Election 2010: Afghanistan And Iraq Wars Are MIA As Political Issues

Americans are going to the polls next week, and this election cycle was long on negative adds, personal attacks and plain stupidity while short on real debates, between the candidates and in the media, on most key policy issues. Lowest common denominator politics is what truly characterized this political cycle. Today, comedian Jon Stewart is holding a rally to “restore sanity”, and the very fact that a political satirist is invoking reason as the motivation for a political rally  is  a worry-some statement on the health of our political system. When political satirists are the ones advocating restrain and sanity, and politicians are rambling and ranting randomly, it is alarming.

Tea Party: Complete Lack Of Consistency On Big Government And Fiscal Responsibility

The hodgepodge that is the Tea Party is more remarkable by what it is against than by what it is for. The international press has being puzzled by this originally manufactured movement which has now taken a life of his own. However, far-right American Poujadism- a French conservative reactionary movement of the 1950’s- is probably the best terminology to qualify the Tea Party. If “hope & change” were the emotional thematic behind the victory of Barack Obama in 2008, the emotions fueling the Tea Party activists are anger and fear. The wave of unrealistic optimism which brought President Obama to power in 2008 is now counterbalanced by a wall of negativity.

While it is easy to define what the Tea Party movement is fighting against, what it stands for is far more elusive. The Tea Party activists are for Liberty, free enterprise and the US Constitution, even if some of their leaders such as Christine O’Donnell are completely clueless about it. On the other hand, the list of what they are against is extensive: they oppose “big government”, the “hand outs” of entitlements programs, “Obamacare”, immigration reforms, the “Islamisation” of America and even so they were against the Wall Street bailout they oppose cracking down on banks through financial reforms. A large majority of Americans cast their ballots more with their guts than with their heads, in the case of the Tea Party, it is all about guts, anger, and primal fear.

The Tea Party movement claims to be concerned about the US budget deficit, and wants to crack down on government wasteful spending. Yet, the biggest item of wasteful spending in the United States budget (representing 25 percent of the overall budget) is not even debated and questioned. If the Tea Party was a real Libertarian movement, and not a hodgepodge of rednecks, “crackers” and Christian fundamentalists operating as the foot soldiers of Karl Rove and serving corporate interests (especially big oil and the industrial-military complex), they would oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq forcefully.

Afghanistan And Iraq Wars: A Convenient Omission For Both Democrats And Republicans

According to the media the “enthusiasm factor” is on the side of the GOP/Tea Party in the current election cycle. In 2006, when the Democrats won Congress, and again in 2008, the decisive factors of both elections were the US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2006 and 2008, the anti-war left went to vote for the Democrats wrongfully hoping that they would end both conflicts. If the far-right Tea Party anger is clearly anti-Obama, in 2006 and 2008 the Democrats took advantage of the left anti-Bush, anti-war energy and rode this wave to win Congress and the White House.

In our current political landscape, the real American left has been virtually shut down of the political discourse. The United States has currently no left with proper representation, but instead has a center-right president (by the standards of any European countries), a right with the GOP, and now a far-right with the Tea Party.

Real progressives and liberals will determine the outcome of the elections, and this time they are not even been courted by anyone: they will either stick to their guns and vote for green and anti-war candidates or vote for the Democrats, even so the left has been betrayed by a Congress and an administration who has followed closely, in the instance of foreign policies (with the very same people in charge such as Gates & Petraeus), in the footsteps of the Bush administration. The real tragedy of our times is that in such polarized political environment the only areas of consensus are concerning the two endless conflicts bankrupting America.


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