Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

(Image: libertymaniacs.com)

Don't Expect Clinton, GOP Candidates to Work for Social Justice

Gary Olson

My car's bumper sticker reads "I'm ready for Oligarchy: the choice is clear. There is none." It's a truism that under our system, no one can be nominated or can win the presidency who isn't a shill for the billionaire class. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will campaign as a populist in the primaries as Wall Street winks and says, "We totally understand the charade you need to perform to attain the White House. We'll even act annoyed if that helps." In the general election, she will move to the center and, after her likely coronation, govern from the right. Always cozy with the military-industrial complex, Clinton voted to authorize President George W. Bush's criminal war in Iraq, which ended the lives of 4,000 U.S. service members, cost more than a trillion dollars, brought untold death and destruction to the Iraqi people and spawned the Islamic State.

As Harvard professor Stephen Walt recently noted, "Blaming bad intelligence is a smokescreen the war's architects and cheerleaders now employ to evade blame for the debacle." And all evidence suggests Clinton cast that vote from conviction and subsequently pushed for U.S. escalation in Afghanistan, intervention in Syria and the destruction of Libya as a viable state, all of which generated more Islamic State franchises. A warmonger and widow maker of the first rank, she is disqualified by this alone to be commander in chief.

Clinton remains silent on President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade initiative — NAFTA on steroids — a trade deal that will send millions of American jobs offshore and further exacerbate income and wealth inequality. For speeches, Clinton has accepted $2.5 million from companies that support the proposed trade agreement. As secretary of state she enthusiastically backed Israel's savage attack on Gaza and promoted fracking in East Europe, China and India. During this period, large corporate payments ($25 million since 2014) flowed into the Clinton Foundation, including contributions from ExxonMobil, Chevron and the Saudi Arabian government while a Canadian backer of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline added to foundation coffers. In 2013, Goldman Sachs paid her $400,000 for two speeches.

Stop!

We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!

Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers. This media model only works if enough readers pitch in. We have millions of readers every month and, it seems, too many take our survival for granted. It isn't. Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is off to a very slow start - only 243 readers have contributed a total of $9,200 so far. We must raise $40,800 more before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you.
Please make a tax-deductible gift to our Mid-Year Fundraiser now!

But don't we need our first female president? Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned us to judge people by the content of their character, not their color. Didn't we learn that lesson by twice electing a black president only to chart his faithful service to the oligarchs while mouthing faux populist rhetoric? Shouldn't we judge Clinton by her character and record, not by her gender? Previous female secretaries of state, including Jeane Kirkpatrick, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice demonstrate that women who've internalized "American exceptionalism" behave just as reprehensibly as any male. I sense that too many people retain a moral blind spot regarding Clinton simply owing to their desire to see a woman in the White House.

So, should folks outside the 1 percent bother to vote? If Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the Democratic primary ballot, you might cast a protest vote for him. In the general election, and given our electoral system, if you live in a red state like Idaho or blue Massachusetts, your vote won't matter.

If the race in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is extremely close, I can imagine voting for Clinton for only one reason: The Krusty the Clown clone emerging as the GOP nominee will be worse, a scary individual who's pathologically devoid of empathy. The plutocrats give us a really terrible candidate and another who is even worse. With that, we're urged to choose.

But instead of wasting time and energy on presidential campaigns, we should heed the late historian Howard Zinn's counsel that "What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but 'who is sitting in' — and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change."

King learned that even though high-level politicians don't care about ordinary citizens, "the political structure listens to the economic power structure." And the latter only reacts out of the fear created by mass mobilizations, disruption, militant campaigns, boycotts and direct action. There is no other way to obtain social justice, and it's getting very late in the game.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Gary Olson

Gary Olson

Gary Olson is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. His most recent book is "Empathy Imperiled: Capitalism, Culture and the Brain" (NY: Springer, 2013.) Contact: olsong@moravian.edu

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo