By Ben Tanosborn
Forty days left until the Democratic Party’s convention in Philadelphia, and Bernie, just like Jesus did two millennia ago, will be trying to find answers in solitude… and fight temptation from the devil of “accommodating politics.” Jesus would do it, according to the Gospels, in the wilderness without food; Bernie is likely to do it at home, in pretty Burlington (Vermont), keeping a normal diet and the company of a smart phone.
The demonstration of affection for progressivism by Democrats and honest-to-heart Independents was dealt a heavy blow by Tuesday’s election results; results likely to be reinforced by President Obama’s imminent endorsement of Hillary Clinton… triggered by a battle cry urgency to stop this 2016-boogeyman, Donald Trump, from branding the nation as his psycho-political casino: Fantasy-Trump-America.
It’s beginning to look as if the $200 million spent by Bernie believers to bring about and promote a progressive sociopolitical agenda for America may prove not to have been in vain, as the voice of progressivism that Clinton-Husband silenced in the 1990’s, might not remain totally muzzled in Clinton-Wife’s prospective centrist-right platform.
Resurgent progressivism and loyal conservatism both appear to be undergoing painful castration in this 2016 presidential election; one by undemocratic and corrupt insider party politics, the other by the uglier face of bigoted-populism which might represent well over 25 percent of the nation’s population. No, folks… not 5, 10 or 15 percent, but upwards of a quarter, maybe a third! This populism is responding to a demographic change in America of major transformational proportions; populism with a latent bigotry now finding an opportunity to surface as champion-du-jour, Donald Trump, singularly leads the way in “finally!” making acceptable both the vocalization and the behavior that up to now has been considered taboo, politically incorrect.
Once again we are politically marching towards another presidential election with the limited prospect of choices, most based on aesthetics, not substance; a chance to select the proverbial lesser evil or failing to select at all. Next January, either odious-Donald or odious-Hillary will be taking up White House residency, Johnson (Libertarian) and Stein (Green) having only non-critical influence in the outcome of the election thanks to our electoral system. And that brings us to why America is in such dire straits.
It’s been eight decades since the start of the Spanish Civil War and the advent of that cloak-and-dagger term, “fifth column,” coined by a Spanish general, Emilio Mola, and popularized in the works of an American writer, Ernest Hemingway.
A fifth column referred to a secret group that surreptitiously undermined the efforts of a larger group from within; a term perhaps a bit distant and esoteric for us today, but its meaning, whether we associate it with patriotism or with treason, remains with us no matter what we call it, or how we prefer to explain its aims and behavior.
Some of us feel that the Clintons, given the major transformation that has taken place in Democratic national politics in the past generation, did become the quintessential fifth column for the G.O.P., instrumental in sowing, cultivating and harvesting such change. A change that drastically disconnected the Democratic Party from the progressive nerve center of old, its “new and improved” Clintonian party ideology finding a permanent home in the center-right confines of America’s political spectrum.
Bill Clinton, and his then bride, Hillary, may have entered elective politics in Arkansas back in the mid-1970’s using the Democratic front door, but in chameleonic fashion, as Ronald Reagan consolidated the tenets of his presidency in the 1980’s, Governor Clinton was quick to mimic his own right turn in politics in the hinterlands of Arkansas. Heck, if President Reagan was then making hay advocating a smaller government and welfare reform, Bill and his Little Rock cadre of young New Democrats certainly was able to see an immediate personal future following suit embracing both issues, a plagiarized version of what The Old Gipper was preaching from the White House. After all, old soldiers may never die, but young politicians must adopt change – ideology forever damned! Or they too, like the old soldiers, could slowly (or speedily) fade away.
And Bill Clinton then, just as Bill Clinton now, was proving to be masterful at remaining politically relevant without the slightest intention of fading away. And that feverish desire for relevance as qualified and quantified in his mind by both money and power, appeared to consume not just him but his spouse as well throughout their lives. Such intense desire might have given this duo the cavalier attitude many of us see in them. It’s as if this couple is intent to prove to any and all Americans that fidelity has little or nothing to do with the rule of morality, and everything to do with faithfulness to a cause, particularly when that cause is close, personal and meritoriously deserved; even if characterized by most as personal selfishness, totally lacking honesty and decorum.
Bernie will give his all to bring back progressivism to the Democratic Party, but it will be to no avail… for Americans are not yet ready for a revolution; we may still need a few more darker days in both the economy and our unintended quest in world affairs. By election time the Clintons political machine will be humming, well-greased, courtesy of Wall Street… and the fifth column will no longer have to operate in the shadows, Hillary and Bill having made fifth column deception a mainstream virtue.