, in fact, be ashamed of the things they say in debates and when campaigning. They are both beholden to the very lobbyists and corporations that they promise they will ?do something? about if they are elected President.
They will do nothing.

Merely look at who their main campaign contributors are: The richest people in the country, major banks, pharmaceutical companies and the like. Obama and Clinton are practically on the boards of directors of the very same corporations that have played such a major part in destroying our country.

I believe John Edwards (yes I know he?s rich?so was Roosevelt. For that matter, all the Democratic candidates are rich) wants to truly get rid of the lobbyists for corporations that routinely buy and sell Senators and Representatives. I believe he really wants to stop corporations from continuing to destroy our health and sanity and economy?and that he would give everything he has in him to make corporations, and the most wealthy, pay their share of taxes?and to forbid lobbyists from actually drafting laws and bribing Congress.
Of course, such passion, idealism and energy are no guarantee of success. Edwards?s confrontational style would inevitably be met with all sorts of monstrous obstacles from the entrenched political-corporate interests that own and run our country.

Edwards is not Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a man who had decades of political and governmental experience and a deep, wide web of political contacts and influence. He was one of the elite, one of the insiders, and knew from birth how to deal with all the elements of power in the country.
Still, I think the only reason that Roosevelt was able to finally achieve what he did (especially in changing the corporate-government status quo) was because this country was truly in the deepest darkest depression and because of the threat from great, dangerous forces a
broad. Well, we are a half step from all of that right now?
Electing Obama or Clinton will probably solve nothing for the couple of hundred million Americans, from poor to even upper-middle- class, that are losing their homes, their jobs and their ability to even survive.

Here I?ll throw in a purely political observation?no morals, ideals or emotions attached: Obama and Clinton might never be able to beat somebody like McCain in the actual race for President. The sad but real likelihood is that a white man would most probably have a better chance against another white man; especially if that white man is, like John McCain, charming, experienced, decent-seeming and fatherly (no matter that he is in love with this immoral and horrible war in Iraq or shamelessly kisses up to Bush who treated him so vilely in the past or?while we?re at it?actually as conservative at heart as most of the other Republican candidates).

The evolution in American politics that has created the possibility for a Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to be leading candidates for President is amazing. It?s a major turning point in our history. But still, will Americans actually vote for a black man or a woman to run their country?
The President, no matter how insipid, inept or corrupt, has been since the beginning, considered to be the Father-of-The Country. My parents had Roosevelt. I grew up under Eisenhower? You can?t get more fatherly than that.
Will a majority of Americans actually elect a black father or vote to have a Mother-of-The-Country?
Of course it shouldn?t matter?and maybe we have actually arrived at the point where it won?t matter. But I have my doubts?

If John Edwards were incompetent, inexperienced or just part of the same old corporate-political machine?Or if he was merely power-hungry or dishonest?with nothing else to recommend him, I wouldn?t support him.
In fact, I fervently wish Dennis Kucinich could be President.
He?s the only one I really identify with and almost completely agree with on every issue. But poor Dennis was never really in the race to begin with. The media aced him out almost from the beginning. (And, for fairness sake, it was John Edwards, who was overheard whispering onstage to another candidate that Kucinich shouldn?t be in on one of the debates).

Anyway, John Edwards is still in the race, or was, at least, until the major corporations that give Americans their crack-addict newsertainment decided to completely ignore him.

On my Sirius show, the majority of my listeners?average American Democrats and liberals as ever there were?overwhelmingly favor Edwards (absent Kucinich).
If Edwards wins big in South Carolina, maybe he will be noticed again. If he doesn?t, I think that will probably be the end of his race. Edwards should do well in South Carolina, but the chance of voting for someone who might be the first black man or woman to be President might just be too strong a pull for Democratic voters in that state. (And other states for that matter).

This whole competition has been, and remains, a complicated issue at the very least. I?m just sorry that the unavoidable (real and celebrity) news value of Obama?s and Clinton?s candidacies has so obscured Edwards? far more honest and passionate dedication to really changing the way things work in this country.
I?m also afraid, as I mentioned before, that in the Democratic voters? real enthusiasm to nominate a woman or a black man just because of their gender or race, the Democrats will wind up losing the Presidency. Imagine? four more years of a Republican president; continuing corporate control over the government and economy, the relentless erosion of our basic constitutional rights, fighting ruinous and criminal wars, appointing more right-wing Supreme court Justices?

We are on very edge of a total economic depression as bad as the Thirties, and we are coming very close to being a fascist state.
Who seems most likely to try in any way to stop all that? Obviously none of the Republican candidates. And what about Obama or Clinton? Does anyone really see them doing what really needs to be done? Meanwhile John Edwards, the only remaining viable Democratic candidate who gives the country any hope, has been archived and filed away as a dull news story by the media.
Maybe I?m wrong. I hope I?m wrong. Maybe Americans will elect Obama or Clinton. And maybe they will work with a Democratic majority in Congress to turn this country around and save it from economic ruin and fascism.
What do you think?

Any comments are welcome? mikefeder@nyc.rr.com

– Mike Feder (New York City – January 21, 2008)

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