Thursday, 6 September 2012

Fine words--what if they were true?

What the Guardian calls the ‘thumping’ endorsement by Bill Clinton of the sitting president last night reminds us, if there were any doubt, that Obama is a Billary clone, a mainstream conservative largely captured by the financial elites and the security state who occasionally evolves toward a decent position on certain issues when the political cost is not too high. Bill Clinton, dismantler of welfare, signer of the Defense of Marriage Act, and promoter of job-killing NAFTA, somehow manages to sell himself as a liberal hero, all lessons Obama has thoroughly absorbed.

Every four years, however, an appeal must be made to the constituencies desperate for someone to take their concerns to heart, and a political convention is a great showcase for stirring rhetoric, whether there’s any substance behind it or not. But while talk is cheap, there’s symbolic value in what does get said and by whom.

My personal favorite from last night was Sister Simone Campbell [photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite] of the social justice group Network, who gently inserted a jalapeño pepper up the clerical bunghole by reminding the audience that Catholic dogma includes concern for the weak, the ill and the infirm—not just the uterus. She even called it her ‘pro-life’ position to rub it in a little more. So much for the Vatican’s declaration of war against the unruly nuns who refuse to abandon their work and stand around streetcorners with bloody fetus pictures.

Sister Simone’s discourse was refreshing as one could safely assume she was not talking charity for the poor while simultaneously funneling cash to rich bankers. The same cannot be said for the assembled Democrats whose current hero presides over a Treasury Department in hock to Citibank and JPMorganChase. I am currently reading Bailout by Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General of the failed Trouble Assets Relief Program (TARP), and I don’t recommend it for the last hour before bedtime. Your dreams will include a lot of violence.

No comments: