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