It could not be clearer. In America, as in Iran, the deepest cleavage is between the public and the political elites. The difference between Iran and America is the nature of the dynamic. In Iran, the unelected elite selected a group of “safe” opposition candidates it allowed to run for President, and the people themselves turned one of those candidates into the vehicle of their desire for real reform. In America, propelled through the primary system, people voted for someone who really appeared to be apart from the establishment–someone who spoke out against the Iraq War, for gosh sakes! Authentic progressives (TM) could not accept anything less! And what we got was a relentless centrist, not in the “center of America” sense as the above poll result so clearly shows, but in the “center of Versailles” sense.
Other “counter-intuitive” trends are afoot as well–counter to the Versailles intuition, that is…. Paul Rosenberg :: The REAL Bipartisan Consensus On Health Care Skepticism toward government is decreasing:
Concern over coverage (vs. costs) is increasing:
And all this despite the fact that people realize there could be downsides (heavens! will they never stop growing up?):
In a follow-up interview, Matt Flurkey, 56, a public plan supporter from Plymouth, Minn., said he could accept that the quality of his care might diminish if coverage was universal. “Even though it might not be quite as good as what we get now,” he said, “I think the government should run health care. Far too many people are being denied now, and costs would be lower.”
Just imagine what it would be like if we had political leadership in our country that worked in harmony with the people, instead of working against them! Legitimate concerns would be met by can-do efforts to mitigate the downsides, while staying true to the main thrust of what the people themselves wanted to be done.
This, after all, is what the Iranian people are shedding their blood for this very day. And we’re the example that’s inspired the world since our own Revolution 200+ years ago. But we still seem as far away from realizing that goal as ever before.
Yes, we’ve gotten a lot better buy-off gifts over the years. And I wouldn’t poo-poo any of them. We’ve ended slavery. Women can vote. They’re even a small minority in the Senate. But a government that actually works with the people to achieve what they want?
You can’t be serious!
About the Author: Paul Rosenberg is progressive activist and journalist who is a frontpage blogger for OpenLeft.org and Senior Editor for Random Lengths News, an alternative bi-weekly in the Los Angeles Harbor Area, where he specializes in labor, community and environmental justice issues. From his anti-war and civil rights activism as a teenager in the 1960s, through his involvement in food co-ops in the 1970s, to his Central American solidarity work, media and renters’ rights activism in the 1980s, and beyond, he has focused his energy primarily on issue activism, with increasing attention to media from the mid-1980s on. He began working as a freelance journalist with a primary focus on op-eds and book reviews in 1994, and joined Random Lengths News in 2002. He’s been published in the Progressive magazine, Publishers Weekly, the LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Dallas Morning News.
This article originally appeared in Open Left on June 21, 2009. Re-printed with permission by the author.