Elections & Voting
Needed: A change of direction, not a lane change
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 9, 2008, 00:17

And the beat goes on. Sorry . . . I too have added �and� to that song title that takes us to those antediluvian college days (for me) and the music of �Sonny and Cher,� mini skirts and men marching off to war. Nothing much has changed in four decades, not in those areas that would make us a better nation, a better people. And so . . . the beat goes on.

For American politicians of the Tweedledum-Tweedledee varieties, only types culturally allowed to compete in this US, when things appear somewhat bleak to the citizenry -- usually associated with the economy or war -- they start sermonizing about a road to change, which in their driving parlance implies changing lanes, never direction.

True change in America will not evolve from the current mentality of a population that for the most part lacks compassion and humility, where consumerism and self-indulgence rule the day. Not that Americans are much different, certainly not any worse, from other people in today�s �first world,� it�s just that they have had a longer period in which to practice greed and intolerance on a wholesale scale. Also, the realization of being part of the ruling new empire has not helped in bringing our self-importance down to earth.

Be that as it may, Republican and Democratic politicians in Congress, and now their presumptive standard bearers to November�s presidential election, clamor for change as the economy shows signs of imminent collapse that, unlike in previous eras, a �war economy� won�t help . . . so that bombing the hell out of Iran, or starting a new warfront in South America, won�t have any economic collateral benefits, as wars have had in the past. In fact, they will assure the United States of becoming a Third World nation with an incredible stockpile of nuclear weapons. And if that�s not scary, I don�t know what is.

And just what would be change, something that could legitimize any political claims? Not that the two-way ladder political parties will include these issues in their platforms, but for starters there are six issues that if confronted for change could deeply transform the nation in a very positive way; three dealing with America vis-�-vis the rest of the planet, and three bringing social fairness and tranquility domestically.

This nation will not acquire global trust until key individuals in the Bush administration are either impeached or brought to trial for international and domestic crimes. If these crimes are addressed, trust, confidence and return of American goodwill and influence could be obtained in short order, perhaps immediately. Likelihood of that happening: from zero to none.

As a second measure of attaining trust throughout the world, America's wasteful and huge military budget should be reduced 30 to 40 percent, signaling to upcoming great economic powers -- China, Russia, India plus a half dozen other nations -- that world hegemony and the rule of empire are a thing of the past. Politics in the US during these empire days, however, could never sponsor such an unpopular move in such a pro-empire nation as the United States.

And to break ground on a path towards international peace, as the third major key issue, the United States should review and revise the many inequities in its foreign policy, starting with a reversal to its doctrine for the Middle East as it affects the entire region beginning with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the stranglehold maintained by the US-supported government of Israel on Palestinians who defy in any way its rule, and continuing eastward to Iraq and beyond. This third issue is likely to happen when hell freezes over. Just take note . . .

A few days ago, the three then potential aspirants to the presidency, Clinton, McCain and Obama, appeared before the supreme body representing the interests of Israel in the United States; the greatest and most influential lobby in Washington: AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The speeches given by all three candidates were grotesquely adulatory, exuding of vassalage. Each candidate was trying to outdo the others in paying homage and swearing allegiance to the no-matter-the-circumstances protection of the State of Israel. Each candidate grew to a crescendo of being more papist than the pope, more Israeli than the Sabras who populated Israel in 1948. Can anyone in his right mind imagine neutrality by the US in a solution for Israel-Palestine and its derivative Middle East politics?

And just as change in the international arena is unlikely to occur in a meaningful way, change domestically will be equally difficult to come by in what we feel are the three key issues in domestic policy: a sane energy manifesto curtailing consumption as well as diversifying and optimizing domestic sources; universal healthcare for the entire US population; and the institution of adequate corporate controls, including punitive taxation on acts that adversely affect the community, the nation and the environment. Of these three issues, the only positive change might occur in healthcare, and only if Democrats take the White House . . . change that still falls short of an effective single payer national health insurance.

Change in America brought about by mainstream politicians? Don�t you believe it! Barack Obama, the presumed agent for change, and regardless of what might be in his heart, will not follow the attributed leadership of his adopted mentors, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Many of us would love to be proven wrong in this regard; but in trying to get elected he will be forced to withdraw from anything outside the status quo.

The beat goes on, the beat goes on . . . and men still keep marching off to war!

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at ben@tanosborn.com.

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