Monday, March 28, 2016

Dear #GeorgeClooney, don't hand #POTUS to #GOP

Photo: AP
Dear George,

As someone who commands media attention, you are very often articulate and sensible. I have appreciated you speaking out on issues that are important to me. But, after reading this Common Dreams post last week, I tweeted out that I had lost all respect for you. Some people thought I was referring to the obscene amount of money—and requisite attached strings—this fundraiser will bring to Hillary's coffers. No, I was referring to this:

In an interview with the Guardian earlier this month, Clooney said: "I really love Bernie Sanders, and am really glad he is in the debate. He is forcing the conversation to things that never get talked about in U.S. politics: disparity between the rich and the poor, which is getting worse and worse every day."
I'm still at a loss for words. But seeing as this is a blog, I will attempt to explain my reaction.

First, life must be pretty damned good on Lake Como if you think income disparity isn't being talked about in US politicsHave you ever heard of Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown or Al Franken? Or labor unions (at least those that didn't prematurely jump on the Hillary train) or the Occupy movement or Black Lives Matter? Or the Fight for $15 or the ACLU or the NAACP or the Dreamers or the Education Activists movement?

All these individuals and groups—and many more—have been talking about inequality in one way, shape or form for years.  

Second, if Hillary wins the presidency, she will first and foremost be beholden to all those 6-figure check writers and bundlers—including you. But what do you really need? Every one of you attending this fundraiser has the power to simply write a check to make many of your troubles vanish before they even become troubling. So, what will Hillary do for you if she becomes president? Make sure your lifestyle doesn't change too much. 

As for the rest of us, I'm not convinced we won't still be sucking wind as our paychecks and quality of life continue to decrease. I'm not 100% sure we won't continue to lose our homes, our jobs, our public schools, our retirements, our futures, our dignity, our 'American Dream' because the GOP despises Clinton almost as much as they despise President Obama. And with them controlling Congress, nothing will get done. But Hillary will place all the blame on GOP obstructionists when in reality, her history of big money connections has tainted her as a truly progressive candidate of the people. As William Greider of The Nation wrote back in 2014:

Hillary Clinton is dangerously out of step with the new zeitgeist. If she already has the 2016 nomination locked up, as her campaign gremlins keep telling us, it’s hard to imagine she would desert the finance-friendly politics that supported her rise to power.
The Hillary question has many corners to it. On one hand, it could achieve the epic breakthrough of electing a woman. On the other hand, it might postpone the restoration of progressive economic polices for another four years.

But if Bernie wins, who will he be beholden to? America. The 99% who have given $5, $10, $20 whenever we can. Those who pack arenas with SRO crowds to hear him speak. Those who want to give our children a better future, but our hard work just isn't enough. Those who are doing everything right, but life still keeps turning out all wrong. 

But how would Sanders get anything more done with Congress than Clinton? He will have the power of the people behind him because he is leading a true revolution to end the stranglehold that corporate money has over this country. If the crowds at his events are any indication of the change people are demanding, their congresspersons would be fools to disregard them. 

In case you didn't notice, this is America now, George. Income inequality is the most pressing issue facing this country—more than climate change or terrorism or any other issue making headlines. If our candidates are not out front and center with real plans to fix this, if they try to appease too many voters, if they appear to be too centrist, they will lose. And if they lose, America loses, too—big time.

Those who support Hillary Clinton, and who call themselves Democrats, should be doing everything in their power to hold her accountable as a Democrat. You have no choice because the 99% have no voice.