Much of what happens in political life is quite obvious. But we don't see it. That's because we don't want to. It was surely obvious from the start that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was a slick opportunist, and a man of no political principle. We ignored it, and elected him, anyway. Even as some of the truth came out, we have refused to see and to take action on his behaviour. Nor have we considered the obvious implications. Surely, Mulroney's lobbyist was not the only one in Ottawa. And surely other politicians have received offers either of personal bribes or of party funding.
We see. But we refuse to allow ourselves to believe what we see. That's why most of will refuse to believe this post.
Obama, who spent a record 750,000,000 on his last presidential campaign, announced a few days ago he will raise a billion dollars for the next one. That could have been a politically damaging announcement for him. Obama would look a fool if he failed now to raise that money. But Obama is not a fool. That means the money is almost sertainly in the bag already.
Who is it being raised from?
Is it coming from the unemployed? From the poor and the ill and the homeless whose help is being cut in order to lavish hundreds of billions on failed millionaires in banking and the automotive industry? And on a hugely profitable defense industry?
Will herraise it from single or deserted mothers struggling to live on the minimum wage paid by a big box store? From the millions who lost their homes to a Wall St. scam? Certainly not.
He will get a billion dollars from the same corporations and wealthy individuals who gave him his campaign funding the last time. That's not speculation. The figures are public. Look at them. Look at them, and see what's there. (looking and seeing what is really there is not, alas, the same thing.)
Obviously, Obama has been a good boy for his funders. He has followed almost exactly the same policies as George Bush - who was also financed by the same sort of people, often exactly the same people, who financed Obama. The people elected Obama. Obama sold them on the illusion that change was possible within the American political system.
Blame him or blame the system. It doesn't matter which is to blame. What we can see, if we will look and really see what is there, is that change is not possible within the American political system. With at least three to six lobbyists lobbyists for each congressman, with corporations paying the bulk of election costs, it is no longer possible even to imagine change happening through the present system.
People will take a great deal of punishment so long as they hold illusion they can change things. What they will do if they realize they can't is unpredictable, but almost invariably destructive.
The significance of Obama's announcement is that it is a statement that change will not happen. I don't think Obama ever was more than an illusionist. But he has destroyed even his own illusion. What rule the US now are the forces of personal interest and a greed so obsessive as to be suicidal.
Look at it. See the reality. But don't,if you're a Canadian, feel smug.
We are well along in the same direction. Only two parties (plus, possibly, the Bloc) can raise enough money to put on a successful campaign in the face of the corporate funding available to the Conservatives and, still, to the Liberals. Corporations do not give millions to political parties to enourage the democratic process. Indeed, they make sure that some parties get no funds from them at all.
The US Supreme Court has recently decided that corporations are jes' folks like the rest of us, so it lifted the few retrictions there were in corporate funding of parties. Harper has made it clear he will do his bit by withdrawing government help for parties that cannot tap the corporate piggy bank.
To add to that, neither Canada nor the US has news media that are non-partisan, and that keep us fully informed on what is going on. That includes the most prestigious outlets in both Canada and the US. They are all owned by much the same people who control the corporations. Even the CBC, certainly the best of the lot in ethics and honesty, has to pull its punches for fear that a leader like Harper will slash its budget or, most likely, sell it.
We do not have the information to even understand what the issues are. Our news media don't inform us. They manipulate us.New Brunswick newspapers are not different from other North American newspapers. Their only distinctions are that their ethics are even lower than most of the others, and the quality of their editing and reporting are in journalism's toilet.
Nobody in New Brunswick, surely, has any serious doubts about who runs this province. Everybody knows that no party will get adequate funding or publicity unless it can be pleasing to those who run the province.
We are well through a period of rapid and fundamental change. That creates fear and hysteria -both already manifest with the creation of the Tea Party.
Democracy is, for all practical purposes, gone from North America. Soon enough, it will be impossible even for the most optimistic among to kid ourselves that we can still see it.