Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Sam Smith
There is already something quite scary about the 2008 election. Despite unprecedented crises of climate and constitution and the collapse of America's respected role in the world, the best the Democratic establishment has to offer are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two candidates full of logos, which is Madison Avenue for symbols, but devoid of logos, which is Greek for reason. 
What is scary about this is that this is no ordinary election coming up. This is an election that could determine whether America is condemned to further descend into totalitarianism and how easy it will be for our children to breathe, drink water and find food. To reduce the election to a matter of making whites feel smug about their willingness to vote for a black or a woman for president is to trivialize human and planetary survival. Besides, Margaret Thatcher was a woman and Idi Amin was a black. Equality means the bad is fairly distributed as well. 
If, as liberals have traditionally argued, justice requires looking past a person's ethnicity or gender to their essential being, there is no better time to practice this than in the 2008 election. And once you do, Clinton and Obama quickly fade as options, Clinton because her disreputable past, her chronic dishonesty and indifferent politics; and Obama for his lack of having done anything for us in the past and his failure so far to promise anything meaningful for us in the future.
As issues go, the question of the Iraq war is far less significant than it appears. We've lost and we're just arguing over the best way to get out. What is far more important are such issues as:
- Which candidates will best help America live peacefully and positively in a highly fractured world and which will merely aggravate the crises their predecessors permitted to fester?
- Which candidates will best reverse the America's growing anti-constitutional authoritarianism and which will merely increase the trend?
- Which candidates will take global warming seriously and which will just use it as another feel-good issue?
- Which candidate will work hardest to reverse the economic inequalities that have flourished in America over the past quarter century?
At present, there is no easy answer but one thing is certain: Clinton and Obama don't make it to the top of the list on any of these issues.