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Issue #1718      February 10, 2016

Culture & Life

US elections

No doubt you saw, amidst the plethora of fatuous or superficial TV “news items” last week about the US presidential primary elections, the item about the Evangelical pastor advocating a vote in the Iowa primaries for Trump to be the Republican candidate for President.

A scene from The Big Bang Theory with Sheldon’s “Born Again Christian” mother – the prospect of a fundamentalist Christian president is not so amusing.

It was on PBS’ Newshour that I saw it. This Pastor called on “all Born Again Christians” to vote for Trump – and then to pray for God to guide him to come up with good policies! What kind of medieval mindset must these people be afflicted with? A very strange one if the ignorance that most American fundamentalists wallow in is anything to go by.

There’s a poster they’ve produced which you can download off the Internet calling on everyone to “rejoice” over global warming – that’s right, rejoice – because apparently melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, increasingly frequent cyclones and forest fires, and coastal flooding are call signs that Christ’s second coming is imminent! When that joyous event happens, it seems, the fundamentalist Christians will all be saved, floating up to Heaven in “the rapture”. Everyone else, including other varieties of Christians, will all perish. It almost makes you wish Heaven was real, for it would be very amusing to see what kind of reception these callous fundamentalists received from the God of Love when they arrived at the Pearly Gates.

For most people, these fundamentalists are a peculiarly American joke, crazy but harmless (like Sheldon’s mother in The Big Bang Theory). However, the prospect of the US presidential race being won by someone who thinks nuclear war is evidence of Christ’s second coming is not amusing. Of course we have been down this tricky road before, and we survived. But it’s not a risk we should take too often. Ronald Reagan happily took us to the brink of nuclear war because the prospect of the destruction of life on Earth didn’t worry him at all. It would just be the second coming, after all. And that’s something we should all welcome, don’t you know?

On the Democrats side in the primaries, Bernie Sanders is speaking out for workers and the poor. The latter category is rapidly becoming the vast majority in America. No other candidate is speaking up for the toilers, the poor, the unemployed, the homeless – all those for whom “the American Dream” has become a cruel joke. But half the Democrat delegates still seem committed to Hillary Clinton. She would be the first woman president, a fact which has not unnaturally attracted a large chunk of the feminist vote. And she was thought of as a progressive when her husband was first elected President. However, she showed herself to be anything but progressive as Secretary of State. In fact, she fell into step with the same big reactionary corporations she had denounced when supporting Bill Clinton’s candidature.

During her term as Secretary of State, she showed herself to be not just a warmonger but a singularly heartless one at that. When the US lead a NATO assault on Libya, as part of its crushing of the Arab Spring, Hillary showed that she had abandoned whatever remnants of her previous “progressive” persona still lingered. Libya was the most prosperous state in Africa with the highest standard of living for all its people, but when the “rebels” the US was paying captured and brutally killed the country’s head of state, Muammar Gadaffi, Hillary quipped to the media, “We came, we saw, he died.”

Her campaign is being run as a celebration, her every move and statement the product of a high-powered team of sales people, laughingly called her “advisers”. These advisers have clearly decided that formulating actual policies is of no use, and as befits a political campaign run by the advertising industry, have substituted instead the creating of an “image” for their candidate. So Hillary is ruthlessly mouthing platitude after platitude, talking in generalities about vague notions of greatness and spirituality.

If Clinton or any of the Republicans becomes President, and all the Republican candidates’ campaigns include input from advertising agencies, we will be in for a torrid time. It is painfully obvious that they will effectively continue the policies of Obama (with variations of course): the US will throw its military muscle around in numerous countries whether they want the US there or not, US presidents will order drone strikes and other assassinations against numerous people and groups that the US government finds annoying and every country that tries to follow an independent foreign policy or even an independent trade policy will find itself the target for a coup or yet another “colour” revolution.

On the other hand, if Bernie Sanders becomes the Democrat candidate and he survives long enough to actually run, I suspect he might become the first US citizen to be targeted by a US drone strike!

Of course, assassination is not the only tactic available to US imperialism if the dreaded “commie” Bernie Sanders were to win. He could be given the “Jimmy Carter” treatment. You will remember that Carter was an advocate of world peace and nuclear disarmament, as well as improving relations between the US and Cuba. His actions as President were sabotaged by the Pentagon and the Intelligence services, while the US media went out of its way to ridicule his every move. He quickly became a “one term” president.

Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist, and more outspoken than Carter. It may be felt that letting him occupy the White House for even one term would be too dangerous. It wouldn’t be the first time that extra-judicial methods were used to change the political situation in America.

If any such action were taken against Sanders, however, I think there would be a very angry response from Americans fed up with having their democratic rights cavalierly consigned to the dustbin by advocates of big business.

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