False Political Polarization: What Happenned to Honesty on the Left?

The left has fallen for the trap. Everybody in the media is saying that the US is at an unpredecented level (in recent history) of political polarization, and we're buying in.

This polarization is especially comical because it is between two of the most similar candidates in recent history. While their temperaments differ, in terms of actual policy there is very little difference between Kerry and Bush.

The Democrats and Republicans rely upon false polarization to mobilize people to vote. They cannot afford to differ on serious issues, less they offend their corporate backers. That's how issues like Stem Cell research become more important than racism (or sexism, or heterosexism, or the environment, or...). The media buys into this polarization because it is also corporate and because it needs to create the illusion of a critical election.

Everybody ignores history. More people died when Bush the First invaded Iraq, Reagan supported dictators in Central America (and popularized cutting governmental social programs), and Nixon was a control-freak. Cointelpro in the late Sixties/early Seventies, and McCarthyism make the Patriot Act look like a joke. Only if you ignore history can you say that this election is vastly more critical than preceding ones.

The worst thing about the left endorsing Kerry is that we're going to DESTROY our reputation. The left doesn't have much money, institutional power, or even all that many people. Fortunately most of the time we've been extremely honest and people can count on us to "tell it as it is" whereas the politicians and corporations are spinning off endless lies.

We only preserve our reputation if when we tell people to vote for Kerry, we explain that he'll completely screw you over and that we'll have to fight his policies just as hard as we'd fight against Bush -- and that we're only supporting Kerry because he'll give us a couple nice crumbs. If we gloss over Kerry's shortcomings, then, for instance, the peace movement will be in the dumps when four years later we're still occupying Iraq. If we mislead people, and Kerry betrays us (as we know he will), nobody is going to trust the left to provide useful strategies for social change.

You cannot build a democratic society by using dishonest quick fixes.