Where Have all the Daisies Gone?

Since the beginning of Obama’s first term, the anti-war left has been nowhere to be found. Once constantly in the streets protesting against Bush’s civil liberty violations, the anti-war left has become silent. Obama’s election was seen as the new age for civil liberties, as his first promise was to close down Guantanamo Bay. Since then, Obama reneged on his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, jailed Bradley Manning for exposing the lack of transparency in “the most transparent administration”, intentionally misled the public about withdrawal dates, signed the National Defense Authorization Act, renewed the PATRIOT Act, and sent drone strikes to various countries without Constitutional approval of war. Despite all of this, people have not been chaining themselves to the White House fence. Obama is still the darling of the anti-war left simply because he is a Democrat. To question Obama would be to question the moral superiority Democrats claim to hold on the issue of civil freedoms.

Instead, the Republican Party has been picking up the fight against the government’s assault on civil liberties. During a Senate Judiciary Hearing, Senator Ted Cruz asked Eric Holder if it is Constitutional for the government to kill an American citizen, not actively engaged in combat, on American soil. As opposed to directly answering the question with a definitive “no”, Holder attempted to evade the question by talking about hypothetical situations, with zero reference to the Constitution. A few days later, Rand Paul engaged in an approximately thirteen-hour filibuster to delay the confirmation of now CIA director John Brennan. Rand Paul’s filibuster made reference to the use of drones overseas, expressing concern over the possible use of drones in America against Americans. Paul demonstrated how the CIA policy of drone usage was not clearly defined and could be used to target Americans who, as Ted Cruz mentioned, were merely sitting in a café.

Rand Paul’s filibuster was joined by thirteen fellow Republicans. The filibuster generated support of mainstream Republicans through the “#StandWithRand” Twitter hastag. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and even Reince Priebus, the establishment Republican National Committee Chairman, Tweeted support for Rand Paul. They were joined by a Facebook post by Rick Santorum, a glowing review by Newt Gingrich, and a monologue by Mike Huckabee. Rand Paul was even on Rush Limbaugh’s show, where he received praise for being a “hero.” Limbaugh later condemned “neoconservative” RINOs John McCain and Lindsey Graham for not standing with Rand.

Rand Paul was capable of energizing the Republican Party on the issue of protecting the rights of every American not to be assassinated by the government via drone. Rand Paul unified the libertarian right with even the most conservative faction of the right to stand up against the government taking away the liberties of the American people.

In contrast (with the exception of CODEPINK), the traditional “we care about civil liberties” left responded to the filibuster by defending Obama. The hashtag “WhyRepublicansNeedtoGo” was created to attack Republicans for standing up against Brennan and drone usage. The “Being Liberal” Facebook page mocked the idea of droning American citizens being a threat, since it “hasn’t been done yet.” This should not surprise anyone: 78% of MSNBC viewers claim to be okay with the government droning Americans. These are the same individuals who were screaming and crying about the evil Bush administration just a few years ago. What completely non-partisan freedom fighters!

The anti-war, pro-civil liberties movement by the left is nothing more than a façade. The left does not care about civil liberties; rather, the left just cares about making Republicans look bad. When a Democrat is doing something egregious, the issue of big government is suddenly not a concern. When a Democrat supports the idea of killing American citizens on American soil, it is wrong to question his judgment. When a Democrat claims to be on your side, the left assumes words mean more than actions.

10 thoughts on “Where Have all the Daisies Gone?

    • I guess the Democrat Senators were too busy reading Counterpunch and Z Magazine to help out Rand Paul’s filibuster.

      • May I refer you to a section of this book, called, “How Antiwar Have the American Liberals Actually Been Over the Years?”, on page 52?

        http://www.amazon.com/Questions-About-American-History-Supposed/dp/0307346692

        Where have the readers of Counterpunch and Z Magazine been? Certainly not in the streets protesting. Certainly not chaining themselves to the fence at the White House. Certainly not contacting their Democrat Senators and telling them to stand up for “true leftist values.” A few seldom individuals may be proselytizing against Obama’s expansionist foreign policy, but it pales in comparison to the way it was when the R was next to the name of the President. Perhaps the reason why those two sources are so obscure is because of their alternative nature, which isn’t part of mainstream liberalism.

      • It’s not exactly news that under Democratic administrations, Democrats’ opposition to wars, civil liberties violations, etc. plummets; and that under Republican administrations, the analogous dynamic occurs among Republicans. But the left is broader than the Democratic party and its lapdogs.

        The section you cite from Tom’s book is about liberals. As I’m sure you know, most radical leftists do not consider themselves liberals.

    • I don’t think Ashley was claiming that there is not a single genuinely anti-war leftist to be found anywhere. But I’d like to actually achieve a higher degree of liberty in my lifetime.

      • There’s a vibrant, active, consistent antiwar left outside the realm of Democrap politicians. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to read “the anti-war left has been nowhere to be found” as denying this.

    • Depending on how narrowly we’re defining radical leftist, many of those people support – if effectively – violent Permanent Revolution against inequality anywhere it emerges in the world.

  1. After Obama’s election:
    -overall attendance at anti-war protests declined by around ninety percent
    -the proportion of Democrats at anti-war protests declined, while the proportion of unaffiliated voters increased
    -around 50% of Democrats decided they now approve of our foreign policy.

    Ashley’s description seems fair to me. Or, to be more specific, the Bush-era peace movement was probably comprised mostly of people who falsely perceived Bush as a threat to their redistributive programs and so on.

    Meanwhile, 14 Republicans actively supported Rand on the Senate floor. The left-wing support for Rand was largely confined to a few websites like those you’ve indicated (God knows I saw those three tweets from Code Pink plenty of times).

    I see a left that has tried to save the world with America’s military since the Spanish-American war, and a right that has occasionally cropped up to say we shouldn’t be policing the planet.

    Working with people like CounterPunch on overlapping issues is great. But I’m ultimately concerned with substantial victories.

    • But as I said, Republican opposition to such things likewise decreases under Republican administrations. So I don’t see the difference.

      I’m very doubtful that we’ll achieve any “substantial victories” through either the Democrap or the Repug parties (or indeed through electoral politics at all).

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