This Challenge I'm on has revolutionized everything I thought I understood about health. Doing everything you think right can only get you so far when nature has dealt you a bad hand of cards. Time to think outside the box, change the rules, and reshuffle the deck. Every day is a great day to get healthy and happy.
After ten years of increasingly bad health, of being laid low for weeks and months with extreme fatigue and excruciating pain, of watching my life wither down to almost nothing, of extreme hopelessness because none of the medications offered any relief...finally, I have something that gives me hope. I spent 40 of the first 60 days of this year too weak to get out of bed; many of those days were passed with extreme fibromyalgia pain. Since early March, however, I have found something that has completely turned my life around. I am in the best health of my life ever. No pain. No fatigue. Great energy and vitality. I couldn't exercise ten minutes in Feb. Now I can row for an hour and do 30 min. of ab work...and I'm ready for more! Losing weight, feeling great.
So long as people expect nothing of their leaders, demand nothing of their leaders, and do only the bare minimum to work towards change, then profit will continue to reign over reason. So long as we keep electing the same corporate candidates who work to ensure that they and the rest of the wealthy elites continue to prosper; how can we reasonably expect anything to change? So long as we think that kicking back and signing internet petitions is all we need do when basically the house if on fire, then how can we expect anything other than disaster? If our lives and the lives of those we love were under imminent threat, then we would take real action. Well, America, we are all under imminent threat; our home, this planet, is basically, on fire. We need to use the internet to energize and mobilize and then go out and take direct action to demand change. As a people, we have been historically quite great at electing "great talkers," but getting them to do anything, particularly about climate change, has been substantially disappointing. We need to take real action and demand real action regarding climate change from our feckless government now.
The two party system holds all Americans hostage by this ridiculous shell game of blame: who is responsible? who is to blame? It's always the other guy, even though on most issues of policy both parties agree on far more than they actually differ. If the left is to ever have a seat at the table, much less real input into social progress for the benefit of all Americans, then it is going to have to quit kowtowing to faux progressives and their corporate-sponsored party. If the corporate-sponsored, pro-capitalist, pro-Big Oil, pro-war party known as the Democratic Party wants to keep collaborating with the Republicans to defraud American workers out of their rights, then the Left needs to quit wearing rose-tinted glasses and take the fight to the party that claims to represent our ideals but shuts us out of every discussion. There are two dominants parties: one is extreme right, but the other is not left, only center-right. The Left needs a voice in the political process.
Collaboration always requires less effort than real change. What is really insane is that everyone so narrowly focuses on the differences between the Rethugs and that other corporate-sponsored party, the Democrats, while blindly ignoring the real problem, namely that they are far more alike than not. Voting for a "kinder, gentler" corporate oligarchy is no way to achieve economic justice, social progress, or environmental protection. The drones of the two-party corporate machine will neither be kinder or gentler because no matter how much lip service one particular party gives to the aspirations and demands of the left...at the end of the day, the left will be holding an empty bag having squandered votes on someone who talks great talk, but who like every Democrat in the last forty years acts at best as a corporate centrist...and at worst, slipping further and further to the right. If everyone who liked Dr. Stein had at least gone so far as to impress the Democrats that she was a real threat to the corporate regime, then the Democrats would at least have been obligated to espouse a platform consistent with progressive values or risk losing real votes. Instead the left has once again sold itself down the river, wasted votes, and will get nothing but a government the collaborates more and more with corporate agendas. The reality is that if everyone who liked Jill Stein or the principles of the Green Party actually ever voted Green, then the two party system would be DOA, dead on arrival. Only a multi-party system ensures that the will of the people is actually represented by someone at some point. The two party system by contrast only favors the elites.
Who will the left blame when the thugs that shove austerity down our throats are the very ones for which the left voted?
The Keystone XL pipeline project is safe because people on the left voted out of fear and re-elected their favorite corporate centrist rather than demanding real alternatives to the anti-environment policies of the corporate duopoly. Obama initially renounced the pipeline project, then did an about-face and fast-tracked construction of the southern portion. It is OUR government. There are only two choices in any race if we let ourselves believe the lies that the corporate-sponsored duopoly tells us. When the choices are extreme right and just right of center, the Left needs to shout out NO and vote for anyone other than the choices shoved down our throats. This pipeline is a direct consequence of good people with progressive values complying with the disinformation of a corporate party that only pretends to represent them.
