Democratic party elites silence Ilhan Omar at their peril
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Personalities aside, however, the episode is charged with significance for the Democratic party as a whole. Omar is not going away. She represents the party’s younger generation, a more diverse and progressive cohort that came of age in the war on terror. In the election of 2016, such voters balked at Hillary Clinton’s hawkish record and her courting of Never Trump neoconservatives. Now the divide is only wider and more entrenched. Democrats need to have a real conversation, immediately, about the party’s values and goals in foreign policy. Squelch it now and watch it resurge in 2020, with Trump the beneficiary.
“We share goals,” Magsamen wrote of Abrams. Do we? The outrage over her claim proved its falsity. What goals Democrats wish to promote in the world is now an open question, not settled dictum that thinktankers can impose from Washington. The Democratic base is no longer deferential, especially not when it is told that it has some obvious affinity with the man who covered up one of the bloodiest massacres in Latin American history, and went on to push the Iraq war inside the George W Bush administration.
Just what are the goals, and values, of those who have implemented decades of fruitless forever war and then close ranks when their worst members are asked accurate and relevant questions? The American people are wondering. The manifestations are everywhere, among young people in particular. Start with the sacred cow of American exceptionalism: millennials are the first age group to split evenly on whether the US is the world’s greatest country or no greater than others. They are increasingly ready to reckon with America’s past actions and confront hard choices going forward.
Young Democrats are not likely to agree that one violent misdeed after another is somehow acceptable as long as it is performed by the US or in the name of democracy or humanitarianism. Those were the rationales, now revived in defense of Abrams, that produced impunity for the Iraq war, a disastrous war of aggression. Ordinary citizens consistently display more skepticism of military intervention than do foreign policy elites. They are pushing their representatives to express the goal of peace. The election of Omar herself reflects this sentiment. And as a result of grassroots mobilization, the House this week, driven by progressives like Representative Ro Khanna, passed historic legislation to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen.
The shift in the Democratic base is not limited to one episode. Democrats increasingly favor cutting the defense budget and imposing restraint on America’s military power. While elites assume that the US must maintain global military superiority as a matter of course, less than half of millennials deem it to be a very important goal. That is the lowest support on record, continuing a steady erosion since the second world war. Will political leaders engage the rising generation’s doubts, or will they insist that armed domination is a self-evident virtue for a country that is hurting at home and often spreads violence abroad?
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
February 18, 2019 at 10:06 AM #25706Ohio BarbarianModerator
- Total Posts: 21,869
Excellent article. The bottom line is that all Democrats are not created equally; in fact, the party is split between the oligarchical neoliberals and the rapidly growing progressive forces in the United States. They have different assumptions and different goals.
The old guard in the leadership positions–from Biden to Pelosi to Schumer to Wasserman-Schultz–want to preserve the current system of legalized bribery and the free flow of corporate money to their supporters in various think tanks, political consultants, etc., all working for the goal of fooling their actual voting base just one more time so the machinery of Empire keeps grinding along.
They’ve rigged the electoral system to make it damned near impossible for a third party, even a regional third party, to challenge them at the polls, and the primary system in an attempt to do the same at any effort to challenge them from within the party.
Ironically, that has forced their more far-sighted progressive opponents to challenge them from within, and they didn’t foresee that recent changes in communications and fundraising technology would allow progressives to start actually winning primary and general elections. They certainly didn’t foresee that their decades-long chokehold on the traditional media would be insufficient to hold back the growing tide of popular demands for the destruction of the corrupt system that has served them so well for so long.
They emphasize loyalty to the party label, but only when that loyalty suits their interests. They show little loyalty to elected Democrats like AOC and Omar who challenge the status quo exactly as the voters elected them to do, and their hypocrisy is both obvious and doomed to failure.
They say that progressives and minorities who do not share their policy goals have no other place to go, but instead of having a quiescent herd to vote for them in general elections, they’ve forced their leftist opposition to create a movement that is determined to relegate them to either minority status within the Democratic Party or to drive them out of it altogether.
Time for the corporatist Democrats to reap the whirlwind.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
February 20, 2019 at 9:09 PM #27061whispersParticipant
- Total Posts: 487
We should all thank, and congratulate Ilhan Omar for speaking up!! Some good things are happening now!!!
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