by David Swanson - CounterPunch
August 4, 2016
Why would it be that 8 years ago you couldn’t win a Democratic presidential primary if you’d voted for a war on Iraq after pushing all the Bush White House lies about it, and yet now you can? Back then the war looked closer to ending, the death count was lower, and ISIS was only in the planning stages. Reports on the fraud, criminality, and knowingly self-destructive nature of the war launch — reports like the Chilcot report — hadn’t yet been produced. How can you drag this albatross across the finish line at this late date in 2016?
Well, you can’t, in fact. Claiming that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 primary is like claiming Bush won the 2000 election. It’s one of those things that everyone will say, using it as shorthand, and repeating it until everyone forgets that the thing was stolen.
So, let me rephrase: How can you get people to pretend en masse that you won the 2016 Democratic presidential primary despite lugging around the same baggage as 8 years before only now stuffed with putrid rotting flesh?
And not only that, but how can you pull loved ones of people you sent to kill and kill and kill and die in that criminal calamity onto the stage of your coronation convention and get people to cheer for it?
How can you get your supporters to scream “U – S – A! U – S – A!” at anyone who shouts “No more war”?
How can you get people to the point of believing that, should the ongoing war on Iraq make big news in October, that will actually benefit, rather than hurt, you?
How can you, in fact, get liberals to start saying that ending the overthrow of governments would be irresponsible? After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Honduras, Ukraine, and Brazil, how can you get all the bleeding hearts to rally behind your intention to overthrow the Syrian and possibly the Iranian governments?
How can you get them to go even further and support world-risking hostility and threats toward Russia?
How can you get popular support for maintaining and expanding NATO and for committing to being dragged into any new wars that any of NATO’s mushrooming list of members might get themselves into or claim to have gotten themselves into?
There is only one answer to all of these questions: partisan perversion in the form of Trump. If Trump occasionally and inconsistently says he might abolish NATO, then abolishing NATO must be bad. If Trump says the war on Iraq was a horrible idea (even though he supported it at the time) it must have been a wonderful idea. If Trump suggests that demonizing Russia is stupid, then it must be genius, and Trump must be a commie-loving pinko. If Trump badmouths loved ones of someone who died making war on Iraq, then making war on Iraq must be heroic and noble.
Of course this way of thinking is on Trump’s intellectual level, which means that with a slight twist or two here and there, Trump propaganda could replace Hillary propaganda in the hearts of some of Trump’s most passionate opponents. And the two camps’ lesser-evilist doctrines are identical, only with the greater and lesser evil figures reversed.
All of which is not an argument for only letting the smart people vote. On the contrary, this is all good material for building a case for direct democracy. People are entirely capable of voting No on banning all Muslims while voting Yes on abolishing NATO. When it comes to policies, the majority of the U.S. public will get many more right than wrong. Its when policies are associated with personalities that people choose to reverse their positions for no good reason.
For decades we’ve heard the tired old refrain “We need leaders.” I’m afraid we won’t survive many more leaders. I think what we actually need is democracy. Single payer healthcare should get an up or down vote regardless of whether single-payer healthcare once insulted someone or has been married three times or giggled when it killed Gadaffi. Policies don’t have those problems.
Get rid of the super-delegates, the delegates, the representatives, the senators, and the president, and let people set the policies. Any bureaucrats needed could be randomly appointed with darts and a phone book, guaranteeing better results than the present system.
David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org His new book isWar No More: The Case for Abolition.
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