We need more people not just joining the Greens, but running for office as Green candidates...at least if we want real representative democracy, economic justice, social progress, and protection of the environment. We also need more people on the ground and willing to take a stand against anti-environment, anti-human horrors such as the government-approved Keystone XL pipeline.
It is our government. If we want an end to fossil fuels and a future based upon clean, renewable energy, then we are going to have to demand it loudly and clearly.
People who believe in economic justice and social progress have to start taking chances and voting for parties that actually stand for the policies and the values that the people really want out of their government. The Green Party had great success this year. While Jill Stein's total votes may seem quite small compared to the corporate-sponsored candidates, her outcome was actually a great success, winning three times as many votes as the green candidate in '08. If enough people who claim to want real change in this country had voted for Dr. Stein, then the Greens would have gotten federal funding for 2016(the dominant parties certainly don't need this money; they get more than enough from their corporate overlords), a seat at the 2016 debates; and everyone so mortified of Romney could still have gotten their favorite corporate centrist, Obama. The Dems always talk left at election time, then once the election is over: their votes are just as corporate driven as their primary opponents. People need more than lip-service to economic and social justice as well as environmental issues...but talk is all they are ever going to get from the dominant parties. It is our government; we can change it if it fails to reflect what we believe is best for us, for our nation, and for this planet. The two party system has enshrined corporate rule; we won't get anywhere if we don't support a progressive third party such as the Greens.
One of the key traits that defines the Left is dissent and tolerance of dissent. It is all very easy to dissent against the extreme right, but more than that the Left traditionally has been much more tolerant of dissent within its own ranks. Dissent is seen in part as something that could lead to greater consensus if not now, then later. The other thing about dissent is that tolerance of it is a key indicator of diversity within "the movement" however one defines that term.
President Obama has been sold to the Left as our "man." His record, however, is full of policies that, on a good day, are centrist. Most of the time, his policies have been just right of center. Maybe this second term, he will suddenly go hard left, but there just isn't anything in his record to suggest it. Now, that so much of the Left has invested in his reelection and in his party, which to this day persists in supporting toxic free market capitalism, free trade, and other policies that are not healthy for human beings or this planet; it might be suggested that everyone should rally around the man and shut up. It would appear, however, that when the Left squelches dissent, then it isn't truly the Left anymore. Dissent within the ranks is one of the key traits that distinguishes us from the Republicans and their teabagger allies.
1. There is more than enough historical evidence to demonstrate that free market capitalism by its very nature is toxic to human beings and this planet. It is not sustainable. Yet, it is the economic plank of the Democratic Party. I reject capitalism as unsound.
2. The Democratic Party also espouses free trade, never mind that the costs of free trade are passed on to both the workers and to the environment. I reject free trade fundamentalism as immoral.
4. The Democratic Party is just as dependent on corporate campaign contributions as the Republican Party. I reject corporate corruption of the poltical process.
5. The Democratic Party as it is represented by the present administration exports war around the world. In particular, the terror campaign of drone warfare has killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children for no just cause. I reject war for war's sake. I also reject blood for oil.
6. The Democratic Party as represented by the present Obama administration has fast-tracked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, embraced the dirty oil of the tar sands, opened the arctic to drilling, and failed to take action against climate change. Continued use of fossil fuels threatens all life on this planet. I reject the lip-service Democrats occasionally pay on these issues.
7. The Democratic Party and President Obama in particular continue to practice what can only be thought of as a trickle-up economics, in which the burdens of the nation are placed on the middle class and working poor in order to continue subsidizing the elites.
8. The Democratic Party purports to be the party of the left, and demanded the left support President Obama in his re-election bid, despite the complete lack of real progressive action in his first term. Despite the fact that dissent has always been a hallmark of the Left, the Left has been urged to shut up and go along with the President's agenda. However, if the President is being foisted upon the Left as a progressive hero, then the Left should have the fundamental right to critique his first term and his present-day actions and to be vocal when he falls short of even the most minimal expectations.
