Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama and Socialist propaganda

This isn't another "Obama isn't a real socialist" post but instead a digestion of the idea that Obama is putting out socialist propaganda with various efforts like the address to school children and the new volunteer programs. The way I look at it, Obama putting out Progressive ideas isn't some sort of socialist propaganda because any liberal or Progressive group that wanted to put something out there beyond centrism would come off the same way. It might shock some people because it's been a long, long, time since the Democrats actually put a platform out there that offered something instead of compromising on everything.

The Clinton years were a time of great selling out by the Democrats, where free market economics and social liberalism carried the day. Neoliberalism really. Because of supporting the free market, that meant that government didn't have to do anything, and because of supporting social liberalism like feminism and gay rights, government didn't have to do anything except pass some laws and maybe enforce them. In general, Clinton and Gore were missing in action when it came to doing anything really positive. Instead, they dismantled what small entitlement programs we had and promoted free trade and the destruction of the U.S. economy. But, they didn't have to have any sort of coherent platform to do it. They didn't have to put anything new out there to accomplish this. Obama, on the other hand, because he has a positive platform, that is a platform that doesn't just say "No" but says "Yes" to different ideas, has to be proactive to promote it.

Promotion of values isn't subjecting people or the country to socialist propaganda. Bush did the same damn thing. In fact, the more intellectual conservatives in the Bush era saw 9/11 as a wonderful way to reorder society according to their ideas of what positive values should follow the value vacuum of the Clinton years. What we have is ideology against ideology, not propaganda against some imaginary land where there hasn't been any partisanship in the last eight years or so.

The same people complaining about propaganda issuing from the President now are the same people who were cheering Bush and Cheney making propagandistic statements on a daily basis. They should be more consistent in their beliefs, or at least admit that they're not really a silent majority but instead a very vocal minority who are at the heart pissed because the conservatives lost the election, not because Obama is spreading propaganda.

Anyone who has ideas and wants to put them forward runs the risk of being labeled someone who is spreading propaganda. I'd rather folks had ideas and promote them while running that risk than have folks either have no ideas or have some ideas but never act on them or put them into action.

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