It’s Over, Thank God

by SAUL LANDAU

It’s finally over. I had grown weary of having presidential  campaign ads interrupting the commercials. As much as I despise commercials  interrupting programs, at least they have something concrete to sell like a car  or a beer. This seemingly eternal campaign seemed to begin years ago. Indeed,  by late October, more than 915,000 campaign messages had appeared on U.S. TV  sets – a record that belongs in the Guinness Book of Stupid Records, especially  if you analyze the content of the campaign messages: Vote for Beaver’s father  (1950s TV), who will fix the economy his big shot investor friends helped  break, or vote for the cool guy who only disappointed you.

God forbid, literally, that the candidates should have  discussed what scientists repeatedly warn us about: the threats posed by  climate change to future human life if we don’t take drastic steps to stop  greenhouse gas emissions. Romney even pushed the notion of burning more coal  (he claimed it’s clean) and drilling (how thrilling!) for more oil. Obama had  done little to curtail the big burners and neither of the two had taken any  leadership on the climate change crisis. Indeed, both candidates supported  nuclear power expansion. Romney even wanted to get rid of FEMA. Oops! A major  sensitivity slip as Hurricane Sandy hit! Obama said “no red tape” in getting  help to people.

Obama also said he wanted to finish the job he undertook in  2008, rebuilding the country. How can he do that and continue to pay for the  rising costs of the U.S. empire? Romney complained Obama wasn’t spending enough  on the military (horses and bayonets cost more these days), and conjured up  foreign enemies (Russia and China) whose militaries do not threaten us. Obama  insisted that real enemies do exist and he had routinely murdered them with  Seals or drones in remote places. Pakistanis, for example, now fear going to  weddings lest they get mistaken at Drone headquarters for people going to an Al  Qaeda convention.

What didn’t get discussed? The millions of Americans who  live in deep insecurity and downright poverty, themes that don’t relate to the  ambitions of the aspirants who blather about pseudo patriotic nonsense, but  didn’t mention the 2-plus million people in U.S. prisons.

Both candidates also shared close friends among the Wall  Street gamblers who had helped precipitate the economic crash. These  economy-busting thieves continued to evade arrest, but in Colorado police  arrested 210,000 people between 1986 and 2010 for marijuana possession. Colorado’s  marijuana possession laws got enforced in a colorful way. Young whites are more  likely to use marijuana than any other ethnic group, but African Americans and  Latinos made up a disproportionate percentage of those arrested for marijuana  possession. An African-American is more than three times as likely to be  arrested as the Caucasian, although African-Americans make up less than 4  percent of the state’s population. They account for over 10 percent of the  marijuana arrests. A new  FBI report states  that police arrest someone for marijuana possession every  42 seconds.

The Bureau gives no details on the frequency of banker arrests,  but make your own guesses. The candidates did not call for the arrest and  prosecution of the muckety mucks on Wall Street for leading the U.S. economy  into its sub-prime mortgage calamity. The contenders showed no interest in  stopping drone murders or warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, or  racial profiling in the unending war against terrorism.

U.S. reality has grown distant from the babble of  self-serving “truths” uttered in campaign rhetoric, where eight Senate  candidates agreed that God intended pregnancies resulting from rape. And Romney  actually endorsed some of these mountebanks. The fact that abortion has become  the lead issue on several political campaigns should shock most of the world’s  population. And don’t forget: Jesus told us: “Arm yourselves.”

As millions of Americans suffered eviction as a result of  home foreclosure, and countless millions more lost jobs and health plans, while  many wait anxiously each day to see if their jobs would remain, the aspiring  politicians talked about our great and powerful country, as if such language  proved their presidential characters. It’s hard not to note how they avoided  issues that grip the guts of a people caught in an economic undertow they  cannot control. Romney promised to create jobs, mystically and magically, but  offered no plan other than cutting rich people’s taxes. Obama did not return to  FDR’s ideas of creating large public jobs’ programs to rebuild the  infrastructure.

Mitt Romney displayed, on a secretly recorded video, his for  47% of U.S. citizens, not illogical considering Bain Capital, his private  equity firm, enticed reactionary Salvadoran financiers, linked to government-backed  death squads, to fund his operation. Paul Ryan’s budgetary ideas offered to  undo what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society. Neither candidate refused  to take huge campaign contributions from people and organizations. The  candidates seemed satisfied with the system of raising large sums of money from  super rich people – the essence of U.S. democracy.

On humanitarian and civil liberties questions, neither  candidate showed interest in ending the death penalty or reducing the 5,000-plus  U.S. nuclear warheads. Obama’s pledge to close the Guantanamo prison and  torture center further raised liberal eyebrows, especially after he didn’t do  it. But he did brag about killing Osama bin Laden. And Romney didn’t criticize  Obama for not trying to bring bin Laden to trial instead of slaying him. Both  candidates claimed toughness (bombing on the table) on Iran and boasted that  their lips were disgustingly close to Israeli butt. A truly tempting reason to  vote for them!

Obama will appoint better judges, more serious people to  government agencies like the EPA and NLRB, and not endanger women’s rights. So,  I voted for Obama=Bad, rather than Romney=worse.

On Wednesday they told me we’d won. I wonder.

Saul Landau’s FIDEL and WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP are available as dvds from cinelibrestore.com.

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

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