The Lesson of the Midterm Elections

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Is there any good news in the recent mid-term election? Absolutely. The good news that transcends the infantilizing Democrat-good-Republican-bad logic prevailing even among the most politically thoughtful among us is this: that all but the blind and those desperate to believe that we don’t live in an increasingly deadly plutocracy now believe that elections and the electoral system are vapid vehicles, zombies of hope and change.

Without an extra-electoral power to counterbalance the corporate savaging of the electoral process, midterm and other elections will continue their function of serving not flesh and bone humans, but the anonymous, abstract entities that corrupt with and for money. This is especially true in the new political climate previewed by the midterms, the political climate coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s catastrophic Citizens United decision, which sapped even more power from human citizens in order to give it to the Corporate Citizens whose wealth and ideology already dominate much of our political, economic and cultural life.

The midterm elections, the politics of fear (war, economics, bullying, race and immigration, to name a few) manipulated since 2008 by both parties & the dangerous antics of Obama & the Democrats proved pretty unequivocally that Obama’s election was & is primarily about giving new color & rouge to the corpse of corporate controlled “democracy.” Obama’s mission? Covering for & salvaging the humiliating system that both Bush’s 2 stolen elections and the global decline of the United States reflected in Iraq, made disgracefully obvious. Unless something changes radically, this role as cover for and savior of the fantastically corrupt electoral and global system may make Obama extremely dangerous in strange & unprecedented ways. Just ask your air and climate, your sense of hope and change, your future and that of future generations.

Still, the good news is that the fog of Obama & the Democrats is clearing before the sunlight of “failure.” This will allow many of us to again see what should always be our primary source of hope: we ourselves, our astonishing collective ability to imagine and accomplish the god-like above and beyond the electoral process.

Powerful stuff we lost sight of in our anybody-but-Bushism and gospel feeling of having our first black president. Many of us still share this feeling with the African American community, whose millennial struggle against domination, for freedom made Obama’s election possible. Unfortunately, developments between the 2008 primaries and the recent midterms make sadly, even tragically obvious that the musical cadences, magical power and profound aspirations of that millennial struggle- and others- are being harnessed, re-shaped and reified by Democrats and Republicans in service to the truly empowered Citizens, Corporate Citizens whose system of 21rst century economic domination and political unfreedom will not be overcome in midterm and other electoral ballot boxes overstuffed with corporate power.

The midterm elections provide an unprecedented opportunity for us to look at ourselves, at the endangered planet we inhabit and how to bring them back into equilibrium. As I’ve said previously and repeat following a post-mid-term moment of massive disillusion, we need to go to the root of things, think radically (radix=going to the root). Viewed with a more radical lens than that of the deadly infantilization that currently passes for political analysis, the midterms reflect the urgent need to think and act outside of the multi-million marketing machinery of corporate-dominated elections. The midterms should move us to look to the history for ideas that transformed the planetary order before it started physically deteriorating.

Consider, for example, the concepts of “revolution” and “revolutionary.” These terms come to us from physics and astronomy, which use the word “revolution” to describe the process by which a celestial body follows its elliptical path back to its point of origin. Reflecting the constant fluidity of language and ideas and following the lead of science, political actors of the 18th century began deploying the terms to refer to the desire and process of overturning political systems. Rather than search for shards of hope and change (i.e.; “the Latino vote saving Sen. Harry Reid and other Democrats”) in the detritus of the Democrats’ midterm defeat, some contemporary political actors might consider starting more rooted and forward-looking activities like modifying the root meaning of visionary words and concepts of revolution for the 21rst century.

In other words, we might want to think about what revolution means today.

Revolutions return bodies to their original place, which describes precisely the equilibrium this ailing and angry planet urgently needs. So the unprecedented fact of global decline means that the revolucionari@ is all about the unprecedented (except in science fiction) mission of bringing the planet- and ourselves- back into balance. The feelings of emptiness engendered by midterm elections made as clear as the celestial lights our need for new revolutions and real revolutionaries- and this is nothing if not cosmically good news.

Roberto Lovato

Roberto Lovato is a contributing Associate Editor with New America
Media. He is also a frequent contributor to The Nation and the
Huffington Post and his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times,
the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Der Spiegel, Utne Magazine, La
Opinion, and other national and international media outlets. Roberto
has also appeared as a source and commentator in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Le Monde and in English and Spanish language network news shows on Univision, CNN, Democracy Now and Al-Jazeera.
Lovato was also featured on PBS, where he made a recent appearance on Bill Moyers Journal and was featured in an hour-long PBS documentary,‘Latinos 08’
Prior to becoming a writer, Roberto was the Executive Director of the
Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), then the country's largest immigrant rights organization.

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