Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What happened to Obama and the Democratic Party?

In reality there has never been a socialist party, nor of the “working class” of any import in the United Status. The closest thing to a social-democrat party has been the Democratic Party. For a long time and generations this party has represented a political shelter for the working classes, the middle class and immigrants. Among those immigrants finding refuge were those from Catholic countries, whom by their condition as immigrants were also poor, working class, and eventually middle class. But what happened to the party which produced a Catholic president, a son of Irish immigrants?

As a promoter of social mobility the Democratic Party is now a victim of its own success. As minority populations, immigrants, workers and their progeny ascended socially through civil rights legislation, affirmative action in employment and education, the causes—its reason for being—of the Democratic Party began to change. Blacks and whites began to share a “level plain field” in social competition. The interests of these groups began to diversify at par with their social ascendance. Other causes were added; environmentalism, gay rights, feminism.

Today those causes transcend the exclusivity of a single party. For the Democratic Party only slogans and the institutional memory of those struggles remain. Today, dressed in the language of the left its political discourse cannot surpass a level of infantilism and superficiality—a running back and forth between half-baked conspiracies theories.

The same social mobility which now allows the descendants of immigrants to choose between public or private education for their children is the same mobility which now allows, without ideological scruples, mobility between parties and the variable political menu.

Then, what is happening to Obama and the Democratic Party?

First of all, they reduced Obama’s attraction to a symbolism of change, based on some racial social injustice still to be redeemed. But, by virtue and success of his own nomination, racism is no longer a crucial issue. By choosing a veteran like Biden, a representative of the same old political system that Obama has campaigned to change, Obama has subliminally cancelled his change theme.

As we have mentioned previously in these pages, Obama does represent change. But he is not the only one. Governor Palin represents change also, and at least a subliminal change over Biden, a change in the Republican Party and change in the manner in which the Democratic Party treated its first woman candidate to the presidency. The word “change” became a slogan in Obama’s campaign, but it became a practical reality in McCain’s.

For a large part of the electorate, including the so-called “Reagan Democrats (that demography of minorities, immigrants, workers, etc.), the Democratic Party is today ruled by a condescending “Harvard” and media, Manhattan and Washington establishment elite, which looks down on people outside their circles as, in Obama’s own words, “bitter people clinging to their guns and religion”. It’s a ruling class of a party where diversity of appearances, of sex, race and ethnicity exists, but where homogeneity of thought rules.

For a large part of the electorate, today the Republican Party is more democratic in its diversity of opinions, as one can judge by the very discrepancies between Palin and McCain on issues of global warming, abortion and others. In the Democratic Party those issues are now dogmas, which in Al Gore’s own words, “are not open to discussion.”

Other things have changed. With the settlement and reduction of the feminist agenda to one of abortion rights and the equality of positions with men it also has been established in practice that women, at least in all social aspects, can do everything. That a woman can find herself on the race for president and even achieve that goal has also been established.

But a new generation of young women, intellectually raised under gender studies programs has had to live not in the theories about the patriarchy and deconstructionism but between practical and very human realities and existential options between relationships, family and work.

That generation has been called to live between the rhetorical feminism of NOW and the practical feminism of Palin; while the first feminists based their lives on careers, militancy and protests the latter based their careers on work and study, relationships and the rearing of children. While the first criticized “the system” they joined it marrying powerful men, from lawyers and politicians to a president of the nation; the second feminists, married “Joe Six-pack”, stay-home dads and working men in general. While the first feminists preached placing career before children and men, the later feminists obtained careers, children and husbands.

From her positions as PTA member, mayor and governor Palin has demonstrated that women can even have a baby with Down syndrome without having to abort him in exchange for a professional career. In reality, the first feminists now appear as not wanting for women to have it all. A woman who can achieve it all without ideological dependence, or centralized government solutions is a threat to feminists who have made public careers on the victimization of women and as mediators of the definition of what is a real feminist.

Within the first feminism, especially in the worlds of academia and politics, men learned to feminize themselves, condescending here, not daring to say anything there. The men of the second feminism learned, by necessity, to deal with and understand strong women who didn’t stop from being women at home or at work.

The same manner in which Obama was protected against any attack which otherwise would have been considered racist, Hillary should have been protected against any attack which otherwise would have been considered sexist. However, she was not protected. But while Hillary had to recourse to tears to obtain sympathy and votes, Palin had only to let the pro Obama press showed their campaign against her.

Palin was not protected because of her gender; on the contrary, she was attacked for being a woman and for not being a woman of the media mold of the first feminists. She is not their ideal woman. But their ideal woman, Hillary, was the one that the Democratic Party set aside for Obama.

The bitter fight between Hillary and Obama exposed for all to see the great division and transformation within the Democratic Party. Now there is panic and remorse among many who supported Obama, and they now think that the invincible ticket would have been Clinton-Obama. This would have accomplished two historical goals: the first woman president and the first African American Vice President. Putting McCain to the side, the real fight would have been between Hillary and Palin. Obama could have had increased his international profile and experience in foreign policy as Vice President, and at the end of four or eight years still be young enough to run for president.

Instead, while Palin’s husband appears as a male who is sure of himself, supporting his wife, Obama appears as an insecure man, condescending and miniscule. Michelle Obama making last minute appeals “My husband can’t do it alone” only reinforces those perceptions. Mr. Palin, on the other hand, appears as a strong man who knows his wife can defend herself. Obama appears as a metrosexual “dude”, politically correct, apologetic, and afraid to offend, except to compare dissenting Americans as “enemies” or an independent woman to a pig, as he did with Palin.

This is why, Obama has lost ground and the Democratic Party has shot itself in the foot. While supposedly Obama is running against the Republican Party in reality he is still running against Palin.


Blogger Sonia Alvarez said...

Boy do I agree a lot with you especially on the "parlour feminists" and the down-to -earth ones. I always said thes Democrats showed they are more sexist than racist.
thanks for your comment.

2:43 AM  

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