Monday, February 4, 2008

"Change the Guard" - A Call to End Political Dynasty

A new blog by Lance Garret Steagall labeled, "Change the Guard," thunderously raises a point that has not been raised enough in the presidential race: The fact that two families have been on the top for the past 20 or so years. Bush, then Clinton, then Bush, and now Clinton again? So where is the change?

A brave citizen asked this question to Hillary, and she danced around the answer with usual political eloquence:

CLINTON: Well, as I have often said, I regret deeply that there is a Bush in the White House at this time. (Laughter.) But I think that what's great about our political system is that we are all judged on our own merits. You know, we come forward to the American public, and it's the most grueling political process one can imagine. We start from the same place. Nobody has an advantage, no matter who you are or where you came from. You have to raise the money. You have to make the case for yourself …

And, you know, it did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush, and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush. (Laughter, cheers, applause.)

It's shocking, no, disconcerting to hear little concern with this fact. Is she an agent of social change? Or is she a way to manage and continue the status quo? Is she truly just like the rest of us, the "same place," or is she privileged on the top?

Steagall writes, 

In saying "nobody has an advantage, no matter who you are or where you came from … you have to make the case for yourself," she denied the advantage of having a former president, still revered by much of the Democratic base, actively campaigning on her behalf. When Bill said choosing Obama is "rolling the dice," he proved that, in fact, you don't always have to make the case for yourself. When Hillary sent her husband out fund-raising, she proved that you don't "have to raise the money" yourself

It's very clear that she has every advantage over Obama - and this in itself is not a bad thing. Nobody ever said politics was fair. Though, I'm trying to make more of a case about privilege, which both Bush and Hillary have.

Steagall continues,
Every Bush and Kennedy in politics makes it clear; if you're a member of American political royalty, you've got a jump-start.

Her supporters can argue over the degree to which she has benefited, but they cannot argue over whether or not she has benefited. Hillary did not start from the same point as her competitors, she did not make her case by herself, and most important, she has no claim to change in this election.

Thirty years of the same two families in the White House is enough. It's time to change the guard.

Yes! Could not have said this better, and I'm glad someone out there is articulating it so well. I have never been too attached to principles and ideals, perhaps due to my own social hermitage, but there is something very wrong in allowing a virtual dynasty, blatantly obvious to an increasingly apathetic people, to continue. Hillary promises universal health care, while Obama does not. Is this really so? And how can we trust her? We know for certain she openly endorses and encourages her association with interest groups- and a majority of these interest groups are not interested in 'the people,' but their own financial benefits, and have been the source of resistance of universal health care in the U.S. for decades. Meanwhile, Obama is better at bring different social groups together and allowing compromise. His integrity is also steered at least a little more toward the people. As a sociologist, I find this sort of trait, or characteristic very important for a world leader. If our nation is truly "for the people," why are we continuously electing a small few to run the country, who are honestly looking after their own interests over ours?

I suppose this rant should make one final point: It's a shame it has come to this: Clinton vs. Obama. Kucinich was a worthy candidate who was slowly and cunningly pushed out from the spotlight by media, interest groups and political enemies (Not to mention Ron Paul was not mentioned once last night on Fox News). By endorsing Obama, am I just giving into the political game? Who knows, but I guess I'll leave it at that, and try to take some action, because it is usually better than none at all in the political world. As a side note, I would love to see how the Taoist concept of non-action can be integrated into modern politics. Hmm, more to come!

Peace, Being,

Shaman Sun


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