Obamatics and the Age of Liberal Extremism

I know what you might think when you see the term “liberal extremism.” You may think I’m going to talk about the growing approval rate for socialism among millennials or something equally trite, with the word “liberal” exploding when I say the “B,” to fully and phonetically communicate my disgust.

Or maybe you’ve read a blog post of mine before and know that I’m fairly “liberal” myself.

In my mind, liberal extremism, just like conservative extremism, is represented by complete tunnel vision on issues. Extreme liberals especially fail in what liberals do best – question everything.

After all, that’s why the Democratic Party is consistently weaker than the Republican Party. They hesitate, trying to consider the possible consequences of their actions or the effects of their policies on different groups. Then, suddenly, their brief sojourn into the morass of identity crisis sinks them and we have an extension of the Bush tax cuts, or some otherwise tragic thing.

This is the biggest question of all, though, the question most liberals ignore and the question that has dropped away in the partisan chasm between the aisles:

What is President Obama actually doing?

No, I’m not chirping the standard complaints about “how little” he’s accomplished. I mean it in the sense of, “Oh my God, what is our Commander in Chief doing and how can I possibly support someone like him?”

By veering so far right, Republicans have created such a violent vacuum for liberal disgust that just about every Obama policy goes unquestioned by people who would have otherwise paused before backing the President, like liberals used to do.

Unfortunately, they’re too busy arguing with Republicans about whether the EPA should exist or not.

The Obama administration has depended on the Republicans’ hatred of policies that protect the middle class to blind us to our government’s rampant expansion of military power and authoritarian rule.

So, welcome to the Age of Obamatics. The American people are in a corner. We can’t go to Romney, who wants to effectively dismantle the last remaining safeguards for the middle class in the name of “austerity” instead of raising taxes on the wealthy.

Nor, in a perfect world, should we stagger toward Obama.

Think about it:

  • Obama has led the “most brutal crackdown on whistleblowers ever”
  • His administration has commissioned the construction of a $2 billion building meant to store servers that collect personal information about Americans via data mining
  • Obama expanded the drone program from 44 strikes in Pakistan in five years under George W. Bush to more than 250 strikes in three years in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia – some have clearly inspired pro-terrorism sentiment, one of most recent strike killed 21 women and 14 children in pursuit of one target
  • Obama has expanded the terrorist “kill list” to label any military-age male as a militant – which conveniently means that the administration can call someone a terrorist before or after the person is murdered
  • Obama has renewed the war on marijuana despite the fact he pledged otherwise… and that 70% of Americans support legalization
  • The administration deported more than a million undocumented immigrants – 1.06 million – while George W. Bush deported 1.57 million in eight years

But how can the American people be concerned about this when the economy is in shambles?

We already have tens of thousands of people protesting some other disturbing part of our country’s capitalistic DNA: the lawless and devious practices of banks that cost people homes and livelihoods.

We have long-term unemployed workers losing their benefits and retirement-age Americans unable to even imagine retiring, because their savings have been gouged by inflated college tuition fees and the continued needs of adult children who can’t find jobs themselves.

We’ve got a student loan bubble that has risen 300% in the past decade and an indolent government that may decide to let interest rates double on said loans. States may be unable to fund pensions and conservatives are swearing that Medicare and Social Security will definitively not exist for people my age.

The government is taking advantage of a lagging economy and a volatile domestic environment to institute unprecedented foreign policies that have very far-reaching implications.

 The United States is becoming a military state. The introduction of drones – and the gray, “non-war” territory perfected by the Libya conflict – has made it far easier to kill and overthrow in countries across the world, without the public ever needing to know about it.

Really, it’s any government’s dream: our wars are no longer an “American people” thing. They become strategic missions with very mild political consequences. You can afford to be reckless and wrong. It’s inevitable that our military power will expand exponentially when there is no public backlash to any conflicts.

Why should people care if kids (they know) aren’t dying overseas anymore and the countries being targeted already have such corrupt governments that it’s impossible to know the extent of the damage?

We always knew our jobs were becoming automated, but who knew wars could be made on an assembly line?

That’s why we get furious debates about 2009’s $787 billion stimulus bill, but no one blinks an eye at the $698 billion spent on our defense budget in 2010, despite the fact that this sum was six times higher than that of China, the country that spent the second-most in 2010.

Even when liberals do pause to, you know, raise their voices and protest the Obama administration’s use of drones or treatment of Bradley Manning, there’s always the nagging doubt: What if this hurts Obama’s reelection chances and we end up with Romney?

The most pathetic example of this was when protesters interrupted the President during a fundraiser with a song about Manning, which they ended with, “We love you!”

So, instead of focusing on the gross misuse of federal power across the country and the aggressive use of drones across the world, liberals are forced to defend the idea that the wealthy should pay a little more money in taxes.

This is how Obamatics works: the non-social policy differences between the political parties have boiled over into pro-war and pro-wealthy or pro-war and pro-middle class.

And, thanks to the antics on Wall St. and the decoupling of profit from American workers, that thin, insignificant line may remain the only significant difference between the two parties for years to come.

Photo Credit #1: Barack Obama | Photo Credit #2: bogieharmond | Photo Credit #3: Wikipedia / DailyKos.com

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