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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

The Politics of Complacency

Author: [no author name found]

Last Tuesday's election was a terrible illustration of the politics of complacency, and the beginning of the end of politics as we know it. Without the will power to oppose a popular president-select, the Democratic Party had no particularly relevant issues and was slaughtered. Republicans now control both houses of Congress, the majority of governorships, the executive and soon the judicial branches of government. It is from a showing like this that we derive the term "weak-kneed liberal."
Our country, indeed the world, is hurtling towards a crisis of epic proportions. The temperature of the earth continues to gradually rise, causing subtle and soon dramatic changes in weather. The gap continues to widen between the wealthy, industrial North and the poor, "underdeveloped" South. Cracks are beginning to show in the structure of our globalized economy that are not symptomatic of localized mismanagement, as the robber barons would have us believe, but which are actually the first signs of the systematic failure of the entire arrangement. We are beginning to embark on our second war in as many years. Indeed we are embarking on a perpetual war for resources, one that can only end in global destruction. We are faced by a faceless enemy who resents us for exactly the actions that we continue to take. At home, in this bastion of capitalism, one corporation after another admits to its insolvency. Here, in this bastion of freedom, we are constructing a "Department of Homeland Security" all too reminiscent of the structure of the military juntas our southern brothers only too recently shook off. Indeed, well over a 1,000 people have been "disappeared" in this country in the last year. What is left of our democracy, the president is looking to self off to big business next year in Miami at the final negotiating session for the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
In the face of this monumental challenge, the opposition party, the Democrats, stood by and did nothing. They made a few weak protestations about the economy, about Bush's neglect of domestic policy. But nothing more. There was nothing about the fundamental, terrifying direction that our country and the world are taking. Suspiciously, one of the few politicians who was asking these questions, Paul Wellstone, died in a plane crash only a few weeks before the election. Fearful of taking on a popular sitting president, the Democratic Party stuck a barrel between its teeth and painted the cracking walls of our country with its brains. It practiced the politics of complacency.
With no legitimate opposition party in government, those of us who would not lie down face a monumental task. As democracy is eroded more and more rapidly, we are forced to resort to more and more militant tactics. Last month we circled the White House, shoulder to shoulder, for 24 blocks, beginning to erode the façade of national unity for war. In January, twice as many people will do the same. In Miami next fall we will storm the barricades and physically stop our government from letting big business destroy it. In Alaska, when the survey trucks come to drill, they will face a pitched battle on the tundra. When the Department of Homeland Security comes for our Muslim brothers and sisters, and then our anarchists, and then our environmentalists, we will hide them in our basements and bolt our doors.

Ben Gore '04


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