9. This President in particular has done nothing to slow the decline of collective bargaining and other fundamental workers rights.
I see no reason to continue pretending the Democrats represent the Left. On a very rare day, President Obama is a centrist. Most of the time, however, his policies indicate that he is right of center. Thus, in now way, does he represent the Left.
As the party has drifted further and further right, I haven't left the party; the party has left me. Some might argue that President Obama and the Democrats are the "only show in town" for the Left...but all that means is that the system itself is corrupt and needs to be changed. The reality is that even if it true that the Dems are the only show in town for the Left, then it is not enough nor is it good enough. We need a party that really represents Progressive Left aspirations and, for me, that party is the Green Party of the United States.
Recently, it has been suggested that all of us on the Left who leaving the Democratic Party in a manner reminiscent of rats from a sinking ship are somehow suffering malaise or confused...I am not confused. I know a fascist when I see one. I also know Republican policies even when they are wearing the sheeps-clothing of a Democrat President. I am not confused. I quite simply am no longer a Democrat.
It will come to pass in the next four years, that this Democrat President, Obama, will force harsh austerity measures upon the middle class and the working poor of this nation. He will cut the social safety net yet expand military funding. He will expand both his domestic surveillance program and his drone assassination program. He will continue to support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and continue to green light drilling projects even in the most environmentally sensitive areas. He will do almost nothing to address climate change much less take real action.
How many more reasons do people need to see the reality that the two-party system is beyond repair when both parties espouse many of the same goals and push through many of the same policies? Now is the time to open the system up and stand proudly with a party that can truly represent the idealism and the practicality of the Progressive Left, the Green Party.
It is true. People always have the choice of doing nothing; they can keep supporting the same two parties year after year after year...no matter how much money pours into those parties from corporations. No matter that subsidies to Big Oil and other corporate entities will continue. No matter that drilling will not only continue but expand. That the pipeline will continue to be built. That the drone war will be expanded. That domestic surveillance will expand and civil liberties contract. None of that matters to people unwilling to change, but the future belongs to those who are willing to change and to do something new.
Americans support two parties, one of which is right-wing extremist and the other, on a good day is centrist, but mainly is just right of center. It is true that Americans can do nothing and just go along with the status quo and hope that someday one of these parties will actually embrace Progressive ideals and move to the Left; but doing nothing hardly ever accomplishes anything. The Green Party is just the monkey wrench that the corporate duopoly needs.
Quite simply, it is both disingenuous, dishonest, and factually incorrect to state,"There is no guarantee that the Green Party won't eventually be subjected to the same problems the main two have. Just a matter of time." Unlike the platforms of the two dominant parties, the Green Party has clearly stated positions in their platform that explicitly prohibit acceptance of corporate payola, collaboration with the corporate regime, and the maintenance of the grotesquely bloated military-industrial complex. Also, unlike the dominant parties, the Green Party clearly acknowledges climate change and the need for immediate action. It even has a plan known as the Green New Deal. The Green Party has in its platform clear statements supporting environmental justice, economic justice, social justice, and working towards real peace.
The Democrats have none of these positions in their party platform. And, to clarify the matter further, newly re-elected President Obama will impose a harsh austerity package on Americans in the name of cutting the deficit, cutting the social safety net out from under those who need it most. The President will also not only continue,but expand the terror campaign of the drones. Inaction on climate change will be another hallmark of his second term: at most, he will offer lukewarm support for a cap-and-trade i.e. bait-and-switch program for industry that allows corporations to look cooperative on climate change even while they continue to pour poison into the atmosphere. His support will falter as soon as he meets resistance. He will collaborate with further assaults on collective bargaining, civil liberties, and human rights. Domestic surveillance will expand during the second term.
Given all this, there are still those who will choose to do nothing and support the same old tired centrist party no matter how much it continue to betray the Left. It may be a case of "Obama is the only game in town," but if that is the case, it is only because so many of us would rather do nothing than change the system.
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