Tag Archive for Democratic Party

BoCo Obama nomination not unanimous

Perhaps solidly Progressive Democrats were not listening carefully to Barack Obama in 2008.  Perhaps they were just too anxious to oust the worst U.S. president since Herbert Hoover.  Perhaps the millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street corrupted his vision for America.  Perhaps Barack Obama was “corporatist” all along.  Whatever the reasons, there are those within the Democratic Party who are not pleased with President Barack Obama’s first term record. It is not what they expected when they ardently worked on his behalf and cast their vote in November 2008.

They expected a single-payer healthcare system.  They earnestly lobbied Obama for “Medicare for All,” or at a minimum some sort of “public option.”  But Obama didn’t listen.  In fact, he came to the negotiating table having given away nearly all of his bargaining chips.  And stalwart Democrats were left to ask, “Why?”

Progressives believed that there was no acceptable moral or ethical action but to hold Wall Street responsible for its corruption.  But Obama followed the lead of George Bush and continued to bail them out.  He might have, at a minimum, held individuals responsible for the near catastrophe that they brought to the American – even world – economy by bringing criminal charges against the perpetrators.  But three and a half years later, no such actions have taken place – and they appear not likely to take place.

Obama could have held Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush accountable for their lies about Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the 9-11 attacks and for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the lies that hoodwinked the American public into accepting an unwarranted war against Iraq that cost lives and treasure.  But he insisted that the country should look forward, not back.  Perhaps Obama, too, was lustful of Middle East oil.

And then there is the environment and climate change.  For every two steps forward, our president follows with another one back while the extraction industries rape and pillage the land and threaten the atmosphere for the coming generations.

There are other areas of consternation, but however it all came about, some in Boulder County took the principled position to send a message to our Party’s president:  That far but no farther.

At Saturday’s Boulder County Democratic Party County Assembly and Convention, there were 288 delegates available for the Colorado Democratic Party Convention in Pueblo on April 14.  Of the 354 county delegates remaining for the afternoon session that nominated President Barack Obama for a second term, 55 of those delegates rose in opposition to the president’s policy choices.  Those 55 delegates amounted to 16% of the votes and “met threshold.”  As a consequence, there will be delegates in Pueblo to carry the Uncommitted message.

It is not known whether other Democrats throughout Colorado rose to send the same message to our president.  I can only hope that they did.  As one who rose, I had no idea how few or how many would do so.  There was no coordinated effort, no campaign.  It was heartwarming to see so many committed Democratic progressives stand in protest.

It has been disheartening to watch the Democratic Party drift steadily to the right, election after election, since 1980.  It is disheartening to observe how the Democratic Party has been repeatedly played by the ever-growing fascistic and totalitarian elements in the Republican Party as they accomplish a goal and then move the goal-post further and further to the right.

While the action today was small, I hope it will be a harbinger of changes to come.  I hope it will be both an indicator and a motivator for other progressive Democrats to say, “We will no longer allow our Party to be high jacked by those who would compromise our values.  We will not let our Party become a watered down version of the Republican Party of Corporate America.  We will no longer watch the future of our families and friends and our environment slip into inevitable decline, if not disaster.”

So let this be the beginning as we “take back” our Democratic Party as well as the direction of our nation.  The journey of a mile begins with one step.

Progressivism: In pursuit of Justice

Lady Justice

Justice, both the scales and the sword.

“What is the current state of the Progressive Movement in America?” was the subject of a forum at the March Longmont Area Democrats meeting. The following are the especially heartfelt and honest prepared remarks by Padma Wick . Other forum members included Bob Kinsey, Strider Benston, Richard Juday, Rick Fitzgerald, and Jonathan Singer.


For many years I took part in various forms of activism to some degree. But I did not feel the ground under me cave until the 2000 election. Image a lake. Huge boulders have been thrown into the lake and those have produced movement. In my opinion the most profound movement has been the Occupy Movement, because it functions like moving water: fluid, organic and able to seep through and potentially break the wall sustained by corruption and violence. It will not be limited by the rules and demands of what Chris Hedges calls a dead system. Occupy has inserted into our language and press the grievances of the 99% (and perhaps more) of the people in the US and the world.

Of course, included in the 99% are Progressives, a term I often use and apply to myself. But I want to warn about labels. As soon as a label is applied that label can be usurped, distorted, dismissed and discredited. Sometimes we become attached to the label, rather than the fundamental cause which motivates us. For me the cause is the pursuit of justice: economic, political, social and environmental justice.

Some people remain loyal to a label, something like buying a brand, which has long since been bought out, outsourced and reduced in quality. As Democrats we need to be very wary of that. The temptation is to say, “I am a life long Democrat.” “My party right or wrong.” Certainly there are great members of the Democratic party, like many of you and our new State Representative, Jonathan Singer, who continue to fight the good fight. But I feel we should be vigilant and acknowledge that something has changed in the Democratic party. One of the skills of the Occupy movement is that it is vigilant and agile. It is not, as we have tried for so long, responding in the terms set down by Republicans and others in the ruling class.

With great respect for Jonathan, I say that I have no allegiance to any political candidate or elected official. My support depends on the degree to which they not only promise, but actually create (consummate with the power we assign them) economic, political, social and environmental justice. To quote T.S. Elliot, “affairs are now soul size.” At stake is not only the survival of our children and grandchildren, but of life on earth.

I have heard many people say, “I had no choice,” or “I have no choice but to vote for so-and so.” One ALWAYS has a choice! To my dying day I will have a choice. I may not make the right, courageous, or ultimately moral choice. God knows what I would do if the lives of my children or grandchildren were threatened. I do not judge the choices people make in extreme situations. Someone earns my respect for saying, I made this terrible choice because…….But I do not respect, “I had no choice.” As Strider BenstPon, has said, “If we say we have no choice, we are prisoners.”

Since Progressives value debate and differences of opinion, I will share with you the space I hold on the Progressive continuum. I will not vote for Obama, and certainly not for a Republican. Obama has said great things, both now and in ’08. But his actions don’t match his words. As a Constitutional Law Professor, who took a solemn oath, he has refused to use the legitimate powers of the President. He has not closed Guantanamo, ended rendition, torture, or insisted his cabinet pursue environmental and economic justice. Instead he has assumed unconstitutional powers for his and future Presidencies: the assassination of American citizens SUSPECTED of terrorist activities. And he has removed your primary Constitutional right of habeas corpus and made American citizens SUSPECTED of terrorist connections subject to military detentions without trial. The writ of Habeas Corpus called the “great order”, dates back to the Magna Carta in the 1200s, was lightly dismissed with the signing of NDAA. And there has been hardly mention of it in the press.

You will say I am unreasonable. At one time it was considered unreasonable to free slaves. Now it is considered reasonable to torture, unlawfully and indefinitely detain citizens, use drones against civilians, including Americans, and pollute our precious water supply for temporary gain. In such a situation I prefer to be unreasonable.

Our current situation is very difficult. I struggle all the time between acknowledging the gifts in my life and remaining informed and active. For balance I turn to these reminders:

Practice giving, but not so much that there is nothing left with which to work.

Observe precepts, but not so many that there is no freedom of choice.

Don’t confront what opposes, but find the place of least resistance.

Work hard, but not so hard that you don’t stop for tea.

Still the mind but not so much that it withers and dies.

So what can we, as individuals do? Break free of the bonds that have been created to keep our conscience subordinated to the will of a corrupt system. Do something that aligns with our true character. Remember that many forces are at work.

Whatever each of us does is a small part of a very large and complex flow that individually we can participate in, but not determine.