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Monday, May 28, 2007


Cindy Sheehan and the two-party system

Chances are this won't be the first place you'll here that Cindy Sheehan is leaving the Democratic Party. From CounterPunch:
The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling all citizens who are as disgusted as we are with you all to join us in Philadelphia on July 4th to try and figure a way out of this "two" party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.
And from Daily Kos:
I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.

...I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."
I don't know if Sheehan has the same thing in mind as I do, but I'm glad she puts "left" in quotes in that second piece, because the idea that the Democratic Underground website or Daily Kos is the "left" (and not the slightly left of center) is clearly wrong.

Anyway, to commemorate this event, here's a song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe entitled, "When All Night Long A Chap Remains," which comments on the absurdity of the two-party system. The relevant line, now dated in England thanks to the addition of the Liberal Democrats to the picture since the time the song was written, is this:

I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la! Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Followed by this, still quite relevant line (especially if you interpret "leaders" in an expansive sense):
When in that House M.P.'s divide,
If they've a brain and cerebellum, too,
They've got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
Anyway, enjoy the song, this one is from San Francisco's great G&S group, the Lamplighters.


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