“Republican Brown beats Coakley in special Senate election in Massachusetts”

Washington Post story.

“President Obama won the state by 26 points, and the entire congressional delegation is Democratic. What the Brown success tells me is that the electorate did not leave the Bush years liberalized; they left angry with bad and ineffective government.” (Alex Vogel, GOP strategist, as quoted in linked story.)

Probably so.  But I think it means more that people are angry at the performance of the Obama administration.

Brown ran against the current “health care” bill, which IS a horrible piece of work, serving mainly insurance companies and other special interests.  He could just as well have run against the horrible “climate” legislation wending it’s way through Congress.  Or Obama’s bank-serving, people-betraying financial policies.  Or the expanded war in Afghanistan.

Of course, Brown probably wants to make all these problems worse, not better.  But people don’t know that.  They just know they are pissed.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow wrote:

Dear shalom-pursuer,

On November 23 and 24, 2009, The Shalom Center sent  out two alternative future histories of American politics and policy: one ending in the election of Sarah Palin as President in 2012, the other in the reelection of  Barack Obama.

In the wake of the Massachusetts election, we are well on the way to Alternative 1 —  the election of Sarah Palin and the triumph of a right-wing populism rooted in rage at lost jobs, boosted bankers, and all who shaped that result.

Sarah Palin’s victory, in our scenario, resulted from the Obama Administration continuing on the path it had taken from even before January 20, when it committed itself to two policies aimed at Domination, not Community:

At home, it named the leading bank-robbers of the Great Recession to key posts defining an Obama economics committed to saving banks, not homes and jobs.

Abroad, it committed itself to send more Americans to die trying to dominate Afghanistan by smashing the Pashtun passion for local tribal self-government that had defeated every invader from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Empire.

Domination at home, domination abroad.  Both unethical,  both impractical. Bound to fail.

The second scenario, Obama’s reelection, resulted from his taking a sharp turn early in 2010 toward a progressive-populist policy focused on full employment at  home and grass-roots economic and social development , especially working with grass-roots women’s groups, abroad.

The American people and the world deeply desire a turn away from top-down domineering policies – a  turn toward grass-roots community-building. Even the world-wide success of the film Avatar is an example of that hunger.

Even in the outpouring of support for stricken Haiti, we witnessed the crystalline moment of Domination triumphing over Community when the US military refused to let a fully-equipped, easily portable  field hospital and experienced field physicians from Medecins sans Frontieres, Doctors Without Borders, land in Port-au-Prince.

The deep public hunger for Community will turn to a sour taste in the public mouth, is already turning sour, when those who give brilliant speeches about Community take brutal action that  favors Domination.

To read the two scenarios, click here for “Presodent Palin inaugurated, Alternate Future History 1” — http://www.theshalomcenter.org/node/1646

And click here for “President Obama Reeletcted, Alternate Future History 2” — http://www.theshalomcenter.org/node/1647

Please  read them – and please realize that reading is not enough, healing the world is not a spectator sport. You can act to change this country’s and this government’s direction.

Crucial at this point is public outcry for change. So we urge you to (1) forward this Shalom Letter to your friends, and (2) write your local metropolitan daily, your neighborhood or community weekly, your congregational listserve or bulletin, your business or union newsletter, with a clear and simple message:

What our country needs now is a huge job-creation program made possible by great investment of Federal money in meeting public needs. If such a program faces a filibuster in the Senate, then tens of thousands of us need to insist that the Senate bust the filibuster.

But before we can do that, we must reawaken on our terms, not the President’s, the demand for grass-roots community.

“Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind is intolerable, and so the evidence has to be internally denied.”   –

Arthur Miller

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