Common Dreams - October 28, 2019
"The corrupt influence of corporations and rich donors in U.S. democracy is well known and long lamented. Politicians from both major parties are regularly derided as being little more than corporate shills for whoever is funding their next re-election campaign. It is not a far leap then to see them for what most actually are—corporate assets. They are human resources for companies and industries doing their political bidding and promoting their political interests."
Hillary Clinton recently made headlines around the globe with her strong insinuation that current Democratic presidential nominee Tulsi Gabbard was a “Russian Asset” during an interview. She declared "I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians.” When her team was later asked directly if she was referring to Gabbard, her aide responded “If the nesting doll fits.” Gabbard quickly struck back, tweeting “Thank you Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain."
This rapidly escalating war of words reveals deeper fault lines within contemporary U.S. politics. Progressives, even those who do not support Gabbard, criticized Clinton for perceived to be unsubstantiated fearmongering. Centrists, for their part, hailed it as a brave defense of U.S. democracy against the threat of foreign interference. Clinton was framed either as a paranoid conspiracy theorist or a courageous whistleblower.
Beneath the surface of this controversy, however, resides a deeper truth. U.S. democracy is being corrupted from the inside by an even more fearful external power. Yet it is not Russian assets we must most fear but corporate assets like Clinton and Trump. They are the agents most responsible for destroying democracy at home and abroad.
A defining event of modern U.S. politics, particularly for liberals, was the anti-communist witch hunts of the early 1950s led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was born out of a wider “red scare” fuelled by the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that was just then heating up. McCarthyism is historically held up as a potent reminder of the dangers of ideological fervor and jingoism to democracy, freedom, and rights.
It is therefore a profound historical irony that the rebirth of McCarthyism has come from the very liberal establishment that previously decried it so strongly with a passion. While not (yet) reaching the levels of mass hysteria, it follows a familiar pattern of finger pointing and insidious enemies lurking in the shadows. The fact that Russia certainly has sought to interfere in U.S. elections and politics does make this Liberal McCarthyism any less troubling. Indeed, simply because something is pathological does not mean it is not true and simply because it has some truth does not mean it is not ultimately pathological. Clinton’s call out of Gabbard reveals the level of obsession that this has reached—showing in full display a mainstream political culture that would rather blame anyone but themselves for the sorry state of the country and the world. ...
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