Lacking Tenacity

With a backwards administration gutting social services, butchering the environment, and unashamedly scrambling to war; the gates of liberal dissent are left shuttering in their wake. But who holds the essential keys to stop the parody? Our cheerful Democrats do. From day one of the Bush administration’s tenure, Democrats possessed the moral high ground to protect those that can’t protect themselves, and save the environment from the fools that have sought to destroy it. But with an ever-increasing persistence to please corporate donors, the Democratic Party has been stupifyingly reluctant to do what is right.

A thorough critique could date back to the Carter administration or the list of Clinton debacles. But why go back 10 or 20 years when the last year’s worth of ruin has the world in an uproar? September of 2001 marked a change that many didn’t see coming. The United States fell victim to perhaps the single worst crime against humanity in the history of modern civilization. Terrorism and war have become common household parlance, and our shrub president an American icon. Behind the scenes the Bush administration was busy dismantling our civil liberties with congress’s approval of John Ashcroft’s Patriot Act, giving authorities the right to enter a person’s home without the person ever having been informed. So where were the Dem’s on this one? Far from the scene of the crime. The only dissident vote coming from Senator Russ Feingold, who just happened to be one of the few Dem’s to help Attorney General Ashcroft achieve his royal fervor.

At about the same time the Patriot Act was formulating and the cronies pushed their homeland agenda, bombing in Afghanistan began, Bin Laden the target. The oppressive Taliban regime was taken out, but not until after millions of hungry refugees fled their villages in fear. With their country left in disarray, a representative government is still not in place, pockets of guerrillas lurk throughout the country side. Terrorism still as large a threat as ever, so where were the prominent Dem voices? Still at cocktail parties in Washington I suppose, with only a few opposing Dubya’s plight. One prominent figure being Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich, who made quite a dandy of a speech in California acknowledging the toll of innocents that our bombs have piled up. Thousands of Americans rallied behind him, Kucinich’s office flooded with emails and phone calls. Oh how progressives cry for leadership. Funny how political breezes silent our elected voices. Senate leadership sailed idly by, while an island of progressives organized and pled for justice.

Next came the scandals. No not the cigar, but the multi-million dollar CEOs escorted from their penthouse suites in pin stripe suits, while thousands of their own workers were laid off and saw their pensions digitally evaporate. A cigar must have felt pleasant compared to what Enron’s ex-employee’s received. Bush and Cheney should have been nervous. Their good buddy Kenny Lay was the front runner for questioning. Hell, even their own business dealings with Arbusto and Haliburton mirrored Enron with spooking similarity. Where were the Dem’s? Wouldn’t they want to ask some questions? Kenny Boy helped develop the Cheney Energy Plan from crying out loud! The Republican’s were in frenzy over the intern, but the Lieberman/Daschle team only half-heartedly tried to get Cheney to answer up. But Enron contributed hundreds of thousands to ol’ Joe and the other Enron Democrats, funny they didn’t have many questions to ask. Bombs still fell, and Iraq was looking better and better as the next oily target. Where was our collective voice of reason in DC?

Then in late August the Bush administration proposed a deranged forest plan imitated after legislation Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle slipped into a bill a month earlier. Daschle’s language allowed logging on First American’s holy land in the Black Hills of South Dakota, without having to abide by environmental restraints. Not only did compromising “green” organizations turn their heads, dirty Republicans then pondered to see what they could now get away with. Any dissention this time around from the ol’ demmies? Nope. How could they? Hypocrisy is the worst ailment a political party could have, and the Democrats are ill. A good front of House Democrats did try to stop Fast Track from passing, but failed with a couple dozen of the team Demers deciding to swing from the right. The senate was worse, with Montana Democrat Max Baucus leading the anti-worker-anti-environmental fast track bill through. Lofty high-rise reasoning democrats have little reservations when it comes to qualms of free trade, with their voting patterns as glaring mementos.

So back to Iraq. Here we are, facing a deadly war, with perhaps 100,000 American troops needed for the proposed “regime change.” Where are the dissident voices in congress? The streets are shouting, a thousand in Portland alone, hundreds of Peace Rallies on the September 11th anniversary. But did the Dems show up at these gatherings? Are they asking tough questions to the Bush Administration? The Democratic Leadership Council won’t rock the boat on this one, they are “waiting for evidence.” To hell with the evidence, why won’t they look at the facts that we already hold? Millions of lives will be ruined, billions of dollars spent, the United Nations opposes it, key ranking Republican’s oppose it, a large majority of Americans oppose it. Our elected hogs wallop in their lack of tenacity. Some House Democrats are finally speaking out, but it will take more than a few to change the hawkish high tides to protest.

The blinding reality that our “liberal leaders” consistently push aside progressive ideals, will only prove to discourage more voters in the United States. When grass root candidates take aim at the centrist Democrat party, don’t think that they, like their present elected officials, will stand lethargically by, pissing their convictions into the political winds of Washington.

Josh Frank lives in Portland, Oregon.

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JOSHUA FRANK is the managing editor of CounterPunch. He is the author of the new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, published by Haymarket Books. He can be reached at You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.