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It is Immoral Not to Challenge Obama and the Democrats in 2012

Michael Wilk's picture

I seem to recall that someone, late last month, posted an entry arguing that it is immoral for Democrats not to run a primary challenge against Barry Obama in 2012, in light of the things he's done to institutionalize Bush-Cheney crimes. (Glenn Greenwald chronicled the latest violation of the Constitution by Obama on his own blog, which you can read here). This argument is proven truer every day as more crimes are committed against the Constitution and as the concept of the rule of law is increasingly marginalized.

At what point will party loyalists realize that their political organization will not survive if they continue to support this right-wing dictator who has proven to be even worse than his right-wing predecessor?

For that matter, at what point do we as a movement acknowledge that politics and morality are inextricably bound?

Earlier this week I encountered a former political co-worker, who I worked under when volunteering on a mayoral campaign. The discussion we had led to the realization that although we may agree on certain things, fundamentally she is by no means a liberal. She is a DLCer to the core. This was borne out by her defense of torture against Bradley Manning and her conviction of him in her own mind without even considering that the charges against him are more than likely bullshit. She trusts the military more than she believes in the Constitution, and her statements made it obvious that she thinks there are circumstances in which it should not apply.

And this goes to the heart of the problem facing the left. Our movement is compromised by people who see shades of gray where only right and wrong exist, and those people are the ones in charge. Yes, a problem can be complex — more so than many care to admit. But that does not absolve the left of the responsibility to take a firm moral stand. In fact, my former colleague told me flat out that she doesn't think the Democrats stand for anything. Meanwhile, the Republicans do stand for things — horrible, evil things, but they do stand for them. We have to make a decision as to what is right and what is wrong, and take a stand for what we know to be right. When we compromise our principles, people see that and they reject us for lacking a moral foundation. Torture is wrong and it is a crime, and regardless of your own opinion, the law requires that those who committed it and those who ordered it be punished. That is not up for debate. It's codified by national and international law. How can we claim to be better than, say, the rulers of Libya, when we refuse to live up to our own stated principles?

Some people are perfectly comfortable with being so hypocritical. They're called right-wingers. They identify themselves by their words and actions. And we must oppose them at every turn. But how can we do that if we on the left refuse to allow for morality? Right-wingers are amoral, their words and actions immoral, the casualties who suffer and die as a result of their amoral policies all too real. This being the case, why is it considered an affront to sensibility to suggest that refusing to challenge Obama and the Democrats politically is itself immoral? If we stand for something, we have an obligation to make a moral case for why our beliefs and policy positions are right and those of the other side are wrong. Furthermore, having a firm sense of morality allows us to identify those who choose to be amoral. People who argue that the ends justify the means exist in a moral vacuum into which they want to suck us all. When we lose our sense of morality, our political enemies will most assuredly rush to define us to their advantage, which is a major reason why they are able to win over voters.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it isn't a bad thing to adopt a moral code, to stick by it no matter what, and to act upon it. If the left does not challenge Obama next year with truly left-wing candidates, then the left in America is truly dead, and we who are the real Americans will have no other recourse than to escape while we still can.

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Michael Wilk's picture
Submitted by Michael Wilk on

As many of you here know, and some are only now learning, late last month, Rusty1776 posted an entry that got him banned from FDL. It concerned the immorality inherent in refusing to run a primary challenger against Obama in 2012, in light of all the things he's done to institutionalize the abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime, and it made certain members of the FDL leadership team very angry. Rusty was flamed, his comments were deleted, he was provoked to angry outburst, and was subsequently banned from FDL. The entry in question was hidden as spam, only to be restored without explanation shortly thereafter. Bill Egnor has stated that the decision to ban Rusty will not be reversed, claiming that Rusty violated the rules — though he refuses to say what rule Rusty supposedly broke. Since then, I have learned that Rayne, who has a nasty habit of demanding disclaimers from Jeff Roby and select others whenever they post entries calling for political action outside the confines of the Democrat Party, is either taking a leave of absence or is no longer affiliated with FDL. If her departure is indeed related to what was done to Rusty, we are not being told, and the top posters and moderators refuse to answer questions truthfully. Fortunately, most people have a key on their keypads that allows them to save snapshots of what is on our monitors, and some of us have made use of it (never forget that what happens on the Internet can be saved and shared). So sooner or later a truthful explanation will have to be given lest FDL be exposed as just another veal pen.

Submitted by Hugh on

FDL is just another veal pen.

Rayne was incredibly authoritarian, but it wasn't just Rayne. It is important to realize that she didn't do anything that didn't have the backing of Jane and the other frontpagers. They still see things only in terms of the Democratic-Republican dichotomy and remain hostile to any alternatives. And as you say, FDL remains opaque about not just what was decided but how it was decided.

bungalowkitchens's picture
Submitted by bungalowkitchens on

to find the diary still up at FDL today. Though I doubt they've changed their ways.

BruceW07's picture
Submitted by BruceW07 on

You might find Jonathan Haidt's work on the moral foundations of politics, interesting. He appears, to me, to be, personally, a highly conventional, slightly-right-of-center academic from a privileged background, but some of his observations and analyses are worth considering.

peony's picture
Submitted by peony on

Easy. Don't look too closely, if at all. The belief that the U.S. is "good" or "the greatest country in the world" is a very effective shield against seeing ourselves as we are.