Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Fall Feels Good

I've finally recovered from the Republican National Convention, and I'm ready to write about something new. Oh really?
Today's topic: The Democratic Party is not the sum of all opposition to right wing politics. Over the past few years, I've been flummoxed by right-wing students whose response to criticism of right-wing policies is to point out the flaws of the Clinton administration or the Democrats. More than once, I've seen a student criticize the war in Iraq, only to have a right-wing student criticize that student for having (presumably) supported the Kosovo invasion. (AS IF!, I would silently think, and hope that student under the verbal gun would respond with something similar).
The right-wing student's assumption is that all people who opposed the war in Iraq must have that view for simple partisan reasons, as if their political beliefs were determined only by a party line. Therefore, they must have also supported the ("left wing") Kosovo invasion.
We all know that most leftists didn't support Kosovo, and at that time, most of us weren't confused about that, since we didn't support Bill Clinton. During that bombing campaign, I recall protesting Madeline Allbright, who spoke at Minnesota's commencement in 1999. I also "did" Bill Clinton in the Minneapolis May Day parade with my Critical Resistance buddies, who were dressed as the "smart bombs" that were hitting hospitals, schools and other targets in Kosovo. (My job was to hit on women in the parade audience and apologize for bad bomb strikes repeatedly. More than ever, with Bill Clinton recovering in the hospital, I think "Our President, Gargantua.")
I used to blame just the ignorant right-wingers for the "if you're not with us, you must be a Democrat" type reasoning, but after days and days of listening to Air America, it's easy to see how the Dems' appropriation of the left works.
Today's anti-Bush talking-points have created a situation of straight-up appropriation, and it's insidious, as "anybody but Bush" frenzy gets to the point that Michael Moore, whose Bowling For Columbine exposed the horrors of Kosovo and other American "wars of choice" starts to argue that people on the Left don't like Bush because he didn't spend enough time and effort bombing Afghanistan in Farenheit 9/11, or as you will hear almost the entire Air America staff harping on every show about how Bush's focus on Iraq is losing the "war on terror."
We've got to, especially now, keep arguing for a real left agenda so that we can put real pressure on whoever is elected in November.

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