Thursday, July 29

The good-looking disappointment

John Edwards spoke last night at the Democratic Convention in Boston. Aside from the fact that he spoke about race issues -- which is rare -- (without, however, proposing any specific policy to counter racism in the United States), there were many disturbing, concessionary moments to his speech.
Edwards said we are at "war." No, we are not at war. And no, WE are not at war. Why did Edwards adopt this fascist tactic from the Republicans? There is no war. No war declared. But there was a war declared "won." This equation doesn't hold up to the simplest rule of mathematics. We cannot allow our leadership to have its war and defeat it, too. This is not only illogical, it is intolerable to an extreme, and its consequences for social justice have been, and will no doubt continue to be, devastating.

Edwards also spoke of securing the peace of Israel and implied that that could be done by imposing "democracy" on Iraq. This is the same mistaken assumption of Bush Inc., which assumption only feeds other greed-driven motivations and serves as the most beautiful of all their cynical pretexts for aggression. My question is: what is it doing in the Democratic Convention?

And why did Edwards not mention the Palestinians? Does he think they have no stake in Middle East peace? Does he agree with Bush that they are "undesirables" and therefore "unmentionables" and therefore not really human beings whose plight should enter into our policy statements, if not into our policies? How can America regain its fine reputation around the world if we persist in backing Israel's policies, some of which are denounced almost unanimously in the U.N. and by the International Court for Justice?

Edwards spoke of "everything being possible" in America, no matter your skin color or "the family you are born into." Well, is it possible in America to run for a prominent office without having a perfect (or near perfect) hairdo? Is it possible to run without being able to flash to the public the image of a "family man" surrounded by his "happy family"? Those are becoming much bigger barriers to public service access than are the issues of race and sex (which, granted, are huge barriers still, and not at all likely to be removed by Democratic leadership in the next four or eight years).

Edwards did not once mention the environment. He also did not mention the 8 years of "peace and prosperity" of the Clinton years (an expression to be taken with a truckload of salt, for sure). He spoke as if he were not existing in the same space-time dimension as the rest of us. Apparently, for him -- and he certainly has been taught to believe this by the far right currently in power -- time began on September 11, 2001, and every social issue since then must be cloaked in a machoistic show of military bravado targeted at the impossibly vague and endless threat of "terrorism." My question is: can't the Democrats distinguish between "terrorism" and terrorists?

It was refreshing that Al Sharpton broke with the script last night, but he addressed primarily the African-American concerns over voting rights. The Democrats need someone to break with the most offensive part of the script that was drawn up for them by the Republican party after 9/11 and denounce once and for all the illegal aggression in Iraq.

This is how Democracy Now! described Edwards' speech:

Ignoring Delegates Anti-War Stance, Edwards Delivers Major Pro-War Address at DNC. Although a recent poll shows 95 percent of Democratic delegates oppose the Iraq war, Edwards vows in a prime-time address to double the number of special forces in Iraq and to increase funding for military research.