And the Oligarchy has the Duopoly wrapped around its middle finger. In both cases, Duopoly and Oligarchy regularly use that finger to signal what they think of all of us who don’t live at the top.
The response of We the People, We the Electorate, We the Used and Manipulated very often includes participating in the wrapping process. Sometimes, at least, the participation is reluctant. Sometimes even challenging — “This is absolutely, positively the last time I’ll ever vote for you unless you change. I mean it!” Occasionally people actually do “mean it,” and join the resistance to the Duopoly form of governance.
That doesn’t mean the Resistant don’t still have to contend with forceful attempts to keep them wrapped around that big bipartisan middle finger, but you can get a lot of good, healthy exercise both in pushing back and walking away from the frequent flipping.
Not new thoughts, I know. But they came again as I read a couple of recent pieces. The first is by Norman Solomon, at OpEdNews, The Progressive Caucus: Enabling Obama’s Rightward Moves?:
The failure of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to stand up to President Obama on many vital matters of principle is one of the most important — and least mentioned — political dynamics of this era. …
A sad pattern of folding in the final round has continued. …
That’s what happened on the first day of this year, when the ‘bipartisan’ fiscal deal came down. Widely denounced by progressive analysts, the bill passed on the House floor by a margin of 44 votes — with the Progressive Caucus providing the margin. Out of 75 caucus members, only seven voted against it.
Over the years, we’ve seen that President Obama is willing — even satisfied — to be rolled by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. But that’s just part of the problem. We should also come to terms with the reality that the Progressive Caucus is routinely rolled by the president.
And in the wrapped-around-the-middle-finger position, Democrats and “progressives” roll with the caucus. The same kind of thing is happening on the Right, of course.
We need Progressive Caucus members who are progressives first and loyal Democrats second, not the other way around. When the party hierarchy cracks the whip, they should strive to halt the rightward drift of congressional legislation, not add to it.
Personally, I think we need a Liberal Caucus. Actually, I think we need a liberal party or two or three.
Another post, this one from Greg Kaufmann, who writes at The Nation, which is collaborating with BillMoyers.com in a series of posts related to “income inequality in America.” From Kaufmann’s “This Week in Poverty” column:
When is the White House Meeting With Low-Income Americans?
Throughout these budget talks, the Obama Administration has projected an image that it is open to good ideas from anyone, and interested in the prosperity of everyone.
So Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had his day at the White House along with thirteen other corporate heads. The same is true for a group of small business owners as well as some labor leaders and progressive groups. And certainly President Obama has surrounded himself with middle class families throughout these fiscal negotiations.
But there is an omission from the president’s rounds – one that is all the more glaring since this group of people is arguably more vulnerable than anyone to any final budget decisions: low-income Americans … .
When is their White House meeting? Where is their place at the table?
The middle finger position argues that when the Oligarchy is doing well, that goodness will trickle down through income levels, eventually to reach the middle dwellers and even later, a few drops and crumbs will reach those further down. It’s something that’s suppose to comfort us, as we hang on to the flipping finger.
President Obama and America should be hearing directly, for example, from restaurant workers, janitors and home care workers who are working full-time but still need food stamps or Medicaid.
From single mothers who are working one or two jobs but can’t find decent, affordable childcare or a pathway out of poverty.
From people who have found stability and new opportunities through a housing voucher, or turned their lives around through a job training program.
From parents and children who gain new opportunities through Head Start and families who recover from domestic violence through transitional programs.
I think Kaufmann is right to say that it isn’t just Obama — or DC in general — who need to listen to those living in or near poverty. We the people who are living in or near the middle should be listening. Maybe if we did, there’d be a trickle up effect, as we demanded those above us also listen. And act.
The middle class certainly isn’t alone in being wrapped around the Oligarchy / Duopoly middle finger, but that “class” is assigned, and frequently plays, a central role in perpetuating the flipping games. We could change that.