Monday, March 23, 2009

Letter to the News-Press editor

Here's a letter I wrote to the Santa Barbara News-Press. I'll update this post if and when it gets published. Update: It was published on March 29, 2009.

I'm a Kool-Aid swigging Obama-devotee and therefore, on balance, I think he's doing his best, given that the Bush administration dealt him the ugliest possible hand. The operative words, however, are "his best,” because, not being a dictator, he still confronts—and so far has well adapted to—political realities, including, among others, the instinctive recalcitrance of blue-dog Democrats to “liberal” ideas, the sniping intolerance of Foxcasters to anything posited by any Democrat, and the fear-based resistance of embedded capitalists to any proposal that constrains their greed.

But two facets of Obama’s leadership nevertheless trouble me. First, his accommodation of the military. To be sure, it's early in his tenure, but I yearn to hear from Obama what President Eisenhower acknowledged in his farewell address, namely, that our nation is in the grips of a military-industrial complex that must be reined in, and that it is as much the cause of, as it is the solution to, our international problems. And second, his assumption that we might spend our way out of our present economic malaise. Rather, I want him to express, fully and frankly, that America’s decades-long materialist madness, fed by its addictive credit-reliance, both of which are promoted by mass media to engorge corporate profit—are over. I want Obama to tell us what we Americans must learn anew—because when America began, we knew it—namely, that in order to prosper we must live within our borders and our means.